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  1. #1
    Incredible Member Hybrid's Avatar
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    Default How good was JMS' Spider-Man overall?

    J. Michael Straczynski, or JMS, is a sci-fi TV writer who's also been a lover of comics, and Spider-Man from 2001 to 2007 was his big comics impact. He was tasked with making Spider-Man relevant beyond just his name recognition in the '00s, after the infamous Clone Saga muddled him in the '90s.

    How good was his run overall?

    JMS' Spider-Man features several key retools such as the Spider-Totem, Aunt May learning Peter is Spider-Man, the inclusion of the Avengers elements (which was also a case of Bendis' New Avengers bleeding over), The Other (which gave Spider-Man new powers like stingers, telepathy with spiders, and organic web-shooters), and of course there's two very maligned storylines that came from his pen: Sins' Past and One More Day.

    Sins' Past was terrible, and he's fully responsible, to which he'll freely admit was his biggest regret. However, I can't really fault JMS for OMD considering the story was forced on him by Joey Q, he wanted nothing to do with it, he distanced himself from the story as it was being made, and I heard he only wrote it because he didn't want the next new Spider-writer to begin with that storyline (imagine if Dan Slott opened writing OMD... his rep would be damaged beyond repair from the start).

    There are some things I didn't like besides that. I wasn't fond of Peter's new powers, especially the organic web-shooters, which felt like a needless tie-in to the Raimi Trilogy, and I'm glad that part was undone.

    Overall though, the first 38 issues was solid and helped to keep Spider-Man relevant within the comics. I guess you take the good with the bad. I also liked the idea of Aunt May and Mary Jane living in Avengers Tower, something about that was neat. It only got screwed up because of Civil War, leading to OMD... but in the context as it was written I liked it.

    I was actually reading some of it the other day, and I liked this part where Peter thinks it'd be ridiculous if a movie about Spider-Man was ever made -- of course, it was a meta joke about the first Spider-Man movie at the time, and that made me nostalgic.

    What do you think?

  2. #2
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    Overall good with some flaws. Not perfect but what run is?

  3. #3
    Fantastic Member Hugo Strange's Avatar
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    Great and terrible moments, JMS' run was like a roller coaster ride.

  4. #4

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    Biggest strength by JMS characterisation: few wrote Peter, Mary Jane and Aunt May better than JMS, particularly Aunt May.

    First 38 issues by JMS/John Romita Jr were great particularly Coming Home, The Conversation and Doomed Affairs. Three best of Spider-Man stories there.

    Post JMS/JRJR - hit and miss, Sins Past and One More Day are terrible, really wretched. The second half of JMS run got tied into events.

    Overall, I enjoyed most of JMS run. High highs and low lows.
    Last edited by Batman Begins 2005; 11-20-2019 at 07:35 AM.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Agent Z View Post
    Overall good with some flaws. Not perfect but what run is?
    I will admit every issue of Ditko's was not the Master Planner Saga, but I have yet to see the Ditko issue that was weak.

  6. #6
    Astonishing Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    JMS' run has multiple parts:

    Part 1 - The 38 issues with JRJR from ASM (Vol.2) #30-58, then ASM (Vol.1 original numbering)#500-508.

    Interval - Sins' Past (ASM#509-512).

    Part 2 - Spider-Man at Avengers Tower which ties into Civil War (lead-in and tie-ins), followed with Back in Black and terminating (and I mean all senses of the word) with OMD.

    There is not a single bad issue in Part 1. Multiple classic issues.
    -- "Coming Home"
    -- The 9/11 Issue
    -- "The Conversation"
    -- "Doomed Affairs"
    -- "ASM#500"
    -- "The Book of Ezekiel"

    -- The Digger Issue is also an excellent story. Likewise, the 2-Part Loki story with Fiona Avery probably did a lot to influence the modern Loki's conversion to cool anti-hero since Loki's characterization there is very much the ancestor to Hiddleston/Gillen's/Ewing's take on the character.

    Then right after JRJR left, you had Sins' Past, which is bad all around.

    Part 2 - Spider-Man at Avengers Tower is less consistent and less good as Part One. There are still wonderful good issues, like Spider-Man versus Hydra is an excellent story that basically works as "this is what Spider-Man can do for the Avengers". The lead-in issues to Civil War are also well done as is the Civil War tie-ins. I mean one of Captain America's all-time greatest moments comes in a Spider-Man comic (ASM #537), aka the 'you move speech".

    And then there's BACK IN BLACK, which is a flat out masterpiece. It's JMS lashing out via Peter his anger at having to write OMD, his anger at him not being able to continue being as awesome as he is here, this is basically Spider-Man at his lowest ebb but also at his highest high at the same time. In that respects it's basically a long-extended version of ASM#122, and the fight between Spider-Man and Kingpin is awesome.

    So on the whole JMS' run is one of the greats. I'd rank it above Michelinie's which also went on too long and got less consistent over time, over Defalco (which is also remembered largely for the character work). And most definitely way above BND and Slott's entire nosh. I still think it's better than Spencer's as well.

    To me this is the last time Peter, MJ, and Aunt May were really Peter, MJ, Aunt May in an absolute real continuous to AF#15 sense.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    JMS' run has multiple parts:

    Part 1 - The 38 issues with JRJR from ASM (Vol.2) #30-58, then ASM (Vol.1 original numbering)#500-508.

    Interval - Sins' Past (ASM#509-512).

    Part 2 - Spider-Man at Avengers Tower which ties into Civil War (lead-in and tie-ins), followed with Back in Black and terminating (and I mean all senses of the word) with OMD.

    There is not a single bad issue in Part 1. Multiple classic issues.
    -- "Coming Home"
    -- The 9/11 Issue
    -- "The Conversation"
    -- "Doomed Affairs"
    -- "ASM#500"
    -- "The Book of Ezekiel"

    -- The Digger Issue is also an excellent story. Likewise, the 2-Part Loki story with Fiona Avery probably did a lot to influence the modern Loki's conversion to cool anti-hero since Loki's characterization there is very much the ancestor to Hiddleston/Gillen's/Ewing's take on the character.

    Then right after JRJR left, you had Sins' Past, which is bad all around.

    Part 2 - Spider-Man at Avengers Tower is less consistent and less good as Part One. There are still wonderful good issues, like Spider-Man versus Hydra is an excellent story that basically works as "this is what Spider-Man can do for the Avengers". The lead-in issues to Civil War are also well done as is the Civil War tie-ins. I mean one of Captain America's all-time greatest moments comes in a Spider-Man comic (ASM #537), aka the 'you move speech".

    And then there's BACK IN BLACK, which is a flat out masterpiece. It's JMS lashing out via Peter his anger at having to write OMD, his anger at him not being able to continue being as awesome as he is here, this is basically Spider-Man at his lowest ebb but also at his highest high at the same time. In that respects it's basically a long-extended version of ASM#122, and the fight between Spider-Man and Kingpin is awesome.

    So on the whole JMS' run is one of the greats. I'd rank it above Michelinie's which also went on too long and got less consistent over time, over Defalco (which is also remembered largely for the character work). And most definitely way above BND and Slott's entire nosh. I still think it's better than Spencer's as well.

    To me this is the last time Peter, MJ, and Aunt May were really Peter, MJ, Aunt May in an absolute real continuous to AF#15 sense.
    I will rank JMS Number 5 ( behind Ditko, Romita Conway ( despite Clone Saga) and Stern). Spencer has a chance to pass him though. As for Slott: I put him last. I give him credit for Spider-Island and RYV and that is all I liked.
    Last edited by NC_Yankee; 11-20-2019 at 08:32 AM.

  8. #8

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    JMS' also wrote one of the funniest Spider-Man.

  9. #9
    Incredible Member your_name_here's Avatar
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    First half was good, second was the opposite.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by NC_Yankee View Post
    I will rank JMS Number 5 ( behind Ditko, Romita Conway ( despite Clone Saga) and Stern). Spencer has a chance to pass him though.
    Yes, it's not fair to judge Spencer's run against completed runs at this point. Time will tell how well he does.

    I would put JMS' run in the Top Ten but towards the bottom.

    Lee/Ditko, Lee/Romita Sr, Conway/Andru, Wein/Andru, Stern/JRJr, DeFalco/Frenz, Michelinie/McFarlane/Bagley, and Slott and his various collaborators are all better runs.

    But to each their own.

    Had JMS left along with JR/Jr, it would look like a much better run. And I say that as someone who doesn't hate stories like Sins Past as most fans seem to.

  11. #11
    Astonishing Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NC_Yankee View Post
    I will rank JMS Number 5 ( behind Ditko, Romita Conway ( despite Clone Saga) and Stern). Spencer has a chance to pass him though. As for Slott: I put him last. I give him credit for Spider-Island and RYV and that is all I liked.
    Conway's original Clone Saga is a great story that was criminally misunderstood and misappropriated in the '90s by Terry Kavanagh and others.

    If I were to name best writers on Spider-Man overall (i.e. not just ASM but other satellite titles as well), then JMS is in the top-three with J. M. DeMatteis and Roger Stern. In terms of ASM, as a writer JMS is up there with Conway, Stern, Lee, and ahead of Michelinie and Defalco.

  12. #12

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    I understand disliking Sins Past and the mysticism stuff attachment to Spider-Man, besides those I think his run is aces.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    Conway's original Clone Saga is a great story that was criminally misunderstood and misappropriated in the '90s by Terry Kavanagh and others.

    If I were to name best writers on Spider-Man overall (i.e. not just ASM but other satellite titles as well), then JMS is in the top-three with J. M. DeMatteis and Roger Stern. In terms of ASM, as a writer JMS is up there with Conway, Stern, Lee, and ahead of Michelinie and Defalco.
    I disagree: i put Ditko and Romita sr ahead of everyone. Maybe the weakest Ditko Story was ASM 30 ( The Cat), and even that was a "C" Grade. Maybe the weakest Romita was ASM 100 ( Múltiple armed Spidy) which I gave a D-Minus. That said, basically every great villain ( except Venom, Carnage and Hobgoblin ( Kingsley), and Mr. Negative) came from Ditko or Romita. Which is why they are one and two for me.
    Last edited by NC_Yankee; 11-20-2019 at 09:46 AM.

  14. #14
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    I feel like the era was good but his run itself was pretty shallow.

  15. #15
    Incredible Member charliehustle415's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Batman Begins 2005 View Post
    Biggest strength by JMS characterisation: few wrote Peter, Mary Jane and Aunt May better than JMS, particularly Aunt May.

    First 38 issues by JMS/John Romita Jr were great particularly Coming Home, The Conversation and Doomed Affairs. Three best of Spider-Man stories there.

    Post JMS/JRJR - hit and miss, Sins Past and One More Day are terrible, really wretched. The second half of JMS run got tied into events.

    Overall, I enjoyed most of JMS run. High highs and low lows.
    This.

    I think this is why he left Thor because he didn’t want it to be repeated.

    His issues with JRJR are amazing as well as the fact his day job was being a teacher. I hope they revisit this, maybe become a college professor

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