Jeph Loeb, Tim Sale. Their previous limited series include Batman: The Long Halloween, Batman: Dark Victory and Daredevil: Yellow. Now a 6 issues Spider-Man series. Expectations are high...
Night, Spider-Man is swinging across the city. A voice over seems to be recording his thoughts on a taperecorder. It's Valentine's Day and the voice over doesn't feel much like being anybody's Valentine. The story he's about to tell is addressed to a girl. He is obviously sad. His name is Peter Parker, her name is Gwen Stacy. It's the story of how they fell in love.
It's Valentine's Day and there's a place he stops by once a year. The place is the Brooklyn Bridge. Spider-Man leaves a rose there. Peter is telling that before something good could happen, something really, really bad had to happen. In this case is was the Green Goblin.
We go back in time, to a wharehouse. Spider-Man is tied to a chair, unmasked and the Green Globlin is hovering on his Goblin Glider. Peter is making jokes about the uglyness of the face of the Goblin who then gets closer. Spider-Man kicks him and breaks loose. A fight follows. Spidey screams, "Let's finish this once and for all!". Making jokes, he hits the Goblin, but the Goblin strikes back with a laser from his finger and with a pumpkin bomb.
Using a webline, Spider-Man swings the bomb back to the Green Goblin. The bomb explodes, leaving the Goblin for dead on the floor. Then, some moaning is heard. Spidey unmasks the Goblin, to help him breath. Norman Osborn (who's under the mask) is surprised, why is he wearing those clothes? Outside, the fire department has arrived. Spider-Man throws the Goblin suit into the flames and carries Norman outside. Telling the firemen that Norman Osborn helped stop the Green Goblin, the Goblin is dead.
Cut to the Daily Bugle. J. Jonah Jameson doesn't believe the Goblin's deaduntil he sees it himself. Peter asks about getting paid, JJJ says he's getting paid like any other freelancer. Robbie Robertson says Norman has been moved to Memorial Hospital and it's a great photo opportunity. Since Sheldon is away, Peter gets the job.
At the hospital, Peter meets his friend Harry, the son of Norman. Norman is resting. Harry is telling he's going to take care of his dad. Peter tries to comfort him, telling him about having to grow up without a dad. Then some friends arrive, Flash and Gwen are amongst them. The vocie over says, "And that's how it started. I turned back and just for a moment, I saw you looking right at me. I turned into a puddle".
Back home, Peter talks to his aunt May. He wants to buy a motorcycle but does not have enough money. Because the guy at the store can't hold it much longer, aunt May gives him some cash from a cookie jar. Uncle Ben used to drive a motorcycle, and he looked to handsome. Turns out Ben and May saved that money so Peter could one day by a car. But if a motorcycle is what makes him happy, Ben won't mind bending the rules.
Peter is at the store as the gang from before is outside. They're laughing. When Peter sees Gwen, he makes up his mind about spending so much money and buys the motorcycle. He takes it for a ride and drives up to the group. Gwen asks whether it's fast. She then hops on the back and the both of them take off.
The final page of the issue shows a girl, visiting aunt May. We can not see the girl, just her silhouette. May tells her that Peter isn't home and Peter will be sorry to have missed her. According to the girl, May can bet on that!
The story is told as a flashback. The unmasking of Spider-Man by the Green Goblin takes place in Amazing Spider-Man (volume 1), issue 39. The scene with the chair is from issue 40. The buying of the motorcycle is from issue 41.
The voice over telling the story into a taperecorder is a nice touch. Since the story is told to (the deceased) Gwen Stacy it creates a kinda intimate atmosphere. We learn some of Peter's deepest thoughts, something that usually can not be done through regular storytelling. I was touched, especially during the scene on top of the Brooklyn Bridge.
There is a well done belance between action and character building. Although I already knew the story, re-reading it like this wasn't at all annoying. It's a true retelling, from a different point of view in ways. It's definitily not a fleshed out reprint, something I've seen done with retellings before.
I was going to give this story 4 webs. But then I reread it and looked up the original stories. And I realised, this is just great stuff. Excellent story telling and excellent art. Giving it 5 webs would mean there'd be nothing left to improve. But there is, the only problem is, I can't find it right now.