Begins with a young boy being rushed into the ER by Spider-Man. Spidey feels guilty and Peter is still sulking later on. MJ arrives home from work and sees Peter depressed. The boy is dying. Peter explains that the boy tried to be a hero and that he was caught in the crossfire. He thinks he’s cursed and he feels responsible. He goes to the ICU where the boy is still out. He talks to him in his Peter Parker attire and the boys folks walk in. The parents are distraught and blame Spider-Man, and Peter agrees. Hours later the boy awakes. He requests his presence and Peter walks in. The boy knows who he is and that he is Spider-Man (saying he wasn’t asleep.) He reassures him an tells him his story of when he first saw him and why he tried to stop the robber. He tells him of a comic he made when he was 11. After Peter tries to tell him he’s not a hero the boy assures him that he is one right before he going into cardiac arrest. Later he is that the cemetery and the boys parents see Peter and ask him to give him something to Spider-Man… the comic he made when he was 11. The issue ends with “what would Spider-Man do?”
THOUGHTS: This isn’t the first time we have seen this type of story, but I don’t know about you, each time I find something to like about it. From that first time with the Kid Who Collected Spider-Man, to Spectacular Spider-Man (Vol II) 14, to even the reverse of that with the Fusion (II) story arc in Peter Parker: Spider-Man (Vol II) 30-32. This story kicks you in the gut and takes your lunch money. Every beat is felt thanks to some damn fine artwork by Lee Weeks. The scene with MJ an Peter is touching and hits the right notes: MJ is the only person truly who understands him because she’s been down this road before. (It’s also why I liked the last story too) Peter’s guilt is natural and the things he says ring true because he’s said those things before, he has felt those things before, and while he didn’t really learn that this wasn’t his fault his character feels that way because it’s true. That’s why I love this issue some much is that there isn’t leaps in logic, it’s just good storytelling at it’s finest.
While some will complain we’ve seen it before, I think that we need stories like this to remind ourselves that even in the world where dead is never dead and Mole Men can come out of your sewers and Raccoon that can talk, there are still stakes. Life and Death Stakes and this is what this showcases that something as a good seminarian can die in your arms trying to help…. whether you’re Spider-Man or not.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Overall, this series of Peter Parker Spotlights were a mixed bag really. These issues haven’t just blown my socks off but they’ve shown that this character still has legs and I think we’ll all be excited to see what happens next. I hope that for some, this wets the appetite for the next Amazing phase. While the Superior experiment is going well sales wise, and ASM is coming back, we don’t know what the future holds. It’s a times-a-changing with a new movie, a new book and more from Slott and Company.