Mark Waid makes his debut on the post-Brand New Day "Amazing Spider-Man" and he brings a solid story with him. Waid, in my opinion, is a magnificent super-hero writer. He gets the inner workings of heroism and has an amazing depth of knowledge of these characters to the point where he slides right in when he joins the creative team of any super-title. This is no exception.
Waid takes Peter Parker through some high tension moments as well as quieter character paces, slinging webs and cracking wise when necessary, but human the entire time.
The humanity of Peter Parker is what makes Martin's art a perfect fit. This is not some high-faluting cosmic adventure that Spider-Man happens to pitch in against, this is a down-to-earth gritty tale. Armed with a healthy dose of Ditko-esque figures, Martin brings the grit, along with detail and some extraordinary page layout skills that display everyone's favorite webslinger in new and visually exciting ways. His pages with nine panels have a claustrophobic feel as the story demands, while his more sparse pages ring out the widescreen adventure, excitement, defeats and triumphs.
The combination of Waid and Martin bring a realism to the threat of the Shocker -- easily one of Spider-Man's most easily misinterpreted and ill-used foes. Following the lead from the "Spectacular Spider-Man" cartoon, the Shocker poses a more realistic threat here and truly delivers some wary moments for the reader in his all-too-brief struggle with the webslinger.
All in all, this issue reads well, offers some great Spidey moments and some beautiful art and, in general, has me quite stoked for the second part of this tale. That said, I'm not completely convinced that this tale couldn't have been told with a wedding band on Peter Parker's left ring finger. That argument, however, is rendered moot given the truly wonderful story bound by two superhuman staples.