Life story

Life Story Annual Review # 1 – But Why Tho?

Reading time: 2 minutes

Spider-Man: Life Story Annual # 1 is written by Chip Zdarsky, drawn by Mark Bagley, inked by Andrew Hennessy, colored by Matt Milla and lettered by Travis Lanham of VC. It is published by Marvel Comics. Taking place during the events of the Spider-Man: Life Story miniseries, the annual follows the life of J. Jonah Jameson in real time. After his involvement in the creation of Scorpio is revealed, Jameson is sent to prison. Yet despite therapy and everyone in his life telling him otherwise, Jameson chooses to attribute his woes to Spider-Man.

the Spider-Man: Life Story the miniseries introduced a concept unique to the Spider-Man mythos, following Peter Parker as if he ages in real time and bending to major historical events with Spider-Man storylines; Marvel is also currently using a similar tactic with The Fantastic Four: The Story of Life. This annual continues that tradition, after Jameson’s imprisonment in 1966 until his release in 2001. True to that tradition, the artistic team slowly shows Jameson aging throughout the issue. When the story begins, Bagley and Hennessy describe Jameson as the capricious editor of the Bugle of the day fans know and love, or love to hate, with his flat haircut and mustache. At the end of the story, he has a full beard and his hair is entirely white, with the weight of years etched on his face. Milla offers a rather subdued color palette throughout the issue, with recurring tan undertones for Jameson’s legendary boxes.

From a writing standpoint, Zdarsky brings the same sense of introspection he did to chronicle Peter Parker’s life journey to Jameson. Jameson is admittedly a difficult character to write: most writers and fans look at him and see “an angry newspaper owner who hates Spider-Man.” Yet there are deeper issues that underscore his hatred of the web-slinger; as in the main canon, Jameson’s first wife was killed by a masked thief, leading to deep mistrust of masked figures, including the web thrower. Zdarsky also shows how Jameson’s obsession is costing him everything from his freedom to his relationship with his son John.

Perhaps the most moving scene in the book comes from a phone conversation between Jameson and Peter Parker after the latter lost his wife Gwen Stacy. At first, Jameson seems to genuinely sympathize with Peter and offers his condolences. But then it quickly turns into another anti-Spidey rant, until Peter tells Jonah in no uncertain terms to let it go. Zdarsky deepened the Peter / Jameson relationship during his run on Spectacular Spider-Man and Spider-Man: Shadow of the Spider, and here it takes a tragic turn, especially at the end, which shows the price to pay for hanging on to a vendetta.

Spider-Man: Life Story Annual # 1 serves as a great character piece for J. Jonah Jameson, and returns to one of the best modern Spider-Man stories in the process. Zdarsky continues to prove himself as one of the strongest writers in the Marvel stable, and I’m ready for more of his Spidey stories. It’s clear that he has a deep love for the web-slinger and some really inventive ideas about what to do with him and his supporting cast.

Spider-Man: Life Story Annual # 1 is available wherever the comics are sold.

Spider-Man: Life Story Annual # 1

TL; DR

Spider-Man: Life Story Annual # 1 serves as the big character for J. Jonah Jameson and returns to one of the best modern Spider-Man stories in the process. Zdarsky continues to prove himself as one of the strongest writers in the Marvel stable, and I’m ready for more of his Spidey stories. It’s clear that he has a deep love for the web-slinger and some really inventive ideas about what to do with him and his supporting actors.


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