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?
It’s time to rewind the clocks and jump into one of my favorite Spidey comics, Spectacular Spiderman.
The inaugural issue absolutely rocks and today holds a nostalgic charm you don’t get from every book out there. It also pits Spiderman in a rematch with the nimble and extremely able Tarantula. Who takes this round? And who does the Tarantula have targeted? He isn’t back for Spidey alone, no. He’s also got his peepers on the Vice Chancelor of Petey’s school. He’s destined to run into both, but what will be the final outcome?
I love this book. Probably – I’ll find out soon enough – every single issue. And while I think Marvel could have kicked this one off with focus on a villain that holds a bit more of a marquee appeal, Tarantula is a fine starting point, as it leaves the book – already very solid – with nowhere to go but up.
Gerry Conway’s story has a hint of a throwback charm and a reasonable dose of contemporary style to it, simultaneously. That mixture prevents the book from feeling too dated, but also summons a strange idea of innocence. It’s an unorthodox but engaging mix.
And, of course, I can’t possibly move on without issuing huge praise to one of history’s greatest Spidey artists, Sal Buscema. Buscema did it all. He drew for every major book from the 70s up well beyond the old Y2K mark. His style is very clean with plenty of animated faces and smooth lines. We’re talking about a legend of the pencil who’s got the respect of everyone in the industry.
We leave the first issue with questions on our minds. There are some things to be resolved, and by the end of this story arc we’ll likely see Spidey and Tarantula tangle on a few more occasions. It’ll be close folks, but we’re picking Spidey by TKO!