We all love to look back at the moments that our favorite characters came to life on page. Deadpool, one of Marvel’s few characters that hasn’t undergone a horrific transformation in recent years, no doubt serves as one of today’s most popular characters. His quips are sharp, his skills are sharper. He’s not pretty. But his introduction, in New Mutants #98 is pretty damn awesome.
My faith in Marvel Comics has been plummeting for years. Just the same, the publisher plays host to one of my favorite superheroes in existence: Spider-Man. Amazing always had me hooked, and both Spectacular and Web of were also mighty fine books. But I’ve been away from the character for a long time, and returning, I noticed that there are a number of new and different books out there, so I ended up with a few issues of Ultimate Spider-Man.
This is an amazing book stuffed with so many ups and downs it is unreal. Spidey rocks his black suit for the issue, Electro makes an appearance and he does a fine job of testing Spider-Man’s skills. There are explosions, structure destruction, good old hand to hand combat – we get a little bit of everything, and that’s just in the first few pages.
The opening page of this book promises that someone very important to Spider-Man will die in this issue. But who is it? Are they that important? Will they leave behind a mark on the book and Peter’s heart?
Growing up I was a fan of the Avengers, but not an uber loyal fan. If I missed a book I didn’t sweat it too much. But looking back, this is and always has been a mighty fine book. We get some of the greatest heroes in existence teaming up to kick a wide variety of rear-end. It’s fun. Captain America is a certified boss. Iron Man and Thor are handy to smash skulls. It’s just got a lot of really good things going for it, including the work of a much younger Stan Lee and the great Jack Kirby.
With Johnny Blaze’s origin story out of the way (see Marvel Spotlight), Marvel opens up and gifts the spirit of vengeance his very own book, and it’s a winner through and through. Released way back in September of 1973, Ghost Rider was one of the more popular horror titles post-code for Marvel Comics, who’d been hot and cold with genre titles for years thanks to the lunacy of the Comics Code. But the code’s stranglehold continued to loosen sometime around 1970 and Marvel got right down to introducing all sorts of killer monster books. While there are a few vintage titles I love, none had the staying power (or sales) of Ghost Rider, who remains a hot commodity today.
I probably can’t stress how much I love this book. Half of the entire issue is spent entangled in a battle for supremacy. The Vulture, who’s been previously bested by Spider-man already, is back with an unbreakable will to destroy the spider. So he goes all out, and these two duke it out like certified studs, Spidey often losing key exchanges, the fight eventually ending in a draw if ever there were a draw.
I’ve been a dedicated Spidey reader since 1990. That’s 26 years of adoration for one of the most colorful characters ever put to print. And I’ll openly confess that I cannot for the life of me remember the villain, Lightmaster. Maybe this guy was a, pardon the pun, flash in the pan, but maybe I’m wrong and issue three of Spectacular Spider-man will rekindle some memories or answer my little burning question: who in the world is Lightmaster?
We’ve seen a staggering number of Marvel heroes and villains introduced within the pages of X-Men (and just about every sister-book to the original series), and we’re going to spend time looking into those books in the future. Today we’re digging deep into the crates to pull Uncanny X-Men #121 into the light.