Spider-Man may not think he has a wonderful life but now he'll know what the world would be like without his existence.
You don't normally expect time travel stories dealing with Spider-Man. We have recently see Peter Parker deal with his Horizon Labs coworker, Grady Scraps' time experiment that threatened to destroy all of New York. Dan Slott handled the details of time travel and paradoxes superbly in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #678 and now it's Brian Reed's turn to take a shot.
As expected, another of Grady's experiments is involved here. As a result, Peter Parker finds himself in a world/timeline where Spider-Man doesn't exist. Is the world a better place without him? You'll have to read to find out. It doesn't quite go as you'd expect. To make matters worse, operating as Spider-Man or Peter Parker isn't easy when there's no record of his existence.
Lee Garbett gets a chance to shine and the opportunity to draw several characters. Everyone is immediately recognizable which adds to the pacing of of the story. The last thing you'd want is to have to try to figure out who anyone is supposed to be. The high school flashback sequence was also top notch.
It's not just a story about Spider-Man checking out how the world and those he know are different without him. This is a Spider-Man comic after all. There will be plenty of action, humor and suspense involved. You might even get a little teary-eyed. (Darn you, Brian Reed).
The best thing is we have a full-length annual story instead of having the main story and a back up or some other filler stories.
After Grady's first near disaster with time experiments, you would think Horizon would put a stop to the possibility of destroying cities and timelines. This was a great look at what the world could have been like without Spider-Man but if felt a little too close to January's issue.
The story also is very interesting and touching at times but because it's so self-contained, you get the feeling that there won't be any mention of this in the regular title.
This is the type of stories we should have in comic book annuals. We don't need annual stories that tie into other comics (or annuals) and we don't need back up stories and layouts on Peter's apartment (and similar features we've seen in the past). This is a stand alone oversized story with an interesting twist. The unfortunate nature of being a stand alone story is you don't get a sense that we'll be seeing any repercussions from this issue pop up later. Lee Garbett does a great job on Brian Reed's script. It's unfortunate that we had a recent story centered around messing around with time but this story had a nice twist to it. If you're looking for a good stand alone story that delves into who Peter Parker/Spider-Man is, you definitely need to check this out.