Various Artists

Spider-Man: Rock Reflections of a Superhero

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"It's like fighting both sides of a mirror...." This classic bit of rock rococo is as great as the title indicates. Worth buying just for the ace art by jazzy John Romita (Black Panther on electric guitar) or the nifty narration by Stan "The Man" Lee. Recorded in the mid-'70s by the pseudo-group Hero, Rock Reflections, like most records from this golden era, goes for every style: "Square Boy" toots its own horns (actually, that's the mighty Thor); "New Point of View" merges reggae and adult contemporary; and the multi-tentacled, ostentatious "Dr. Octopus" takes a brilliant cue from Mott the Hoople and a certain rocking horror show. Under the grooves unweaves the tangled web of high school wallflower Peter Parker's tragic transformation from bashful boy-genius into the amazing Spiderman. Regardless of how many times you've heard this epic saga, Rock Reflections constantly entertains and enthralls (merry Marvel also released several excellent, dramatic audio re-creations of individual comic issues during this time.). But Rock Reflections goes beyond the origin to early encounters with crush Gwen Stacy (doo wop) and the life-altering run-in with arch-nemesis Green Goblin (one of the most poignant moments in fiction). A lovingly-rendered reissue preserves the prime packaging and adds on a couple of lost cuts. Not sure why you're reading if not a comic buff, but this boss work will appeal to all.

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