Title: Spider-Man, Peter Parker.
Story Arc: Back in Black
Writer(s): Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Matt Fraction, Sean McKeever, John Rhett Thomas & Mike Fichera.
Illustrator(s): Ramon Bachs, Angel Medina, Clayton Crain, Salvador Larroca, Terrell Bobbett, Kano & David Lafluente.
Colourist(s): Paul Mounts, Avalon’s Dan Kemp, Matt Milla, Paco Roca, Bruna Brito.
Inker(s): Scott Hanna & Gary Martin.
Letterer(s): Virtual Calligraphy’s Cory Petit & Blambot’s Nate Piekos.
Format: Hardcover – Deluxe Edition.
Release Date: November 28th, 2007.
Genre(s): Comics, Science-Fiction.
My Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆.
The instant a person has an epiphanic moment where they understand what they want to do with their lives, their whole moral compass and most basic primal instincts are tweaked as their decision-making becomes goal-oriented going forward. But what happens if they encounter a tragedy far too heart-breaking for their mind to conceive? As their resilience and perseverance are sent on hyperdrive, some break while others will keep their heads up determined to change their ways. With three Spider-Man series written and illustrated in parallel back in 2007 (The Amazing Spider-Man, Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man, and The Sensational Spider-Man), it’s writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa’s stories that find themselves exploring the tumultuous and fragile state of Peter Parker following a terrifying tragedy as he tries to understand what he’s done wrong ever since he’s decided to become a superhero.
What is Spider-Man, Peter Parker: Back in Black about? This companion volume to the Spider-Man: Back in Black story arc explores the dark and twisted transformation of Peter Parker following the life-altering events that take place around Marvel’s Civil War. Having announced his secret identity to the world through a news conference, he ended up being at odds with Tony Stark, joining Captain America in their anti-registration regime. Unfortunately, their defeat forced them underground afterward. Unfortunately for Peter Parker, his life crumbles when the imprisoned Kingpin of Crime hires a sniper to take him and his loved ones down. Although Mary Jane was saved on that tragic night, another meaningful life is now on the verge of death. Battling with a thirst for vengeance and clinging onto the tiniest ray of hope, Peter Parker brings back his black suit modeled after the Venom symbiote as he fights off a myriad of villains while leaving behind his humour and his purpose.
This hardcover deluxe edition collects Sensational Spider-Man #35-40 and Annual #1, Spider-Man Family #1-2, Marvel Spotlight: Spider-Man and Spider-Man: Back in Black Handbook.
From a violent mad scientist and Venom seeking their dreaded revenge on Spider-Man to bittersweet and eye-opening discussions with powerful and magical entities, the stories featured in this volume drew upon the webslinger’s devastating reality to display his struggles to return to his friendly superheroes days. Hunted by the potential loss of a loved one, he’s brought to reflect on his new ways with comparisons to monsters being drawn by those who only wish harm upon him in the first place. Convinced that the recent tragedies and the hell he’s put his loved ones in since the beginning of his days as Spider-Man would never have occurred if he hadn’t decided to do good with his powers, Peter Parker roams the street out of pure habit rather than good. Although some of these stories do a good job of depicting the complex and tainted relationships he now has with friends and lovers, others are far-fetched and are stretched too thin with the ideas explored.
A chunky portion of this volume is constituted of interesting discussions with various Spider-Man writers as well as a fascinating character encyclopedia section, giving this edition a very informational touch and further establishing it as a companion piece instead of aiming for an essential volume for fan’s who have read Spider-Man: Back in Black. As for the artists featured in this volume, they all possess a certain degree of talent as they utilize different styles to tell the desired stories. Despite this lack of consistency, the mere essence of this companion volume made it less warrant of profound scrutiny and allowed for a much more laxist enjoyment. However, artists Clayton Crain’s and Salvador Larroca’s artworks do merit a round of applause in their distinctiveness. After all, receiving a mixed bag of visual styles isn’t always that bad.
Spider-Man, Peter Parker: Back in Black is an unusual yet diverting companion collection of thought-provoking and sometimes mediocre stories exploring Peter Parker’s and Mary Jane’s mental state following a tragedy afflicted to a loved one.