Our Secret Wars
We continue the adventures of Peter Parker as an aging Spider-Man realtime through the decades. In this particular chapter, we’re introduced to the Cold War tensions of the 80s. Remarkably, Chip Zdarsky is able to balance the seminal points of Spidey history from the 80s: Secret Wars, the black suit, the symbiote, and Kraven’s hunt.
Spider-Man: Life Story continues to be a standout book, detailing real emotional consequence through the passage of time and events for Spider-Man in this alternate reality. We accept, with suspension of disbelief, that the fantastical events of superheroic tales largely don’t have lasting effects on these characters’ lives. If we were to imagine what it would mean for these things to actually take effect on these characters, we would get the well balanced act that Chip Zdarsky and Mark Bagley are crafting. What does it mean to be missing for weeks at a time fighting during an inter-dimensional battle? What steps would one take to make up for their aging body?
I appreciate what Zdarksy and Bagley are doing. The anguish that Bagley is able to convey feels real. Really seems like Bagley is hitting his stride in this issue. The more adult and haggard Peter finally has a familiar but distinctly different feel from Ultimate Spider-Man. This kind of consequence is the sort of thing that I think many wish existed in comics on a more regular basis. Having something really on the line helps the reader feel the gut punches harder and makes the sweetness of victory more palpable.