Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Art Team: Mark Bagley, John Dell, Frank D’Armata, VC’s Travis Lanham
Release Date: May 15, 2019
Cover Price: $4.99
We’re into issue three here for the Spider-Man: Life Story series which leads us smack dab into the 80’s! I believe its written some where that it was mandatory to play A-Ha’s Take on Me as background music while you read this issue, I just cant find the source at the moment. Go ahead open up Spotify, I’ll wait … OK, now lets discuss!
The issue begins with a prego Mary Jane about to give birth finding her only company at the moment to be Aunt May. Normally this wouldn’t be such a bad thing, but old Aunt May is showing her age here and suffering from a touch of Alzheimer’s, only adding to the stress Mary Jane finds herself in. To make matters worse Peter has been missing for weeks, as we quickly discover this is the time period he happened to be was whisked off to Battleworld, which was Marvel’s initial Secret Wars event, in which Peter was first given the black suit. The setup places us right smack dab in 1984 and gives some good context to the spot our hero, Peter, finds himself in. That is quite simply getting older, trying to balance a family life with super hero-ing, and the ongoing Cold War playing out in the background which has escalated with so many heroes missing for so long.
Now the father of twins, Peter has even more on his plate, but has still found time to help deal with the bomb attack on America, developing a Radio-Sponge to help with the damage, and also realizing his new suit happens to be an alien symbiote. Being spread so thin ultimately results in some family problems for Peter, and one night while blowing off steam he runs into a fake Spider-Man, who when unmasked happens to be Kraven the Hunter. Due to trying to avoid the black suits symbiotic nature Kraven is initially successful in taking down Spider-Man, much like Kraven’s Last Hunt, however Peter is ultimately resurrected by the symbiotic suit when it senses Peter is in ‘grave danger’.
The issue comes to a close with a couple emotional gut punches I don’t want to outright spoil, however they provide a nice twist on both the symbiote mythos, as well as an ending for Kraven, as we transition into the 90’s for next issue. Bagley does an excellent job with the art throughout with an amazing Secret Wars splash page at the beginning that steals the show. I would love a print of this if I’m ever at a Con he attends. The character designs have some subtle twists that really are eye catching and its a great page to go back and look at. That’s not to undersell any of the other art here in the issue, that was just the page that really stuck with me, but in all honesty anytime Spider-Man dons the black suit Bagley does an ‘amazing’ job.
Overall, Spider-Man: Life Story #3 covers what seems to both be a dark time in Spider-Man’s and the surrounding communities life. Zdarsky does a great job of touching on each topic here just long enough to keep the reader engaged, while providing the information necessary, yet not making it seem like a clip show he’s breezing though. Its some great work overall and paired with Bagley, Dell, and D’Armata’s art this book is really worth the little extra investment when all put together. If I had one minor complaint/nitpick it would be that I want a little more light to peek into Spider-Man/Peter’s life here and there in this series. Right now it just feels like he’s been put through the ringer without much of a breather, yet none of that is a knock against how the story is being told, I’m still enjoying everything we get, its just more of a personal preference to see a little balance.