As part of Marvel’s 80th anniversary celebration, Marvel have brought back some of their top creators and reunited several fan-favourite creative teams on the series that helped make them famous under the Legends of Marvel umbrella. The Legends of Marvel: Spider-Man collection features several acclaimed writers and artists who worked on Spider-Man returning to the wall crawler for this special occasion, along with a return of the classic 80s series Power Pack by the team’s original creators.
Amongst this treasure trove includes the original idea for the story behind Spider-Man’s black costume before it became the basis for the Venom symbiote. Popular Spider-Man writer Peter David (Sin Eater, When Commeth the Commuter, Spider-Man 2099) and Spider-Man 2099 artist Rick Leonardi reunite to bring the original proposal by Randy Schueller to life. Both have significant contributions to Spider-Man history so they are ideal candidates for this story. As well as a fascinating look at a what could have been scenario, it is also a fun throwback to 80s Marvel which was a particularly strong period for Spider-Man. This is followed by a short story from Amazing Spider-Man 80s creative team Tom DeFalco and Ron Frenz which examines what makes Spider-Man such a relatable and memorable character. Anyone who has fond memories of DeFalco and Frenz’s run will definitely get a kick out this trip down memory lane.
Rounding up the Spider-Man portion of the collection is Going Big which features several returns from prominent Spider-Man writers and artists. Legendary writer Gerry Conway (The Night Gwen Stacy Died) and long-time great Mark Bagley (Amazing Spider-Man, Ultimate Spider-Man, Spider-Man: Life Story) come together in a story featuring Spidey trying to track down Mary Jane’s missing cousin Kirsty that leads him into a confrontation with a human smuggling ring. This is followed by former Spider-Man editor Ralph Macchio and regular Spider-Man artist Todd Nauck (Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man, Clone Saga and much more) examining an incident with a bully in Peter Parker’s youth which parallels a battle he faces in the present. To top it off, we see the return of superstar Image artist Erik Larsen (Savage Dragon) to the character where he garnered his early popularity in a fun confrontation between Spider-Man and the Queen of the Werewolves. All of them still know what makes a perfect Spider-Man story and still have a great handle on the character. Seeing Erik Larsen draw Spider-Man again after a significant period of time is particularly gratifying.
The Power Pack story also sees a classic reunion as original creators Louise Simonson and June Brigman (alongside modern Power Pack artists Gurihiru) present another fun throwback to a classic time in Marvel history with not only Marvel’s youngest superteam, but Kitty Pryde and Wolverine also making an appearance to aid the team against the Brood. You could put this issue alongside the original series and it would fit in flawlessly.
Fans of classic Marvel owe it to themselves to check this collection out. Beyond the crazy level of talent on display, it’s a perfect celebration of some comics’ most iconic characters.
Legends Of Marvel: Spider-Man is out now from Marvel
9781302919542 – P/B – £13.50