Two Spider-Men for the price of one!
Time travel is a funny business which just so happens to be involved in the ending for Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man #301. Why must Spider-Man jump through time? Spidey, his sort-of sister Teresa, and J. Jonah Jameson are on a mission to stop an alien race from killing all life on Earth. Nbd.
So what’s it about?
Read our preview.
Why does this matter?
Two Spider-Men for the price of one? Yes, please.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Way to scare yourself Peter.
Zdarsky juggles multiple subplots well here advancing the stories of Teresa, J.J., and Spider-Man effectively. It all opens with a surprising introduction of Spider-Man to, well past Spider-Man. Zdarsky explores the older days of Spidey–back when beating Doc Ock wasn’t so difficult–and he has the characters from differing time periods riff off each other like they’ve been doing it forever. Teresa’s story ends up being an effective cliffhanger and even J.J. gets to shine. Seeing Jameson confront his (even) angrier and louder younger self is a scene you gotta read. Apparently only J. Jonah Jameson can get through to J. Jonah Jameson.
The issue is not without some character work either. Zdarsky handles Jameson in such a way that makes you like him a bit more (a feat, given it was hard enough to like him in Zdarsky’s previous stories). There’s a real moment of clarity for him to see a younger Peter Parker and what he eventually put the kid through.
Joe Quinones draws in a style that’s perfect for this story since it’s somewhat flat and old school looking. Facial expressions are very clean and the general look is very endearing. He also draws Green Goblin and Doc Ock in a way that is reminiscent of the older days without all that newfangled detail, a simple style that’s very pleasing. The Jameson scene is a highlight due to the excellent reactions and character acting via body language. I imagine it’s a real trip to see yourself and Jameson acts in surprising and funny ways. There are also some great layouts slicing down the page to create vertical panels that do well to show the depth in the scene as the two Spider-Man characters spar with Doc Ock.
Jordan Gibson colors this one and it has a brightness that behooves the classic timeline the characters are in. There’s a nice glow and shimmer when it comes to Spider-Man’s eyes and you have to respect the old school colors of Green Goblin too.
I love the difference in hair.
It can’t be perfect can it?
Am I crazy for thinking it’s a bit immoral for our heroes to be messing up an entirely different timeline? Sure, it allows Zdarsky to explore some interesting bits of the story, but unless everyone is mindwiped this changes things big time. One could argue it’s for the better, but how often do characters demand nothing to be changed to prevent altering things for the worse?
Is It Good?
This is fun on many levels. Exploring characters meeting themselves, two Spider-Man characters riffing, and the art style all come together to make a classic story all Spider-Man fans will enjoy.