Wes Serafine

Equinox Staff

 

As a special treat for what will be my final comic review as a Keene State Student, I thought I would share with you my favorite single comic book issue of all time. Sure there are story arcs and books as a whole that I like better, but this is an issue that did everything perfectly. Ladies and Gentlemen, this is Amazing Spiderman #500. From the J. Michael Straczynski and John Romita Jr. run on the book, this masterpiece is actually the last issue in a trilogy but still stands alone very well.

 

Background:

I think most of you are at least vaguely familiar with the back story of Spiderman. Young Peter Parker gets bitten by a radioactive Spider and gains amazing powers, but when his uncle is killed, he decides it is his responsibility to use these powers for good. At this point in time, New York City is under attack by an army of creatures called mindless ones causing Reed Richards, the leader of the Fantastic Four and various Marvel heroes to inadvertently revive the dread Dormammu in an attempt to banish them. Doctor Strange, a powerful sorcerer and ally of the Marvel heroes, shows up to confront The inderdimensional monster and Spidey gets caught in the crossfire of spells. This causes Spidey to start start bouncing around his own timeline, simultaneously witnessing the day he got bitten by the Radioactive Spider and a dark future where he’s an old man about to be killed by the police for unknown reason (Future Pete has also upgraded his spider costume to a classy trenchcoat).

 

Story:

We start properly in the future timeline where the cops are pleading with future Spidey to give himself up for manslaughter charges. Spidey says it is too late and fights the cops near the grave of Aunt May, but not before telling his past self that it is better this way and when it is his turn to face his death with dignity and go down fighting. He reassures him that Mary Jane never stopped loving him and will be okay after he’s gone. Then we witness what could very well be Spiderman’s final moment as he’s gunned down by the FBI. It’s a heart-wrenching scene for both the characters and the readers. Then Spidey shifts back to the past and sees an opportunity to stop himself from ever becoming Spiderman. He almost does it but decides he must not because to many things would change, and too many people may die. Then Doctor Strange shows up to cast a spell on Peter that will send him forward through time to before the heroes revived Dormammu so he can convince them not to Revive the monster. The only drawback, Spidey has to re-experience various points throughout his own timeline to get there. What follows is a gauntlet of Spidey’s various battles with classic foes such as Sandman, Vulture, Lizard, Electro, Mysterio and even The Hulk. Along the way he is also forced to relive his various failures, each one taking it’s tole. When he is forced to relive the death of his former lover, Gwen Stacy, Peter has had enough. Strange however, tells him that the greatest gift we can receive is to have at least one chance to make a difference and Spidey has recieved enough gifts for hundreds of lifetimes. This gives Spidey his second wind and we get an absolutely glorious two page spread of Spidey fighting every single one of his foes, never giving up for an instant until finally finding himself in the right point in time. He warns the heroes and while at first they’re skeptical they do believe him. Spiderman is reassured by this, seeing it as a sign that he’s truly gained the trust of the super hero community. Strange shows up and banishes the mindless ones, ensuring Dormammu will never be resurrected. Afterwards, Spiderman explains what has happened to past Strange. Strange says that he has found a small gold box in his pocket and feels he should give it to Peter because he has reason to believe it is a special day. Spidey, suddenly remembering it’s his birthday rushes home to find MJ and Aunt May throwing him a surprise party. After the party, Peter goes outside for some fresh air and opens the gold box to find a piece of paper that reads “You have five minutes, spend them as you wish.” Peter turns around and is shocked to find his Uncle Ben standing behind him. The two have a touching reunion and Ben asks Peter one important question: Is he happy? Peter mulls it over for a bit and much to his own surprise, he realizes that despite all the crap that he’s dealt with in his life, he is happy. He has people who love him and all in all he’s got a damn good life. Ben says that that’s all that matters and the two share an embrace before Ben fades away. And so we end with Peter and Mary Jane getting in to bed and Mj wishing him a happy Birthday.

You know it’s funny. They say it’s easier to talk about a comic that you hate than one you like, but with this there’s no limit to the good things I can say. Everything I want out of Spiderman and more is in this issue, action, humor, touching moments, great character moments and much more. If the story of Spiderman was ever to come to an end, this would have been a great way to do it. A great story that pushes Spidey to his limits and end with him realizing that despite everything, he has a great life.

 

Rating:

5/5 Stars

5/5 Stars

This comic is a damn near perfect comic and a must read for every true fan of Spiderman. I hope you’ve all enjoyed my review of my favorite single issue of all time and all of those that came before.

 

Wes Serafine can be contacted at

wserafine@keene-equinox.com

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