Peter Parker Soldiers On In The Spectacular Spider-Man #312

by James Ferguson

Morlun has landed on our Earth and has made a beeline for Peter Parker. He figures the third time will be the charm and he’ll finally be able to put your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man down for good. Of course, the webhead doesn’t go down that easy and he’s been fighting tooth and nail against the Inheritor, which has started to take its toll. Fortunately, Miles Morales has shown up to lend a hand.

In case you couldn’t figure it out, Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man #312 ties in to the current Spider-Geddon event. It’s kind of an odd choice to keep the original Spider-Man and the first Inheritor in a tie-in issue and not in the main event book, but we’re going to go with it. Much of this issue consists of this big fight through Central Park as these two powerhouses go toe-to-toe. It’s a brutal battle and no punches are pulled.

Peter seems to be on the losing side of this equation as he’s barely able to walk. It’s been a miracle that he’s been able to stay ahead of Morlun long enough to catch is breath and regroup with Miles. This is where things get a little weird for me. See, in the previous issue, Peter called J. Jonah Jameson for help, asking the newspaper tycoon to grab a special watch that would allow him to summon the Web Warriors and help fight Morlun. In this one, he’s got the watch and Miles and still decides to fight this off on his own.

Since Peter knows that Morlun has his scent and will come after him, why can’t he use that to his advantage and lure the Inheritor somewhere with a bunch of the Web Warriors and take him down? It seems like an odd strategy not to take advantage of a multiverse of help, not to mention other characters in this world like the Avengers.

Peter makes the case from the end of Star Trek II where the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. I don’t think that entirely applies here as he’s already beat up and outgunned by Morlun and this villain is going to come after all his friends right after he’s done, so safety in numbers seems like the way to go.

Anyway, a chunk of this issue has Peter trying to psych himself up. He’s faced a number of obstacles that looked insurmountable at first. Artist Juan Frigeri shows us these in some nice flashback panels. We see everything from the Green Goblin to Venom to that time Peter was buried alive. The panels are bordered with webbing, like we’re seeing into his memories which makes for a cool effect.

Travis Lanham’s letters guide us through these memories. Each caption box of internal narration fills us with hope that Spidey can keep going. The boxes weave through these images to guide us through the story.

This is what pushes Spider-Man on. With great power comes great responsibility and that means reaching down deep and soldiering on, even when every fiber of your being is telling you to lay down and give up. It’s pretty inspiring when you get down to it. Writer Sean Ryan gets to the heart of the character here.

As weird as this sounds, I have a soft spot for the “battle ravaged” look of Spider-Man if for nothing else than I had an action figure of this as a kid. Frigeri’s design here is almost identical to that toy from my youth with a torn mask exposing Peter’s eyes, mouth, and some hair and other rips in the costume.

Seeing Peter’s skin through the tears in the costume can be a bit of a shock and a reminder that he’s out there fighting one of the most powerful creatures in existence while wearing what amounts to pajamas. Colorist Jason Keith highlights these spots and makes Peter seem a bit more vulnerable. They’re link chinks in the armor, exposing weakness. Again, this is what the character pushing through to continue the fight.

Spider-Geddon has started to wear on me a bit, partially because Peter Parker isn’t in it. Fortunately, there’s the Spectacular Spider-Man to show us what our hero has been up to. It’s no surprise that he’s fighting just as hard as any of the Web Warrirors. It just stinks that he does it all by himself, but that’s part of what makes him such a compelling character. He always does what’s right, even at his own expense.

Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man #312 from Marvel Comics is currently available at your local comic shop and digitally through ComiXology and Amazon Kindle.

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