With Spider-Man’s second outing in the MCU fast approaching, now is perfect time to look back at one of the film’s main characters and one of the classic members of Spidey’s rogue gallery. Debuting in 1964 in Stan Lee and Steve Ditko’s original run, the master of illusions is one of the most iconic villains in the Marvel Universe. Whilst he might be a bit lacking in the success and power department, his unique weaponry, technique and iconic Ditko design have led to plenty of memorable encounters with Spider-Man over the years. The new Spider-Man vs. Mysterio collection brings together these iconic stories by some of the top creators to have worked on Spider-Man comics.
The collection visits several points in Spider-Man history throughout the decades beginning with Quentin Beck’s first crack at villainy from 1964’s Amazing Spider-Man #13. This is fairly early in the Lee/Ditko era and is classic Spidey. Mysterio frames Spider-Man for robbery that leaves him questioning his own sanity and having to deal with J Jonah Jameson promoting Mysterio as a true hero. This issue alone is worth the read. Not only is it another classic issue in Lee and Ditko’s run which encapsulates everything that makes Spider-Man memorable, but it is also a great introduction to the Quentin Beck character (a special effects man who struggled to make a name for himself in the film industry realises his skill in illusions would be perfect for a life of crime).
Several of the best creative talents to have worked on Spider-Man are represented in the following stories. These include a memorable two-parter from the legendary team of Stan Lee and John Romita where Mysterio appears to have grown to gigantic proportions, an additional two-parter from Gerry Conway and Ross Andru which introduces Daniel Berkhart as a stunt Mysterio sent by J Jonah Jameson to drive Spidey insane (and also includes the destruction of the short-lived Spider-Mobile), a story set during Civil War from Peter David (Incredible Hulk, Spider-Man 2099) and Todd Nauck (Young Justice, Nightcrawler) when Peter’s last day of teaching following his public unmasking is disrupted by three different Mysterios, and Quentin Beck’s apparent turn in the Gauntlet storyline that reintroduced Spider-Man’s classic rogues gallery in the Brand New Day era.
The selection of stories not only serve as a perfect showcase of the Mysterio character, but also provide a peak at some of the top talents to have worked on Spider-Man comics in the past fifty-five years. It’s hard to find writers who get how Spider-Man works more than Stan Lee, Gerry Conway, Roger Stern and Peter David do, and the artists featured are a who’s who of talents who’ve left their mark on Spidey in the past (Steve Ditko, John Romita, Ross Andru) and present (Todd Nauck, Marcos Martin).
This is definitely the book fans and newcomers alike should read before or after seeing Spider-Man: Far From Home this coming July.
9781302918712 – P/B £33.50
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