Most Spider-Man fans will know this, but when Spider-Man first got his powers, he wasn’t interested in saving people. In fact, he was a bit fame and fortune hungry. The Spider-Man: With Great Power (By writer David Lapham and artist Tony Harris) mini-series is set in that period of Spider-Man’s origin story, focusing on things that have previously been nothing more than a quick aside.
Most readers know nothing about this era of Spider-Man’s life, and Spider-Man: With Great Power feels like a genuinely fresh, funny and insightful look at that era. Thanks to Uncle Ben death not happening yet, and thus the ton of angst that comes with it, this feels like a different Spider-Man, especially since his main goal is to continue becoming a rising star in the world of extreme wrestling. Thus, this Spider-Man is one with a massive ego that just gets bigger and bigger throughout the story will make the whole “Power and responsibility” lesson he’ll soon learn much more tragic. Sure, he does act like a hero, but only to repair his damaged reputation cause by the negative Daily Bugle editorials.
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But at the same time, the story is a typical teenage drama, with the textbook coming-of-age themes, but it’s never clichéd. It shows the realistically awkward bond between Peter Parker and Uncle Ben, exploring a relationship that is usually described in the past tense in a way that, again, feels genuinely fresh and new.
Sure, it can’t go in a dramatically new direction, and that will annoy some readers. But, at the same time, I’m surprised that Uncle Ben managed to stay alive through the whole mini-series, but it’s an interesting change. Sure, that does mean we don’t actually get to see Spider-Man lose his uncle and learn what his Uncle Ben was trying to teach him the hard way. But then again, Spider-Man’s origin was done to death long before this mini-series came out in 2008, so even if you don’t see what happens next, you know what is going to happen next anyway.
The art is good too, with Harris’ work looking nearly identical to his work in Ex-Machina, to the point that without Spider-Man in it, could be mistaken for another issue of that series. Okay, Uncle Ben and Flash’s character designs stick out like sore thumbs, but overall the art is very vibrant.
Spider-Man: With Great Power is a very good mini-series that brings a fresh perspective to a character that’s been explored in just about every way and looking at an era that surprisingly hasn’t been touched upon. Sure, all of us know Spider-Man’s origin by now, but this story feels important and relevant to Spider-Man history.
Uncle Ben (Photo credit: Wikipedia)