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The stories here are from 1981 to 1983 and feature a wide range of villains both old and new as well as picking up on several social issues, most of which are still relevant today.
From Spidey's past Will O'The Wisp, The Beetle, Gibbon, Jack O'Lantern, Man-Wolf, Molten Man, Kraven, Electro, Silvermane, The Kingpin and Dr. Octopus all return. Joining them are Nitro, Killer Shrike, The Maggia, Gold Bug, Boomerang, and the Owl who, in the final tale here, is involved in a gang-war with The Kingpin and Dr. Octopus, a tale which is to be continued in the next volume. There's also the return, on the last page, of one of Spidey's best supporting characters.
There are a few new characters such as the Ringer as well as the first appearance of Cloak and Dagger in a tale involving new designer drugs. There's also a great story about gun control that is still hard-hitting 25 years later as son little has changed, later tales also touch on schizophrenia and battered wives.
Peter Parker struggles holding down his studying, being an assistant teacher, paying his Aunt's medical bills and taking photos for the Bugle, as well as being a hero, although not in everyone's eyes as JJJ continues his campaign of hatred. The writing, mostly by Roger Stern and Bill Mantlo, is superb as Parker's life starts to unravel due to outside pressures.
These tales ran alongside Spider-Man's own title as well as Marvel Team-Up so there are links to both of those titles here and welcome returns for Flash Thompson, Harry Osborn and Liz Allen.
It's a great read but as always please bear in mind these reprints are in black & white.
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