Graphic Novel Review: Amazing Spider-Man Worldwide: Before Dead No More

Amazing Spider-Man Worldwide: Before Dead No More

Amazing Spider-Man Worldwide: Before Dead No More - Credit: Archant

Going global continues to mean a world of problems for the wall-crawler! First, there’s an accident to deal with at Parker Industries. How far will Peter Parker go to save his employees - both as CEO and as Spider-Man? Meanwhile, you - and stand-in Spidey, the Prowler - get to meet the all-new Electro! Who is she and what does she have to do with the Man in Red? The Prowler might not like the shocking answers!

(Panini Books)

Two defining moments in Peter Parker’s early costumed career as the Amazing Spider-Man were the death of his Uncle Ben and his first true love, Gwen Stacy. The impact of these events shaped the hero he was to subsequently become, and have always cast a shadow over his later victories.

But they were not the only tragic losses Peter was to witness over the years, as others also fell by the wayside during his battles: Gwen’s police captain father George, J Jonah Jameson’s wife Marla, reporter Ned Leeds, arch-foe Doctor Octopus, and even his clone Ben Reilly were among those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

But now the dead are coming back, somehow resurrected by the experiments of the Machiavellian supervillain the Jackal, as part of an elaborate scheme which will leave no corner of Peter’s life untouched.

Wearing a canine mask reminiscent of the Egyptian god of the underworld, Anubis, the Jackal has been recruiting Spider-Man’s enemies, offering them the chance to be reunited with their loved ones in exchange for their unquestioning loyalty, including the Rhino, the Lizard and Electro.

Meanwhile, in a bid to save his step-father Jay Jameson from a hereditary disease which is slowly killing him, Peter explores cutting edge procedures by New U Technologies which recreates a subject’s organs from their own DNA, but free of any genetic imperfections. After Pete’s employee Jerry Salteres is critically injured in a chemical fire, his life is saved using this new process, but something about the restored Jerry unexpectedly triggers the webslinger’s Spider-sense.

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Before he agrees to Jay undergoing similar treatment, Parker tasks the Prowler to infiltrate New U Technologies to find out more, unwittingly exposing him to a deadly confrontation with the Jackal’s recruits, while Jameson Sr’s life hangs in the balance…

Phew, and that’s just the prelude!

There’s no doubting the scope of this latest Spider-Man epic, which touches to the very heart of the character’s motivations for being a hero, his desire to save people. With so many of his friends and foes having lost their lives over the course of his long career, the chance to do-over and somehow reverse their fates is obviously a tempting one, but what price must he pay as a consequence?

The revolving door of death in the Marvel Universe is now well-established, with dead no longer meaning dead, and characters returning from beyond the grave with an alarming frequency. This story looks certain to address that narrative trope, but also examining the price people are prepared to pay to be reunited with their loved ones. After all, how much would you be prepared to sacrifice to spend just one more day with those you have lost?