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I am a big Spiderman fan so the news of a reboot due out in the cinrema in just a few weeks has got me already excited. With this in mind, I have been revisiting some of my old favourite Spiderman graphic novels and having a lot of fun in the process. And out of those I have recently re-read, this remains one of my absolute favourites of all time!
Things had started to get a bit stale for Spiderman until the point that this story came out. Everything had all got a bit over-complicated and confusing with the whole Clone-Saga story-arc and then, after that, kind of filtered out into a kind of run-of-the-mill set of adventures that added little to the Spiderman universe as a whole. At times, it kind of felt as though Marvel were just treading water with the character and were not entirely sure what to do with him....
Big Time was the story-line then that Marvel developed in order to take the character in a brand new direction and breathe into him fresh life! Coming hot on the heels of the Brand New Day story, it saw Peter Parker finally utilising those science skills he has always had but never really gotten around to using, gave his alter-ego Spiderman a whole new look and introduced us to some new villains; albeit one of them, Hobgoblin, utilising a look all good Spidey fans had seen before even if the man beneath the costume was new!
It was good too to see the return of The Black Cat whose gentle humour had been missing from this series for a while and to see the whole on-off again flirting between them quickly being resumed even though it felt at times as though she had matured greatly in the time between her absence!
One thing though....if you don't like other mainstream Marvel characters popping up and having little (or often not-so-little) cameos left, right and centre then this might not be for you as, along with Spiderman, we also catch up with some of the other Marvel Super-heroes that Spiderman has had close dealings with in the past to see how the changes in Spidermans life affect them and to see what influence they will have on his life in the future in return. Both The Fantastic Four and The Avengers turn up alongside such classic villains as Kingpin and though this could at times be called a retrospective, it is not long before we get a real sense that, with this story, the Spiderman saga is finally turning a very welcome page!
I don't want to say much more because I don't want to spoil things for anyone who hasn't read this but one paticular favourite moment of mine in this novel and a scene to look out for is that in which J.Jonah Jameson's father turns up! Who even knew he had a father?
This is a great collection comprising of only 4 episodes but feature-lrength ones at that so you still get your moneys worth! It is a lot of fun, well worth paying for and gives Spiderman a chance at a whole new lease of life!
After the minor reboot to the Spider-universe that was 'Brand New Day', Spider-man gets another minor reshuffle with the beginning of 'Big Time' - a twice monthly direction authored by Dan Slott, which begins with Spider-man getting a new job, a new costume and a new arch-enemy!
Peter Parker, with the help of Marla Jameson, is employed as an inventor for Horizon Labs, which is a think tank of the world's best scientists and gives Peter the opportunity to design new gadgets and gizmos for use in his crime-fighting life. This allows Slott to employ more sci-fi based stories, and show off Peter's big brain, which hasn't really been highlighted since he left Tri-Corp in the late 90s.
It isn't just Spider-man who is going through some changes in his employment, as the Hobgoblin returns (albeit with a different person under the mask) and seeks a position in the Kingpin's employ. His first mission pits him against Spider-man immediately, as the new Hobgoblin makes use of his sonic-scream powers, before stealing a powerful new device for Horizon Labs.
I liked the reinvention of both Spidey (in terms of job) and Hobgoblin (in terms of motivation) and while the new suit may have been a gimmick to raise interest in the new storyline, as well as provide more action figure material, it looked nice and made use of Peter's intellect to counteract his weakness to the Hobgoblin's scream.
Humberto Ramos artwork divides some, but I personally love his manga-influenced art, with the beautifully drawn Black Cat, and his dynamic positions for his Spider-man. This 'Big Time' relaunch is a giant step in quality from the preceding 'Brand New Day' arc and should hopefully lead to much greater stories in the future!
Spidey hits the Big time, creating new opportunities, technology and costumes. Plus the debut of the new Hobgoblin! Collecting: Amazing Spider-Man #648-651