David Morrell and Klaus Janson’s “Amazing Spider-Man” #700.2 is the second issue of a five-issue mini-series of sorts that doesn’t tie into any other Marvel event or even anything currently happening in the other Spider-titles. Instead, it’s merely a nugget tossed out to readers who might be missing Peter Parker as Peter Parker, as opposed to Otto Octavius who’s currently masquerading as Parker over in “Superior Spider-Man.”
It’s a rather odd offering, as it clearly doesn’t take place after issue #700 of the series, and it’s also the conclusion of a two-part story with three issues remaining. No harm is done by this and it doesn’t impact the story or this issue, which itself is a harmless but also derivative, stiff and somewhat uninspired story about Spidey playing the part of hero on his way to check on Aunt May during the winter storm of the century.
Derivative because it reads very much like Lee Weeks’ recent “Angels Unaware” arc in “Daredevil: Dark Nights,” another mini-series with multiple arcs, one of which was also a New York superhero crossing the city, against all odds with a specific mission in mind, during the worst winter storm in recent memory and facing difficult choices that could distract him from his ultimate goal. Maybe it was the same storm, who knows. Just when Spidey is about to succumb to the brutal storm and numbing cold, a vision of Uncle Ben appears to urge him on (and since it’s an old guy named Ben, one almost expects him to tell Peter that he must go to the Dagobah system while he’s at it).
Janson’s pencils and inks are remarkably crisp and a lot cleaner than his usual work, which help make this issue appealing, at least visually. This is aided by Steve Buccellatto’s colors, with vivid contrast between Spider-Man and the wintry snowscape surrounding him. But Janson’s layouts don’t gel all that well with Morrell’s script; the art flows well enough, but the same can’t be said for Morrell’s words. The entire issue reads like Janson handed Morrell a single panel at a time with a post-it note on each one saying “caption this.” It’s enough to progress the story, but it lurches and sputters rather than moving along smoothly.
There are some just plain weird lapses, too; Spider-Man begins to try to manually clear a foot of snow from a New York bridge to allow an ambulance passage; yes, a foot of snow from the entire bridge, with nothing but a road sign no less, before quickly realizing that the task is too insurmountable. Well, yeah. And shortly thereafter, a snowplow driver offers Spidey a lift, only to then tell him that he can’t take him where he’s trying to go. It would have been a lot funnier if he had just driven off when Spidey started to get in.
At the end of the day, Spidey overcomes all obstacles and once again proves himself the hero, but his accomplishment seems diminished by such lackluster storytelling. “Amazing Spider-Man” #700.2 looks good and offers a non-continuity Peter Parker story, but not much else.