Brothers in Arms
Starring: an old Peter Parker, old Ben Reilly, even older Doc Ock, and even older Norman Osborne. How could you go wrong? Answer: you can’t. Do you like twists? This issue has them! Do you like consequences? This issue has them too!
I wish superhero comics demonstrated a real sense of time within them. There is something quite fascinating about watching heroes deal with issues in “real time” and over the passage of time. If this happened with more frequency in current comics, I think we would ultimately get better stories and more refreshes of characters to make them more timely and relevant.
Life Story is pulling from existing events within Spider-Man continuity, which could be an entry barrier to understanding what is going on in this alternate reality. Do you need to know everything there is to know about Spider-Man for this issue or series? No. Just having a passing familiarity is good enough. The Life Story team does a good job filling in the blanks if you don’t know the source material.
The core of these books is emotion, not plot. This is what drives this series and Peter’s journey through it. Peter has always been beset by the burdens and losses he has endured over the years. Zdarsky and Bagley really make you feel those regrets as he ages and opines for something better, a path not taken. Each issue thus far can be taken on its own with the ability to jump in at any point. That said, I think you would be doing yourself a disservice to do so. If you are interested in reading Life Story, you really need to start from the beginning. There isn’t a ton of continuity knowledge needed from issue to issue, but there are a couple plot points that you would benefit from knowing previously before going into this issue. Starting from the beginning of the series is necessary to really feel Peter’s anguish get ratcheted up over time. When the twist in this issue happens, contextually it will feel natural and in character. I am genuinely interested to know how all of it wraps, with only a couple of issues left.