Peter Parker’s Tragic Story Continues In Spider-Man: Life Story #2

by James Ferguson

Jump forward to the 1970’s in Peter Parker’s life. He’s in his thirties and carrying around all kinds of guilt as the conflict rages on in Vietnam. Is there anything else he can do? With great power comes great responsibility, right? So shouldn’t he be out there trying to stop this war? Meanwhile, Norman Osborn is rotting in prison, Harry is struggling to keep his life together, and Gwen’s boss, Dr. Miles Warren is super creepy.

The whole premise behind Spider-Man: Life Story is that Peter Parker is aging in real time, yet he’s still experiencing all the crazy adventures and outrageous events that he’s seen over the course of the past sixty years. As such, some major plot points are glossed over or abbreviated, but fortunately, it does not affect the story. Writer Chip Zdarsky keeps the focus on Peter and the supporting characters around him.
What is frustrating, but not altogether unexpected, is that Peter can’t quite figure out what to do with his life. Granted, I can relate as I’m about the same age as he is in this issue and I don’t really know what I’m doing, but with everything he’s experienced, you’d think he’d have a better idea as to the path he should be taking. What will become increasingly interesting is how the challenges of adulthood play into his antics as a super hero.

Artist Mark Bagley updates Spider-Man’s costume for this issue, giving him some armor plating on his arms and legs. It looked a little odd at first, but makes total sense. He should have some armor to protect himself as his basic costume is little more than a pair of pajamas. This design keeps the costume lightweight with armor on the important spots like joints and shins that would get hit first in a fight. I’m curious as to how Bagley will continue to evolve the costume as the series progresses.
Bagley maintains a classic look to Spider-Man: Life Story. It’s very much a period piece, with the same look and feel of comics of the 1970s. Inker Drew Hennessy amplifies this feeling with some clear lines that highlight the great detail work from Bagley’s pencils.

Peter’s life is full of heartbreak as he goes through tragedy after tragedy. The end of this issue is particularly gut-wrenching. For all the good he does as Spider-Man, you’d think he’d catch a break. Colorist Frank D’Armata paints a dark cloud over Peter’s head. The final scenes of this issue are a little dreary. You can feel his grief permeating off him like an aura.
We’re also introduced to the Black Goblin in Spider-Man: Life Story #2. I love this design and how dark and brooding it is. It’s equal parts menacing and crazy. Letterer Travis Lanham adds a nice touch with the character’s word balloons shaped in rough ovals.

Since the Marvel Universe is our world, seeing how Peter Parker grapples with major events like the Vietnam War makes for a fascinating read. More importantly, it’s refreshing to see a character grow, age, and change over time. In the scheme of things, Peter Parker hasn’t changed all that much over the years. This gives us a glimpse as to the man he could become if he keeps this up.
Spider-Man: Life Story #2 from Marvel Comics is currently available at your local comic shop and digitally through ComiXology and Amazon Kindle.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: