Spider-Man: Life Story, penned by Chip Zdarsky and illustrated by Mark Bagley, is a masterpiece that should grace the bookshelves of any Spidey aficionado. The new hardcover edition, released in August 2021, collects the entire six-issue series along with Spider-Man: Life Story Annual #1.
The series is a realistic portrayal of Peter Parker’s life, exploring how he ages in real-time and how he experiences historical events such as the Vietnam War. Starting in 1966, a few years after Parker was bitten by the radioactive spider, the story progresses through the decades, offering a fresh take on classic Spider-Man tales.
The second issue, set in 1977, stands out as it introduces new revelations and twists on familiar characters. Peter Parker enjoys a happy life, working alongside another superhero under his real identity, and sharing a significant role with Gwen Stacy. However, Zdarsky’s masterful storytelling culminates in a devastating turn of events, leading to a gripping and emotional tale.
As the story unfolds, new characters like Miles Morales are introduced, and the Symbiote costume is explored in-depth, offering a unique take on the Spider-Man mythos. Bagley’s artwork, with inkers John Dell and Andrew Hennessy and color artist Frank D’Armata (and Matt Milla on the Annual), captures the classic look of Spider-Man comics, while adding a fresh touch to the story.
The Annual issue, focusing on J. Jonah Jameson, is a standout story that ties into Spider-Man’s narrative, creating a nuanced and layered narrative that elevates the main series. Zdarsky’s writing showcases Jameson’s journey of redemption and hope, resulting in a story that will resonate with readers on a deeper level.
Spider-Man: Life Story is a remarkable tale that celebrates Spider-Man in a new and inventive way. Zdarsky and Bagley have created a timeless work that will be remembered as one of the greatest Spider-Man stories of all time. While the extras in the hardcover, including variant covers and Zdarsky’s cover art process, are nice additions, the main series remains the heart of the book. In summary, Spider-Man: Life Story is a must-read for any fan of the friendly neighborhood web-slinger.