“Anthony, it’s the most collected series.”
That’s what Walt said to me when, at the young age of 19, I came up with this great, new idea that I would collect every issue of Amazing Spider-Man. I really thought that I had come up with a unique collecting idea. Surely no one had every thought of that before? I laugh thinking back to that conversation, and the early days when I had taken it upon myself to read every Spider-Man story that I could get my hands on.
I collected every issue of every series of Web, Sensational, Spectacular, Marvel Team-Up, Untold Tales, Tangled Web, Friendly Neighbourhood, and of course, Amazing. Ever since I was a kid I’ve been a Spidey guy. Now, as Walt pointed out, that doesn’t make me special, but he did want me to write a column where I get to talk about the Spider-Man stories that I’ve read and loved. And here we are.
This column won’t be about whether the issue is undervalued or not (Walt covers that kind of stuff quite nicely), but rather will discuss some of the epic fan favourites and hidden gems that make up the myriad of web slinging adventures in the Marvel Universe. However, I will talk about what the issue currently costs in the Overstreet Guide, and whether or not it is available digitally.
The first of my favourite stories is a two part tale from Amazing Spider-Man 229 & 230, wherein Spider-Man faces off against the unstoppable Juggernaut.
TALE OF THE TAPE
Amazing Spider-Man 229 & 230
Written by Roger Stern
Art by John Romita Jr. and Jim Mooney
Lettered by Joe Rosen
Colours by Glynis Wein
44th ed. Overstreet Guide puts a 9.2 at $20 for each issue
Available on Marvel Digital Unlimited
In summary, Black Tom Cassidy wants Madame Web for her powers of precognition so the Juggernaut sets off through New York to capture her. Madame Web can sense that she is in danger, and she reaches out to Spider-Man for protection. Of course Spider-Man had been in rough situations before, but this was one of the first instances where our friendly neighbourhood web swinger is forced to contend, alone, with a character that totally outclasses him.
The Juggernaut is primarily an X-villain, and is powerful enough to be a compelling antagonist for an entire team of super-powered heroes. His strength and invulnerability meant that Spider-Man could barely move the Juggernaut, let alone damage him or prevent him from kidnapping a psychic octogenarian on life-support.
The entirety of issue 229 consists of desperate and vain attempts that Spider-Man makes to stop the Juggernaut. Yet it is precisely those vain attempts that make this one of my favourite stories. The reader knows that Spider-Man can’t stop the Juggernaut. Spider-Man knows that he can’t stop the Juggernaut. Even the Juggernaut knows that Spider-Man can’t stop the Juggernaut. The Juggernaut doesn’t even stop to fight Spider-Man during the first couple of interactions: he just keeps walking or tries to shake Spidey off his back by casually strolling through a building, and once he succeeds in reaching Madame Web he rips her from her life-support. Realizing that she is going to die he just leaves her on the ground and Parker is forced to give her mouth to mouth until the paramedics arrive.
Issue 230 shows Spider-Man’s attempts to stop the Juggernaut and hold him accountable for the attack on Madame Web. After being beaten and battered Spider-Man manages to lure the Juggernaut into a construction site and causes him to sink into 30 feet of wet cement just poured for a foundation. This was a foe that Spider-Man couldn’t punch or kick to defeat and the story shows the true essence of the character.
Here is a hero who is faced with a challenge that he cannot win, and yet in spite of this he still risks his own personal safety for that of another. He decided that he is going to get beaten and maybe even die, but as long as Madame Web is safe that is okay. Continual atonement for the death of Uncle Ben and unwavering bravery in the face of adversity are what makes Peter Parker Spider-Man.
At $20 each issue this is an easy one to pick up and well worth a cheaper reader copy if you don’t wan’t to shell out for a NM issue. If you end up loving this story and want more Spider-Man/Juggernaut action they next faced off in Marvel Team-Up 150 (9.2 $6), X-Force 3,4, and Spider-Man 16 (9.2 $4 each) and Roger Stern returns to his original story in Amazing Spider-Man 627-629 (9.2 $3-$4 each) when the Juggernaut faces Captain Universe.