We are now just four days away from the launch of Insomniac Games’ Spider-Man on the PlayStation 4 and to celebrate the occasion, I want to do something special. I want to give fans an opportunity to get even more excited for the iconic web-slinging experience by compiling a list of the hottest must-read Spider-Man stories that you have to get into before playing the biggest game of 2018!
10. Superior Spider-Man
I may not be the biggest Dan Slott fan, but I think this story is a must-read from him and his version of Spider-Man. After Peter Parker died during the events of the Dying Wish story arc, Otto Octavius has taken control of Parker’s body and makes it his goal to be a better hero and person than Peter Parker ever was. Octavius is successful in this goal after a big showdown with Spidey rogues, the Sinister Six but he soon learns that Peter isn’t dead. He’s just buried deep into Octavius’ own subconsciousness and is ready to battle him to take back his life and his body. It’s an interesting mind vs body conflict that is taken quite literally.
9. Spider-Man: Blue
Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale’s Spider-Man Blue is perhaps one of the most fun Spider-Man stories I have ever read. It’s a tragic but heartfelt story that celebrates the character’s ability to triumph through adversities like the loss of Gwen Stacy, which causes him to be feeling rather blue on Valentine’s Day. It utilizes the character’s supporting cast members such as his wife Mary Jane Watson who is understanding of a death which scarred him as much as the loss of his Uncle Ben.
8. Nothing Can Stop The Juggernaut
This story from Roger Stern and John Romita Jr. that takes place in Amazing Spider-Man #229-230 is a really fun treat of biblical proportions. Stern puts Spider-Man into what is very much a David and Goliath situation where he faces off against X-Men big bad Juggernaut. This story blesses us with some of the best-drawn action sequences that honours everything about Marvel Comics in the 1980’s. Juggernaut is virtually unbeatable and is able to outnumber and outclass Spider-Man, but this doesn’t deter the wall-crawler from trying to stop him. It is such a fantastic story that celebrates the character’s indomitable spirit.
7. Maximum Carnage
Psychotic rogue Carnage has been able to bust out of the Ravencroft Institute and is ready to wage an all-out war on Spider-Man and the city of New York. The half human half symbiote hybrid is able to assemble his own cabal of Spider-Man rogues like Demogoblin and Carrion before going on a brutal killing spree that drags characters like Iron Fist, Black Cat, Venom, and Dethklok into the mix to stop him. It’s just one epic showcase of what Marvel Comics was all about in the 1990’s. The more violent and flashy, the better!
6. Amazing Fantasy
This is a classic Spider-Man story that I don’t think you can or should omit from any list. Amazing Fantasy #15 was the first-ever appearance of the character. It was one of Marvel best-selling titles when it first hit the shelves of drug stores everywhere, but the series itself was cancelled soon after. It was the first story to feature a teenage superhero who wasn’t a sidekick and was also where fans first got to read the iconic, “With Great Power There Must Also Come — Great Responsibility,” also known as, “With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility” line that they’ve grown up being taught for decades.
5. Spider-Man: No More
This is a Spider-Man story that has been honoured and homaged for decades in cartoons and films such as Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 2 but Stan Lee’s Spider-Man: No More is more than just some quick easter egg that you can throw out there. Spider-Man has always been written as this optimistic champion with an indomitable spirit, but what happens when the weight of being New York’s greatest superhero finally takes its toll on you. It truly redefines the character and the psychology behind what makes him such a great influence on people.
4. Kraven’s Last Hunt
While Kraven’s Last Hunt may not 100% be a Spider-Man story it is still a story worth reading for long-time Spidey fans and newcomers. Writer J.M. DeMatteis and artist Mike Zeck get to float and play with the possibility of what would happen if Spider-Man were to one day finally succumb to one of his villains. Particularly one that has hunted him for years like Kraven The Hunter who will stop at nothing to finally put an end to the wall-crawling menace. While Kraven may not be a rogue you can take seriously based on his appearance he is still written as a serious character that readers definitely will want to take seriously after reading this. DeMatteis is able to challenge the philosophy on how a hero and villain is defined and their motivations.
2. The Night That Gwen Stacy Died
Writer Gerry Conway pushed Spider-Man into a darker direction that the character and comics had never seen before with the death of long-time love interest, Gwen Stacy. Never before in comics had such a pivotal character like Gwen been killed in comics in such way that would mark the end of the typical damsel-in-distress trope that ended with the hero always arriving to save the girl. It was an emotionally scarring event that symbolized what was undoubtedly the coming end of the Silver Age that fans had grown such a strong emotional attachment to. The story also opened the door for Mary-Jane Watson to assume a much larger role in the Spider-Man mythos as she comforts Peter in the wake of the death of his one true love and it would plant the seeds for their wedding. The story would also mark the death of Norman Osborn, whose death also happens in the same issue.
1. If This Be My Destiny…
To me If This Be My Destiny… has to be the definitive Spider-Man story. It reminds us all about the magic that causes people to gravitate towards the character so much and what makes him Marvel’s “everyman” hero in the same way that Superman is for DC Comics. It is his hockey sense of optimism and youthfulness that makes him into a magical character that resonates with readers of any age. In this story, Peter has to juggle some of the biggest challenges of his life such as starting college, dealing with a villain referred to as the Master Planner, and Aunt May being afflicted with a life-threatening illness.
Well, there you have it. A top 10 list of some of the best Spider-Man stories that are both fun and define some of the character’s best and worst moments which I think Spider-Man PS4 will truly embrace.
What do you think of this list? What are some of your favourite Spider-Man stories? Let us know in the comments below!