Well here we are at a time honored tradition in the comic book world: “The Milestone.” Like in life, the milestone marks an important point on a journey. Now 300 issues of a comic book series in this day and age is not unheard of, nor is it anything to sneeze at. Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man in some form or another has been around for quite a few decades. It has been hampered by end publication, reboots and various other situations but late in 2017 the comic has reverted back to its original numbering with 297 and now here we are at the prestigious issue 300.
Truth be told I had given up this title a long time ago but I have always had a soft sport for it. After all, in the 1990’s, this comic was my favorite title. I grew up on the saga of Harry Osborn as the Green Goblin and Spectacular Spider-Man # 200 is one of my favorite comics of all time. Yes all time. (If you haven’t read that issue I highly suggest you do, it illustrates friendship fantastically and has one of the most touching endings to a comic book ever) However back to the business at hand, milestones are one of comic book publishers’ sneaky little tricks that always draw me back in and I got caught in the web yet again. (I will try to make that my last web related pun here)
So having not read this title for a bit, I did a quick run through and got the gist. Here’s the skinny: Peter Parker, the formally global mogul of Parker Industries is now back to his friendly neighborhood self and has gotten reacquainted with some old pals in the form of Johnny Storm (The Human Torch) and J Jonah Jameson (yes that is right, Jonah is now Peter’s brother in law and also knows his secret ID, try to keep up). Peter has a long lost thought sister Teresa Parker who has been gone since she first appeared in Amazing Spider-Man: Family Business one shot quite a while back. Well guess what? She’s baaaaack. To add to the family fun, we got introduced to a new character who is having family issues as well in the guise of the Mason who is the supposed brother of very long time Spidey foe, Phinias Mason: The Tinkerer. Unlike his evil brother, The Mason uses his advanced tech to create new gadgets and assistance for the Superhero Community, instead of the Villain society. Or so we thought.
In the meantime, there’s a pretty Gwen variant cover to look at.
Due to some hardboiled sleuthing by JJJ (J Jonah Jameson, not gonna keep typing that out) he and us the dear readers, find out that The Mason is a fraud. He is actually The Tinkerer using a giant robot body to fool the heroes and gain access to their ID’s and tech. JJJ tries to stop Tinkerer and warn everyone but does what he’s always done, namely screws it up. Gotta love hardboiled JJJ though! While this is going on we have Spidey getting pummeled by a squad of his most hated B-Stringers who are now upgraded to the nines by the Tinkerer’s new toys. However being a Superhero is not without its perks as a few of the Avengers show up to aid our friendly quipping punching bag. Hawkeye, The Vision, Black Panther and Ironheart all join to enter the fray. The catch though, they don’t have access to their most powerful tech as the Tinkerer has corrupted it due to them being so trusting. Oh well no matter, they proceed to do battle the old fashioned way.
This part was very cool to me as it proves once again for the umpteenth time, the very best heroes don’t need the gadgets or the special tech costumes, just themselves to get the job done. This notion gets illustrated with a touching conversation between Spidey and Riri Williams (Ironheart) in the issue that actually made me a bit of a fan of Riri and now I want to read more. What made this more memorable is the art from Adam Kubert (of the legendary Kubert art family) and Juan Frigeri. They just make every panel pop. The visuals never seem lazy or boring and we are not treated to a bunch of talking head. Like the climax in every great action movie, they keep the story going at a frenetic pace. The art was a joy to take in and the kind of thing you want on a big milestone issue.
However the issue is not without faults. The writing and plot by Chip Zdarsky at the beginning to the middle was very good and then once the special guest star shows, it goes awry. I’m not a huge fan of clichés in comic books and this issue had a few of them. I know that this is serving as a springboard to the next adventure but it really just left me very meh. We have the team of Peter, Jonah, and probably sis Teresa rushing off for a world saving adventure. See that would be fine for me if it was the sole story, but as for the wrap up to the “Most Wanted” arc, I felt like it was in a bit of a rush. It didn’t give me the conclusion I wanted, especially for an issue with a number like 300 attached to it.
There was much to like about this book but it gets weighed down by the meh. Art wise it was great where the story was just kind of wrapped to get you to the next one. There is a decent and cute Spidey and Black Cat short story as a backup but nothing of large note. As with many milestone issues, this book comes with array of variant and special covers that rate from okay to stunning and those are always cool even if they are gimmicky. I dipped my toe in for this one but hard to say if I will be back next month. Guess we will just have to wait and see. Till next time True Readers!
Story: Chip Zdarsky Art: Adam Kubert, Juan Frigeri
Color: Jason Keith Letterer: VC’s Travis Lanham
Editor: Nick Lowe Associate Editor: Devin Lewis Assistant Editor: Tom Groneman
Story: 6.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 6.74 Recommendation: Read
Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review