From the House of Ideas: Tales of the Amazing Spider-Man, Then and Now

I’ve got two titles I want to highlight in this week’s From the House of Ideas, and we’ll kick things off with a classic run from our favourite wall-crawler.

The Amazing Spider-Man by J. Michael Straczynski Omnibus Volume 1 is a massive collection that brings together more than 1000 pages of the famed Babylon 5 creator’s epic AMS run. Though it would prove to be incredibly divisive by its conclusion, this first book contains what is arguably JMS’ best work from the series, including the introduction of the concept of the spider totem and characters like Ezekiel and Morlun. JMS’ writing in this book is as good as it gets, in my opinion, and is complimented by the excellent artistry of John Romita Jr., who, like his father before him, is one of the thee great Spider-Man artists of all time, in my humble opinion.

Many people definitely felt the JMS run went a little off the rails in the end, which may have been equal parts storytelling and editorial decisions, but none of that negates the enduring stories that The Amazing Spider-Man by J. Michael Straczynski Omnibus Volume 1 collects here. It’s well worth a read for new Spidey fans, or those looking to get the first chunk of this run in one place.

From the past to the present, The Amazing Spider-Man #2 is written by Zeb Wells and again features John Romita Jr., back at Marvel after a few years in the woods that is DC. I try not to take things personally but, boy, did I feel a sense of betrayal when JRJR decided to leave his Marvel home of decades to, oh I don’t know, work on characters he’d never illustrated before and that he felt inspired to take on (I kid, mostly); I’m glad JRJR followed his muse, and I’ll say this – his work on this latest ASM run sees him feeling refreshed to these eyes, so maybe he needed that time away from the Marvel Universe.

The storyline is The Amazing Spider-Man picks up six months after “something” went down that sees Peter Parker alienated from Mary-Jane and Aunt May. His superhero stock is sitting pretty low as well. Throw in the return of classic villain Tombstone, and so far this ASM volume is firing on all cylinders. Yes, there are lots of things that need some ‘splaining, but discovering all those details is what will make this series a fun read, and well worth jumping into early.

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