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Tear Jerker / Spider-Man: Life Story

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Moments pages are Spoilers Off; beware unmarked spoilers!

  • Issue 1, for Captain America. Steve Rogers is loyal to nothing but the Dream and this comic shows him agonized and torn by what the full extent of that means. This is a man who loved America and his defining honor is putting his life on line for it, and yet the Vietnam War and his conscience ultimately made him outlaw and renegade, costing him a good deal of his stature and standing among Americans even if in his mind he's doing the right thing. Being Good Sucks doesn't begin to cover it.
  • Issue 2 opens with a Wham Shot that Flash Thompson died in Vietnam. It's clear that Peter and Mary Jane especially haven't recovered from the loss of their close friend. With Peter continuing to visit him every year after his death in 1974 (the story being set in 1977) and Mary Jane bitterly lashing out at Peter for not stopping Flash from going to Vietnam and telling him, as both Peter and Spider-Man (who Flash saw as a hero), that the war was a mistake.
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    • It ends on a very tragic note. It's revealed that Miles Warren had been contacted by Norman Osborn to create a clone of Norman to pin his Green Goblin crimes on and a clone of Peter so he can have a worthy heir. Peter, Harry and Gwen find them along with a Gwen clone and are horrified. After Peter snaps Harry out of his insanity, the latter decides to bomb the clones while Peter is begged by Gwen to save them. Peter can only save his clone, only to learn to everyone's horror that the Gwen clone isn't a clone, but the real thing! The issue ends with the Peter and Gwen clones moving away and a heartbroken Peter clinging to Mary Jane now that he lost everything.
    • The fact that Reed Richards and Susan Storm divorced and Sue left him for Namor is sad. Peter landing a cheap blow by bringing it up enrages Reed into slapping him, ending their friendship. Peter immediately regrets saying those things, noting that his Spider-Sense warned him about the punch in time that he could dodge it but he chose to take it to allow Reed that much at least. After the slap, both Peter and Reed are ashamed of what happened. Reed for allowing Peter’s words to get to him, and Peter for taking out his own frustrations over whether or not he’s doing enough on Reed.
  • Issue 3 opens with Aunt May and a pregnant Mary Jane wondering where Peter is; he's off on Battleworld, and is desperate to win and get home to his loved ones and future children.
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    • Even worse, it’s obvious that Aunt May’s dementia is severe and she’s mistaken MJ for Gwen several times. MJ is pregnant and in the hospital yet she has to take care of May who’s lost in her own hazy memories most of the time, a far cry from the sweet and well-meaning Aunt many have grown to love.
    • While the big superheroes were off dealing with Secret Wars, the Cold War turned hot when the Soviet Union decided to launch its nukes thanks to the new power vacuum. As the US and Soviet Union exchanged nukes, heroes like the Vision and Invisible Woman were forced to stop nukes heading to the US. Unfortunately, one of the nukes cannot be rendered intangible thanks to the work of the Red Ghost and Vision can only redirect it from Manhattan, its original target. Allentown, Pennsylvania is nuked and the Vision remains on the site intangible and unmoving. Nobody can figure out if it’s because the nuke fried him, or he’s just broken from his failure and the horror he unintentionally caused.
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    • By the end of the issue, Peter's life has grown worse as Mary Jane cannot take Peter's neglect of their children, and the stress of being married to a superhero anymore and leaves him behind, leaving him with his senile aunt and taking her children with her.
  • Issue 4:
    • it is revealed that Aunt May has died, and had divorced from Otto years ago. As a result from his grief and being unable to take responsibility for any part he had in the failed marriage, the formerly reformed scientist who wanted to change the world with Reed and Peter has returned to supervillainy.
    • Peter obviously misses Mary Jane and his kids, and while he has tried to move on by dating Jessica Jones it is increasingly obvious he is miserable without them.
    • Tony Stark has basically become the very thing his modern comics interpretation despises: an arms-dealing cold-blooded capitalist who is unable/unwilling to change his ways because his methods won the Russian-United States war. He brings up Mary Jane and the kids to Peter who simply asked him to stop making weapons before a merger as a way to hit Peter below the belt, causing Peter to demand Tony to get the hell out of his office. It is sad to see the superhero known as Iron Man fall so low, and the obvious implication that he has burnt bridges with most of his former friends and colleagues.
    • Harry Osborn dies protecting Peter from Otto’s attempt to stab both him and Ben, and all Peter can do is hold Harry as the man apologizes for all the things he has done. Despite all the horrible crap that has happened because Harry was desperate for his father’s approval, it’s obvious that the two of them still saw each other as friends.
    • While Norman is giddy at getting another chance to ruin Peter’s life after his plan turns out to not work, the thing that makes the smugness come crashing down is the news that Harry died. Despite being a horribly abusive parent and making his distaste of Harry known, Norman is unable to shrug off the grief he feels for Harry’s death leading to his fury and eventual heart attack. In spite of all his evil, a small part of Norman still loved Harry.
  • The fifth issue opens with the death of Ben Reilly because Peter didn't take Ezekiel's warning seriously enough, which quickly becomes a source of regret for him and horror for his family. It gets even worse when Benjy sacrifices himself to allow Claire to kill Morlun, which only happened because Peter listened to Claire's advice to head to New York and stop running.

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