Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Essential Amazing Spider-Man, Volume 7

 The Spidey marathon continues, with another hefty chunk of arachnid goodness.....
 This one will be quick, since most of the issues contained in ESSENTIAL AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, VOLUME 7 are already covered in my reviews of Marvel Masterworks: The Amazing Spider-Man, Volume 14, Marvel Masterworks, Vol. 192: The Amazing Spider-Man, or the soon-to-be-reviewed MARVEL MASTERWORKS, VOL. 205: THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN. My main focus here will be the two issues contained in this book that didn't get the Masterworks treatment: GIANT-SIZE SPIDER-MAN #'s 4 & 5.

 GSSM #4 contains the first appearance of maniacal munitions manufacturer Moses Magnum, who is randomly kidnapping people to use as test subjects for his latest weapon: a gas that melts flesh right off of the bone. Spidey teams up with The Punisher, and together they run Magnum out of Manhattan, taking the fight to his island stronghold. Gerry Conway and Ross Andru deliver their usual excellent work, but if you're reading ASM in Masterworks, and missed this issue, you really didn't miss anything special.

 GSSM #5 is a monster-mash issue, as a stressed Spidey convinces J. Jonah Jameson to send him on a working vacation to Citrusville, Florida, in search of The Man-Thing. Spidey finds his quarry, but he also finds his old sparring partner, The Lizard, and gets caught up in a swamp-shaking brawl involving Man-Thing, The Lizard, and a ton of snakes, 'gators, and lizards of all shapes and sizes. Writer Gerry Conway tries to channel Steve Gerber with a subplot about a suicidal businessman trying to end his life in the swamp, but the real highlight of this issue is artist Ross Andru's toothless, gape-mouthed depiction of The Lizard, which is a delight to behold. Probably THE best rendering of The Lizard since Steve Ditko. Again, nothing earth-shattering, but a fun issue.

 As I said before, I'll be back with a review of the nest ASM Masterworks, in case you're wondering what else happened in this volume. I truly love these ESSENTIAL collections.....They were a great way to pick up huge chunks of story for a low price. I was really bummed when Marvel decided to scrap the line...

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