Welcome back! This post is going to be my favourite Spiderman stories. Spiderman is a Marvel flagship and one of my favourite characters, everyone knows his origin – smart, quirky kid, bitten by a radioactive spider that granted him wicked powers. Since this he donned the mantle of Spiderman and has been known as the Amazing Spider-Man, Superior Spider-Man, and Spectacular Spider-Man among others. In this post I will be listing my personal top five web-slinging, wall-crawling stories. I’ll be adding a little info with each one as to why they’re my favourites! Before we begin, I’m going to add that choosing five stories from all of the great Spider-Man ones is pretty hard. Let us begin!
5. Amazing Spider-Man Volume 11: Back in Black
Back in Black is written by J. Michael Straczynski and illustrated by Ron Garney. J. Michael Straczynski is generally considered as one of the all-time great Spider-Man writers and Back in Black is perfect proof of this.
Amazing Spider-Man Volume 11: Back in Black deals with the fallout from the events of ‘Civil War’ and Peter Parker’s choice within that story to reveal his identity to the public
as an effort to help restore public faith with Superheroes during the on-going conflict. However, as Peter always feared, with his private identity now revealed, Aunt May is dragged into the line-of-fire as she is shot by an assassin with a bullet that was meant for him. This causes Peter to turn to a darker, more aggressive vigilante, dropping his friendlyneighbourhood Spiderman attitude.
What I love about Back in Black especially, is that we get to see what Spiderman is capable of when he pushes his morals to the side, going as far as torturing and viciously assaulting criminals; to near-death in order to get information. The story is definitely one of the darkest from Peter’s history, although not the darkest and results in a compelling, engrossing read. The reader is constantly torn between wanting Spidey to succeed and not wanting him to go too far.
4. Miles Morales: Ultimate Spider-Man Volume 1: Revival
Ultimate Spider-Man Volume 1: Revival is written by Brian Michael Bendis and illustrated by Stuart Immonen. This chapter in the Ultimate Spider-Man story is rather excellent, big fan of Miles Morales right here.
It’s no secret among my friends that I haven’t liked a lot that Marvel have put out in the last few years but I am a huge Miles Morales fan and I closely followed this story and the
character, Morales is the best thing in the Ultimate Universe, I think so anyway. Miles Morales is Spider-Man of the Ultimate Universe who takes up the mantle of Spider-Man after the Peter Parker of his universe dies. Revival takes place starting at the anniversary of Parker’s death and one of Parker’s biggest villains returns. Miles must come face to face with the worst nightmare of the Spider-Man legacy: Norman Osborn, the Green Goblin… the man who killed Peter Parker… or so we are all led to believe. There are some shocking truths and a “Revival” of the Spiderman legacy, of sorts. This story was a great starting point for Miles Morales, as a reader you get to see the vast skills and powers he has – more so than Peter’s did, he has an amazing suit too. We also get to scrape the surface of Miles’ complexity, he, like Parker has a love interest and how that impacts his choices behind the mask are very interesting; Miles’ life as Spider-Man is in many ways, harder than Peter, he’s only sixteen and has his share of events that try to tear him away from the role of being a hero.
Brian Michael Bendis’ writing of the story is really interesting and unique at times for a Spider-Man arc. The art is really fun too, I enjoy the vibrant colours and themes. A brilliant, fun book for new and old readers alike.
3. The Night Gwen Stacy Died
The Night Gwen Stacy Died is written by Stan Lee and illustrated by Roy Thomas. The Night Gwen Stacy Died is generally accepted to be one of the most famous comic-book events ever, not just within Spider-Man’s stories, or all of Marvel. All comic events, full stop.
The Night Gwen Stacy Died is iconic and powerful. Spoilers – Spidey does not have a good time. Stan Lee really came into his own with this story. Serving as Spider-Man’s greatest
failure, the death of his first true love traumatized Peter Parker for years to come, forcing him to evolve in and out of costume. The story also shocked comic book fans and creators of the time and to this day. The idea of such a crucial supporting character being killed off was dramatic, but especially in a book as child-friendly and optimistic as Spider-Man was unheard of. The Night Gwen Stacy Died ultimately brought in a new era and age of superhero writing, with writers and creative teams taking more risks, telling darker, more mature, and grittier stories. Many forget in this story that Green Goblin also met his demise, impaling himself on his own glider, – something that ranks up in my most favourite Easter eggs of the perfectly recreated moment from the 2002 Spiderman film. The story was a grisly and gripping end for two characters attached so closely to Spider-Man, although Green Goblin returned later down the line. The story entangles many characters and Spider-Man closely together, shaping the event and the aftermath.
The Night Gwen Stacy Died is a titular event for readers and Spider-Man alike. Ultimately shaping the Spider-Man we know today, and it was written so superbly. It was hard to not shed a tear when reading it for the first time, the accompanying art is heart-felt and dramatic, capturing each moment perfectly. A must-recommend for Spider-Man fans, even for those that don’t read much of Spider-Man or superhero comics, I would highly recommend.
2. Spider-Man: Kraven’s Last Hunt
My top two stories both fought incredibly bravely. It was so hard to decide which of the two I was to put second or first but I ended on Kraven’s Last Hunt being in second place. Kraven’s Last Hunt is written by J.M DeMatteis and illustrated by Mike Zeck, the story is widely regarded as the best Kraven story, and one of the best Spider-Man stories. It’s my favourite.
Kraven’s Last Hunt sees one of Spider-Man’s most exciting villains, Kraven the Hunter, and puts him into a light where he’s never been seen before. The story starts with
Kraven defeating Spider-Man, sedating him, and then burying him alive, and then takes Peter’s place as Spider-Man to prove himself the superior hero. Of course, this is not the end for Peter Parker. He is still alive as the sedative begins to wear off and fueled by a desire to be re-united with his wife (yes, he’s married in this story), digs his way free before returning to confront and stop Kraven. However this is where things get a little darker still… Kraven has beaten Spiderman physically, and Spider-Man keeps on coming, refusing to give in. It is this which prompts him to realise that Spider-Man’s ideology of being a hero is something else entirely and he leaves, returning to his home where he commits suicide, shooting himself in the head with a rifle; one he has used previously on hunts. This singular moment is perhaps the most haunting from Spider-Man’s career, maybe rivaled by Gwen’s death. Spidey, after all, tries everything he can to help his villains; even those hellbent on destroying him.
There are many reasons this story is my favourite; those that know me, know I’m a sucker for the darker turn of events. Kraven is certainly painted as one of Spider-Man’s most complex an disturbed villains and Kraven’s Last Hunt sends the reader on a journey that explores that complexity. We see Kraven transform over the story from an over-the-top, victory-obsessed, cartoon-like, maniac to tragically just a human being. The writing is absolutely incredibly heart-rending, and the accompanying art is both unearthly and gripping, rendering the story truly one of Spider-Man’s best.
1. Spider-Man: The Gauntlet
The Gauntlet is written by multiple authors, primarily Mark Waid, Joe Kelly, and Dan Slott. It was also illustrated by multiple artists, primarily by Adam Kubert and Barry Ktison. The story is one of the most spectacular and exciting Spider-Man stories ever written, it is in-fact also a sequel to Kraven’s Last Hunt.
Spider-Man: The Gauntlet was initially supposed to be just a story used as build up for the Kravenoff-centered ‘Grim Hunt’ story but The Gauntlet ended up being held in higher
regards than Grim Hunt. It was just as compelling, if not more so than Grim Hunt. The Gauntlet story-line sees old and famous Spider-Man villains returning with upgrades or new abilities to each take on Spider-Man, and on top of that – while this is going on, the supposed wife and daughter of the late Kraven the Hunter watch on the sidelines and slowly manipulate Spider-Man’s world. The Gauntlet gives each villain their own separate story to shine and features the villains of Electro, Sandman, Rhino, Mysterio, Mister Negative, Morbius, Vulture, Scopion, Juggernaught, Charmelon, and Lizard. Each story brings new challenges to Spider-Man with old enemies, Peter is left near-death after a few of them, and on the others – just endures insane amounts of punishment. It takes a toll upon the web-slinger. As it turns out, it was the Kravenoff family, particularly Kraven’s psychotic daughter, were eventually revealed as the masterminds behind the whole ordeal, hoping to wear Spider-Man down before sacrificing him in a blood ritual to resurrect Kraven.
The Gauntlet is exciting and tense right from the start. Spidey’s villains are back and stronger than ever, more determined, more ruthless; the writing gives new and interesting twists on old villains. The art is fresh, vibrant and gripping, and the writing is staggering, haunting in parts, and adrenaline-filled. While some may argue that The Gauntlet doesn’t deserve first place, ahead of the likes of Kraven’s Last Hunt or The Night Gwen Stacy Died, it is all personal opinion but I will say that there is very little in it at all between Kraven’s Last Hunt and The Gauntlet.
So there we have it, my top five Spider-Man stories. Next up will be my top five X-Men stories! Have a great day.