Top positive review
With Great Power comes Great Art and Story
Reviewed in the United States on January 4, 2020
This is a review of the paperback, 2017 printing of Spider-Man: Blue by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale.
This is it! This is THE definitive Spider-Man story. It’s beautifully drawn, written, and crafted, and the final two pages have never once failed to make me cry. It’s a Spider-Man volume that features the Green Goblin, the Lizard, the Rhino, new and old Vultures, along with another (plot sensitive) villain, while still being deeply focused on exploring the love dynamic between Peter, MJ, and Gwen before and after Gwen’s death.
Loeb and Sale are a phenomenal team [further reading: their work together on Batman: Long Halloween, Dark Victory, and Catwoman: When In Rome, and Jeph Loeb’s writing on Batman: Hush] and they bring a familiarity and ease to Spider-Man that harkens back to the good ole days of the Stan Lee/Steve Ditko/John Romita era of the 1960s. That is to say, classic Spider-Man stories.
This is intentional! In the afterword section of this volume, Sale describes the process of trying to replicate the allure and magic of how Mary Jane and Gwen Stacy were drawn by Romita, while Loeb discusses the writing process of reintroducing us to the first meeting of these characters. The story unfolds as Peter sitting in his attic, addressing Gwen into a tape recorder as he reflects about their time together before her death. This is the framing device that allows Loeb and Sale to go back in time and explore these old dynamics that have been baked into pop culture history.
Spider-Man: Blue is an exploration of love, loss, and the innocence of an era of comics we don’t see much of anymore. I can’t recommend it enough.