The second issue of Marvel’s Mightiest Heroes not only features my favourite super-hero, but also an excellent selection of his stories.
Spider-Man has always been one of the more human super heroes. I don’t mean this in the mutant or extra-terrestrial sense, but in the way he’s portrayed. Peter Parker is more or less Joe Average, and has been put through a number of personal problems, which include bullies, balancing a marriage, paying rent, and clones to name a few things. Okay, clones aren’t a normal occurrence… for most of us.
The first story we’re given is Amazing Fantasy #15. This is the title that launched Spider-Man, and began laying the groundwork for what we know today. This isn’t a reprint of the original issue, but rather a graphical remastered version released for the character’s 50th anniversary. All of the colours have been redone in order to represent the story in a modern fashion. This should sound like a good thing, but it’s not. At least, not to me. The newer colours and shading seem at odds with the radio-drama-esque dialogue of the 60s. I would have preferred the original print was included.
Our second story is the first appearance of The Sinister Six. This collection of rogues has long been a thorn in Spider-Man’s side. They band together under Doctor Octopuses leadership to take down Spidey. For some unknown reason they attack him individually, and not together – one has to wonder how this train of thought came from a man with a Doctorate. The issue is a reprint of Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1, and the colours have all been remastered for your reading pleasure.
And now we come to the true heart of this graphic novel collection. The included modern stories consists of Happy Birthday and Intermezzo. Happy Birthday has Spider-Man battling emotionless grunt-like creatures with the Thing, Thor, Cyclops and others. After Mr. Fantastic’s plan to defeat the creatures goes awry, our hero is transported with Doctor Strange to the Void – a place beyond space and time. In order to return to the present, Spider-Man has to traverse tormented parts of his past and future. The journey begins to slowly break Spider-Man, and he’s offered a chance to prevent his own super hero creation.
Intermezzo is a two-part story seen through the eyes of Aunt May and a tailor. These man-on-the-street stories are always interesting glimpses into any saga. We get to see what it’s like knowing Spider-Man, but also the impact this makes on one’s own life. The final issue in this arc deals with the tailor given a moral choice. Should he do the right thing and loose his customers, which consist of both heroes and villains, or stay quiet?
Marvel’s Mightiest Heroes volume 2: Spider-Man is an excellent starting point for anyone looking to get into the Spider-Man mythos. I was going to give this volume a 4-star rating because of Amazing Fantasy #15’s original exclusion, but Happy Birthday and Intermezzo’s combined pay-off more than make up for it.
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