Comics : Spider-Man 2004 Wizard Special

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This review was first published on: 2004.


This is the third Wizard Spider-Man Special. The first was produced in 1998 to cash in the the interest at the time of the title "reboot". The second was in 2002 to tie into the first movie. The movie tie-in must have turned out pretty successful, because here's Wizard again with a 2004 movie tie-in.

Actually, it's important to point out that while the movie side of things gets big press on the cover, inside there's actually only a few pages of movie stuff, and the rest of the material concerns the comics, where the staff at Wizard really do know their stuff.

In Detail...

Spider-Man 2004 Wizard Special
May 2004 : SM Article
Publisher:  Wizard
Contrib. Editor:  Andy Serwin, Brian Cunningham, Jesse Thompson
Editor:  Alex Seguar, Jr.
Staff Writer:  Mike Cotton, Richard Ho, Todd Casey
Intern:  Dylan Brucie, Heidi Ward
Contributor:  Adam Patyk, Brendan McGinley, Douglas Goldstein, Jeremy Stuart, Joe Medrano, Jon Gutierrez, Justin Aclin, Noel Wood, Ryan Dunlavey, Tom Root, Trevor Hairsine, Zach Oat
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We open with a short interview with Jeremy Stuart, who between 1978 and 2001 had the job of "Spider-Man Spokesman" for Marvel, wearing the mask in front of many a crowd for over twenty years. Then there are six pages of standard movie stuff, which don't really add anything that hasn't been available on the 'Net for the last month or more. The cover promised "tons of photos", but actually I count six or seven, which is a bit of a letdown. There are no real plot hints, or anything juicy.

We then cut right into the comics, with a breakdown of the current Spidey titles - giving some hints on direction for Amazing, Spectacular, Ultimate, and MK Spider-Man. Then there's a round-up of the other books: Marvel Age Spider-Man, Venom, Spider-Girl, the new Spider-Man/Doc Ock: Year One LS, and the curious Mary Jane title. Plus, of course, the rather controversial "Amazing Fantasy", which is my guess for flop of the year.

Aha... now we get to it. There's a six-page preview from Ultimate #60, featuring CARNAGE! HAH! Good and scary stuff. Then there's a HUGE interview with "can't fail" Spider-Man writer Brian Michael Bendis. It's a good read, and makes Bendis (as ever) seem like a helluva nice guy.

There's a three-page Spider-Man trivia quiz, with some tough questions. Like, "What is Peter and Mary Jane's song?" Of course, the Spider-Oracle scored 50 out of 50. Add in short Q&A with J. Michael Straczynski, then a HUGE top-ten list of Spider-Man foes (I see Carnage jumped three places over the 2002 top-ten list of foes). Add in another hiliarious Twisted ToyFare theatre featuring "The Death of Spider-Man". Then a one-page Stan Lee Q&A, a few pages of wacky Spider-Man collectables from the past few centuries (including some frightening unlicenced rip-offs). Whew, are we nearly done yet?

Almost. We finish with a list of "50 Spider-Man Comics You Must Own", although since Amazing Fantasy #15 is in there, I presume it means "50 Spider-Man Comics You Must Own Assuming Your Wife Doesn't Mind Postponing The Mortgage Payments For A Few Years". Then just to prove that Wizard doesn't take itself too seriously, there's a complete "Peter Porker: Spider-Ham" checklist, and a copy of Slyde's application to join the Sinister Six!

In General...

The 2002 version featured a compiled Spider-Man Comics & Figures price guide with nearly 3,000 entries. I guess Wizard figured that it was too soon to do that again, and so instead they packed this 80-page issue with enough Spidey-Stuff to choke the Rhino. It's a monster! A sunny afternoon, a cold beer or two, and this little number will happily while away the afternoon.

Overall Rating...

I'm gonna knock off half a web for the gratuitous "alternate cover" thing. Also, the "tons of photos" on the cover was a bit of a lie. A casual purchaser might have imagined that this was a "movie special", when in fact it's definitely a "comics and collectables special with a bit of old movie news". But even with that factored in, the sheer mass of content for US$4.99 makes this a bargain!