Peter David has been a mainstay of Marvel (and, in the mid-1990s, DC) Comics since the early 1980s, bringing a mix of intelligent humour and serious drama that few writers can equal (he's especially adept at shifting tones from comedic to dramatic and back without seeming forced). His breakthrough moment came in October of 1985, when he got a shot at writing "The Spectacular Spider-Man" for four issues (#107-110). This hardcover collection, the first time the story has been collected in nearly 21 years, is long overdue, and includes for the first time both the original story and its three-issue followup written some time later (issues #134-136 of the same series), also by David, with art by Rich Buckler and Sal Buscema. This is one of the essential Spider-Man stories, and could be considered David's best work, though there is plenty of competition for that honour. Spoilers follow.
"The Death of Jean DeWolff", the initial four-parter, was a significant story at the time of its release, and to this day is considered one of the most effective 'dark' Spider-Man stories. NYPD Captain Jean DeWolff was a recurring castmember in Spider-Man's world from the mid-1970s through the early 1980s, largely within the "Marvel Team-Up" title that regularly featured Spider-Man; this story opens with a brief recap of her life history (rarely a good sign for a character), before arriving at the titular death. The rest of the story is a distraught Spider-Man's quest to apprehend her killer, the so-called Sin-Eater, who is on a rampage of purifying vengeance throughout New York City. Also involved is Daredevil, and his relationship with Spider-Man arrives at a major turning point in these pages, as they at last exchange civilian identities (or, rather, Murdock lets Peter know who he is and that he already knows Peter's ID due to his own powers). Everything about the story works, and several members of Spider-Man's longtime supporting cast (such as J. Jonah Jameson and Robbie Robertson) also have notable moments.
Less heralded than the first story but in some ways more complex and more tragic is "The Return of The Sin-Eater", published a bit more than two years later, when (somewhat implausibly) the apprehended Sin-Eater (I'll refrain from giving his real identity in this review) is released from psychiatric care into the world again. Physically maimed from his encounter with Spider-Man, he is repentant and struggles with the attempts by his psyche to reassert his Sin-Eater persona. Spider-Man, meanwhile, does not take his release well, and does not believe that he is really attempting to turn a new leaf; at the same time, Electro is at large and poses a new challenge to Spider-Man. This three-issue story is in many ways not Peter's story, but the Sin-Eater's, and its conclusion is remarkably affecting.
Some of Spider-Man's best stories, and highly recommended for fans of comics.