The problem with Annual editions of comics is that, while they can sometimes feature cool stories, they’re often expensive and, since they don’t usually have much to do with the regular series’ storylines, they get ignored. Sadly, that’s probably what will happen with the most recent ‘Amazing Spider-Man Annual’… and that would be a shame.
The tale this issue is actually pretty fun. At the start of the issue Peter Parker, at his job at Horizon Labs, gets caught up in one of his parter Grady’s time-experiments. As soon as the story opens, Grady is fleeing his lab as Peter gets caught up in a weird green glow and passes out.
When Peter comes to, he finds himself in a world where neither Peter Parker or Spider-Man has existed. As Peter explores this strange universe, he discovers that some… nix that… many things are actually better without Spider-Man’s existence. But when Peter gets near his old high school, the world begins to shake and Peter is teleported to another world. This time, it’s in Peter’s past at Midtown High where he faces off against his old nemesis Flash Thompson. But the shaking caused by Peter’s time-traveling is noticed by Tony Stark and the Avengers rush to find out what’s going on.
The rest of the issue follows as Peter jumps back and forth through various periods in his personal history and the present day as he tries to unravel the mystery of what exactly has happened. I won’t spoil it but we all know it has something to do with Horizon Labs.
Writer Brian Reed has delivered a cool little side-tale that is a great romp for people who have read Spider-Man through the years since each pit-stop in time totally captures the feel of the different eras, right down to to the artwork. When Peter’s in high school, the art looks like 1960s Ditko art. The rest of the time-jumps aren’t as jarring and the art doesn’t really change but seeing old round-spectacled Peter Parker in a modern comic is a real treat!
In the end, there’s a moral to this time jumping tale that I won’t ruin in case you’re planning on picking it up, but I will warn you… the last three pages might just bring a little tear to your eye.
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN ANNUAL #39
Story by Brian Reed
Art by Lee Garbett & John Lucas
Colors by Antonio Fabela
Letters by Joe Caramagna
Cover by Lee Garbett, Karl Kesel, & Wil Quintana