I wasn’t planning on doing this at this time, but since Peter David, by any account a terrific writer and a helluva nice guy, had a stroke, I thought pay tribute…
10. The Amazing Spider-Man #267: The Commuter Cometh
It may not be an “Important” Spidey story, but #267 is a true gem. Spidey has a cold, and has to deal with an eely garden-variety burglar, a barking dog, no buildings to swing off of (in the suburbs) and the need to commute to Scarsdale…Without a Spider Mobile!
A very funny, character-driven done-in-one.
9. Supergirl #70-80.
Teamed with Gary Frank, Peter David took a character that many people could have cared less about (Supergirl) and then had her deal with a character people cared even less about: The original Supergirl! David’s run serves as a kind of shout-out to the Silver Age, while wrestling with issues of identity, maturity, competition, birthright, etc. It also showed what David would do with lesser-known characters, which he perfected during his work on X-Factor.
8. X-Factor Vol. 1 #87: X-aminations
The whole team sees a shrink. And of course the shrink is Doc Samson. Best. Portrayal. Of Quicksilver. Ever.
7. Hulk: Future Imperfect
Peter David is actually better known for his Star Trek novels than his comics. Here, he cribs a title from an old Trek episode to tell a tale of Hulk vs. Lunatic Future Hulk. David’s long run on The Incredible Hulk was nothing if not experimental and quirky—and at times uneven—but this is one of the highpoints of it. And having George Perez do the art doesn’t hurt a bit.
6. X-Factor: Invisible Woman Has Vanished
I could probably make a top ten list with nothing but X-Factor volumes on it, and including this one instead of many others may only serve to irritate XF fans. But I loved this story. After a lot of trauma and drama, the mutant private detective team returns to New York City and is in desperate need of a client. Who should show up to hire them but Franklin Richards, who wants them to find his mommy. This volume combines the humor Peter David does so well with a lot of the “inside baseball” Marvel jokes that X-Factor is known for. A great volume that you can read even if you’ve never read an issue of X-Factor before. Reprinting X-Factor #200-203.
5. Incredible Hulk #467: The Lone and Level Sands
David’s last issue on Hulk goes over everything that happened during his massive, bizarre run, and teases all the ideas he had for the future (he left the title under somewhat bad terms with Marvel). David is best at telling long, ongoing stories—his work on X-Factor is a testament to that—and with this issue, he proved why he will always be the Hulk storyteller to beat. So much imagination and so many concepts crammed into this one little issue!
4. SpyBoy: The Deadly Gourmet Affair
Maybe it’s an acquired taste, but the first SpyBoy series (I haven’t read the others yet) is one of my favorite Dark Horse series ever. It has a manga feel, and focuses on a bullied kid whose head shares space with a super-spy sleeper agent. Only he doesn’t know it.
3. Incredible Hulk #340: Ground Zero
Is it fair to vote for an issue that was as much artist Todd McFarlane’s as it was Peter David’s? I dunno. But the fight between Hulk and Wolverine was fantastic.
2. Peter Parker the Spectacular Spider-Man: The Death of Jean DeWolff
Appearing in the pages of Peter Parker The Spectacular Spider-Man, a book widely (and wrongly) discredited as the lesser-brother of The Amazing Spider-Man, this was really the first time Peter David made his mark with the character by killing off fan favorite police captain Jean DeWolff, and having Spidey get really, really pissed. Featuring Daredevil as the Voice of Spidey’s Conscience (now there’s some irony, given how DD himself has circled morality’s drain on so many other occasions) and featuring Rich Buckler on the art—a man who cut his comic teeth way back in the Roy Thomas Marvel Bullpen.
1. X-Factor: The Longest Night
Reprinting the first six issues of X-Factor volume 2. On the heels of a noir-ish Madrox mini, Peter David relaunches X-Factor as a mutant private eye group investigating what caused all the mutants in the world to be depowered after House of M. The hook—and genius—of the early issues of this book were its unapologetic focus on B-list (C-list) characters, and how someone like “Strong Guy” must feel in a universe where Hulk and Thor get all the attention and glory. It’s the ultimate outsiders superhero book.
Caveats and Excuses:
- Aquaman. Many folks praise his work with Aquaman, but I can’t say as it did much for me. That’s probably because I really don’t like the character. If I had to recommend any book the check out, it would be the Time and Tide mini.
- Young Justice. The main reason I wasn’t ready to do this yet is I haven’t found the time to read ANY of PD’s work on Young Justice, and I hear it’s great.