Reviewing Spider-Man: Life Story
Greetings and jamutations, Tin Hatters! The Tin Hat is back with another dose of Tin Foil goodness. This time, we’ll be doing something a little bit different. For those that have read the Previews articles, you know that I love me some Chip Zdarsky. I was uber hyped when I found out that Chip was writing a Spider-Man story, and not only was it just another Spider-Man satellite/alternate universe story, it became quite possibly the best Spider-Man story of this Modern Superhero Movie-Madness Age.
Doing some quick Google-fu and forum searching, the Tin Hat was able to find out that Chip originally wanted to write a story throughout the decades involving multiple characters. Marvel Editor Tom Brevoort then suggested that he focus on one character. The Tin Hat is not sure if it was Tom’s or Chip’s decision to settle on Spider-Man (or maybe it was mutual), but the result from this idea was an amazing and beautiful story. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, this is Chip’s magnum opus.
Similar to Ed Piskor’s X-Men series, Chip takes us on a rollercoaster ride of all of Spider-Man’s greatest hits. However, as you know, Peter Parker ages as each decade goes by. From his teenage years in the Silver Age to his twilight years in 2019, we see Peter interact with his supporting cast as they deal with love, death, changing times, political divide, and the rise of a new generation. Each issue perfectly fits within itself as each subsequent issue throws us in media res of the respective decade. Some quick dialogue catches us up to speed, but since these stories loosely follow the entirety of Spider-Man’s published run, we can easily fill in the gaps with our imaginations.
It all perfectly culminates in one of the last major scenes of issue 6. Peter is having trouble keeping Tony Stark’s space lab together with his webbing. It turns out Doctor Doom had taken over the lab, but Peter (and rising star Miles Morales) fly off into space to activate a bomb that will destroy the lab. After some Amazing Spider-Man #700 inspired shenanigans, Peter sends Miles on his way in the classic “there’s only one escape pod” trope. When all seems lost, the Venom symbiote appears, plugging up the massive hole in the lab. In a loving, almost tender moment, the symbiote helps Peter keep the station together enough for the plan to go through, both acknowledging their demise together as the bomb goes off. Zdarsky’s Spider-Man: Life Story will forever live on in the same vein as the original Stan and Ditko stories, the subsequent Stan and John Romita run, the Kraven Last Hunt arc, Straczysnki’s run (minus the few hiccups in there); in other words, it will stand the test of time as a must for any Spider-Man fan.
Will any of these issues be highly valuable? Well, some might sell for double cover. Issue 2 had some quick flip potential a few weeks after the fact due to the first appearance of the Black Goblin. The first few issues have gotten 3rd prints, and the subsequent issues are getting 2nd prints. (There’s a very strong chance that all issues will get 3rd prints because the cover is an awesome Spider-Man profile.) Each issue also has a 1:25 variant. Issue 1 had a 54k print run (thanks to quite a few store variants), and by the time issue 5 rolled around, it had dropped to around 40k. Issue 6 will probably end at the same amount.
So there you have it, Tin Hatters! Will you collect a full run of 1:25s or a full run of 3rd prints? Will you pick up the trade that’s coming out in October just to read it? Don’t forget that trade waiters eventually go back to pick up single issues if they love the story. All in all, whether you’re a Spider-Man fan, Marvel fan, or simply a fan of reading great comic stories, this is a story that needs to be in your collection.
To borrow an image from a fellow Tin Hatter, Chip Zdarsky’s Spider-Man: Life Story gets 5 out of 5 Tom Cruises.
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