Well, we are getting down to the final ten of our SUPER MEGA CROSSOVER EVENT! Reviewers and podcasters painstakingly looked through EVERY Spider-Man comic ever printed to put together this list of the 50 best Spider-Man comics of all time.
10. Superior Spider-Man #1-10
Writer: Dan Slott Artist: Ryan Stegman
A brain swap is no new idea, but to take a major character, do a brain swap, then keep the change for a year? That was something new. Dan Slott developed Doc Ock’s character in a way that it had never been done before. What if Ock was given a new chance and decided to be the best hero ever? That’s what we get in this issues as Ock, in Peter’s body, revamps the whole idea of what it means to be Spider-Man. The best part of it is that we can still clearly see the character of Ock in everything he does. The hero monologues. The cheesy villain phrases roll off the tongue. In the attempt ot best Peter at every move, Ock goes through each of his failings (like leaving Massacre to kill again, not getting his PhD, etc.) and tries to improve upon it. All the while, failing in love. You find yourself rooting for Ock just as much as you want Peter to make a comeback.
Historical significance? For the story point of view, this story dramatically changed Spider-Man, bringing him into the big business world. Plus, an undertaking like this is rarely done. To change a core character for so long is rarely done and very risky. The Superior Spider-Man is probably Slott’s best character creation to date. Whenever Spock is in the book, it was good writing. It was just too bad that we had to sacrifice Peter Parker to get it.
9. Spider-Man: Blue
Writer: Jeph Loeb Artist: Tim Sale
This six issue mini is a remake of the story of Peter, Gwen, and MJ in the form of a flashback. It is Valentine’s Day and Spider-Man is talking into a tape recorder (you see kids, back in the day, people recorded sounds and images on tape, but not sticky tape, instead of digital) as a sort of therapy to cope with his feelings of his loss of Gwen so many years ago. The voice is sad and reflective and not at all happy about Valentine’s Day. You could say that Peter is feeling blue. After telling the stories that originally appeared in #40-48 and #63 of Amazing Spider-Man, Spider-Man asks Gwen to be his Valentine. It turns out that Mary Jane was listening the whole time, but rather than acting like a CW character and getting all angsty, she acts like a woman who knows and loves her husband and even tells Peter to say hello for to Gwen for her and that she misses Gwen too.
Historical significance? Well, despite my rather flippant summary, this story hits several emotional beats and rather than trying to change the events of the original story, it adds a deeper layer of what Peter was feeling and how it still affects him. It also shows how important MJ is to Peter and what the two of them do for each other. We get the events a bit out of order, but the story is well done and the order of events could easily be put off on Peter’s faulty memory, rather than a defect in the story telling.
It was #16 on CBR’s list and #2 on IGN’s list, and part of the Spider-Talk Essentials series and featured on Thwip Studios. It made Marvel readers’ list of the 75 greatest Marvel comics, Complex.com’s list of the 25 greatest Spider-Man comics, Watchmojo’s list of the top ten Spider-Man comics you should read, and MTV’s list of the best Spider-Man comics.
Grab a tissue and read this on Marvel Unlimited.
8. Peter Parker the Spectacular Spider-Man #72-79
Writer: Bill Mantlo Artists: Al Milgrom, Ed Hannigan, Rick Magyar, Bob Hall
The Owl/Octopus War
This arc has it all!
- The stunning conclusion to Deb Whitman’s battle with sanity!
- A Boomerang hissy-fit!
- The return of the Black Cat (who wasn’t really dead, but rather a prisoner of Doctor Octopus)!
- The Kingpin of Crime!
- The Menacing Owl!
- Doctor Octopus!
- Frank Miller! (There is an artist struggling with how to draw water towers with the initials F.M.)
- Ollis Osnick! (You don’t know Ollie Osnick? Shame on you! He’s the kid who idolizes Doc Ock and built his own Ock arms).
Of course, you don’t care about Deb and Ollie, so let’s get right down to the arc that puts this into the top ten. The Owl wants to team up to go against the Kingpin, but Ock politely reminds Owl that this isn’t Marvel Team-up or even Marvel Two-in-One, for that matter, so that means they must fight each other – but this isn’t THE fight, because, ever the fool, Spidey doesn’t let them take each other out, but jumps in the middle of the fray which allows Ock and Owl get away. Later, they both decide the best way to take out the Kingpin is to steal a neutron bomb that the Kingpin, for whatever reason, has in his possession. The Owl goes after the bomb, which he is successful in stealing. Ock goes after the detonator, which he is successful in stealing. When he goes to beat the crap out of the Owl, he realizes that he stole a fake detonator – which makes the Owl laugh at him, only to get crap beat out of him again. It seems the Black Cat is back from the dead and she stole the real detonator and gives it to Spidey so they can hook up (Spidey needs a new girl since he just cured Deb of her craziness and we know Peter is drawn to craziness (a tribute to his first love). Ock steals both the real detonator AND Black Cat, which drives Spidey into a desperate rage to get her back (they had just kissed and she was purring, so Spidey’s really cursing Ock’s timing). When Spidey catches up to Ock, there is an all out gang war going on between Ock’s goons and the Owl’s goons. Ock beats Owl to an inch of his life and leaves him in a bloody pool. When Spidey shows up, Ock gets the upper hand and starts choking him. Enter Black Cat to the rescue. Angry, Ock grabs Felecia and begins to, in his words, “smash out [her] nine lives.” It is pretty brutal in response, Spider-Man beats him down and rips the arms off, and since the arms are grafted into his nervous system, it is the same as ripping off his flesh arms to Ock. This doesn’t end the fight; however, instead it keeps going as Ock gets his revenge on Felecia by having his goons shoot her. Spidey wails on all of them and rushes Cat to the hospital. The story has a happy ending with Cat pulling through, but also with Ock getting his arms re-attached while promising to rips Spidey and Cat’s arms off limb-by-limb.
Historical significance? Well aside from just being one of the most intense fight scenes in all of Spidey history, it also sets up the romance between The Black Cat and Spider-Man. It also sets up the animosity between Ock and Cat, of which the repercussions are still felt to this day. The story also sets up Spidey to be overprotective of Cat until she decides to go out and get her own superpowers. Pretty much everything that transpired between Cat and Spider-Man are set up in this arc. This is a George and Ashley special – a must read for any Black Cat fan and for anyone who likes to see Spidey kick butt. PPTSM #124 takes place (supposedly) between #72 and 73, if you want to read the WHOLE story.
CBR ranks this #17. You won’t find this on Marvel Unlimited, but you can catch the last issue of the arc on Thwip Studios and, of course, a fight this good will have been covered on Friday Night Fights.
7. Amazing Spider-Man #229-230
Writer: Roger Stern Artist: John Romita
Nothing Can Stop the Juggernaut
What? A Madam Web story made the top ten? This goes to show how AWESOME this comic is. Despite Madam Web being a core component to the story line, the fighting in this arc far outweighs the drag that she puts on it. Madam Web gets a vision of a monster attacking her, so she calls in Spidey. Literally. In fact, every time Spidey goes past a phone, she calls him. The monster is the Juggernaut, which, in case you didn’t know, has the power of being unstoppable. So Spidey spins a few webs to slow him down, but, while the webbing doesn’t break, it pulls the concrete that it is moored to right off the walls. Spider-Man punches him, but that doesn’t stop him. He reaches out to the FF, Avengers, and Dr. Strange. All of them are unavailable. No matter what Spidey does, the Juggernaut keeps going. When he reaches Madam Web, he kidnaps her for Black Tom, who wants her future telling abilities. After Spidey explains that he just removed her from her life support system, Juggernaut just drops her and heads back. This is where the story really gets interesting. Spidey could just let it go. He already determined that the Juggernaut can’t be stopped and that no one will help him. But once he gets Madam Web taken care of (I believe she suffers some brain damage or something from this and is out of the comics for quite a while), he decides Juggernaut will NOT get away with it and goes after him with EVERYTHING. At one point Spidey even drives a gasoline truck into him. Finally, Spidey drops him down forty feet of concrete foundation and calls it a day.
Historical significance? None – but who cares! This is an awesome fight that displays Spidey’s determination. He never says die, even when it is impossible to win. This is also in the good old days where nobody was ever available to help him out. Now it seems every Marvel character is quick to jump in and save the day. This really ratchets up Spidey’s cool factor in the Marvel universe. Stern wanted to do something different with the character and, for a while, that meant pitting Spidey against villains he had no business being around. Plus this takes Madam Web out of the picture for a while, which is always a nice thing. Stern revisited this story later and added Captain Universe to the mix for good measure.
It was #7 on CBR’s list. It was #11 on IGN’s list, part of the Spider-Talk podcast’s Essentials series, Wizard’s Top Ten Spider-Man comics (as well as placing 7th in its list of the greatest comic books), Complex.com’s list of the 25 greatest Spider-Man comics, Watchmojo’s list of the top ten Spider-Man comics you should read, and MTV’s list of the best Spider-Man comics.
Amazing Spider-Man #248
Writer: Roger Stern Artist: John Romita
The Kid Who Collects Spider-Man
This backup story for Assistant Editor’s month is one of the few serious ones around. There is not a lot to say about it, but that doesn’t stop the fact that almost EVERYONE puts this in their lists of best Spidey comics. On top of that, it is a backup story. Most people don’t even remember that the main story is a Thunderball story. In this backup, We get a newspaper clipping about a little boy who loves collecting all newspaper clippings of his favorite hero – Spider-Man. So Spidey goes and visits him in his home. Spidey lifts the bed and does other things to prove he is the real deal and takes the boy on a web swing. Then, when the boy asks, he reveals his identity to the boy. As Spider-Man leaves, we see the “home” is a child’s wing of a hospital and we get the last part of the newspaper clipping that reveal the boy is dying of leukemia and only has a few weeks to live. Cue tears.
Historical significance? At this point, Spider-Man revealing his identity to ANYONE was out of the question, so it made readers really question what is going on. It is a short story, but impactful. A bit on the nose with the emotional tugs, but very effective none-the-less.
It was #8 on CBR’s list, #3 on IGN’s list, on Wizard’s Top Ten Spider-Man comics (as well as placing 29th in its list of the greatest comic books), made Marvel readers’ list of the 75 greatest Marvel comics, Complex.com’s list of the 25 greatest Spider-Man comics, Watchmojo’s list of the top ten Spider-Man comics you should read, MTV’s list of the best Spider-Man comics, and made the Official Playstation Magazine/ Spiderfan,org’s list of the top Spider-Man stories. All that and it is part of the Spidertalk podcast’s Essentials series.
I also remember JR talking about it, but sadly I cannot find the podcast, so if anyone out there knows which one it is, put that in the comments. While we are waiting to track down his thoughts, check it out on Marvel Unlimited.
So what do you think? Agree 100%? Of course you do! But you can give us your thoughts and comments anyway!
Well, that’s it for me. Thanks Mister Mets for pulling me in on this! It’s been a fun ride (but I’ll be glad to get back to the every three weeks schedule – I have research papers to grade, and miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep). Now Mets will take you through the top five, an analysis of the list, and then present the readers’ picks. This is your chance to get your picks considered, so send Mister Mets an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Missed any of the earlier lists? Check them out here: