The Sensational Spider-Man Self-Improvement #1 Review

Writer: Peter David, Randy Schueller, and Tom DeFalco

Art: Ric Leonardi, Ron Ferencz, Rachelle Rosenberg, Sal Buscema, Victor Olazaba, Chris Sotomayor, VC’s Travis Lanham, and Mark Bagley

Price: $4.99

Release Date: August 7th, 2019

What if a fan-submitted a story of a black costumed Spider-Man to Marvel BEFORE Secret Wars came out? We finally get a chance to read that story, plus more!!

This issue is a one-shot in part of Marvel’s 80th Anniversary. The whole book is dripping in nostalgia. I was 12 when the original Secret Wars came out in 1984 and was reading Web of Spider-Man when it debuted in 1985. Even in the ’80s with no internet or social media, there was hype over Spidey’s black costume. I remember going to the Canteen Pharmacy with my parents and scouring the spinner rack for Spidey, Secret Wars, and GI Joe comics. So, when I read the preview for this issue and saw that a fan had submitted a story with Spidey in his black costume BEFORE Secret Wars came out, I was intrigued. The fact that they are making an actual comic based on the story of the fan now is SO cool, and I couldn’t wait to read it.

It was also very nice of Marvel to include Randy Schueller’s original pitch to Marvel as well as Tom DeFalco’s notes.

Burn Job: This is the fan-submitted plot. Peter David does the script. The villain in this story is not really relevant at all. The main story is why Peter needs a new costume, how he gets it, and what he decides to do with it. It takes place in 1982 and is full of guest appearances, references, and some foreshadowing. My only complaint is that Peter/Spidey swears a few times. I don’t like that. At all. It doesn’t fit the character. Anyone that’s read the comics for any amount of time knows that.

I’m not going to spoil much of anything, other than I absolutely loved seeing Spidey in his underwear and mask and nothing else. Too funny!

With no power: The second story is written and has the art done by some of the heaviest hitters in Marvel’s history. It’s a story of Spider-Man’s origin which has already been done countless times but done with a twist. For me, the highlight of the story is the art. The way Spidey is shown in motion either swinging by web or evading gunfire is very well done. This story is also ripe with references of all the various Spider titles, and a few more things long-time fans will no doubt pick up. Additionally, Ron Frencz’s Spidey pencils are outstanding.

The cover by Mark Bagley also deserves a mention. It’s fantastic and captures Spidey’s signature look of the 80’s black costume.

Final Thoughts:

Fans of Spidey’s black costume will no doubt want to pick this up to see “what could have been” back in the ’80s. A couple of very nice stories with dare I say SENSATIONAL art?!


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