Amazing Spider-Man, Vol. 1 (Marvel Masterworks)

Pros: Very interesting hero and villains, stories are still pretty strong

Cons: Artwork shows age

When high school teen Peter Parker attends a science exhibit, his life is soon forever changed. During a demonstration on radioactive rays, a spider accidentally absorbs some of the radiation. Parker is bitten by the spider and later learns he has obtained the spiders abilities.

Peter Parker can now stick to most surfaces, posseses beyond super human strength, speed, endurance, reflexes, and agility. He has obtained an early danger warning sense called “the spider sense”. He also creates devices called the “web shooters”, which fires a webbing solution created from his own formula in order to assist him in battle and travel at great speeds. Later, tragedy strikes and Parker realizes that with great power also comes great responsibility. He eventually becomes a costumed vigilante calling himself Spider-Man.-summary

In 1962 the legendary Stan Lee along with Steve Ditko would go on to not only create the most interesting comic book character of that era, but someone whom would also go on to become the most popular character for a very long time and in many people’s eyes the face of comic books: The Amazing Spider-Man. This character was an instant hit back then simply because he broke the rules on what a superhero should be. While teenage superheroes such as Robin and Bucky mainly stood in as side kicks to their older bosses (Batman and Captain America respectively). Spider-Man was a teenager with extraordinary powers whom had to teach himself the ropes. He had no one to take him under his wing, and he simply had to learn the life of being a superhero the hard way. This TPB collects Amazing Fantasy # 15 along with The Amazing Spider-Man issues 1-10.

While looking back at these earlier issues; I can see the beginnings of when comics began to change from funnies into something a bit more mature. Now don’t get me wrong, these stories are still light hearted fun anyone of any age can get into, but Stan Lee had more to deliver here than the superhero saving cats from trees.

Peter Parker isn’t exactly someone to look up to due to him being a geeky kid who’s constantly bullied and rejected at school; but there’s just something about him that one must admire. He constantly strives to do better, be responsible with his powers, and in some way provide for his Aunt May whom has helped as his guardian for years. There’s always something interesting taking place in Peter’s life, but his life as a superhero is clearly what stands above all, and this wouldn’t be possible if not for the many challenges he has to overcome.  This brings me to his colorful and notorious rogues gallery.

This TPB features various first appearances of villains whom would go on to become classics, and these confrontations are just so fun to read. The stakes feel so high against Dr. Octopus as he truly seems like an unstoppable foe; in fact, he hands Spider-Man his first crushing defeat. Many enemies put Spider-Man’s powers to the test, as he battles against Electro, Sandman, Dr. Doom and even the Fantastic Four. Stan Lee’s writing was very good here, and he would eventually step things up in later issues. The only small problem can be some of the artwork at times. It can feel dated, yet it still delivers the goods.

The Amazing Spider-Man Volume One is a wonderful collection of stories that I highly recommend to fans of the characters, and those just interested in his beginning. The stories aren’t totally over the top which can be a good thing, but they aren’t eye rolling campy either. Definitely give these stories a read some day.

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