Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man had a solid start with its first few issues. That solid start got taken into an odd direction that saw the major arc around Teresa Parker as Chip Zdarsky extended the story, introducing time travel in the process. Though it wasn’t all great the story did turn around and Zdarsky has been turned in a good run on The Spectacular Spider-Man. Unfortunately that run will be ending with The Spectacular Spider-Man #310. To say his final goodbyes for this series Zdarsky is handling the writing and artwork for his final issue. Let’s see if Zdarsky can end his run on a strong note with Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man #310.
Writer & Artist: Chip Zarsky
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Several people are interview about who they think Spider-Man is. They each give their own theories on who he is and what they think of what he does.
Somewhere in New York City Spider-Man spots cops chasing after several thieves. Spider-Man stops a couple of them and ties them up for the cops to arrest them. One of the thieves ends up escaping.
Spider-Man is able to corner the thief and sees that he is just a scared kid. The kid says he was just recruited to be a lookout. Spider-Man sympathizes with the kid and webs him out of the sight of the cops. Spider-Man tells the cops that the thief alluded him.
More people are interviewed with one of the woman interviewed mentioning that Spider-Man brought her son home after he got involved with some thieves, the same kid from earlier. Others mention how they see Spider-Man everyday doing various things.
We then see Spider-Man saving a hotdog vendor while fighting Scorpion and Venom. Sometime later Spider-Man talks to the same hotdog guy and talks to him while eating hotdogs.
The hotdog guy and others are interviewed and they all mention how he eats free hotdogs everyday since he got them free for life. The same woman from earlier also mentions that Spider-Man helped her son get better grades.
We flashback to the woman finding Spider-Man tutoring her son, Kyle, and helping him with his homework.
A cop is interviewed and calls Spider-Man a joke. Captain America is also interviewed and calls Spider-Man one of the greatest men he’s ever known.
The woman from earlier continues her interview but breaks down while calling Spider-Man great. After recovering the woman mentions that the guys who recruited her son blamed him for being caught by the cops and killed him.
Flashing back to some time ago Spider-Man arrives to tutor Kyle but finds out he is not home. When he goes to talk to Kyle’s mom she tearfully hugs Spider-Man and reveals what happened to Kyle.
Later that night Spider-Man tracks down the guys who killed Kyle. Spider-Man captures them and has them arrested by the cops.
On a rooftop alone Spider-Man takes off his mask and starts crying.
Back in the present the woman says that Spider-Man is someone that just wants to help people and that everyone should be more like Spider-Man.
At Empire State University a student named Colin is wrapping up cutting together all the interviews about Spider-Man. One of his peers ask if Colin is almost done with his project that is due the next day. Colin says it is almost perfect and leaves for the day.
While walking home Spider-Man appears out of nowhere and asks Colin why he is doing a documentary on him. Colin says he wanted to make his final project for film school something big. Spider-Man wonders if he saved Colin at some point. Colin says that it is not exactly that.
Colin then tells a story of when Spider-Man was fighting Doctor Octopus he was there and was accidently covered by trash during the fight. After defeating Doctor Octopus Spider-Man gave Colin his clothes as an apology.
In the present Colin says that while his date didn’t go well, like is typical for a high school date, it was at that moment that he realized that Spider-Man was just a normal guy under the costume.
Colin asks Spider-Man how he found out about the documentary in the first place.
It is then shown that Peter Parker was interviewed. During the interview Peter talks about how Spider-Man continues to do the right thing no matter what happens. End of issue.
The Good: There is no better way to bookmark a creative run on a comic book than the way Chip Zdarsky did with Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man #310. There is no big world ending conflict that only Spider-Man can stop. Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man #310 is a character focus story that shows why Spider-Man is such a beloved character.
One of the brilliant things that Zdarsky does with Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man #310 is to never make it sound like he is speaking for any character. With such a dialogue heavy issue every person given dialogue is written to have their own voice. Even when the theme of what the people being interviewed the same Zdarsky keeps each statement different. It gets over how these interviews summarize the various opinions people have on Spider-Man’s impact.
Exploring who Spider-Man is through the eyes of the people on the streets reinforces the idea that he is the Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man. Even though Spider-Man has not only saved New York City but also the world at his core he is just looking to protect everyday citizens. Whether it is doing so by fighting off one of his villains or stopping common criminals Spider-Man makes sure those in the area are safe. Zdarsky drives that point home with how we see Spider-Man break away from fights with Venom and Scorpion to save a hotdog vendor.
It’s these points that make the plot thread involving the mother who is thankful for what Spider-Man did for her son even more powerful. Even though they did not interact until after her son’s murder we could see how Spider-Man left a strong, positive mark to her. She saw through the kindness of Spider-Man helping her son out by simply tutoring him that he was being a positive influence on her son. That impact made it so when we do see her breakdown before revealing her son’s fate an even stronger moment.
Through this relationship that Zdarsky establishes he is also able to pay homage to what really started Spider-Man’s career. Like when he went after the person who killed his Uncle Ben, the gang that killed the kid, Kyle, made this conflict incredibly personal. Even without any dialogue Zdarsky got across the pain and anger Spider-Man felt when he went after these two murderers. That pain nicely transitioned to when, after catching the murderers as Spider-Man, we see Peter take of his mask and cry over the pain of a loss he just had.
This moment just further emphasized what was said in multiple interview segments that Spider-Man is a guy just trying to do the right thing. Having one of these instances be the origin as to why these interviews made the story structure even more effective. It made for how the ending with the student, Colin, and Spider-Man discussion on why the documentary was happening feel like an organic story that was going to be told. The interaction worked to summarize everything that was said in Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man #310 and give Peter Parker the final word on what he does as Spider-Man.
To go along with the fantastic writing Zdarsky also did a very good job with the artwork of this issue. Even with pulling double duty Zdarsky captures the classic Spider-Man look for this issue. It was particularly at its best with how he drew normal people as their facial reactions matched what they were saying in their short interview segments. Peter’s final interview in particular stood out as we saw a range of emotion as his statement about Spider-Man closed out the issue.
The Bad: Nothing.
Overall: Chip Zdarsky closes out his run by writing and drawing the best issue in his run with Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man #310. Zdarsky captured what makes Spider-Man such special character and the favorite superhero for so many people. Thanks to the structure of Zdarsky story this is a issue anyone interested in a Spider-Man comic can pick up and read without having to worry about anything else. If you are a Spider-Man fan I highly recommend picking up Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man #310.