Poor Peter Parker! Marvel Relaunches Spider-Man Again

I’ve written before about how I got into comic books. One of the first American comics I bought and read regularly was Spider-Man. This was back in the days when there were three monthly Spidey titles: The Amazing Spider-Man; Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man; and Web of Spider-Man. I focused on The Amazing Spider-Man, but would buy the other titles when there was a crossover story. One of the best of these was Kraven’s Last Hunt. I used to have the original 6 issues of that story-arc but they have been lost to time unfortunately.

Marvel Comics relaunched Spider-Man last month with a new issue #1 (Legacy issue #895) written by Zeb Wells with art by John Romita Jr. I read it and enjoyed the story. I thought the characters were written well, the plot was intriguing and the art suited the story. Controversial opinions, as it turned out. I reviewed it on my YouTube channel and the video has done pretty well for me. But it generated some strong reactions in the comments section.

My Video Review of the new Spider-Man issue 1

I made it clear in my review that I haven’t read Spider-Man regularly since the late 1980s. I tried the first volume of Nick Spencer’s run (2018-2021) but it didn’t really grab me. I found it a bit too light and goofy, so I didn’t continue with it. I did enjoy Chip Zdarsky’s mini-series Spider-Man: Life Story (2019) which tells a condensed version of Spidey’s life story and has Peter Parker actually age decade by decade. I recommend this story to anyone with an interest in the character. But that’s all the Spider-Man I’ve read lately.

*Possible SPOILERS below!*

A lot of the reactions to this first issue by the new creative team have been negative. From what I can gather, fans aren’t happy with the portrayal of Peter Parker. He appears to be down on his luck again. Aunt May and his friends are upset with him over something we haven’t seen yet, something only hinted at in the first few pages. Mary Jane is telling him not to call her anymore. And worst of all, revealed on the last page of the issue, she is living with a man and two young children who call her “Mommy!” Poor Peter Parker!

I can understand readers wanting to see a happy Peter Parker who is back with Mary Jane and enjoying his life being Spider-Man. I remember that from back in the 1980s when David Michelinie was writing the comic. I used to have a copy of the Amazing Spider-Man Annual #21: The Wedding! (1987). I wish I still did. But I guess the new creative team aren’t ready to give Peter Parker the happy life so many fans would love to see. What do you think? Are happy heroes a thing of the past? Is it “easier” to write a conflicted character than a satisfied one? Does this decision come from higher up in Marvel Comics as some have suggested in their comments on my review?

I’ll be buying issue #2 of the new run on Wednesday this week. I am excited to be back reading Spider-Man and I’m looking forward to seeing how the story progresses.

Thanks for reading!

-Wakizashi, *recovering from a double Sports Day weekend at two of my schools*

16 thoughts on “Poor Peter Parker! Marvel Relaunches Spider-Man Again

  1. I was a fan of the Web of Spiderman. I think I collected from issue 75 until it stopped? They’re all gone now, but for whatever reason I enjoyed it.

    As for this relaunch. Enfranchised readers are never going to like that kind of thing but new readers need a place to latch onto and start their own ride. However, the story direction of making Peter’s circumstances miserable is a cheap story telling trick that eventually wears out its own welcome. Plus, when people DO end up enjoying that kind of thing, it shows how distorted their view on life has become that misery and sadness makes them happy. So I’m never a fan of that kind of thing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I had a copy of Web of Spider-Man issue 1 and the cover was amazing! I wish I still had it with me today. I can’t even remember what happened to it. 😅

      Yes, I understand the negative reaction by long-time fans. That’s what they were saying: “Oh no, not again!” Maybe it’s because I haven’t been reading Spidey that I was able to enjoy it? I just remember getting pulled into the story and it left me wanting to read the next issue. Job done.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I really liked Web of Spider-Man, that was one of my favourites back in the day. Yeah, Spider-Man has been rebooted loads of times now but I quite liked this new version. It was something a bit different and I liked how it set up a mystery of sorts. I also like JRJR’s art, although I know his work can split opinion. I first got into comics reading Star Wars Weekly and Mighty World of Marvel Weekly and Spider-Man Weekly (the A4 size B&W reprints) here in UK as a kid. I waa hooked right away. We didn’t see proper American comics much back then, but a newsstand on the railway station did something have them. First comic i ever got there was Detective Comics #462..

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    • It’s great to hear how you got into comics, Paul. For me it was via my older brother. He used to buy the Star Wars Weekly you mention. There were no comic shops where I lived either. But I can vividly remember seeing a copy of Batman in a local newsagents when I was 6 or 7. We’re talking the end of the 1970s. British newsagents would stock a few random comics and I used to see Batman. I can’t remember any others, though. I’d have to wait another 7 years until I found an actual comic shop in Manchester. It was in a tiny basement shop at the Corn Exchange. And it always smelled a bit weird. LOL! The stereotypes are true.

      Btw, if you are interested in joining me on a Livestream sometime, I’d love to talk about this. How we got into comics over in the UK. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah, end of the 70’s comics, especially the proper America comics were very hard to find, even in the bigger cities. When you did find a place the supply of comics varied a lot, they’d have some issues, then you go a month or two without seeing any, and then there’s be comics again. Sadly that often meant you missed out if it was a two-part story – sometimes you never found out what happened next LOL! Glad things have changed and there are more comic shops now though, Thanks for the offer. I’ve never done a livestream or anything like that before. I have got a lot on just at the moment, but its certainly something Ito think about for the future maybe. I think as comic fans us in the UK probably had a very different introduction to comics to fans in other parts of the world, especially say the USA, where comics were commonplace.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Great points, Paul. Us older UK comic book fans had to work hard to find our doses of capes and cowls! But that’s part of what made the hobby so much fun; the hunt for the next issue. It’s weird how things have kind of come full circle for me. I have a very limited choice of new floppies and I often miss out on the next issue. I miss being able to go into a comic shop and just browse the shelves. It’s probably a good thing for my wallet though!

          Liked by 1 person

          • Yeah, I think because comics were so scarce it made finding and reading them all the more fun. Something we kind of take for granted now, especially with digital, but there’s nothing that beats browsing for comics in a store. I’m quite lucky now that there’s two comic shops quite near me via a short drive. I don’t think I buy as many floppies as I used to, probably because of the space they require to store, I tend to go for more collected editions as like you say the individual floppies can work out quite expensive nowadays.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Yes, storage is a problem. I will always prefer the physical copies but digital makes “storage” easy. The only problem is you don’t really own the comic. But I really like reading them on my widescreen monitor.

            Liked by 1 person

  3. Peter Parker’s marriage to MJ was pretty unhappy when I was reading Spider-Man (slightly after your time, I guess). One of the reasons I hate they killed the Sam Raimi Spider-Mans is that the third one, for all its faults, seemed to be setting things up to go in that direction.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It’s been ages since I read any Spider-Man, and I don’t recall off the top of my head which titles I read. I probably read some of all of them but not sure if I had one that I preferred. Spider-Man was more a side interest for me. As for the shift to a less happy character, in and of itself I don’t see any problems with that. There are plenty of folks in difficult times and portraying a character like that might help resonate with folks who are struggling (provided they can afford or get their hands on these increasingly expensive comics). I’d like to see the character struggle through some of that and show some form of light in the dark, but that’s just me. Of course, I don’t know if that was the intent in changing things up. Publishing always seems to go in cycles with certain themes more popular today than yesterday and perhaps this darker theme is still popular. There was the huge popularity of anti-heros for a time (and perhaps it’s still popular). And as you mentioned, it’s also possible it was all from on-high and about marketing. But as long as you’re enjoying it, I don’t know that any of the rest matters, right? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Great to get your thoughts on this, Todd. Darker themes do seem to be more common these days. Thinking about the different comics I’m reading at the moment, the “happiest” character is probably Usagi Yojimbo. Interesting!

      I don’t mind seeing characters struggle as long as there is light at the end of the tunnel. And yes you are right about the popularity of anti-heroes. I guess that’s why I always preferred Batman to Superman.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Poor Peter Parker indeed! I feel like those endless reboots bring nothing and make me, a long-time fan, tired of reading the same thing again and again and again. On the other hand, I guess there’s a limit to what you can invent within the limits of the genre/character, so inevitably from time to time you’ll just run out of ideas, or the constrictions of the plotline become unbearable. Spider-Man was always the most unlucky Marvel character: whatever pitfalls could befall him, did. I really liked the original Kraven, verging into horror, and Blue, melancholy and nostalgic, and the Superior Spider-Man storyline, so outrageous but fun! I also enjoyed Straczynski’s run. It was quirky but in a cool way. I appreciated Bendis’s idea to heat things up with Miles Morales, but after a few volumes I just got tired. The duo with Deadpool was mostly tedious, the Tony-Starking of Spiderman was very bad… So I stopped reading 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh wow, I didn’t know you were such a fan of the Spider-Man comics. You have read a lot more than me. I remember when Todd McFarlane’s solo “Spider-Man” series came out. I think I stopped reading Spidey part way through his run on that series. Man, I loved his art back then. The detail was amazing. (Just checked and he did the first 16 issues from 1990-1991).

      I’ve heard good things about Straczynski’s run. Not so much about Dan Slott’s-he was on the book for years, wasn’t he? Anyway, I can understand fans’ frustration with another down-on-his-luck Peter Parker story. I’m coming to the comic fresh, so I want to give it a chance and see what the first five or six issues are like. Issue #2 is out today.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I think all the reboots (comics as bad as the films, weirdly) reflect something which American comics do: they run and run and eventually as the world around them changes, and tastes/atitudes of readers, they have to reset.

    But I think it weakens them, ultimately. Why care about Spidey, MJ and Gwen Stacey if everything resets every twenty years and nothing really matters? I mean, that’s partly what will undo the Marvel Studios films with the Multiverse in my opinion. Its hard to feel much for the death of Gwen Stacey in Universe 71 if she lives to ripe old age in Universe 99 etc. Or why care if Peter Parker is outed as Spiderman in Universe 234 if he carries on unmasked in Universe 521. It only means something if its the ONLY Gwen Stacy, the ONLY Peter Parker. The Multiverse adds nothing other than a way to excuse lazy continuity issues, like JJ Abrams did with the Kelvin timeline in Star Trek- its not to add anything new or bold, its just so JJ could get away with messing the franchise continuity up having Spock snog Uhura. Disney will do it in Star Wars eventually.

    So anyway, my Spidey is the original 1960s/1970s Spidey I read in the weekly UK reprints so long ago, the Stan Lee/Ditko/Romita/Andru run. That’s the Spidey I remember and love. I’ve tried reading more modern Spidey (I read the JMS run) but even that was all pretty meh.

    For me, the best Spidey movie will be one set in the 1960s looking like an episode of Mad Men, with the cars, fashions and tech of its time. We’ll never see that film of course but I can dream it in my head. It looks like Ditko, and Romita, with a dash of Andru. And its smarter, the way Marvel Comics were back then.

    Liked by 1 person

    • They often do these reboots when a new creative team takes over one of the bigger titles, like with this one. It annoys me when they decide to renumber the comic. Oh look, another Number #1 for Spider-Man. I know it’s done to generate more sales and also to try and entice new readers who might be put off by issue #895. But I wish they’d keep the numbering consecutive.

      Yeah, I know what you mean about resets removing stakes in characters and their stories. Could this be the death knell of the MCU? The Multiverse of Meaninglessness! I wouldn’t mind a break from this endless content to be honest. And I’m saying this as a huge comic book fan who used to wish for Superhero movies when I was growing up. I still remember how excited I was for Burton’s Batman ’89. I’m calling it Cape & Cowl Film Fatigue TM! Strange days indeed.

      My brother used to read those Marvel UK reprints. Going back and reading the early issues of Spidey is so much fun. The sheer invention and enthusiasm from the creators should be a lesson for all modern comic book creators. I was always more into Batman and then I moved on to what became the early Vertigo titles, may they rest in peace.

      Your pitch for a 1960s Spider-Man movie sounds cool!

      Like

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