Spider-Man is arguably the most famous of Marvel’s pantheon of heroes and whose story is known by people who don’t even read the funny books. You’d think there’d be little new for fans to learn and no surprises to be unearthed. And for the most part, you’d be right. This impressively gilt-edged coffee table book is aimed squarely at the casual fan and newcomer, but there’s still enough to sate the appetite of True Believers, as it compiles info (albeit brief) of every incarnation of Spidey and the various offshoots of the character. So there’s the alternate universe versions, the Ultimate (Miles Morales) incarnation as well as Spider-Gwen and the like.
Rather than just a simple chronology of the Spider-history, we have insights into the characters - both friends and foes - and major incidents (including crossover comic events) that have shaped Peter Parker’s life both as a teen/adult and as the wall-crawling hero we know and love. There is very little overlooked from the Spidey universe, but at the same time, not too much detail is included, either.
This really is a simple and easy to dip into reference guide, but one isn’t going to become an expert from reading this. Nor should they expect to be, to be fair. It’s entertaining enough and will bring a few moments of nostalgia for the old guard while enlightening the youngsters on a bit of Spidey history, and does look rather splendid. But with the artwork of Steve Ditko, John Romita (Sr and Jr), Todd McFarlane, and Ross Andru (amongst many others) on display, it was never going to look anything less than stunning. It’s worth picking up if you have gaps in your Spidey knowledge, but there will always be another coming soon…
SPIDER-MAN: INSIDE THE WORLD OF YOUR FRIENDLY NEIGHBOURHOOD HERO / AUTHOR: MATTHEW K. MANNING / PUBLISHER: DK / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW