This week marks the beginning of Marvel's "One More Day" storyline, the story that will be the end of writer J. Michael Straczynski's almost EIGHT year run on Amazing Spider-Man, the return of Marvel Editor-in-Chief, Joe Quesada, to sequential artwork, and is about a 92% certainty to be the end of the marriage of Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson.
So, with all this hype - how was it?
Well, it wasn't great.
First off, I was quite impressed with Quesada's artwork, for the most part. Was it a bit too stylized at times? Sure. Was said stylized artwork a bit of a detriment to some of the quieter, more somber scenes? Yeah.
But he more than made up for it with the power and dynamism of his artwork.
Here are some sample pages:
That is some strong action right there, and really, that was the clear highlight of the first part of the storyline, which had more plot progression than the previous issues of Back in Black, but mostly because this is the first time that the story was really ALLOWED to progress.
In retrospect, it probably wasn't a great idea to let loose that Aunt May's situation really wasn't going to change all through Back in Black, now was it?
In any event, at the end of last issue, Straczynski had this big thing about how Peter was now officially a criminal, because he abducted Aunt May from the hospital they were at, because the police were figuring out who he was (and in the resulting escape, he knocked out a cop). That particular story aspect seemed to basically be dropped in this issue, which was a bit strange, as that left Back in Black basically without a point.
A doctor tells Peter that unless he can raise some quick cash, Aunt May is in even bigger trouble than one would imagine a person in a coma would be in. So Peter decides to confront Iron Man, which is the main battle of the issue.
It was handled well enough, although it was kinda silly to expect the reader to even slightly think that Iron Man was not going to help Aunt May.
But then, fight's over, Aunt May gets some help, and Peter just...goes off.
Not even, "I'm off to see Dr. Strange" or anything like that. He just takes off.
After a storyline in Back in Black where things basically held in a holding pattern for this big storyline, this was a bit light on plot. At least it DID move things forward. However, I think the story clearly reads as though it was originally intended to be released, on a weekly schedule. In that case, it is more reasonable to have a light plot for the first issue, as things will pick up quickly in the next issue.
With that weekly schedule now becoming a MONTHLY schedule, it reads a bit loose for a first part of a "MAJOR STORYLINE" (term trademarked, all rights reserved).
But Quesada's art sure looked nice, and the story DID progress a bit!
Overall, though, unless you really like Quesada's artwork, or if you're one of those fellows who cast a ballot in the Top 100 Marvel and DC characters vote for "Anyone who punches the **** out of Iron Man" (real vote), then this issue is quite skippable.