Marvel Reading Backlist: Amazing Spider-Man by JMS, Book 1

Cover art of Amazing Spider-Man by JMS Ultimate Collection, Book 1.

JM Straczynski is widely known as the creator of the epic sci-fi TV show, Babylon 5. But, since I don’t watch TV, I didn’t know of him until I started reading comic books again in 2008. I quickly became a fan of his work, however. Rising Stars, his original creation, and his run on Thor are two of my favorite comics. So, when I started my little back reading project on Spider-Man a few weeks ago, I decided that JM Straczynski’s run on the Amazing Spider-Man would be my jumping point.

Surprisingly, Amazing Spider-Man by JMS Ultimate Collection, Book 1 really is the perfect jumping point for new Spidey fans. I’ve never read an issue of Spider-Man since the early nineties but I had no problems following the story in this book. It is very accessible, just as long as you have the fundamental knowledge of the Spider-Man mythos (i.e. see the first movie). I never even Google’d a villain’s back story in this book because they’re all newly conceived.

New villains aside, there are also other fresh ideas and changes in this book. Like Peter becoming a science teacher or Aunt May discovering his secret. There are too many to enumerate, actually. But the meat of it all, the most significant change in the book is when JMS put Spidey’s origins under the microscope –an electron microscope– to be closely re-examined and giving it another angle of view. I understand why a lot of Spider-Man fans didn’t like this change a bit. Me, however, I’m curious as to where this new origins will take us in the future.

Overall, I really loved reading this book. Like with Thor, JMS’ writing in here is very graceful, cinematic and saturated with humor. It really captured everything  I loved about Spider-Man, a super hero who has more battles with himself than the villains that are after him. If the Book 2 is as good as this one, then I can’t wait to read it.

Score: A

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