Avenging Spider-Man: The Complete Collection

Avenging Spider-Man: The Complete Collection
Avenging Spider-Man The Complete Collection review
  • North American Publisher / ISBN: Marvel - 978-1-302-91618-3
  • Release date: 2019
  • UPC: 9781302916183
  • Contains adult content?: no
  • Does this pass the Bechdel test?: yes
  • Positive minority portrayal?: yes
  • CATEGORIES: Superhero

A misleading title should be clarified at the start. This isn’t the complete series of Avenging Spider-Man as originally provided in 23 comics, but only those stories starring Peter Parker as Spider-Man before Doctor Octopus took over his mind. The remainder are collected in Superior Spider-Man Companion.

Most stories feature Spider-Man teaming with another character, although one of the exceptions is a highlight. Dean Haspiel’s clever continuity implant is based around Spider-Man briefly discarding his costume and someone else borrowing it.

Zeb Wells writes more than anyone else, and although his longest tale is a slugfest beneath the Earth featuring the Red Hulk explosively illustrated by Joe Madureira, his best involves Spider-Man and Captain America’s inner nerds being aired in between the Avengers tracking down the Serpent Squad. It’s perfectly pitched and nicely drawn by Leinil Francis Yu.

Other highlights include Kelly Sue DeConnick and Terry Dodson’s sparkling teaming of Spider-Man and Captain Marvel, Brian Reed and Lee Garbett adapting It’s A Wonderful Life for Spider-Man, and Wells and Greg Land’s team-up with Hawkeye.

Artistically, we’re talking well above average. Gabriele Dell’Otto revels in dinosaur fighting dinosaur in the Savage Land, Aaron Kuder enlivens Deadpool dropping into Spider-Man’s mind, and Steve Dillon, Stuart Immonen and Nuno Plati all excel.

Three paperbacks are combined here: My Friends Can Beat Up Your Friends, The Good, the Green and the Ugly, and Threats & Menaces. However there are extras. Greg Rucka and Mark Waid’s teaming of Daredevil, Punisher and Spider-Man is a thriller benefiting from the excellent art of Marco Checchetto on all three chapters (sample art right). Also included is the finale to another three-parter absent from the earlier paperbacks. Ty Templeton concludes Dan Slott’s story of Doctor Octopus with Spider-Man remembering an earlier encounter with Doctor Strange and Silver Sable, who’s just died. It’s bizarrely inventive in aiming to prevent Doctor Doom marrying a young princess. It’s sweetly handled and decoratively drawn by Matthew Clark.

An occasional story dips below par, the poorest being the closing team-up with Blade as a drug circulates temporarily transforming people into vampires. Despite that, anyone who enjoys Spider-Man interacting with the wider Marvel universe ought to enjoy most of this collection. The art’s good, there’s humour, drama and horror alongside the superheroics and it closes with the reproduction of a few pencilled pages before inks and funny letters page headers from the original comics.