The Marvel Unlimited app is a gigantic, messy cache of awesome and terrible old comic books: a library of 13,000 or so back issues of Marvel titles, available on demand for subscribers with tablets or mobile phones. Like any good back-room longbox, it’s disorganized and riddled with gaps, but it’s also full of forgotten and overlooked jewels, as well as a few stone classics. In Marvel Unlimited Edition, Eisner-winning critic Douglas Wolk dives into the Unlimited archive to find its best, oddest and most intriguing comics.
In this week's edition: Replacing Peter Parker with Otto Octavius for 31 issues was a neat demonstration of how strong Spider-Man's supporting cast is -- and The Superior Foes of Spider-Man has removed its title character from the equation altogether and gotten a terrific series out of it. Even before the big mind-swap, though, there was a little tradition of Spider-Man comics without Spider-Man in them. (He doesn't appear in Amazing Spider-Man #654.1 or #676, for instance, both among 2011's best done-in-one issues of the series.) Here are some of the most entertaining examples on Marvel Unlimited.