It’s a bittersweet experience reviewing collections such as this if, like me, you owned the originals of the early issues featured and long ago sold them for beer, food, rent, or to the devil in exchange for a long and happy, if comic less, life. They engender mixed emotions on their appearance upon the shelves ranging from the “Gah! What was I thinking?” to the “Gods, more reminders of my wanton past,” right through to the unrealistically magnanimous, “At last! A chance for a new generation of readers to enjoy the classics of my youth!” Yeah, right. Something like that. Go ahead, get your own bloody childhood.
Cough. Excuse me. More pertinently, what they also engender is the question, how do I review this? One certainly can’t focus on the tales included, as these have of course been comprehensively and critically dissected time after time, by greater Spider-Verse alumni than I. The only real thing one can focus on is the package in which they come, and as usual for the Marvel Platinum Redux titles, it’s an attractively weighty tome bursting with vibrant reproduction and colour. As is also usual for an MPR, there is an overarching theme to the stories included – in this case, the wall-crawler’s many and varied encounters with Quentin Beck, Daniel Berkhart and Francis Klum, all of whom at one time or another have tested Spidey’s skills under the villainous sobriquet, ‘Mysterio’. So, collected herein we have Amazing Spider-Man 13, 198-200 and 311, Amazing Spider-Man Annual 4, Web of Spider-Man 90, Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man 11-13, and Amazing Spider-Man Volume 7, no. 1. Phew, if there ain’t enough illusory imaginatorings there to keep you arachnidically amused, you’re going to seriously need to consider getting your web twanged some other way.
I’m fighting the need to drop in a ‘True Believer!’ now, so I’d best wrap up this review before I get too carried away. With all the aforementioned Spider-history book-ended by a playful foreword by present-day writer and editor Brady Webb, and an extensive illustrated biography for each Mysterio, this voluminous retrospective, True Believer, is time and money well spent. Damn, I said it anyway. Mike Wild