Spider-Man Life Story #4 Review

Writer: Chip Zdarksy
Art Team: Mark Bagley, Andrew Hennessy, Frank D’Armata, VC’s Travis Lanham
Release Date: June 12, 2019
Cover Price: $4.99

I usually am the first person to stand up and say something when the comic companies start creeping these books up to $4.99 a piece, because a lot of times we don’t get value for the extra costs associated with certain titles … that will remain nameless. Yet that has not been the case with the Spider-Man Life Story series,  which has consistently delivered each issue so far, to be worthy of the aforementioned price tag. So lets discuss why that’s so this issue.

We’re up to the most dangerous part of American history here, the point in time I learned how to drive, so of course I’m talking about the good ol’ 90’s. My formerly epic bad driving aside, one of the only things you’ll recognize at the start of this issue in older Peter’s life right now is some classic villains still hanging around. To kick this issue off we get glimpses of a very old Doc Ock, making his last stand, while the story also gives hints we aren’t quite done with Ben Reilly just yet. It’s a great cold open taking the reader off guard, especially with the location becoming Chicago.

When we check in on New York we see a version of Parker Industries alive and well, at least for now, because Tony Stark is breathing down Peter’s neck to sell, sell, sell. Peter refuses to take the bait, going the ever reasonable ‘with great power comes great responsibility’ route, and then it’s off to catch up with older friends, mainly Doc Ock, upset with a twist linked to very old call back to boot.  I enjoy Spider-Man Life Story for many reasons mainly because it does such a great job of mixing up aspects of Peter’s life in random and different ways. Just when you think Chip will zig, he zags, therefore avoiding the been there done that feeling of recapping the entirety of Spidey’s history in order with him just being older.

If you are a fan of the 90’s Clone Saga this issue is heavy with references and call backs to it as well.  It all ends up boiling over with a Black Mirror level twist, Clone Saga fans will be familiar with, but it still ends up playing off much less painlessly here than it did back than.  At the time, as the 90’s begins to conclude, we get some closure (or do we?) on the Clone Saga and look forward to the next century to see if Spidey’s weak knees can continue to take such a pounding.  (Author Note: really I’m projecting and I’m the one with weak knees).

Overall, Spidey Life Story continues to be a very enjoyable ‘What If’ take on what would happen to the Spider-Man story/mythos in real time, mixed with a bit of real world super hero flavor. Zdarsky does a great job of mixing old and new continuity up, making it much more than a run of the mill retelling, and into an idea I’d like to see altogether expanded to include other ‘heroes’ or ‘villains’.  Bagley and Hennessy continue to be an excellent team considering the project at hand, especially when it comes to showing character age, and emotion. All around something truly unique that deserves a look.


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