Essential Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man—Volume 3

essential peter parker the spectacular spider-man volume 3 cover frank miller
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Art: 8/10

First Cloak and Dagger

Nothing

 
Comic Info

Comic Name:  Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man

Publisher:   Marvel Comics

Writer:   Roger Stern/Bill Mantlo

Artist:   Marie Severin/Luke McDonnell/Jim Shooter/John Byrne/Ed Hannigan/Jim Sherman/Al Weiss/Greg Larocque/Bob Hall/Rick Leonardi/Al Milgrom

# of Issues:   22

Release Date:   2007

peter parker the spectacular spider-man #64 cover first cloak and dagger

Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #64

Reprints Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #54-74 and Annual #3 (May 1981-January 1983).  Peter Parker finds more stress at school as his grades begin to slip, and balancing his life as Spider-Man, a photographer for the Daily Bugle, and his teacher-assistant job is getting more difficult as his time and money are stretched thinner and thinner.  With the arrival of new vigilantes Cloak and Dagger and the danger of his identity being uncovered by his coworker Deb Whitman, Peter finds being a superhero is harder than ever!

Written by Roger Stern and Bill Mantlo (with the annual written by David Kraft), Essential Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man—Volume 3 reprints stories are in black-and-white (like other Essential collections).  Issues in the collection were also collected in Cloak and Dagger:  Shadows and Light.

Spider-Man is a Marvel classic.  While Amazing Spider-Man generally gets all the attention, the sister book Peter Parker, Spectacular Spider-Man also had a strong run in this period.  As the title implied, it almost seemed to focus more on the Peter Parker aspect of Spider-Man’s life…which helped make the character one of the most rounded and believable characters in the ’70s and ’80s.

Peter Parker is almost a sad-sack.  You can see the problems he’s creating for himself a mile away…and so can he.  The character knows that he’s failing all over the place be it in relationships, lives he destroyed, classes, and failed attempts to help the people he loves.  It is this dynamic combined with the arrival of supervillains makes it a losing situation for the character, and with the death of Gwen Stacy in Amazing Spider-Man (1) #121 (June 1973), you actually don’t know if Peter will be ok or if things will just get worse.

peter parker the spectacular spider-man #74 cover debra whitman crazy

Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #74

The big entry of this comic collection is the introduction of Cloak and Dagger in Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #64 (March 1982).  The teen vigilantes are a little harder edged in their early appearances and are kind of like mini-Punishers…willing to kill.  The characters already begin to flesh out a bit in their second and third appearances in Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #69-70 (August 1982-September 1982) and further develop in their own mini-series later.

The book features classic Spider-Man art though it isn’t the Spider-Man art of Gil Kane that propelled the Amazing Spider-Man book to greatness, it is still strong.  Spider-Man at this period was pretty consistent in look, style, writing, and story cohesion and that helped both Amazing Spider-Man and Spectacular Spider-Man blend effortlessly.

Essential Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man—Volume 3 is a solid entry in a solid series that is generally overlooked for Amazing Spider-Man.  When Web of Spider-Man was introduced (replacing Marvel Team-Up), it feels like Spider-Man really started to get watered down, but here with only a couple titles, Spider-Man is a solid comic.  Marvel followed Essential Peter Parker, The Spectacular—Volume 3 with a fourth collection of the series in Essential Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man—Volume 4.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by

Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn’t afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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