Comic Review – Essential Spider-Man Vol. 3

They keep printing Marvel Essential books, so I keep
reviewing them. Well, nine down, 23 to go. Care to
find out what Spider-Man was up to in the late 1960s?

General Information

Title: Essential Spider-Man Vol. 3

Credited to: Stan Lee, John Romita (Sr.) and

Original Publication Date: 2001 reprint of material
published from 1967-1969

ISBN: 0-7851-0658-8

Cover Price: $14.95 US, $21.95Can

Buy from: or

Collection Contents

This collects issues 44-68 of “The Amazing
Spider-Man.” The
storylines contained within are as follows:

44, 45: The Lizard Returns

46: First appearance of the Shocker

47-49: Kraven returns and a new Vulture appears

50-52: The first Kingpin story

53-56: Doctor Octopus rents Aunt May’s spare

57: Kazar comes to New York

58: Dr. Smythe returns

59-61: The Brainwasher appears

62: Medusa (the Inhuman) comes to New York

63, 64: The two Vultures

65: Jailbreak

66, 67: Mysterio

68: The Kingpin returns


Spider-Man’s adventures continue. This covers some
of his college
years, including the time when he first moved in with
Harry Osborn.

High Point

Issue 65.

Low Point

The last issue is the first part of a new story arc.
It’s irritating
to be left hanging like this. I wonder how hard it
would have been to
fit Amazing Spider-Man Annual #4 in this collection
instead, since
it’s a stand-alone story that was published after
issue 52. I’ll find
out if that was an oversized story when my copy of
Spider-Man Vol. 4” shows up.

The Scores

It’s hard to stay original when you’re using
old villains for
an existing hero. (The Shocker and The Kingpin were
the only two
new villains here.) Aunt May’s health is still
failing, etc. (She’s
lived pretty long for a woman so fragile. It almost
makes me want to
pick up that Spider-Man issue coming up called “Death
In The Family”
to see if she suffers a life-threatening illness that
finally kills
her.) Having Peter move in with Harry provides some
new material for
his personal life, but his superhero life hasn’t
changed much. I give
it 3 out of 6.

The artwork was very good. The pencilling
and inking make
some great images. When I see the full colour scans,
I have to say I
prefer the black and white here. The publishing
technology at the
time couldn’t keep the comics on the market as cheap
as they were
without using a small set of colours. That means
they would have one
shade of each colour, and that shade was bright.
This is preferable,
in my opinion. It doesn’t feel as much like a book
aimed at
children. My only complaint is that the webbing
under Spider-Man’s
arms is not at all consistent. Sometimes it’s there,
and sometimes it
isn’t. Sometimes it’s under one arm and not the
other. It’ll appear
and disappear from the suit during a battle. I found
distracting. I give it 4 out of 6.

The stories within were interesting, and not
as simplistic as
the earlier stories. Peter Parker’s personal life is
really starting
to get interesting too, with Captain Stacy and Joe
Robertson working
together to figure out Spider-Man’s identity. Still,
the methods by
which Spider-Man wins his battles are becoming raw
strength more often
than the intellect he used in the past. (Compare
these fights against
the Vulture to his first fight with the Vulture to
see what I mean.)
I give it 4 out of 6.

The characterization this time was decent.
The old
characters still acted like they always have. The
new characters were
set up quickly and clearly, never showing any real
depth. The lack of
depth was a problem with all the characters, and as a
result, I can
only give this collection 3 out of 6.

The emotional response generated by this
collection was
moderate. It’s hard to get psyched up by the old
enemies when they
were beaten before and will be beaten again. The
title character of a
comic is almost always safe, so I don’t really get
worked up unless
another character is in jeopardy instead. Some of
these villains,
like Kraven and Mysterio, went out of thier way to
avoid hurting
anyone but Spider-Man, so that removed most of the
suspense. I give
it 2 out of 6.

The flow is as flawed as it is in every
Spider-Man collection
so far. Spider-Man likes to mock his enemies and
talk with them,
which is good, because the conversations are good.
However, the
action as depicted doesn’t take nearly as long as
that much
conversation ever would. I give it 2 out of 6.

Overall, this is just as good as
Essential Spider-Man
Vol. 2
, but not significantly different. It’s
entertaining, but it’s more of the same old stuff.
The comics about
teams at least have the ability to change members
every once in a
while to keep things fresh. I give it 4 out of 6.

In total, Essential Spider-Man Vol. 3
receives 22 out of 42.

Additional Notes and Comments

The Diamond Comics Distributor Order Form for July
says there’s
another Essential book on the way: Essential
Daredevil Vol. 1. Marvel
doesn’t list it in thier “Comics Onsale” section for
September, so it
may not be out until early October. Either way, it’s
a new one to add
to the list of Essentials. There are now 32 of

Essential Astonishing Ant-Man Vol. 1

Essential Avengers Vol. 1, 2, 3

Essential Captain America Vol. 1, 2

Essential Conan Vol. 1

Essential Daredevil Vol. 1

Essential Dr. Strange Vol. 1

Essential Fantastic Four Vol. 1, 2, 3

Essential Howard The Duck Vol. 1

Essential Hulk Vol.

Essential Iron Man Vol. 1

Essential Marvel Team-Up Vol. 1

Essential Silver Surfer Vol. 1

Essential Spider-Man Vol.
3, 4, 5

Essential Thor Vol. 1

Essential Uncanny X-Men Vol. 1

Essential Wolverine Vol.



Essential X-Men Vol.


3, 4