The Amazing Spider-Man, Vol. 3 (Marvel Masterworks)
Pros: One very cool debut and overall strong volume
Cons: Only a couple of weaker issues
J. Jonah Jameson’s hatred for Spider-Man gets the better of him which leads to his newest plan. He learns about a scientist that has learned how to cause artificial mutations in animals, such as mutating mice to breath under water like fish. Jameson pays him to perform the mutation on Mac Gargan whom volunteers for the operation, and this leads to him becoming the Scorpion. Jameson immediately sends him after Spider-Man to try to defeat and unmask him. -summary
While slightly weaker than the previous volume; Marvel Masterworks: The Amazing Spider-Man Volume 3 is still a very good trade as Stan Lee makes room for new villains, and at the same time begins a developing storyline that brings Spider-Man to blows once again with the Green Goblin making their feud even more personal. There’s very little to complain about here with the issues continuing to arouse interest and suspense in some way. This TPB collects The Amazing Spider-Man issues 20-30 and Annual # 2.
This book begins with a bang immediately as Spider-Man goes one on with the Scorpion through a trilogy of brawls in a single issue. This encounter is easily the most unappreciated slugfest in Marvel 60’s comics. Whenever people toss together their favorite slugfest of that time period, you will always see the Thor vs. Hulk or Thor vs. Hercules encounters right away or something else with this one completely forgotten. I always found those two fights to be slightly over-rated because they simply lack the savage fury of Spider-Man vs. Scorpion in Amazing Spider-Man #20; these two really go at it bare knuckle for awhile and many of their confrontations would end up like this. There’s also another good slugfest taking place during the Molten Man’s first appearance, and the reader will also get an entertaining battle along with the precursor to Spider-Man’s deadly feud with the Spider-Slayers.
Stan Lee works very well in developing Spider-Man’s world all around; the Green Goblin returns with hopes of conquering New York’s underworld gangs which leads him into a rivalry with the Crimemaster whom has the same goal. In addition to all of this, Peter Parker’s relationship with Betty Brant receives the love triangle formula when reporter Ned Leeds is introduced, and their relationship becomes quite complicated. Although it can feel somewhat repetitive at times, Lee keeps the narrative moving at a brisk pace with something new and cool each issue.
I love Steve Ditko’s artwork here when following the action-filled narrative. There are so many cool moments here and even during the shorter altercations. There’s a good amount of imagination when Human Torch and Spider-Man mix it up. Plus the savage brawls with Scorpion pack the right amount of collateral damage. I like the facial designs here from Flash Thompson’s jealousy, to Jameson’s victory gloating, on to Scorpion outright snapping. I have no problems with the recoloring since everything looks so lively.
I have to admit that many of the best encounters took place in the previous book. However, there’s nothing here to really turn a nose up to either. It’s so obvious that Spider-Man was Stan Lee’s baby because when compared to all the titles he was writing; it seemed as if his heart was into this most. Everything from Spider-Man’s adventures to Peter’s complications with everyday life never seems to feel dull. I highly recommend this volume to comic and Spider-Man fans. It also isn’t a bad place to start either but I would recommend starting from the beginning.