Spider-Man: Life Story #1-6: An interesting take on Spider-Man, and the Marvel Universe, that I would like to see applied elsewhere. This series explores a reality in which Marvel does not have a sliding timeline, in which Peter Parker was bitten in 1962 and aged throughout the years. We see familiar beats -- clones, secret and civil wars, symbiotes -- but the results are vastly different. For instance, by the time the superhero civil war hits in 2006, Peter is a 60-year-old retiree living with his adult children far away from New York City. By taking what we know and turning it on its head, Chip Zdarsky is able to play to and subvert expectations at the same time. For this most part, it's a smooth, satisfying read that jumps decades at a time. Near the end, the pace picks up a little too much; it felt like Zdarsky was racing towards the ending. But that does not impact the overall enjoyment of the story, and the series ends on a bittersweet note.
From his run in the 1990s to his career-defining Ultimate Spider-Man pencils, Mark Bagley's legacy will always be tied to Spider-Man. So he was the only choice to illustrate this series. While one could argue that each issue should have had art consistent with the decade -- John Romita for the 1960s, Ross Andru for the 1970s, Ron Frenz for the 1980s, Todd McFarlane for the 1990s, Mark Bagley for the 2000s, Sara Pichelli for the 2010s -- it makes more sense to present one artistic vision from first to last. And Bagley does just that. His characters age with grace and consistency; his 72-year-old Peter Parker is very much the 19-year-old Peter Parker all grown up.
As a complete package, Spider-Man: Life Story is a solid read, and it's great to see Marvel offer what's tantamount to a long-form What If? story.