“What Ifs” in Peter Parker: the Spectacular Spider-Man 304

by Taylor Anderson

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

One of my favorite episodes of Star Trek: the Next Generation involves Worf and parallel dimensions. In it, Worf is returning to the Enterprise from a Bat’leth tournament and through a bizarre set of circumstances finds himself transporting to different versions of his universe. In one, he’s married to Deanna Troi. In another he goes from placing first in the Bat’leth tournament to ninth. In yet another, he’s responsible for the inadvertent death of Goerdi La Forge. It’s a fun episode because it sets familiar characters and settings against an unfamiliar backdrop. This “what if” is a favorite of every Star Trek show and the same goes for comics. That being the case, you think I would be tired of the conceit, but the very opposite is true — I love it.

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The Burden of Tomorrow in Peter Parker: the Spectacular Spider-Man 303

by Taylor Anderson

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

More so than most superheroes, Spider-Man knows just how much of a sacrifice it takes to use his powers for good. In fact, the very reason he decided to become a hero at all revolves around the loss of his Uncle Ben. The list of hits doesn’t end there, though: Gwen Stacy, Aunt May, and and the sometimes friendly Osborns have all died at some point or another due to Spider-Man. This means that he’s a character as much defined by his tragic circumstances as he is by his superpowers, which begs the question: if he knew how terrible it is to be Spider-Man, would Peter Parker choose to be him anyway? Continue reading

Out of Sync Spider-Men in Peter Parker the Spectacular Spider-Man 302

by Taylor Anderson

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

In Back to the Future, Doc tells Marty that he can’t interact with a younger or older version of himself because it could disrupt the fabric of spacetime. In other stories, if someone sees themself from another time, it might cause things to explode. In yet other stories, characters can see their future or past selves and everything is A-OK. This is the case in the Spectacular Spider-Man 301, which means Past-Peter and Present-Peter can battle bad guys together. Sounds like a two for one special, but is this special event worth it? Continue reading

Differences of Time Travel Opinion in Peter Parker the Spectacular Spider-Man 301

by Michael DeLaney

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

What would you say to your younger self if you had a chance? Would you try to change the future or just enjoy the literal stroll down memory lane? Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man 301 does a little bit of both, actually. J. Jonah Jameson and Peter have traveled back in time a little earlier than their target date and have some time to kill. Peter spends it thwipping webs with his younger counterpart while Jonah enlists his younger self to track down The Tinkerer. Continue reading

Spidey in a Nutshell in Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man 300

by Taylor Anderson

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Over the years, Spider-Man has come to mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people. That being the case, it’s still interesting to ponder what about Spidey resonates with so many fans. After all, there are plenty of superheroes who have had comics, but few who are as popular as the web-slinger. I can’t help but feel that there must be something about Spider-Man that all people enjoy — something that makes him almost universal in his appeal. Figuring that out is perhaps a taller order than I can accomplish in this article, but in issue 300 of the Spectacular Spider-Man, there are hints which suggest why he is such a likable hero. Continue reading

What in the Ever Loving Hell is Happening in Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man 299?

by Taylor Anderson

Peter Parker the Spectacular Spider-Man 299

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

You know those Russian dolls where you find smaller and smaller dolls inside one another until you’re left with just a tiny, little one? Sure you do — everyone knows about them even if they might not know that they’re called Matryoshka Dolls. Well what’s the opposite of these dolls? One where the dolls somehow continue to get bigger and bigger in some brain-twisting way that defies physics and space? I doubt there’s a name for such a doll, but if there was one, it would be called Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man 299. Continue reading

Spider-Man is Finally Funny Again in Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man 298

by Michael DeLaney 

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

I know that Dan Slott’s fans are legion, but I’ve gotta say that Chip Zdarsky might be the heir apparent to the Spider-Man mythos. Despite the sometimes too-high concept “data blood” plot, Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man 298 accomplishes something that a lot of other Spider-Man stories don’t: it made me laugh. Continue reading

Sith Versus a Killer Granny in Darth Vader 9

by Mark Mitchell

This article contains SPOILERS! If you haven’t read the issue, proceed at your own risk.

Charles Soule and Giuseppe Camuncoli’s revisiting of Jocasta Nu in Darth Vader 9 is what the Star Wars Expanded Universe has always excelled at — taking a throwaway character from the films and broadening the world around them. Continue reading

Tyranny Destroys Expertise in Darth Vader 8

by Patrick Ehlers

This article contains SPOILERS! If you haven’t read the issue, proceed at your own risk.

Authoritarian rule is often the result of resentment toward the professional political class. All it takes is one “outsider” with enough willpower to assume power, and then the common man is freed from the dubious expertise of career politicians. The problem, of course, is that the elimination of political experts leads to brain drain in all other aspects of government, and eventually the loss of all knowledge and expertise. Star Wars Darth Vader 8 shows the tenuous balance between the experts and the tyrants that force their extinction. Continue reading

Peter Parker Sacrifices Action in Spectacular Spider-Man 297

by Patrick Ehlers

Peter Parker The Spectacular Spider-Man 297

This article contains SPOILERS! If you haven’t read the issue, proceed at your own risk.

Peter spends the majority of Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man 297 out-smarting, out-punching, and out-maneuvering both the NYPD and S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Mintz. And he does it all while being underpowered and trying to keep his identity a secret. It’s the kind of Spider-Man story that wordlessly plays in the fantasies of Spider-Man fans — scrape after scrape, close-call after close-call, until he finally escapes. It’s thrilling, wonderful stuff. Writer Chip Zdarsky and artist Adam Kubert use this issue to set up these thrilling heroics as the stakes of this arc, rather than the actual substance thereof. Continue reading