Spider-Man: Life Story #5 Review

Writer: Chip Zdarksy

Art Team: Mark Bagley, John Dell, Frank D’Armata

Release Date: July 17, 2019

Cover Price: $4.99

Spider-Man: Life Story has been a very enjoyable else-worlds tale that answered the age old question of what if Marvel’s Super Hero’s aged in real time. The Life Story creative team has also done an excellent job of showcasing different events of the various time periods, how these characters react to those events, and the effect they have on the cast at hand as a result of their decisions.  Its been a little more than your typical Marvel comic book so lets see if that keeps up with issue five, the ‘aughts’.

Events will start fairly familiar to Spider-Man readers of the last several years, but also the early two thousands, as Morlun is introduced at the start here, on the hunt for the Spider totem Peter Parker himself. When we join the action in this issue Morlun is in luck, sorta, fighting the current person acting as Peter, Ben Reilly.  Morlun makes very quick work, from what we see, of my most favorite character ever (poor Ben Reilly), and heads off to find the true mark he’s on the hunt for.  This is an interesting introduction but I’m a bit sad we didn’t get more of Ben in the life of Peter and its only vaguely mentioned here. While I still like this series a bunch, and would still recommend it, especially to Spider fans, the amount of things I find interesting or cool that don’t get explored in this series, and only managed to get a mention in passing dialogue, are really starting to stack up a bit here.

From there its off to Peter and his family (MJ, two kids, one boy, & one girl), managing to keep a low profile at a home in the woods, when they catch wind of the goings on back in New York, mainly that Spider-Man is dead.  It all leads to some family drama, about if anyone is truly living up to the family mantra of “with great power comes great responsiblity”, forcing Peter to act as he decides to head back to New York.  Peter comes off fairly harsh here, mostly concerned with his company falling into he hands of Tony Stark, then Morlun, and only Peter’s daughter really comes off as someone making sound decisions for most of the beginning of the title.

When Peter gets to New York the story overall becomes a little jumbled to me as far as characters referencing events, and other characters actions, without the reader really ever seeing anything they’re talking about, or even having much of a previous point of reference of in the story.  Again it’s nothing that crushes the flow of the events going down while reading though, because it doesn’t impact the story a whole lot in most cases, but references to Civil War’s, issues abroad with other countries, Super Heroes in the everyday line of duty would be things I’d like at least to spend a few panels on we never get to see.

All in all the conclusion of the story comes at you from two different angles.  Morlun ends up catching up with the Parker family hiding out, minus Peter, which leads to the first of two cliffhangers, and the more emotional of the two scenes.  The second is the eventual showdown between Tony and Spider-Man in New York City, that’s been building up a bit in this series, upon Peter’s return to reclaim Parker Industries after Ben’s death.  The second cliffhanger will have a bigger impact on the wider Universe going forward, as we enter the 2010’s next month and what I think is the series conclusion, which I really look forward too.

Mark Bagley, John Dell, and Frank D’Armata do a great job on art again this issue, bringing a consistency to the book that you rarely see now a days, while also adjusting characters and surroundings to the times the story moves through. I have loved the changing Spider costumes with the time periods and the one Peter chooses upon his return to New York here is great.

Overall, Spider-Man: Life Story is a great mini-series that does a pretty good job of expanding on some of the classic What if one shots from back in the day in mini series form.  However there are moments where some very interesting things are brought up or mentioned that we never really see that are beginning to add up a bit throughout the five issues in the series so far.  Regardless the art team does a great job of setting the mood and capturing the emotion in this title making it something Spider fans should see through and find worth in.


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