Review: 100th Anniversary Special: Spider-Man #1 by Sean Ryan & In-Hyuk Lee

100th Anniversary Special: Spider-Man #1

Written by: Sean Ryan
Art by: In-Hyuk Lee
Cover by: In-Hyuk Lee
Lettered by: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Published by: Marvel
Cover Price: $3.99

Note: This is a review of the digital version which can be found on Comixology.

Warning! This review contains quite a few spoilers!

Just some quick info.  As part of their 75th Anniversary special, Marvel produced a series of one-shots projecting what some Marvel titles would be like on their 100th anniversary.  It’s a cool concept, but unfortunately, so far the execution has fallen a little flat…

Summary (contains spoilers): This issue starts with a quick summary of events leading up to this special.  Spider-Man ended up with a techno-symbiote suit. The suit made him evil. He tried to destroy it, but Eddie Brock wanted it for himself. They fought, and both decided that Peter was right, the suit needed to be destroyed. Then Kingpin knocked them both out and shot Eddie dead.

The issue starts with Kingpin taking the suit, claiming he had it built in the first place and was reclaiming his property.

Kingpin throws Peter out the window of his skyscraper. Peter breaks his fall on a car and starts to head north.

Kingpin is able to use the suit to take control over the city’s camera network and various vehicles to try and destroy Peter…

Peter flees into what I assume is Central Park. The comic doesn’t really explain this, and you may wonder where Peter finds a forest near New York City… In the woods, Peter builds a fire and defeats Kingpin-Venom using a torch.

After the battle, Peter reflects on the last few months. Aunt May died, he got power he didn’t earn, and he lost sight of what’s important. It ends with him seweng his old costume back together.

Review: The biggest problem with this book was that it basically completely lacked ambition. The conceit of this “event” was to see what Marvel comics would look like in the year 2062. And what Marvel is telling me is that in the year 2062: Peter Parker would still be Spider-Man…still be a fairly young guy…still be fighting symbiotes (and Eddie Brock)…Kingpin would still be Wilson Fisk….and technology wouldn’t advance all that much.

This book does manage to tell a decent Spider-Man story, but if this is where Marvel plans to be in 50 years, it’s pretty damn depressing. Although I do admire Marvel’s honesty…”things don’t change in our comics…not really.”

The real sad part is that with a few tweaks, this story could have been pretty cool. Maybe an older Peter Parker in the twilight of his career facing off against a new Kingpin. There are some great parallels here to Spider-Man’s origin, as well as the original Black Costume Saga. But, in the end, Marvel ends up playing it completely safe with this story, and the results are a weak, uninspired book.

One thing that I found real annoying was that the Kingpin’s Technological Symbiote gave him control over machines. But we don’t actually get to see him do anything with that beyond using a few traffic cams to monitor where Spider-Man is and try to crush him with cars and helicopters.

Sure, Spider-Man outwits him by taking the fight into Central Park, but I would have loved to see more advanced technology to really amp up the atmosphere. Make me feel that this is a story set 50 years in the future.

I also think that this book was way too glum for an 100th Anniversary. That really should be a celebration of everything the character is about. Instead, we get a brooding Spider-Man mourning the death of his Aunt May and letting a powerful weapon fall into his enemies’ hands. Sure, the Parker Luck is a big part of the character, but he is still at his heart a fun character.

One redeeming quality about this book is that the art is gorgeous. In-Hyuk Lee did a great job here. I do think the future should have been more futuristic, but what was here was done beautifully.  I especially loved the final battle between Venom and Spider-Man in the forest.

So far, of the three 100th anniversary books, only Fantastic Four has really tried to do something different. The future version of the Fantastic Four felt inspired. It made sense for the 100th Anniversary issue of Fantastic Four to “bring back the classic characters” but it is clear the book had long moved past that point, and the original Fantastic Four returning was a treat to celebrate the anniversary.

And that is what Marvel should have done with Spider-Man and X-Men too. They really had a blank canvas here to create a wild and unique future, and instead they just told a story that could fit in pretty much any place in the 50 years Marvel has told Spider-Man stories. Disappointing.


Title: 100th Anniversary Special: Spider-Man #1
Written By: Sean Ryan
Art By: In-Hyuk Lee
Company: Marvel
Price: $3.99
Pros:
  • Gorgeous art.
  • At it’s heart, it’s a solid Spider-Man story.
Cons:
  • Completely uninspired story.
  • I’ve never liked “Woe is me” Spider-Man stories.
  • Doesn’t feel like the future at all.
Is it worth your $3.99? 6.0/10 – Unless you just buy comics for the art, it’s definitely not worth buying. This is just a very uninspired comic without much to justify the cover price.  Skip it.

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