Comics : Spider-Man: The Parker Years

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This story is part of a Lookback Series: Filling Gaps

This review was first published on: 2006.

Background...

After a series of trials and tribulations stemming from the return of Spider- Man's clone, Ben Reilly, Peter Parker learned that the last 5 years of his life have been a lie. Ben was the real deal all along and he was in fact the clone. Further events made him decide to give up the spider-life and hand over the webs to Ben, leaving town with MJ to start a decent and normal life for them. But now, as Peter sifts through the past, he begins to reflect on the sham that was his life...

In Detail...

Spider-Man: The Parker Years
Nov 1995 : SM Title
Editor:  Tom Brevoort
Writer:  Evan Skolnick
Pencils:  Joe St. Pierre
Inker:  Al Milgrom
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Articles: Mary Jane Watson-Parker

MJ finds Peter on the roof of their home burning past mementos from his Spidey career, including his equipment, costume and pictures. She stops him and Peter begins to tell her about what he's thinking about. Mostly the past, and how he managed to screw everything up in his believed short time as Spider-Man.

Picking up from Amazing Spider-Man #150, Peter takes the reader through a time warp of the issues that followed the first clone story. From his battle with Kingpin, Vulture and the Sandman, to the Spider-slayers. From letting a criminal get away and allowing him to later help Ned Leeds become the Hobgoblin to his eventual death in Germany. From accidentally leading to the creation of Hydro-man to the accidental creation of Venom.

Separation Anxiety.

Maximum Carnage.

The Sin-Eater.

Saving the Beyonder from Puma.

Removing Black Cat's bad-luck power.

Kraven's Last Hunt.

The Mystery of Peter's Parents.

The return of the "clone" and the birth of the Scarlet Spider.

Maximum Clonage.

MJ interrupts his story, putting an end to the self-pitty train by pulling out photos he purposely didn't pull out and reminds him of more successful moments in his career:

Spidey and the Thing stopping Basilisk and saving civilization.

Spidey and the Thing rescuing Adam Warlock to save the stars.

Spidey saving Man-Thing from a circus with MJ and returning him to the Everglades.

Spidey and Daredevil stopping the Masked Marauder from nuking the city.

Spidey and Dr. Curt Connors restoring John Jameson from the Man-Wolf persona.

Spidey and Dr. Strange stopping Doctor Doom and Dormammu from creating a sinister spell.

Spidey teaming-up with Punisher to stop Doc Ock from poisoning Daily Bugle readers and then saving the Punisher's life as well.

Spidey taking out Firelord on his own.

Spidey taking down Hulk with the uni-power.

And beyond that, all the personal victories he achieved such as graduating college and landing the woman of his dreams. She departs, giving Peter much to ponder. Finally, he douses the fire, packs up the rest of his stuff, and brings the box back inside to bring with them when they move.

In General...

While nothing beats reading the original stories, a re-cap issue like this after so much has gone down is beneficial to new readers who may have just recently come on. Or even to long-time readers who may have taken a break and returned. Told in flashbacks, this comic does a pretty good job of covering the last few years between ASM #149 to the present and done in the typical "I blame myself!" Spidey fashion. Not to mention should a reader of this book want to find the issues mentioned in it, they provide a handy issue guide on the last page that describes what pages and what issues the events took place in. Also, gotta love MJ's reaction to Peter's wallowing. That was a classic moment right there.

My only real complaint is the artwork. Its quality was very consistent throughout the book. One flashback would look awesome while another would look like trash. It's decent, but a little too cartoony for my tastes.

Overall Rating...

Three and a half webs. It's just a recap issue without stellar artwork. It's good for those who need it, but if you've been reading regular you can skip it without guilt. Unless you're a completist or a Clone Saga aficionado, in which case this belongs in your collection.