I had not planned on purchasing SPIDER-MAN VISIONARIES: ROGER STERN VOLUME 1 when it was released; however, when the book I did purchase turned out to be such a turkey, I immediately returned to the store to buy it. The result was a very happy reader. I can't figure out what inspired Marvel to release this book, but I'm glad they did, as I really enjoyed these fun Spidey stories. Although hampered by some art of questionable quality, the writing is very good, and while there are a couple of overarching threads, the tales are kept to one or two issues as opposed to the seemingly never-ending narratives of today. There's a very loose style running through the stories, almost as if Stan Lee were looking over Stern's shoulder. Collecting Amazing S-M #206 and Spectacular S-M #43-52 & 54, this book does contain an issue written by Marv Wolfman, but this is done simply to provide the reader with a complete story, as a two-parter was split between writers.
John Byrne, Mike Zeck, Steve Leialoha, Jim Mooney, and others provide the art, which, as I mentioned earlier, is not the best part of this book. Overall, it just looks uninspired, though Marie Severin's work does tend to hearken back to the style of sturdy Steve Ditko, even including backgrounds and bystanders that look straight out of the '60s (and as these stories are set in the '80s, it's just that much more quirky).
This time around, Spidey is up against Belladonna, the Vulture, the Prowler, the Smuggler, Mysterio, a roomful of aliens, and an abundance of gas. Gas, gas, gas... what's with all the gas? Anyway, as I said, this seemed like an odd choice for a collection, but Marvel seems to know what they were doing.