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Essential Spider-Man Volume 7 TPB: v. 7 [Paperback]

Ross Andru , Sal Buscema , Gil Kane , Bill Mantlo , Gerry Conway , Archie Goodwin , Len Wein
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

28 Dec 2011 Essential Spider-Man (Book 7)
From classics like Doc Ock to lesser known law breakers like Cyclone, we've got more villains than you can shake the proverbial stick at (although webbing is actually more recommended)! Illusion's the order of the day with the miscreant misdeeds of Mindworm, Mysterio, and Mirage - but the Jackal's got something much more enduring in mind! Witness the birth of the Clone Saga! Spidey faces a lashing from the Lizard, a scrap with the Scorpion and a tussle with the Tarantula - but can any menace truly match... the Spider-Mobile? Featuring the origins of the Jackal, the Grizzly, the Fly, Mose Magnum, and more! Collects Amazing Spider-Man #138-160, Amazing Spider-Man Annual #10, and Giant-Size Spider-Man #4-5.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Marvel Comics; New edition edition (28 Dec 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0785118799
  • ISBN-13: 978-0785118794
  • Product Dimensions: 16.6 x 3 x 25.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 448,337 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Jackal at his best and an unexpected return 27 Aug 2007
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Getting off to a slow start as Peter moves in with his old foe Flash Thompson briefly and meets the Mind-Worm.
It kicks in properly with the Grizzly, the first of a series of fights organised by the superb Jackal. Then JJJ hires Mysterio to fight Spidey.
The Punisher appears in a nicely disturbing tale of renegade arms sales. Then a trip to Paris to rescue a kidnapped JJJ, hiding in France after the Mysterio debacle only to meet the Gallic menace Cyclone. Returning to the States Peter finds Gwen, who was killed by the Green Goblin waiting for him, the start of a great cycle of stories.
Another old foe The Scorpion teams up with the Jackal before Spidey goes to the swamps to get some photographs of the Man-Thing only to find the Lizard is back, and in Man-Thing style we have another tale of redemption.
The Tarantula returns, teamed with the Jackal again as the Jackal's surprising identity is revealed along with the secret of Gwen's return and Peter's Spider-Man double. This is the highlight of this volume.
More old foes's return as The Shocker, Sandman, Dr. Octopus and Hammerhead (again back from their presumed deaths) and even The Tinkerer from all the way back in Spider-Man 2. JJJ refusing to learn his lesson from his involvement in the creation of The Scorpion, as well as his hiring Mysterio finances another scientist to create The Human Fly and again finds his creation shows no gratitude, not that he shows much either when Spidey saves him.
Add the return of Professor Smythe and a new Spider-Slayer, the end (thankfully) of the Spider-Mobile, the wedding of Ned and Betty (with a brief interruption from Mirage), and another tale of one man's redemption that this time ends in tragedy and you have a great collection.
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5.0 out of 5 stars a classic 27 Jun 2014
By Gigi
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this is a classic issue of the spider-man collection with many jewels and lots of amazing developments for peter parker
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5.0 out of 5 stars Spiderman memories 3 Nov 2013
By George
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Essentials are a great simple idea. They brings back childhood memories and you eventually get to read all those issues you missed.
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Amazon.com: 3.7 out of 5 stars  10 reviews
28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Fly! A Ghost! An Attack of the Clones! It's a Spidey Matinee! 24 Oct 2005
By J. A. Hazelwood - Published on Amazon.com
Ladies and gentlemen, I am officially serving myself a heaping helping of crow.

Way back in my review of the Essential Spectacular Spider-Man #1, I postulated that we wouldn't get to see a seventh Essential Spider-Man until the third movie came out. And why shouldn't I have suspected that? The fifth came out in April 2002 and the sixth in July 2004, obviously to coincide with the first two major motion pictures. But what I failed to realize is that the powers that be (i.e. the publishers) don't always need the glamorous attention of the theater marquees to send a new Essential of a popular character our way. The result: the seventh Essential is on my bookshelf now and principal photography for the third movie hasn't even started yet! I had no idea that crow could taste so good!

1974-1976 was a pretty busy season for Spidey (as if he ever has any slow seasons) so let's get right down to the highlights. An early fight pits Spider-Man against the Grizzly, a revenge-minded pro wrestler in a bear costume (Let's see, what big and ferocious animals haven't we spun into super-villains yet?). Then our hero racks up some frequent-flier miles with trips to South America with the Punisher, Paris to fight a real windbag called Cyclone, and Florida in search of the Man-Thing and the Lizard (Doc Conners turns into the Lizard yet again, this time by clumsily knocking over an open beaker on his workbench which contained his lizard serum. I would have considered storing it in a closed flask in a locked cabinet, but then again he's the doctor and I only have a BS in Chemistry). The story entitled "Whodunit" is a rare comic book murder mystery that actually has an aura of intrigue and a satisfying conclusion (it's not Agatha Christie but it's still not bad). Also of note, in issue #156, Ned Leeds and Betty Brant finally have their wedding (Didn't they get engaged back in #40 or so?) and it gets crashed by the new low-tier villain Mirage (He can project holographic images of himself, so basically he has about a tenth of the power that Mysterio has). In the final issue, a foe who hadn't been seen since the series was in single digits returns and hotwires the ill-conceived Spider-Mobile into hunting down its former master (You know, I considered adding the 1977 James Brolin movie The Car in my film-themed title, but I felt that three references were enough). Finally, the sometimes-cheered, sometimes-jeered Clone Saga begins in earnest as the deranged Jackal unleashes his clone of Spider-Man (later to be known as Ben Reilly, the Scarlet Spider) but not before his mask comes off. When the identity of a recurring masked adversary is revealed in these kinds of stories, usually the answer is no real shocker. Green Goblin: Norman Osborn, obviously. Masked Marauder: it couldn't have been anyone but Frank Farnum, Daredevil's landlord (I think the second time Foggy Nelson said he was glad that Farnum was not a super-villain was what tipped me off). However, if I hadn't already read the Jackal's entry in the Marvel Encyclopedia 4: Spider-Man or saw that follow-up story in Spectacular Spider-Man #30, I honestly don't know if I would have correctly guessed it or not. I hope there's some fan out there who can take it as a surprise.

There are two more stories that I'd like to talk about at length, the first being the return of Hammerhead and Dr. Octopus. When we last left the eight-limbed egotist and the ostensibly Dick Tracy-inspired mobster (what with the pinstriped suit and the nickname based on his bizarre physical characteristic), they were both inside the nuclear power plant that Aunt May inherited when the reactor melted down and reduced the countryside to atoms (Who did she inherit the plant from anyway? Monty Burns?). Well, it turns out that the experience didn't spell death for either combatants, it spelled "Marvel death". Ock was able to locate a lead-lined hidey-hole and sit out the nuclear holocaust, but what about Hammerhead? Get out your notepads fellow comic book scientists, here we go! Ol' Mallet-Mouth was so near to the epicenter of the blast that the pre-meltdown radiation from the uranium rods vibrated his organic molecules until he was "out of phase" with our dimension and shunted him to a nearby coexistent dimension where he would appear to us to be a hazy, incorporeal ghost. So naturally the blast did him no harm. Comic book science rules! Anyway, Hammerhead used his ghostly countenance routine to rattle Ock and trick him into operating another atomic device that un-vibrated his molecules and returned him to the prime material plane (That Ock! He's so gullible!). I used to think that the whole Octopus-marries-Aunt-May-for-her-fission-reactor odyssey was the weirdest Spidey story ever, but it can't even hold a candle to the story that was written to resolve that story. Hoo-boy!

I direct my second introspective to the Spider-Man Annual #10: Spidey vs. the Human Fly. Upon looking at the cover for the first time, I came up with what I still think is a very reasonable question. Why did Len Wein, one of my favorite writers, think that a guy with the proportional powers of a housefly could stand up to Spider-Man? Did Chris Claremont ever dispatch the Human Snowshoe Hare to take down Wolverine? Of course not! Anyway, the story begins with jolly Jonah Jameson placing an order for a new super-being with Dr. Harlan Stillwell, brother to the late Farley Stillwell who Jonah directed into creating the Scorpion. This is a good example of the available wiggle-room involved with a "Marvel death"; if you can't cheat death like Hammerhead and Doc Ock or be raised from the dead like Elektra or Jean Grey, then you can still be replaced by a relative who's, for all intents and purposes, exactly like you. The latter certainly worked for the Ox, Baron Zemo, and Warpath. Anyway, Stillwell's first test subject arrives in the form of irascible kidnapper and murderer Rick Deacon who is successfully turned into a half-fly (And he didn't even need a matter emitter to do it. In your face, Jeff Goldblum!). The transformation drives Deacon slightly crazier so he kills Stillwell and takes Jameson hostage (which is pretty much the same thing that happened with the Scorpion. Fool you twice indeed, Jonah!), and the stage is set for an arachnid-insect imbroglio. Although the plot seems derivative and ludicrous, I felt that Deacon's gritty origin and the meaningful victories that Spider-Man and Peter Parker win in the end made it a worthwhile read. Perhaps in the future we'll see Marlow, the third Stillwell brother, unleash the Human Aphid on the world to Jameson's great chagrin. It'll probably come some day.

It doesn't matter whether you read a Marvel comic that was released last Wednesday or thirty years ago; the time is always right for Spidey. I can't think of any other character that lives in a fantastic world and yet still could easily live in our world and face the same trials and problems that we do. He's a very realistic and relatable figure for someone who jumps around Manhattan in red and blue tights. Sure, some of his adventures are pretty goofy, but they're a fun kind of goofy, and I can't imagine anyone with at least an incidental interest in graphic novels regretting the purchase of the Essential Spider-Man volumes.

P.S. I've made a resolution not to bring up the ubiquitous movie-Essential tie-in issue anymore. The books either come out during a movie premiere or before, never after. I have no reason not to be happy.

P.P.S. If you read #160, the final issue in the collection, and become curious about what's in those photos Jonah receives in the mail, you'll find the answer in the Essential Punisher #1 which features issue #161. Treat yourselves to it, true believers. You deserve it.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A little remembered era in Spidey history 4 April 2006
By Michael Hickerson - Published on Amazon.com
Until a few years ago when Marvel inflicted that wince-inducting clone arc on us, this was one of the forgotten eras in Spider-Man history. Taking place after the huge events of the death of Gwen Stacey and before the Hobgoblin emerged on the scene, this era of Spider-Man is good but mostly forgettable.

The thing is-this is an era I grew up with reading in Marvel Tales and in the Spider-Man books. So, it was a fascinating journey down memory lane for me (at least the later tales) and rediscovering old friends. The stories are, for the most part, good and indicative of their era. Spidey faces some of the classic rouges gallery such as Sandman and Doc Ock and he faces down some forgettable new villains such as the Grizzly and Mirage.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Will the return of Gwen Stacy mess up things between Peter and Mary Jane? 9 May 2007
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
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After listening to me explain in excruciating detail the differences between "Spider-Man 3" and "what really happened" in the Spider-Man comic books by eldest daughter finally asked me, "Do you actually have all of these comic books you keep talking about?" I then proceeded to show her the 11-CD Rom Amazing Spider-Man Complete Comic Book Collection, the various "Marvel Masterworks" and "Essential Amazing Spider-Man" volumes, and all of the actual Spider-Man comic books from the "Volume 2" period. I explained that only a true Spider-Man fan is going to be able to go through the black suit, the cloning, and all the rest of the nonsense that comes from trying to tell hundreds and hundreds of stories about a comic book superhero. I was almost going to tell her that getting through the first six "Essential" collections was sufficient, but I ended up recommending this seventh volume as a good stopping point.

My ambivalence over this collection stems from the fact that there are two big strikes against the issues collected in "Essential Amazing Spider-Man, Volume 7." The first is that Gwen Stacy comes back from the dead in what would be the first major example of the cloning nonsense that eventually persuaded me to stop reading Spider-Man comic books. In the great gulf that exists between the initial trauma of Uncle Ben's death and Mary Jane's declaration that she knows Peter is Spider-Man, it is the death of Gwen Stacy that exists as a major emotional crevice in the life of our hero. Bringing back Gwen, even as a clone, belittles her death and turns it into a sick joke (although the idea that a few cells can be cloned into an adult human being with complete memories makes the idea that a bite from a radioactive spider can give you the powers of a spider [and more] a whole lot more believable). My biggest complaint against the "Spider-Man 3" movie is that they try to work Gwen Stacy into a version of the Spider-Man story where Mary Jane is around from day one as the girl next door to Peter Parker.

Gwen's return in these comic books reminds me of when they brought Spock back and the character's traumatic demise in "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan." At least in that instance Spock returned to his proper place by Captain Kirk's side, but that is not what happens with Gwen. The irony that as soon as Peter begins to have real feelings for MJ, Gwen returns from the dead, becomes just another part of the sick joke, especially since I do not believe the choice Peter makes. Adding insult to injury, the Jackal could not possibly be more of a third-rate Green Goblin (the Hobgoblin is the second-rate Green Goblin), and the inherent flaw built into the character so that he can self-destruct and thereby preserve Spidey's secret identity is rather lame. What really surprises me is that Gerry Conway, who decided to kill off Gwen in the first place, is the same writer who decides to bring her back, because it would have made more sense to me for somebody else to come in and try to make this work.

The second thing that makes me roll me eyes big time is the Spider-Mobile, which is clearly an effort to get young readers to go out and buy a toy because there is no way that having a vehicle is a good thing for our hero, even if the price of webbing becomes exorbitant. Batman needs the Batmobile because his ability to swing from a rope is limited, but Spider-man flies through the city with the greatest of ease because o fhis webbing. Plus he fights a whole bunch of villains (e.g., the Vulture, Doctor Octopus, the Human Fly, etc.), where he needs to get vertical and not just horizontal. So the whole idea of driving to a fight and hoping the cops do not show up and impound his stupid souped up dune buggy is pretty dumb. True, the last panel of the last issue here bids "good riddance" to the damn thing, but the Spider-Mobile was such a waste of space (Lein Wein, who takes over as writer for the title beginning with issue #151, gets credit for having our hero ditch his ride).

"Essential Amazing Spider-Man, Volume 7" collects issues #138-160, Giant-Size Spider-Man" #4-5, and Annual #10. The "big" stories feature the Punisher, Man-Thing and the Human Fly respectively. There are new villains with the likes of Mindworm (#138) the Grizzly (#139-40), Cyclone (#143), and Mirage (#156), but none of the nubies stack up against the old standards. In these issues that means Mysterio (#141-42), the Scorpion (#145-46), the Shocker (#151-52), the Sandman (#154), and Doctor Octopus (#157-59). There is also a blast from the distant past (#160) that offers an interesting reinterpretation of the lamest villain from the early days of our hero. Most of the issues here are drawn by Ross Andru, with Gil Kame and Sal Buscema each filling in for a couple of stories. I began reading "Spider-Man" with issue #62, so the art of John Romita (Sr.) has defined my ideal look for the web-head, and Andru's art has always been a tad to much in the direction of Don Heck and Frank Robbins for my taste. But ultimately my concerns are much more about the story developments than the art.

In the end I round up on Volume 7 for one reason and one reason only, and that is because this collection has the issue where Peter and Mary Jane take the fork in the road that is going to end up with them being married. So at least get through the Web-head's wondrous 150th issue and end on a good note. I might not appreciate all of Conway's twists and turns for Spider-Man, but between Stan Lee and Micahel Straczynski it is Gerry Conway who had the biggest impact on the character, so his three-plus years on the title cannot be ignored.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Stuff 13 Jun 2007
By Art - Published on Amazon.com
This can hardly be considered an objective review, as this volume contains many of the first comic books I ever bought, some 30+ years ago.

Nonetheless, I have to say that the stories in this volume seem to hold up very well over the years. Gerry Conway is my favorite of Marvel's "B-List" writers (compared to Len Wein, Bill Mantlo, et al); Conway's stories zip along at a quick pace and they never seem "stagy" the way Wein's or Roy Thomas's often do.

The art, by Ross Andru, is top-notch. While Andru's artwork tends to be a little "formulaic" (i.e., similar poses and facial expressions used repeatedly), he gives you a real "sense of place"; whether Spidey is trying to relax in his Chelsea apartment or swinging over Madison Square Garden, you always know that he's in a real part of the real New York City. There's a sequence from Issue 151, where Spidey is hanging from a helicopter and watching the Shocker black out specific buildings to spell out his name over seven city blocks, that's an all-time classic.

This volume is also noteworthy for containing the original seeds of what would later be called "The Clone Saga". While the 90s Clone Saga is widely viewed as one of the worst messes ever published by Marvel, the original story -- featuring the return of Gwen Stacy and a Spidey/Parker clone -- is quite good, and builds well on the history of the characters over the previous years.

In short, this is just another great Spider-Man volume. Pick it up if you're a fan, and you won't regret it. If you're not a fan yet, start with Essential Volume 1 and work your way forward, and you'll probably be buying this one before you know it.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars B/W reprints of ASM #138-160, GS #4-5 and Annual #10 9 Nov 2008
By K. W. Schreiter - Published on Amazon.com
This seventh "Essential" volume collects black-and-white reprints of "Amazing Spider-Man" issues #138-160 (plus Giant Size #4-5 and Annual 10) that Marvel Comics originally published between November 1974 and September 1976. Most of these issues were also reprinted as "Marvel Tales" #115-136 between 1980 and 1982. This run features two prominent writers: Gerry Conway for #138-149 & GS #4-5 and Len Wein for #151-160. Ross Andru penciled most of these issues (#138-149, #156-160 & GS #4-5) with past ASM artists Gil Kane and Sal Buscema handling two issues each.
Conway's plots usually span two issues and feature old villains like Mysterio and the Scorpion or forgettable new ones like The Grizzy and Cyclone. The middle of this collection (#147-150) is the Original Clone Story featuring the Jackal and the introduction of Peter Parker clone Ben Reilly. The highlight of Wein's issues is #157-159 with the return of popular villains Doctor Octopus and Hammerhead. This medicore ASM run does not meet the high standards set by previous "Essential" volumes.
I prefer the Amazing Spider-Man DVD-ROM for its complete collection of the entire ASM run in full color PDFs. However, the Marvel Essentials series offers convenient, inexpensive access to these 30-year old Spider-Man comics without needing a computer.
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