50 Greatest Spider-Man Stories: #30-26

In honor of the fiftieth anniversary of Spider-Man, we're doing four straight months of polls having to do with Spider-Man, culminating with the release of the Amazing Spider-Man film in July. We've done Spider-Man covers, Spider-Man characters, Spider-Man creators and now, finally, Spider-Man stories!

You all voted, now here are the results of what you chose as the 50 Greatest Spider-Man Stories! We continue with #40-36. Click here for a master list of all the stories revealed so far!


30. "Learning Curve," Ultimate Spider-Man #8-12

The second Ultimate Spider-Man story arc, where writer Brian Michael Bendis really took control and began to put very different twists on characters like J. Jonah Jameson, Ben Urich and the Kingpin.

Very nice artwork from Mark Bagley and Art Thibert.

29. "Unscheduled Stop," Amazing Spider-Man #578-579

Mark Waid and Marcos Martin deliver a tour de force performance in this two-part storyline about Spider-Man trapped underground on a wrecked subway car with a jury who was targeted for death so that some bad guys could delay the trial. Forced to try to find an exit in the subway tunnels, Spidey and the jury find themselves especially pressed for time when the river begins to leak in from above them. One of the jury members, by the way, happens to be J. Jonah Jameson's DAD!

28. "Spider-Island," Amazing Spider-Man #667-672 (plus various tie-ins and a prologue in #666 and an epilogue in #673)

The Jackal and the Queen (from the storyline where Spider-Man gained organic webshooters) team-up to give everyone in Manhattan spider-powers through bed bugs. All the heroes in New York come together to stop the bad guys' plan, but Spider-Man plays a key role as he had been trained for this crisis by Shang-Chi (on the forecasting advice of the new Madame Web) by learning martial arts so that he could beat up people with the same powers of him. However, Peter is having a hard time keeping his identity from his girlfriend, Carlie Cooper, now that she has spider-powers, as well.

Here's Peter rallying the people of New York...

All this, plus the return of the first Spider-Clone, Kaine! Dan Slott wrote it and Humberto Ramos and Victor Olazaba drew it (with some assists from Karl Kesel. The epilogue and prologue were drawn by Stefano Caselli.)

27. "Death of Spider-Man," Ultimate Spider-Man #156-160

Mark Bagley returned to Ultimate Spider-Man to close the series out with writer Brian Michael Bendis and inker Andy Lanning as Spider-Man faces one of his greatest threats yet as the maniacal Green Goblin brings the fight right to Spider-Man's front doorstep.

Will Spider-Man have to make the ultimate sacrifice to protect those closest to him? Well, the name of the story IS the "Death of Spider-Man," after all...

26. "The Original Clone Saga," Amazing Spider-Man #143-149 (plus an epilogue in #150)

The Jackal had been working behind the scenes against Spider-Man for some time now, but with #142 we finally see the Jackal's end game - he is obsessed with Gwen Stacy and has actually CLONED her! While the story is filled with crazy twists and turns by writer Gerry Conway and artists Ross Andru and Frank Giacoia, especially Peter Parker dealing with the seeming return of his dead girlfriend, the real heart of the story (which was noted by more than a few of the voters) was the way that Conway used the arc to develop the Peter/Mary Jane relationship.

They share their first kiss in #143 (in an amazing sequence by Ross Andru) and in #149, it sure seems like they seal the deal on their relationship status as Conway ends his Amazing Spider-Man run by bookending the scene in Amazing Spider-Man #122 with the end of Amazing Spider-Man #149 (both scenes involve Peter and Mary Jane and they both involve momentous decisions involving doors being closed). Finally, Archie Goodwin, Gil Kane and John Romita give an epilogue to the story in #150.

Here were reader Lorin Heller's thoughts on the story:

Gerry Conway built up the Jackal as the mystery character for almost two years, and the storyline culminated in the original clone saga. Forget what that ultimately wrought. This original story is just wonderful. Peter and Mary Jane have just appeared to start a romantic relationship, when Gwen Stacy suddenly reappears in his life, unleashing emotional havoc. My favorite issues in this tale are #147 and #148. The fights with the Tarantula, first in New York traffic (including hilarious scene on a bus) and later in a darkened factory are excellent. The nasty planned vengeance of chaining Spider-Man up before tossing him off the bridge was a classic moment. The best moment though goes to the reveal of who the Jackal is, and just how much of a freaking psycho he truly is. "Dear Boy, haven't I always been your friend?" Brrrrr.....

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