Chris’ Comic Book Corner: Spider-Man Life Story #1

A Review From Christopher Franey

Get your Eisner ready…yea I’m calling it early, but this is a highly recommended series and this issue was…Amazing!  I’m a huge fan of Elseworlds, What Ifs, and Imaginary Stories…this just hits that spot perfectly.  I also love that in this issue we find out that it won’t just be Spider-Man going through time, but the rest of the Marvel Universe as well.  Now get ready for SPOILERS!!

So 1962 young Peter Parker gets bit…becomes Spider-Man and we know the history, here though we will see if unfold in real time, so Peter will be 15 years old in 1962.  The story starts off in 1966 and we are treated to a great one page origin/recap by the talented Mark Bagley and he is just as amazing as he was on Ultimate Spidey and the books back in the 90’s, his style is timeless and perfect.

That first page is perfect as it captures Pete’s thoughts and I like how he is still haunted by Uncle Ben’s death and his own un-sureness, very nice for a young Spidey.  We see Spidey realize that he needs to get back to being Pete as he is missing his college classes.  We see Harry and Norman Osborn running into Pete and this is the first time Norman and Pete are meeting in this history.  Sure enough Norman comes off as just the same sleeze as he was/is in the 616 universe as well.  The vibe is very stalker like of Norman but Pete is a scientific genius so why not if you scouting for your company…right?
Next up Pete finally gets to class and his partner Gwen, she even calls him out on his lateness and convenience of excuses.  I like that Professor Miles Warren is here to warn Gwen about being dragged down by Parker; as we know from the 616 Warren becomes the Jackal and is the creator of the clones, best one of all…Ben Reilly.  Parker shakes it off and is reminded that they have Flash Thompson’s going away party (heading to Vietnam for the war) later in the evening, so that means Pete will need cash, enter JJJ.  It’s nice to see the way Pete and JJJ used to interact and I live the dated dialogue as well.  What is interesting is the upcoming charges against JJJ with his involvement with the Scorpion and the Spider-Slayers, so expect more of that as the series progresses.  

As Pete is cashing his voucher with Betty Brant we catch the news and find out that Iron Man is already in the Vietnam War helping our soldiers fight the fight.  Which also brings up the question, should Super Heroes be automatically drafted?  This really hits Pete hard and he questions his actions towards the war.    

Next day Spidey is out on patrol and sees a fight with Cap and some thugs, he comes in to assist and it is an easy clean up for the two.  They get to talking about the war and Cap even admits that it is a lot to process.  Spidey admits he wonders as well, but Cap assures him that everyday Spidey fights the good fight for responsibility and is doing the right thing.  Which also gets Pete to realize that he needs to turn in Norman and put the Goblin away.  Pete makes an anonymous call, we see Norman locked up, but the scary part is when Norman is put in the back of a patrol car he sees Spidey swing away..stay tuned True Believer!
Pete realizes he is going to miss Flash leave by way of train.  He books it over and is still late again, to which Gwen lets him know that he is being a jerk and is wondering about what is wrong with Pete to which she sees: 

We now all arrive at the going away party and Pete and Flash have it out at first, Pete admits he has some pent up issues from their high school days and takes it out on Flash saying he is excited for the war with his bullying ways.  They do make peace because Gwen reminds Pete this could be the last time they see each other and you don’t want to leave it that way.  Norman buys Pete a soda and nudges him to leave the party so everyone will be safe.  Pete puts it together that Norman knows, so we get our classic Spidey vs Green Goblin fight with Spidey as the victor and Norman conveniently losing his memory.  The story is now that Norman was at a costume party and then mugged, which works for Pete as his secret is safe.  

So the next issue is called Fathers and Sons and set in the 70’s.  This issue was great and I highly recommend you pick this series up, don’t wait for the trade help support it now and enjoy it as well.  The art is amazing and Chip Zdarsky is killing it, he just gets his characters and does such a great job here.  His Spider-Man is very spot on, he just gets Parker and delivers.  This will be a fun world to explore in the next five issues, watching the Marvels grow in the real time line as well.  

Once again I can’t say enough great things about this issue and I look forward to the rest of the mini-series.  I give this six out of five Spideys and also a money back guarantee…you buy it and don’t like it, I’ll buy it off you.  So give it a risk all you can lose is the time and you won’t with this Life Story.  As always read on and Excelsior!

Whats also fun about this “What If” is that the time line, so far, fits into a potential DC/Marvel cross over with a story called Batman & Captain America by John Byrne which was a DC Elseworld that also tied into Superman & Batman Generations.  Those two stories take comics and place them in real time as well, so this is super exciting to see a Marvel version as well.  

Now its 1967 and do you know where your Captain America is?  Hmmm…maybe the Civil War will come earlier too.  

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