Comic Review – “Essential Spider-Man Vol. 5”

The world’s most famous wall crawler continues his adventures and grows some extra limbs.

General Information

Title: Essential Spider-Man Vol. 5
Credited to: Stan Lee, Roy Thomas, John Romita, Gil Kane, and John Buscema
Original Publication Date: 2002 reprint of material first published
from 1970-1972
ISBN: 0-7851-0881-5
Cover Price: $14.95US, $23.95 Can
Buy from:

The Issues

This contains issues 90-113 of Amazing Spider-Man. The
breakdown of these issues is as follows:
90: Concludes the fight with Doc Ock started in volume 4.
91-92: Sam Bullit runs for D.A. on an anti-super hero campaign.
93: The Prowler returns to find out if Spidey duped him in the
94: The Beetle returns and captures Aunt May.
95: Peter Parker goes to London.
96-98: The Green Goblin returns.
99: Spider-Man stops a jail riot.
100: Spider-Man dreams about his history while taking a potion
intended to take away his spider powers. Instead, he grows four extra
101-102: Spider-Man must deal with Morbius and the Lizard while trying
to rid himself of his extra arms.
103-104: Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy join J. Jonah Jameson on a trip to
the Savage Land.
105-107: Spider-Man has to cope with Professor Smythe’s new Spider
108-109: Spider-Man has to protect Flash Thompson from religious
110-111: The Gibbon is born.
112-113: Spider-Man is caught in a gang war.


The adventures of Spider-Man continue into the early seventies.

High Point

Smart people figure out the secret identity. This makes perfect
sense. (It makes a lot more sense than the entire staff of a
newspaper not noticing a super hero using glasses for a disguise,
after all.)

Low Point

Peter Parker grows four extra arms trying to rid himself of his spider
powers? Does this sound like a good way to celebrate the 100th issue
of the comic to anyone?

The Scores

This felt more original than the previous volume, if only
because the stories moved away from super battles and moved toward
philosophy and social issues. (I wonder if this title started
picking up the slack after Silver Surfer’s title was cancelled.) I
give it 4 out of 6.

The artwork was usually very good. Some issues seemed to be
heavily inked, but that may just be the reproduction. Still, it does
hurt the overall package. I give it 4 out of 6.

The stories are a little more varied than they had been in
the previous volume. We’re finally moving toward a more natural
relationship between Peter and Aunt May, and some of the super
villains seem to be out for more than blind revenge or the theft of
millions. I give it 5 out of 6.

The characterization of the main characters was very good.
We saw some development from Gwen Stacy, Aunt May, Flash Thompson, and
Harry Osborn, but not much from Peter Parker. I give it 5 out of 6.

The emotional response was moderate. Some issues were
interesting, others were just another battle between the same two
characters. I give it 3 out of 6.

The flow is improved a bit over the previous volumes,
probably because Spider-Man spends less time mocking his opponents
when it’s not Stan Lee writing the dialogue. I give it 5 out of 6.

Overall, this is a nice piece of history, but it doesn’t have
many storylines that appear to be important for the future of the
character. (One of them may be important to the arc that includes
Amazing Spider-Man 121, which should be in Essential
Spider-Man Vol. 6
if Marvel decides to make it.) I give it 4
out of 6.

In total, Essential Spider-Man Vol. 5 receives 30 out of 42.