It was my most anticipated comic out this week on the Comics Podcast and it’s finally here. The ’80s, Spider-Man, and the Symbiote costume all come together. What’s not to love here?!
So what’s it about?
Read the preview.
Why does this matter?
I gave the last issue in this series a 10/10, which is rare for me. So far Zdarsky has spun a unique and exciting take on Spider-Man as he ages in real time through the hardships and trends of the decades. Enter: the ’80s.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This issue opens with Mary Jane very pregnant with a senile Aunt May watching on at the hospital and no Peter Parker in sight. The Secret Wars is in full effect and Peter is off-world. Zdarsky drops Peter in this issue at the point where he finds the Symbiote costume, but how does that change when his life is so riddled with personal trouble and his age is catching up to him? It might be a sad story in some sense, but it continues to be a great celebration of this character and a fantastic way to honor him for Marvel’s 80th.
This issue continues to develop Peter’s relationship with Mr. Fantastic as well. He’s a mentor of sorts and they connect on a big-brain science level that makes so much sense. The other big takeaway is how Zdarsky plays with “Kraven’s Last Hunt” in a new way. Age is catching up to Peter, but that goes for his villains too. How does that affect that story? It’s an interesting take that plays around with familiar Spidey elements which include Venom, too.
Mark Bagley continues to draw in a way that brings me back to my childhood. After the opening page, there’s an epic double-page splash of many heroes fighting. This leads to a new look for Spider-Man’s costume as well as some great use of Symbiote suit action too. The organic nature, and how it practically oozes off of him is great.
It can’t be perfect, can it?
This issue doesn’t quite bring together as many Spider-Man story elements as the last issue did so perfectly. Instead, it leans heavily into “Kraven’s Last Hunt” possibly too much. It’s certainly melding the Symbiote costume into things too, but more exploration of Aunt May, or another villain, could have strengthened the story. Instead, it almost reads like a “What If” story rather than a continuation of the previous chapters. Captain America, for instance, isn’t touched upon even though the last issue he was fighting for both sides in Vietnam. There isn’t much of the bigger picture shown.
Is it good?
Another good issue in a series I can’t get enough of. Longtime Spidey-heads will love this for its ingenuity and celebration of the greatest hero of all time.