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Essential Spider-Man Volume 5 TPB [Paperback]

Stan Lee
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Paperback, April 15 2002 --  

Book Description

April 15 2002 Essential Spider-Man (Book 5)
Granted amazing, arachnid-like abilities by the bite of an irradiated spider, Peter Parker has vowed to protect his fellow man! In this volume: the return of the diabolical Doctor Octopus! A side trip to the Savage Land that time forgot! The first appearance of Morbius the Living Vampire! The death of Captain Stacy! Plus: the wall-crawler's climactic confrontation with the grinning Green Goblin! Collecting AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (1963) #90-113.


--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars GIL KANE's Spider-Man June 4 2003
Format:Paperback
This answers the question, "When exactly did AMAZING SPIDER-MAN as a series go completely to HELL?" No-it WASN'T when John Romita stopped inking. It WASN'T when Gwen Stacy was murdered (which, after all these years, it turned out it was John Romita's...idea). And no-it WASN'T even when Stan Lee stopped writing "his" main character!!! NO!!! It was when GIL KANE started DRAWING the [darn] book, THAT'S when!!! Kane's people are UGLY, his anatomy is AWKWARD, and his storytelling has NO sense of fun or humor about it at ALL!!! Most of these I'd never read before, and I got the book mainly because it was a CHEAP way to fill these huge gaping holes in my Spidey collection. MY GOD!! Reading these is like watching the 6th season of HUNTER. Sure, Dee Dee McCall was still there, but the whole tone, balance and focus of the show had gone terribly astray, thanks to Fred Dryer's massive ego getting in the way.
There's a few issues with pure JOHN ROMITA art, which are a joy to behold compared to the rest. (Romita plotted "Vengeance In Viet Nam" all on his own, it was his big Milton Caniff tribute!) There's also a couple near the end which had Romita pencilling over layouts by JIM STARLIN! But overall, the tone of the series had gotten very dark, downbeat and pessimistic. In a word-- unbearable.
For anyone who'd wonder why I have NO interest in reading ANY new Spider-books ever again, here it is. I have BOXES of the stuff in my back room, and don't have the time for that right now-and that's the GOOD stuff! To me, there are 2 and ONLY 2 Spider-Man artists who matter-- Steve Ditko and John Romita. Everybody else is just wasting their time trying to fill their shoes. 30 years is a LONG time for a character to be living off his past reputation!
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By Lawrance M. Bernabo HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Volume 5 of the "Essential Spider-Man" covers the end of Stan Lee's run as the writer on his most famous comic creation. Lee wrote through issue #100, then Roy Thomas penned issues #101-104, Lee returned for issues #105-110, and then Gerry Conway (the man who killed off Gwen Stacy) became Spidey's scripter with issue #111. Spider-Man's artwork features some major revolving door action as well, with John Romita (Sr.) inking Gil Kane and then doing the pencils again, then Kane taking over with a different inker, then... (you get the idea). Anyhow, the cover is wrong because John Buscema does not do any of the artwork (brother Sal does some of the inking); it is Conway's name that should be there instead.
Anyhow, this volume includes several pivotal moments in Spider-Man's history: the death of Captain Stacy, the infamous Green Goblin/Harry Osborn on drugs trilogy where the comic did not receive Comics Code approval, and the 100th issue where Peter Parker decides to concoct a magic formula to take away his spider powers and ends up growing two extra sets of arms instead (talk about weird science, huh?). The Marvel tendency to try and be realistic pops up as well as Flash Thompson returns from Vietnam with a story to tell. There is a nice bookend effect to this volume, which begins and ends with Doctor Octopus. I know the Green Goblin is the most important of Spider-Man's villain (knowing Spider-Man's secret identity sort of makes that a moot point), but overall I think some of the best Spider-Man stories involve Doc Ock, and it is not just because of the similarities of their animal totems. Also includes in these issues are Spider-Man visiting Ka-Zar in the Savage Land and the first appearance of Morbius the Living Vampire (a character that I could never take seriously).
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By A Customer
Format:Paperback
My only complaint is that the book opens halfway through a continued comic with Spidey battling Dr. Octopus that should have included the comic just before. I actually haven't finished reading this yet because I have been enjoying it so much that I don't want it to end! I have read a chapter or two (monthly issue) each night. After just seeimg the movie SPIDER-MAN, I bought this on an impulse. I found it fascinating to see the "real" story as told by Stan Lee of how Peter Parker felt about Mary Jane (MJ), and there is an exciting battle with the Green Goblin that explains much about that character. In fact, even the first storyline of how Peter became Spider-Man is retold. What made me sad, however, was to realize that the movie messed up a wonderful opportunity of bringing these "classic" comics to life and instead followed a mediocre script that was inaccurate to the early comics. No wonder I hate how Hollywood retells historical events just for "entertainment value!" Still, these are fun and priced inexpensively.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  14 reviews
29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stan "the Man" Lee ends his run as the writer of Spider-Man Oct. 6 2002
By Lawrance M. Bernabo - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Volume 5 of the "Essential Spider-Man" covers the end of Stan Lee's run as the writer on his most famous comic creation. Lee wrote through issue #100, then Roy Thomas penned issues #101-104, Lee returned for issues #105-110, and then Gerry Conway (the man who killed off Gwen Stacy) became Spidey's scripter with issue #111. Spider-Man's artwork features some major revolving door action as well, with John Romita (Sr.) inking Gil Kane and then doing the pencils again, then Kane taking over with a different inker, then... (you get the idea). Anyhow, the cover is wrong because John Buscema does not do any of the artwork (brother Sal does some of the inking); it is Conway's name that should be there instead.
Anyhow, this volume includes several pivotal moments in Spider-Man's history: the death of Captain Stacy, the infamous Green Goblin/Harry Osborn on drugs trilogy where the comic did not receive Comics Code approval, and the 100th issue where Peter Parker decides to concoct a magic formula to take away his spider powers and ends up growing two extra sets of arms instead (talk about weird science, huh?). The Marvel tendency to try and be realistic pops up as well as Flash Thompson returns from Vietnam with a story to tell. There is a nice bookend effect to this volume, which begins and ends with Doctor Octopus. I know the Green Goblin is the most important of Spider-Man's villain (knowing Spider-Man's secret identity sort of makes that a moot point), but overall I think some of the best Spider-Man stories involve Doc Ock, and it is not just because of the similarities of their animal totems. Also includes in these issues are Spider-Man visiting Ka-Zar in the Savage Land and the first appearance of Morbius the Living Vampire (a character that I could never take seriously). But then there is the Gibbon, a "villain" so bad even Spider-Man laughs at him.
It looks like Volume 5 might be the last of the "Essential Spider-Man" series, although this is just a bad hunch on my part. After all, Stan Lee stopped writing the comic at this point and the key issues of what would be the next volume are currently available as "The Death of Gwen Stacy." I have to admit that I do not mind that these comics are in black & white; certainly this helps to keep this a remarkably inexpensive series and the strengths of some of these artists (most notably Steve Ditko) actually stand out more without the color being added. There is also something to be said for not having to take your comics out of their bags to read them (or for having to pay big bucks to go out and buy all these back issues). I am looking forward to picking up some more of the classic Marvel comics from the Sixties in this format.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT ALL-TIME ISSUES IN THIS VOLUME March 19 2007
By JON STRICKLAND - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The Essential Spider-Man, Volume 5 is perhaps the darkest of the Essential Spider-Man releases to come out. Themes dealing with drug addiction, love lost, experiments gone wrong, and characters in psychological torment other than Peter Parker/Spider-Man set a new precedent never before witnessed by the avid Amazing Spider-Man reader at that time.

Included is the controversial Amazing Spider-Man #97 (which did not receive the Comics Code Authority approval seal) that dealt with Harry Osborn's dependence on drugs and that pictured montages of pill-induced hallucinations that the son of The Green Goblin was having to endure. Truly this was a strongly implicit message that dealing with illegal substances is no way to battle inferiority complexes or depression. In Harry's case, the personal problems he perceived to be having loomed larger by taking this particular route.

In addition to this classic is the Amazing Spider-Man #100, where Peter Parker, in his attempt to rid himself of the "spider within", drinks a serum he concocted in order to regain what he deemed what was once his physically normal state only to find out at the end that that which he was trying to destroy was augmented!

Immediately following are what I think are, in ASM #101 & #102, two of the best back-to-back issues in the comic book's history that did not include The Green Goblin. Introduced is the vampire, Morbius, who, as the renowned scientist, Dr. Michael Morbius, conducted radical experiments to cure himself of a terminal blood condition only to end up as a Draculalike psychopath. His initial attempts to make things better for himself and for those he loved would all go wrong, leaving him in ultimate despair. With the combination of Gil Kane's art and Roy Thomas' finely-honed writing style, especially since those late 1960's Avenger issues, this particular storyline in these two aforementioned issues is perhaps among the most Shakespearean in comic book history.

Though there are some stories in between that don't stack up quite so well, such as the ones with The Gibbon and The Beetle, they were nonetheless momentary distractions from key turning points that starkly set a foreboding tone that tragedies were awaiting Spider-Man's future. Also included in ESMV5 is the issue that ends with Capt. Stacy's death.

With all the seriousness and tragedies contained, The Essential Spider-Man, Volume 5 is a rather Gothic assemblage and is arguably more ominous than the any of the bound Dr. Strange Essentials.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Demythifying Spider-Man Dec 5 2011
By Elvin Ortiz - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This volume covers issues from Nov. 1970 to Oct. 1972. After Captain Stacey's tragic death in the first issue of this volume, Lee swerves dramatically from the mythical universe that he had created from the very first ASM issue.

Lee moves elsewhere, perhaps trying to imbue his Spider-Man series with realism represented by corrupt politics and racism, terrorism, drug use, and even Attica-like prison riots. In issues 91 and 92, SM faces a neofascist and racist Sam Bullit, in issue 95 he faces terrorists in London as PP pursues Gwen Stacey, fights real-life drug dealers and thugs and helps Harry Osborne as the latter is affected by drug use in issues 96-98, and in issue 99 Spider-Man has to solve a prison riot and even takes a stand for prisoner's civil rights. Absent from this riot are the usual cast of super-villains you would expect to find there. As Lee depopulates these early issues of 1971 of ASM's usual larger than life super villains, the mythical universe that surrounded Spidey at first gets weaker plot-wise. So far, from 1962-1970 the Spider-Man plot took on a life of its own, being one of the most unique superheroes in the comic book industry. The plot was self-sustaining all along until the real world starts to replace the SM universe. Jonah Jameson suddenly becomes a civil rights hero and his cartoonish image loses its strength in many of these issues. Although I've got no qualms with comic books addressing social issues, and even criticize such problems as drug use, the dialogue in the Harry Osbourne issues concerning drug use and Spidey's speech on T.V. on prisoner's rights sounds too didactic. Lee's desire to abandon his universe seems so strong in these early issues of the present volume that the only two opponents appearing in these early issues are The Prowler (#93) and The Beetle (#94). Neither have proved to be the kind of challenge that a Doc Oc or Kingpin have been.

After the prison riot issue, Lee once more takes another imaginative detour into B-movie story type. As Peter Parker tries to get rid of his powers, he prepares a formula that adds four arms to his body (#100). After this, Lee allows Roy Thomas to give us more, should I call it B-comic book stories with Morbius, a vampire (#s 101-102) and a King Kong style story which features a giant monster kidnapping the beautiful blonde Gwen Stacey (how original can Thomas get?) in issues 103-104. This fantastic story combines King Kong with a Ray Harryhausen film. Although these stories are well written, they lack the imaginative strength that so far had characterized the ASM in the previous decade. In these stories, Lee's universe has been replaced by myths created elsewhere.

It is only in issue 103 and after where Lee tries to revive the old Spidey universe and slowly turns directions to the world he created. The story on "Vengeance from Vietnam" may seem to be too much like Shangri-La and Fu-Man-Chu combined, but the stories on Dr. Smythe and his robot (#s 105-107), and the Kraven and the Gibbon (the only new villain created by Lee in this volume) are more like in the original SM. Gerry Conway, a new writer for ASM, lives up to the old Lee spirit as he has Spider-Man struggling with high-strung nerves, Aunt May's disappearance, Doctor Octopus, and a new villain in town called Hammerhead, which fits the larger-than-life cast of foes that often populates the Spidey universe. These latter two issues are action-packed and filled with the old Spidey dilemmas: fighting with Doc Oc while looking for Aunt May and dealing with physical exhaustion from lack of sleep. It was these latter issues that kept this volume a worthwhile read.

Along with these plot detours, Flash Thompson returns from Vietnam for good (I notice that Vietnam is never mentioned in the previous years), Harry recovers from drug addiction, and Mary Jane becomes an unpredictable character, constantly making passes at Peter Parker. Harry's father reappears as the Green Goblin, but his appearance never matches the Goblin's ruthlessness in early SM episodes. He didn't seem to me as menacing as before, and his defeat was too easy this time around.

The SM stories continue to be a challenging read for the targeted audience because of the above level diction used in these texts. Although not as solid as before, plot-wise that is, this volume is still a good read.
5.0 out of 5 stars Yeppers Feb. 26 2014
By DG - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
My son said that he enjoyed it very much. It was a used item but the seller didn't sugar coat the condition.
He says 5 stars, so I will have to go with that.
5.0 out of 5 stars great collection Feb. 2 2014
By E. Hockley - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Waited for a great price and I love the book. Seller was more than adequate. Great transaction all around. Alkready have read it front to back
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