The ’80s had been an odd time for superhero comics. The period of the “extreme” exploded onto the scene and introduced with it no scarcity of instantly recognizable tendencies and tropes–holofoil variant covers, grimacing gun-toting anti-heroes, approach too many utility pouches–you title it. For higher or worse, ’80s comics had all of it.
By and huge, the weirdness and the turmoil of the ’80s is one thing trendy comics now take care of at arm’s size. In Marvel, that is achieved by way of the sliding timeline. How it really works is fairly easy: At any given level, it is understood that the tales themselves to solely have existed for 10 years or so–which means the tales of the ’80s at the moment are readily cherry-picked for less than probably the most pertinent particulars, slightly than checked out as real-time artifacts. Those particulars are then reworked in order that they match into no matter trendy setting they’re wanted, or stripped of main contextual clues to make him stick out rather less clearly. The tales might have occurred, however they occurred in a different way, in a unique period, or a unique universe altogether.
Unless, in fact, confronting the historical past of a personality in real-time is the goal–which simply so occurs to be the case with Chip Zdarksy and Mark Bagley’s Spider-Man: Life Story, a restricted sequence which tackles the decade-by-decade publication historical past of everybody’s favourite webhead one concern at a time. Starting with the ’60s, Life Story has taken Peter Parker in ten-year chunks by way of this week’s concern #3, which lands squarely in–you guessed it–the ’80s, permitting him not solely to age however to progress by way of his personal historical past in as near “real time” as doable.
For Peter Parker, the ’80s had been a time of (considerably literal) transformation. It despatched him to battle on Battleworld throughout the first iteration of Secret Wars, it launched the black alien go well with that might go on to turn into Venom, and it pitted him in opposition to a close to brush with demise as he confronted off in opposition to Kraven the Hunter in what would in the end turn into certainly one of his most iconic tales, Kraven’s Last Hunt. These issues nonetheless affect modern-day Peter Parker in a technique or one other, however because the timeline slides away, so does their efficiency.
Life Story provides us an opportunity to revisit these moments with recent eyes and a totally new context. Set outdoors of the primary Marvel universe, the sliding timeline would not maintain sway right here. In concern #1, Peter was a teen within the ’60s, with #2 he was in his twenties within the ’70s; now, right here within the ’80s, he is rounding out his thirties. He’s dealing with off in opposition to the wild, pulp fiction weirdness of Battleworld and Secret Wars as he exits his prime and offers along with his getting old aunt and pregnant spouse. He discovers the reality of the symbiotic black go well with not due to a fortunate accident however as a result of he is a scientist who deduced the reality nearly proper away–and selected to not fear about it as a result of it gave him a chance to carry out the best way he had again in his youth. His confrontation with Kraven is now coloured with the trimmings of the final days of the Cold War, merged elegantly into the burgeoning symbiote storyline–which was revealed practically 4 years prior.
By conducting a complete remix of Spider-Man historical past and making use of Life Story’s new algorithm, Zdarsky and Bagley found out a brand new, much more devious origin story for certainly one of Marvel’s fan-favorite anti-heroes. In this model of occasions, Eddie Brock’s weirdly contrived images beef with Peter not exists. Instead, it piggybacks straight onto Kraven’s Last Hunt.
Kraven impersonates the black-suit sporting Spider-Man himself and “kills” Peter–but as a substitute of tranquilizing him and burying him alive as he did within the unique model of the story, Kraven each shoots and stabs him, actually murdering him till the symbiote finds and revives Peter from his grave. In full Venom mode, Peter assaults and defeats Kraven who readily accepts the loss, believing that his “Venomized” kind is precisely what Peter all the time meant to be.
Then, in a revisit of what may be one of many darkest moments in Spider-Man historical past, the defeated Kraven prepares to commit suicide–something he efficiently achieved again within the unique story (it was extraordinarily bleak, belief me.) Only this time, he is ambiguously interrupted by the oozing tendril of a symbiote, implying that on this model, it is a suicidal Kraven who finally ends up being Venom’s first host outdoors of Peter himself.
The potential right here for brand spanking new twists and turns in Peter’s story is huge. Not solely is Kraven a educated killer and relentless psychopath; he is additionally certainly one of Spider-Man’s best enemies simply on his own–without the assistance of an alien symbiote’s enhancement. Add to that the truth that each Kraven and Venom are notoriously obsessive about Spider-Man and you’ve got all of the substances for an explosive disaster simply across the nook.
Spider-Man: Life Story continues with concern #four subsequent month, tackling the 90s and, optimistically, all the autumn out of this large revelation.