This book was on the bubble for me. I was considering dropping it altogether. I had even taken it off my pull-list after reading issue #300 because I was so disappointed in it, but after I found out that Joe Quinones (Zdarsky's old Howard the Duck
partner) would be taking over art duties, I decided I needed to give the book another shot. I love Quinones's cartoony art style and visually it is a good pairing with how Zdarsky likes to structure a story and his less-than-reverent take on Spider-Man. That said, part of what makes PPTSSM
fall short of expectations for me is that I loved their take on Spider-Man in Howard the Duck
, a lonely disliked sensitive loser even when he is a millionaire CEO or whatever the heck else he is these days. I know it is unfair to expect that take when this book is meant to exist within the precedent set by the wider Marvel universe, but I like what I like. In these two issues, Zdarsky celebrates Quinones's return with a wild story of time-travel and alternate realities where a present-era Spider-Man goes back in time to stop some future alien invasion by teaming up with his teenage self, and since it is an alternate past time he doesn't have to worry about changing his own future, because it isn't his at all. As such, while they wait for their moment to defeat the aliens, he goes about helping young Spidey defeat all his biggest foes preemptively. Most notably, they capture and unmask the Green Goblin way before Norman Osborn and Peter Parker even knew who each other was. Of course, older Peter's cavalier approach leads to a ton of terrible consequences, as they should in a Spider-Man story. As I have argued before
, the history of Spider-Man is not so much about the responsibility of acting when you have the power to act, but the responsibility for the cascading consequences when you do
use that power. Anyway, while typically I am pretty tired of time travel stories, what I like about this one is the ways it disrupts continuity and highlights how much Spider-Man has changed in the simultaneously compressed and scattershot 55 years of his existence (teen Parker exists "several years ago" narratively, but over 50 serially). I love a comic book that can admit to its own absurdity while simultaneously developing emotional stakes for the action. This achieves that, even if it plays with some bits of continuity I couldn't care less about. (Peter's SHIELD agent parents and pseudo-sister). I will stick with this book for now. I am sure Marvel will cancel it or Zdarsky and Quinones will quit as soon as it really hits its stride.