“Parkerrrrrrrrrrr!” It wouldn’t be a celebratory issue of “Amazing Spider-Man” without JJJ screaming out at least once. Of course, this happens at the biggest wedding in the history of “Amazing Spider-Man.” Well, maybe it happens at the second biggest wedding in this title’s history.
This issue has it all. From a series of covers that will never be published (the one by Bendis and Janson ranks as my personal fave) to a team-up with his ol’ hornheaded pal, Daredevil, this book offers a lot to enjoy. As someone who has been skeptical of the new status of Peter Parker following his deal with Mephisto, I found myself enjoying this issue. To this point, I had not made the solid commitment to this title. Some storylines (usually a direct result of the creative talent aligned with said stories) appealed to me, but most didn’t. I was uncertain if there was anything that had been done in this title following the deal that couldn’t have been done to a married Peter Parker. In this issue, all of that seems to come to a head.
What was really missing for me the past year or more has been the villains. Fanboys and fangirls could argue until the spiders come home about the best Rogues Gallery in comics, but for me, it’s Spider-Man’s. His villains are classic, cool, and classically cool. The first issues of the “Brand New Day” experiment quickly lost me without Rhino, Electro, Lizard, Doctor Octopus, Sandman, or even Mysterio. This issue seems almost like an apology letter of sorts. Not only do we get a classic Spider-foe, but we get a desperate classic Spider-Foe.
The main baddie of the story is Doctor Octopus, who inadvertently hatches a plot that is magnificently rendered by John Romita, Jr, whose work here is at an all-time high. Romita and Slott seem tailor-made to work on this title, as each plays to the other’s strengths and those strengths bring out the best in our friendly neighborhood webhead. Without spoiling the end of the first story which clocks in at sixty-two-pages, I will clue you in that the Avengers make an appearance, as do the Fantastic Four. That’s right, true believer; the first story — not the entire issue — clocks in at sixty-two pages. There are six more stories after that.
Stan Lee provides a charmingly cute tale about a psychiatrist set to help alleviate the anxiety of our web-spinning protagonist, with art by the made-to-draw-Spider-Man Marcos Martin. Also included in this issue is an appearance by the much-maligned Spider-Mobile with a familiar tour guide providing insight, a sit-down conversation between Ben Parker and his nephew (quite touching, and beautifully drawn) and some more sparks of stories set to pop up in the next year or so of “Amazing Spider-Man.”
While I’d be the first one to balk at the concept of spending $5 of my hard-earned, tightly-budgeted comic book allowance on one single issue, this issue has something for everyone: Madame Web, Stan Lee, Boomerang, Spidey-Human Torch team-up, Mary Jane Watson, snappy banter, wedding, appearance by the black suit, a restaurant dubbed Conway & Kane’s, and even a shout-out to the letterhacks of yesteryear.
This is not a comic to be taken lightly, but it is a comic that might be lightly taken by any fan of Spider-Man, new or veteran. If you find yourself with a spare fin burning a hole in your pocket this Wednesday, keep in mind that there are zero calories ingested in the act of reading a comic. This comic might just give you a fuzzy feeling inside too, as it reminds you that even though things may not always look up for Peter Parker, there are certainly times it is well worth it to look Peter Parker up.