Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man Vol. 1 was a blast, bringing back a quip-happy Spider-Man with a whole host of new problems and dilemmas. It also ended on one of the most important moments in Spider-Man history (so far) as writer Chip Zdarsky revealed Spider-Man’s identity to one of his longest running rivals ever. This volume picks up right after the last and is out in comic stores today.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
Pete is back in the friendly neighborhood, but he’s persona non grata as far as the NYPD is concerned! It’s a fresh twist on the age-old question — Peter Parker: Threat or Menace? And if the authorities’ pursuit of Peter and his sister, Teresa, isn’t enough, Black Panther is on their trail as well! And Spider-Man won’t give up without a fight! Meanwhile, the Tinkerer enlists the aid of his augmented allies to squash Spidey once and for all! Trapped in the middle of a family feud between Tinkerer and his do-gooder brother, the Mason, the wall-crawler secures a little help from a tech-heavy team of Marvel heroes and takes the fight directly to the geezer genius! But the Tinkerer has tech of his own — and it’s out of this world!
Why does this matter?
Zdarsky is writing a fantastic Spider-Man series as it keeps Peter (and the reader) on their toes with new developments and problems to overcome. To say this collection ends on a massive cliffhanger is an understatement; plus it houses the historic issue #300.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
That looks uncomfortable.
This collection tracks well with two main thrusts of story. The first is Peter Parker attempting to evade the law (and the loss of his spider-sense, zoinks) and the second has the Taskmaster story get crazy chaotic with Avengers popping up and responsibilities for Spider-Man growing exponentially. Possibly the strongest element of Zdarsky’s run so far is how singular and easily enjoyed it all is without the need to read other Spider-Man books or even know a lot about his history. Each issue has Spider-Man attempting to accomplish a task with subplots building nicely along the way.
Back to that opening chapter where Spider-Man is fleeing the police, boy do Adam Kubert and Juan Frigeri do a good job choreographing the scene. If you ever wondered how many different ways a character can evade and escape police in an apartment building you’ll find out here. It’s a claustrophobic chase that does well to capture the pickle Peter is in (he can’t use Spider-Man powers or they’ll know he’s the superhero) without his spider-sense.
The art team and Zdarsky do a great job with big reveals and twists too. There’s more than one and they’ll have your jaw hit the floor. The final cliffhanger builds well due to a major double page layout that gives readers the scope of danger the Earth is in. Bravo to the team because they always seem to be able to raise the stakes even when you think they’ve hit a ceiling.
This collection also has 13 pages of back matter which includes a collage of every cover of the 300 issue series, variant covers for each issue, and uncolored pages by Juan Frigeri and Adam Kubert.
Even in dire situations Spidey brings the truth.
It can’t be perfect can it?
It’s a bit of a bummer this collection is only 4 issues. Issue #300 is a extra-sized issue though, and you do get back matter material, but it’s still 30 or so pages short of a usual trade paperback collection.
As mentioned above, if you haven’t read volume 1 you’ll be lost. Read that to understand the weight of this long-game story.
Is It Good?
Spider-Man fans will appreciate the complexity of the story and its ability to enjoy all on its own. Zdarsky, Kubert, and Frigeri are putting on one hell of an enjoyable and extended story.