Amazing Spider-Man Annual #14
Published and © by Marvel, 1980
Title: “The Book of the Vishanti”
Synopsis: With the Bend Sinister looming and Doctor Strange laid low, it’s up to Spider-Man to save the day.
Writer: Denny O’Neil
Penciler: Frank Miller|
Inker: Tom Palmer
Review: Bronze Age annuals could be a hit-or-miss affair – and this Spider-Man classic is all hit. Denny O’Neil delivers a fun story with a brisk plot and strong dialogue; the legendary Batman scribe feels right at home in the Marvel U, demonstrating an excellent feel for each of the characters he puts into play this issue. But the real star of this outing is the early work of Frank Miller. While still a bit rough around the edges, there’s no denying the energy or dynamism of the young artist’s work. Collectively, the team delivers one of the era’s better annuals.
Second opinion: “Again and again, Miller comes through with incredible shots and vistas more than worthy of Ditko himself while not sacrificing his own style in the process.” – Pierre Comtois, “Marvel Comics in the 1980s: An Issue By Issue Field Guide to a Pop Culture Phenomenon” 2014
Cool factor: Shout out to inker Tom Palmer and colorist Barry Grossman (under the pen name Ben Sean), who help take young Frank Miller’s art to another level here.
Notable: Includes an ad – also drawn by Frank Miller – for real-life band Shrapnel, who is featured in the story.
Character quotable: “Hurry up, hurry up … summon the master and finish those connections and get me some cookies.” – Lucius Dilby, food-motivated flunky of Doom
Editor’s note: This review was written June 21, 2022.