To put it mildly, 2018 has had its ups and downs, but it’s been soaring high for Spider-Man. Well, Spider-Men. Spider-Women, too. Spider-People! It’s been an utterly glorious time to be a Spider-Fan this year—it’s going to be a very long time before webslingers get as incredible a year as 2018 has been across so many mediums. Here are the Spider-Highlights!
How do you start off the year of the Spider-People in style? You have Tom Holland’s adorkable take on Peter Parker twhipping around getting friendly with the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe! And then you brutally murder him and make audiences watch as he dies in fear, tears streaking his face as the dust of Thanos’ infinite judgement renders Spider-Man...no more.
It is a testament to Holland’s embodiment of Peter that, after griping that we’re just about sick of another actor taking on the Spider-Man role in another reboot, it took him just one-and-a-bit movies to have us shattering our hearts over his Infinity War death. It’s a performance that is so gut-wrenching, it still affects you even if you realize that no, Marvel is absolutely not about to go and murder its latest Spider-Man quite yet.
Or is it? Dun dun dunnnnnn. (The answer’s still no.)
When Holland wasn’t attempting to cutely spoil Avengers: Infinity War, he was attempting to cutely spoil his next solo Spider-film, Far From Home. He gave us the title, he gave us snippets from the set, and hell, even when location filming in New York let slip a new update of his Homecoming Spider-Suit, Holland took to Jimmy Kimmel to both show it off and do a flip, for good measure.
Loves a good flip, this Spider-Man.
Licensed video games rarely have a great reputation, and superheroes in particular have long struggled with a string of uneven video game adventures—beloved hits like the Batman: Arkham series are few and far between. Spidey himself is no different, with fans still chasing the giddy web-swinging highs of the unlikely success that was the Spider-Man 2 movie tie-in game over a decade after is release, but Insomniac’s PS4-exclusive take on a new Peter Parker had people intrigued that maybe, just maybe, a great superhero game was on the way.
They weren’t just right—they got one of the best games of the year in Marvel’s Spider-Man. Not only did it nail the feeling of inhabiting the red-and-scarlet (and now white-accented, too) spandex of the Spectacular Spider-Man, the game told a compelling and sweeping story that offered surprising, heart-breaking twists on Spider-Man’s comic book legacy while celebrating everything people love about the character.
On Spidey’s home turf, 2018 marked a time of endings. Dan Slott, who had been writing Amazing Spider-Man for a decade, ended his run with an intimate farewell to Peter Parker, after turning Spidey’s life upside down one last time.
Elsewhere, Brian Michael Bendis, who was departing Marvel at large for a new exclusive stint with DC Comics, said goodbye to one of his most famous creations, Miles Morales, with a deeply personal issue that mirrored his own recent brush with death after contracting MRSA late last year. And then there was Chip Zdarsky’s farewell to Spectacular Spider-Man, capping off a run that balanced wildly hysterical adventures with gripping emotional beats, who delivered perhaps one of the greatest one-shot comics around, about what Spider-Man means to people in his final issue.
But the end is rarely ever the end, especially in superhero comics. You can’t say goodbye to the Amazing Spider-Man! And although milestone departures marked 2018 for Spidey comics, so did milestone new beginnings. On Amazing Spider-Man, Nick Spencer and Ryan Ottley reunited one of the greatest, most tumultuous relationships in comics by bringing Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson together again, for the first time since that whole “So Your Marriage Got Annulled by Actual Satan” dealio. And in the last few weeks, Miles Morales’ Spider-Man series returned to the character’s roots, finding his way in a world of expectations, under the creative guidance of Black Bolt and Exiles writer Saladin Ahmed and artist Javier Garron.
Just as iconic runs came to a close this year, promising new adventures started in the Spider-Verse as well. And speaking of Spider-Verses...
Into the Spider-Verse is a transcendent experience. Its incredible visual splendor is both slickly executed and filled with such an unparalleled swagger that you can’t help be enchanted by its technicolor dreamscapes. But beneath the glitz on display there beats a heart that cares so deeply, so earnestly, and so boldly about comics—not just the legacy of Spider-Man specifically as an identity shared by so many over the years, but the legacy of heroism itself, and the way the comics have the power to inspire us all, whoever we are, to rise up in the face of adversity, and become something greater.
If nothing else had happened in the Spider-Verse this year, Into the Spider-Verse would still make 2018 one of the greatest years in Spidey history. It would still be the best movie of the year. It would still be one of the finest superhero movies ever made. But the fact that it caps off such an incredible year for the character, across so many mediums, makes it the gleaming jewel in the Spider-Crown.
We love Spider-Man. And in 2018, Spider-Man loves us, too.
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