As a re-imagining of the “Table of Time” saga from multiple issues of The Amazing Spider-Man, Spider-Man: Forever Young is a bit of a disappointment.
The strongest parts of the story are borrowed directly from a couple of issues in the Stan Lee/John Romita days of ASM. Filled to the brim with angst for Peter Parker, multiple villains for our favorite web-slinger to contend with and a McGuffin to drive the story (in this case, an ancient tablet that contains the formula for a fountain of youth serum), the first half of the story is entertaining, riveting and chock full of classic Spidey goodness.
Then we get to the second half of the story, which deviates wildly from Marvel continuity. Featuring a time jump that sums up the “Death of Gwen Stacy” epic in about ten minutes (at least in the Graphic Audio version), the story quickly devolves a bit into over the top Parker angst and a bunch of lackluster threats — at least in the Graphic Audio version. Maybe it’s just me but it’s hard to find the Lizard all that compelling in a “movie in your mind” kind of way. The story brings back Silvermane, suffering from a condition in which he rapidly ages and then de-ages again, losing his memories in the process. Meanwhile, Aunt May is in the hospital and that tablet could hold the key to her survival — but only if Peter is willing to betray everything he stands for to get her the help she needs.
At times in the second half of this graphic audio story, I found myself growing restless with the story that was unfolding. Part of this was the few minutes I wondered why Graphic Audio didn’t decide to adapt the famous “Death of Gwen Stacy” storyline instead of the less known “Tablet of Time” saga. If you’re looking for a full-on, great Spidey story that has the right level of angst and threat, you can’t really go wrong with condensing the Green Goblin vs Spider-Man saga.
In the end, I got to the final moments and felt more relieved that it was all done rather than feeling satisfied with the story.
As an audio production, I can’t fault this one, though. The voice-acting works well, the narration is crisp and helps flesh out the various fight scenes. Even the sound effect of Spidey shooting webs and then swinging around New York helps bring things to life.
It’s just a shame the last half of the story didn’t hold my attention.