Anniversary or ‘event issues’ are ten-a-penny nowadays. Blink and you’ll miss a dozen of the bastards. Back in 1980 they were actually a big thing, and the 200th issue of The Amazing Spider-Man was a big deal even if it had (and with all due respect) less than a stellar creative team of Marv Wolfman writing and Keith Pollard and Jim Mooney on artistic chores.
We start with some good old fashioned Spidey angst as he’s lost his powers after a battle with Mysterio. Aunt May is facing death and the burglar that started all this way back in Amazing Fantasy #15 is back for his own revenge.
This is a pretty formulaic anniversary issue for Spidey as in addition to the angst, there’s a recap of his origin, and a reminder of how it all started which leads to Spidey/Peter Parker getting angry as he finds his purpose again.
Only problem is he’s powerless.
Of course Spidey doesn’t die, otherwise one of Marvel’s prize assets would be gone. We do however get a scene that shows Peter Parker has learned from his mistake that led to his Uncle Ben being murdered.
After a fight with Uncle Ben’s killer Peter is captured, tied up and we get some medium level threat.
After much fannying about, a powerless Spidey confronts the burglar and loses.
Eventually we get to the big climax where it’s revealed Aunt May isn’t dead, Spidey has his powers back and we get a climatic, not to mention cathartic, fight.
Which leads to Spidey telling us he’s learned a what is now, familiar lesson.
This was the Marvel of editor Jim Shooter so it’s basic stuff, even for what it is it’s actually well done. Wolfman turns in a decent script that looks back and sets up Spider-Man for the rest of the 80’s while Pollard’s pencils are good though they suffer from Mooney’s drab, bland inks. This though may well not be an especially memorable anniversary issue but as a good solid bit of Marvel superheroics it’s readable stuff, and most of all accessible. Anyone could have picked this up and got the story just by reading this issue without having read 17 years worth of comics as is the case so often today.