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From the Mouths of the Marvels:

“Listen buddy. I've fought every kind of nutball on the planet. I've fought freaks, mutants, aliens and high-tech gangs. Heck, I've even fought my own costume. And you know what? You're the first one who's really ticked me off. You want me? Bring it on, chowderhead!"

-- Spider-Man, to Morlun, ASM #33


Spider-Man gets busy being Spider-Man under the power of John Romita Jr's dynamic pencil.

(Click panels for larger images.) _________________________

Featured Characters:

Amazing Spider-Man #30-36

  • Spider-Man/Peter Parker
  • Ezekiel
  • Morlun
  • Aunt May
Tangled Web #4-6

  • Kingpin
  • Rhino
Spectacular Spider-Man #36

  • Billy Fender
Ultimate Team-Up #6-8

  • Spider-Man
  • Daredevil
  • Punisher

From the Inside Dustflap:

Rediscover the most acclaimed Spidey stories of the year, collected for the first time in this action-packed volume!

J . Michael Straczynski and John Romita, Jr. introduce an enigmatic strangers who forever will change the way Peter Parker views himself and the origins of his amazing alter ego! Plus, the web-slinger struggles to cope with the most horrific tragedy ever to befall his city: the events of Sept. 11.

Paul Jenkins and Staz Johnson join an investigation in progress as a particularly resourceful private eye attempts to track down the most elusive quarry of all: Spider-Man!

Greg Rucka and Eduardo Risso chronicle the last hours of a mob lieutenant marked for termination by the infamous Kingpin of Crime!

Peter Milligan and Duncan Fegredo get under the rock-hard hide of the tortured soul that is the rampaging Rhino!

Brian Michael Bendis and Bill Sienkiewicz reinterpret a classic Spider-Man team-up when the web-slinger finds himself caught in the crossfire of a clash between Daredevil and the Punisher!


  The Best of Spider-Man, Vol. 1

Reprints: Amazing Spider-Man #30-36, Tangled Web #4-6, Peter Parker: Spider-Man #36, Ultimate Team-Up #6-8

List price: $34.95 (US) • $55.95 (Canada)
ISBN: 0-7851-0900-5 • Original Release Date: 4/10/02
336 pages


  • Introduction by Axel Alonso
  • 6 pinups

Buy From:
TALES OF WONDER: $20.99 • AMAZON USA: $23.79
AMAZON UK: £17.14 • AMAZON CANADA: $32.23


Script: J. Michael Straczynski
Pencils: John Romita, Jr.
Inks: Scott Hanna
Colors: Dan Kemp & Avalon Studios
Cover Art: J. Scott Campbell and Tim Townsend

Amazing Spider-Man #30: "Transformations, Literal & Otherwise"
22 pages + cover • June 2001

Peter Parker, in a moment of angst, takes his frustrations out on a delapidated building scheduled for demolition. Later, he visits his old high school and comes to the aid of a young boy named Joey who is getting bullied; the school phys ed teacher tells him that the school is a very different and more rough place than when he went there. While out on another evening's Spidey-patrol, he meets a man who calls himself Ezekiel, who seems to have similar feats of strength and agility and who knows the secret of his identity as Peter Parker. They engage in a long, philosophical discourse that ends with as many questions as answers for Spider-Man.

In the hull of a boat moored at a New York pier, a powerful villainous entity seems to suck the lifeforce out of a superpowered young man, killing him.

* * *

Amazing Spider-Man #31: (no title)
22 pages + cover • July 2001

Peter spends his morning haunted by his encounter with Ezekiel, and his Aunt May penetrates right through his daze and suggests to him that perhaps he might consider substitute teaching at his old high school.

Ezekiel faces a full boardroom, going over money issues related to his supremely wealthy business empire. Meanwhile, on the street at a crowded cafe, the entity from the last issue, named Morlun, converses with his aid Dexter. He sees Spider-Man overhead and launches a paralyzing mental assault that stops Spidey cold in his tracks for a few moments. It didn't trigger his Spidey sense, and Morlun allows him to confusedly ambles away over the rooftops.

Later in the day, Peter Parker arrives at his old high school. While signing up for the substitute position, a masked gunman arrives. Peter pushes all the children out of the hallway and into a crowded classroom. While gunfire blasts in the hall, Peter enlists the aid of young Joey to use classroom chemicals to create a smokescreen out in the hallway. This enables Peter to change into his Spidey garb and knock out the gunman without anyone getting hurt. The gunman turns out to be another bullied young man who snapped. The school science teacher leaves in a huff, saying he's never coming back to this horrible school. Peter decides at that moment that he is going to take over as science teacher.

* * *

Amazing Spider-Man #32: "The Long, Dark Pizza of the Soul"
23 pages + cover • August 2001

On Spidey patrol, our hero takes care of a crazed gunman who kidnaps a young woman. On his first day as science teacher, he is met in the prinicpal's office by Ezekiel, who has tracked him down to this school and gone out of his way to donate alot of very expensive equipment to the school's science departments. Peter demands to know more about his mysterious benefactor that seems to know everything about him. Over pizza, Ezekiel shares more secrets. Ezekiel explains to Peter that he is part of a totemic culture of super-beings, that explains in large part the forces that have always seemed to oppose him throughout his career as a super-hero. He explains that while he received his powers through a sort of impure means (he is not clear how,) Peter is the "real deal" because he received the blessing of his super-powers through an honest interaction with the totemic forces of "spiderism." Ezekiel then explains that there are counter-forces to the totemic powers, in the form of hunters who sustain themselves by sucking the life-forces of the totem powers like Spider-Man. One such creature, Morlun, is stalking him right now.

Ezekiel takes Peter to his skyscraper office. He shows him into a siege room, protected by adamantium with a food and water supply for many months, designed for the sole purpose of hiding Spider-Man from the harm of Morlun. Spider-Man politely declines, saying he would rather face Morlun than hide; Ezekiel begs him to reconsider, saying Morlun will defeat him unless Spider-Man can somehow throw him off his trail.

Later that night, Spidey responds to an apartment row fire, and meets for the first time, face-to-face, the totem hunter Morlun, who hits him with a force never before applied by even the likes of Thor or the Hulk.

* * *

Amazing Spider-Man #33: "All Fall Down"
22 pages + cover • September 2001

Spidey redoubles his energies to face off against Morlun. The fight lasts several hours, without Spider-Man landing a significant blow. The fight takes part all over the city, a true clash of titans, but Spideys energies are waning, while Morlun's are not even visibly diminished in any way. He finally decides to run away, and changes into Peter Parker's clothes in a bid to escape. But Morlun is able to track him down, now that he has his smell. The fight and destruction continues until they are both caught in a gas explosion that disintegrates Morlun's clothing, which seems to cause him to stop fighting (he's very careful about his appearance!) Spidey runs away to Ezekiel, asking for help. Ezekiel says there is nothing he can do.

* * *

Amazing Spider-Man #34: "Meltdown"
23 pages + cover • October 2001

Ezekiel explains to Spider-Man that his chance to hide is over, and now that Morlun touched him he would be able to track him wherever he ran. While going over his options, Spidey realizes that Morlun has begun to flush him out of hiding by waging destructive force against New York. The fight continues into the following day; it's been many, many hours now, and Spidey is reaching the end of his rope. Realizing his fate might be nigh, Spidey calls Aunt May to speak to her one last time. After hanging up, Morlun is again in his face. Unexpectedly, however, Ezekiel shows up to join in the fight. He lands a fierce punch on Morlun that draws blood, the first time Morlun has shown any weakness, but he is quickly dispatched when Morlun starts to suck the life-force from him and then tosses him over a pier and into the water. His appetite sated for the moment, Morlun leaves Spidey behind, promising a battle in the future. Spidey leaps into the water to save Ezekiel but can find no trace of his body. He puts a plan into action, using Morlun's blood that dripped onto the pier, focusing in on the DNA under his microscope. Spidey's next destination is the Southern New York Nuclear Power Plant.

* * *

Amazing Spider-Man #35: "Coming Out"
23 pages + cover • November 2001

Spidey has taken over the nuclear plant, working on a project where he injects himself with a radioactive serum that will affect the "spiderblood" running through his veins. He seems to go into a radioactive shock, and Morlun, having finally tracked his prey down to the plant, places his hand on Spidey to take his totemic power from him. There is a snapback effect, though, as the radioactive part of Spidey's blood works against Morlun. Spidey wakes up from his daze, and starts beating on Morlun, every landed punch applying more and more of his spider-charged radioactive force on a quickly weakening Morlun. He finally corners a spent Morlun, who, while begging for his life, is shot dead by his assistant Dexter. Morlun disintegrates into dust. Both Spider-Man and Dex run away from the nuclear plant when the authorities arrive. Dex explains what Morlun made him do in fear of his life, and Spider-Man agrees to let him leave.

Spider-Man returns to Ezekiel's offices to find everything cleared out. Though Ezekiel and his business seem to have disappeared overnight, Spidey finds enough indications that he is still alive and well. In fact, Ezekiel is indeed alive, and unbeknownst to Spider-Man, newly committed to helping the world for good. Exhausted, Peter Parker returns home and passes out in his bed. Aunt May comes to his apartment to check on him and finds her nephew, bloodied and bandaged, with a Spider-Man costume ripped to shreds at the foot of his bed.

* * *

Amazing Spider-Man #36: (no title)
22 pages + cover • December 2001

On Sept. 11, Spider-Man and an assemblage of other heroes (Avengers, X-Men, FF, and Daredevil) come to the aid of the FDNY to cover ground zero. Spider-Man ruminates on the day and what it means to him.

Tangled Web #4: "Severance Package"
22 pages + cover • September 2001

Script: Greg Rucka
Pencils/Inks: Eduardo Risso
Colors: Steve Buccellato

Tom Cochrane is a minion of Wilson Fisk, the kingpin. He receives a call from a partner that an operation Cochrane had set up had been busted wide open by Spider-Man. The implications of this bust would eventually lead back to Cochrane and his status as one of the Kingpin's dutymen. His obligation to the crime syndicate is to return to Fisk's office and prove his final loyaties.

* * *

Tangled Web #5-6

Script: Peter Milligan
Pencils/Inks: Duncan Fegredo
Colors: Steve Buccellato

Tangled Web #5: "Flowers For Rhino, Pt 1: Rhinoplasty"
22 pages + cover • October 2001

The Rhino busts in on a kidnaping to rescue the daughter of a mob boss. He scoops her up out of harm's way and returns her to Romeo, her boyfriend and lackey of her father. Unfortunately for Rhino, Spider-Man happens to be there as well and captures him in humiliating fashion. After seeing the young lady, Stella Pavlov, Rhino becomes enamored with her, and when thinking about winning her love as well as the humiliation of his condition as the Rhino, he busts out of the jail he was in and heads straight to the doctor who performed the operation that turned him into the Rhino in the first place. The scientist there tells him there is no way to remove his skin from his body. Further depression sets in as the Rhino as he realizes his new role as Stella's bodyguard is couched as to humiliate him further. He goes back to the scientist and asks for some sort of brain operation that will make him smarter. The scientists warns against it but is persuaded to try.

* * *

Tangled Web #6: "Flowers For Rhino, Pt 2: Cornucopia"
22 pages + cover • November 2001

Slowly, the Rhino's intellect progresses upward. He impresses Stella with his new smarts and she begins to give him romantic affection, much to the dismay of her gangster boyfriend Romeo. Romeo sets Rhino up with a battle with Spider-Man, and the Rhino, with his brain peaking in ways that he never has before, easily defeats Spidey. After this battle, Stella turns her total attention to the new Rhino, who breaks a couple old super-villians out of jail and builds up a crime syndicate that "steals from the rich" and provides relief and support to "troubled inner cities, third world poverty, and the arts." Rhino's increasing sophistication in art and thought lead him to be detached from reality; the scientist warns him that perhaps the curve of intellect will never stop until it consumes him. He loses the affections of Stella as she is disabused of his insensitivity to her. Rhino sinks into a Goethe-like depression brought on by his rampaging brainpower, and he almost decides to end it all by taking his own life. He instead goes back to the scientist and asks for his old brain back, except this time to make him even dumber than he was before.

Peter Parker, Spider-Man #36: "The Big Score"
23 pages + cover • December 2001

Script: Paul Jenkins
Pencils: Staz Johnson
Inks: Wayne Faucher
Colors: Transparency Digital

Private eye Billy Fender shares his experiences tracking down who he thinks has the secret identity of Spider-Man.

Ultimate Team-Up #6-8

Script: Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils/Inks: Bill Sienkiewicz
Colors: JC

Ultimate Team-Up #6:
22 pages + cover • September 2001

Ex-cop Frank Castle, aka The Punisher, murders a convict at the prison mess hall and is thrown into solitary where he shares a few of his feelings about criminals with a court-ordered psychologist. He flashes back to the day when his family was gunned down, and all died while he somehow remained alive. The Punisher is able to escape from prison.

* * *

Ultimate Team-Up #7:
22 pages + cover • October 2001

The Punisher guns down a guy named Nick, one of the cops responsible for murdering his family. Attorney Matt Murdock meets with another cop with dirty hands, Detective Bruce Greenwood, who shares his story about being in on a network of police bribes that moved to have Castle's family killed when Frank Castle made waves with IA about their corruption. The man is gunned down in Murdock's office by the Punisher. Murdock springs into action as Daredevil and tries to track down the Punisher.

* * *

Ultimate Team-Up #8:
23 pages + cover • November 2001

The Punisher has a gun to the back of Daredevil's head, but not wanting to kill him, he lets him go. Murdock heads back to his office before the police arrive to investigate the shooting of Greenwood. One of the cops arriving on the scene is Artie Jillette, the man who masterminded the assassination of Castle's family. Jillette realizes that the Punisher is mopping up the people that killed his family, and heads back home where he uses his children as a shield to keep the Punisher from getting to him. He's fooling himself, though, because the Punisher has come for him and chases him up to the roof top, where Daredevil is there to try and talk him out of murdering Jillette and allowing the courts to put him away. Just when it seems DD is making progress, Spider-Man swoops down and knocks out Punisher, freeing Jillette who runs away in the night and leading to a stray bullett wounding Daredevil. A frustrated DD berates Spidey for meddling, then chases off after Jillette, leaving Spidey to send the Punisher off to the police, where he's once again locked up behind bars. Fortunately for Frank Castle, he finds that his roommate in his jail cell is one Artie Jillette.

-- synopsis by Gormuu


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