What great timing. Spider-Man is currently loaded in my PS4, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse just dropped on Netflix, Spider-Man: Far From Home is releasing on a Tuesday and out today is The Amazing Spider-Man: The Gauntlet Complete Collection Vol 1. What’s next, a whole month dedicated to Spider-Man here at AiPT!?
If you’re looking for a great run of Spider-Man comics to ingest before you hit the theaters to watch Far From Home, look no further. The Gauntlet gives us a little of everything when it comes to our favorite wall crawler. In fact, the basis behind this run is to pit Spider-Man against his classic archenemies — or at least their current incarnations.
From Electro, Sandman, Morbius, Rhino, Mysterio, Scorpion, Mister Negative, The Vulture, to J Jonah Jameson himself, this collection covers a lot of ground. This isn’t just an assemblage of random runs haphazardly thrown together, but a full-fledged adventure that has Peter Parker stretching himself a bit too thin — at least if he wants to retain even an iota of a life outside the suit. My initial concern was going to be that each story had Spider-Man stopping said villain from X, they’re dropped and we move on. I guess that does happen in a few of the stories (it is a super hero comic after all), but it fortunately evolves from beginning to end a lot better than that. A few of the included don’t even focus much on Spider-Man, he just by nature has to interject. The Peter Parker/Aunt May subplots evolve a little bit at a time, which is really important to this run because that’s what is grounding us to the overall arc. Without it, it would feel like little more than a mishmash of Spider-Man and his most infamous enemies. I found it fun moving from one villain to the next while tossing in a little Black Cat here and there. The only side story that gets very little attention and is presumably very important is the capture of Madame Web, but overall it’s a pretty coherent book.
Playing Spider-Man for PS4 alongside this was interesting, because there were times I couldn’t distinguish between this story line or that. Spider-Man is kind of a tried-and-true formula that doesn’t differentiate much between mediums. He’s got girl problems, he’s got money problems, he’s got problems at the Daily Bugle and he’s got problems with the city’s deadliest super-humans. I can understand if people aren’t into Spider-Man because of that, but as far as Spider-Man comics go this is at the top of the list.
Spider-Man’s biggest asset, his cheesy humor, shines through here. The only bummer is that once you start volume 1, you’re going to want to get volume 2 because we haven’t even touched on classic super villains such as The Lizard, Juggernaut, Doctor Octopus, Green Goblin or Venom. If you’re looking to run the Spider-Man history gauntlet and remind yourself why he’s been a comic book staple for so long, I’d highly recommend picking up The Amazing Spider-Man: The Gauntlet Complete Collection Vol. 1. And maybe even preemptively set aside the dough for volume 2.