REVIEW CORNER: Amazing Spider-Man Annual # 20

Amazing Spider-Man Annual # 20 (1986)

Writers: Fred Schiller & Ken McDonald
Pencils: Mark Beachum
Inker: Bob Wiacek
Letterer: Jim Novak
Colorist: Bob Sharen


Welcome back everyone, this week I’ll be taking a look at The Amazing Spider-Man Annual # 20 from 1986 and from the looks of this annual, some people would make the argument that the brain trust of the Spidey books (As well as the rest of the Marvel titles) back in the 80s simply ran out of ideas for the annuals and just relied on shock value-esque stories to get people to drop down there two dollars back in those days (Such as this one) sooo…….let’s go down memory lane and talk about this annual, shall we?!

So Arno Stark (Who’s the first cousin of Tony Stark and the son of Tony’s cousin, Morgan Stark) is being recognized for all his accomplishments since he’s named “Man Of The Year” in the year 2020 and the fact that he recently worked on a time displacement device. From the looks of it, Arno is totally different than Tony because rather than live up to his cousin’s legacy by being a hero, Arno decides to be a hired mercenary and commits various acts of corporate espionage for his own personal gain and this was the one element that made me enjoy the character since he’s basically a funhouse mirror version of Tony Stark; The we get introduced to Robert Saunders, a man who found a bomb based on Stark Technology and who’s started a countdown with it. With time running out, Arno needs to get a retina scan from the younger Saunders to deactivate the bomb (Saunders got killed trying to escape) as fast as he can.

Arno then turns on his time machine to heads to 1986, where Spidey is taking on The Blizzard and afterwards, we get the usual plot threads of a typical Spider-Man story- Spidey stops a random villain, takes pictures then heads to the Daily Bugle, becomes Peter Parker then tries to sell said photos and comes up short (Yep, that was the gist of mostly every Spider-Man story of the eighties); When Arno arrives to 1986, he tries to get Robert Saunders’ retina scan but Spidey appears and soon, the battle is underway it then intensifies due to Robert Saunders being hurt during I.M. 2020’s chasing of Spidey (Poor Kid got some glass to his face) and while I won’t spoil the ending (It’s very depressing and dark for its time, after all it was the eighties!) I have to say that this annual is not one that a lot of comic book fans will want to remember because at first glance, it comes off like a story that should have been in a Iron Man annual but halfway thru it becomes a Spider-Man story but with the latter being a secondary character in his own annual. And Mark Beachum’s artwork is decent but there are times where you can see that certain pages that aren’t quite up to par and maybe it looks like Beachum’s been completely overworked (And it probably didn’t help that he also provided the artwork for Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man Annual # 6 – also out in 1986)

While any ASM fan would want this annual in their collection, just remember that this was easily a “Read it once and put it away” kind of story because the premise didn’t do justice to any of the characters, especially Iron Man 2020 himself after coming off his first appearance from the iconic “Machine Man” mini-series back in 1984. My recommendation?- Just read it then decide if it’s worth having in your collection or if it will end up as a Yard Sale donation. But I really enjoyed the premise of Iron Man 2020 and hopefully, he’ll end up getting his own movie (Marvel Studios better get cracking on it)

Next week I’ll take another look at a another classic comic so thank you so much for sticking around and I’ll see you all next time.

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