The Marvel Universe isn't a very happy place right now, with a few deaths of late. Those deaths have an impact upon the life of Peter Parker, and as this issue shows, Peter Parker carries quite a burden when it comes to death. Slott allows Martin to open this issue with ten stunningly silent pages. Those pages carry more emotion in the art that fills them than most comics can ever hope to accomplish in the course of their entire run. Amazingly, all of the emotion is stirred up by the passing of a supporting character. Yet it works.
While Jameson and Parker have never seen eye-to-eye, their relation is strained further by the loss of Jameson's wife, a loss Peter cannot help but feel partially responsible for. That much comes through here as words are left unspoken.
In the opening sequence, Martin masterfully captures the absence of pattern many of us experience when we're away from our significant other. This absence, however, is unmistakably deeper, soaked in the sullenness of J. Jonah Jameson's morning preparation. Like Jonah, the alarm clock is on my wife's side of the bed, and I know the walk he takes to the other side. Unlike Jonah, I cannot begin to fathom the emptiness save for what Martin relays.
Masterful, haunting transitions from J. Jonah Jameson shaving, to Peter Parker shaving, Peter opening the door and Robertson's entrance into the Bugle pressroom, the Robertsons reminding one another they're there overlapping into Peter being there for Jay Jameson. These transitions can be found in the preview of this issue that we have here on CBR. Be sure to bring a tissue though.
This issue is Dan Slott's self-professed, "favorite comic I've ever worked on." I can certainly understand the sense of accomplishment Slott must be feeling. This is one of those issues that will be pointed back to with some frequency, much like the death of Ben Parker, Gwen Stacy, the Human Torch, or Captain America. It carries the emotional punch that "Action Comics" #775 brought with it ten years ago. Spider-Man makes his appearances in this issue, but this issue isn't so much about the amazing things Spidey can do as much as it is about the troublesome things that come with being Spider-Man.
Martin's art is deceptively simple, as the opening sequence shows. His lines are light yet impactful, detailed yet understated. The spread of Jonah looking beyond his wife's grave and the emotion surrounding Jonah is perfectly captured. That spread also shows just how very disturbed Peter Parker is regarding the goings on that have led to this point.
Martin goes from beautifully drawing the funeral proceedings to letting loose with the thoughts jumbling in Parker's mind. This includes a flashback sequence that simply oozes Ditkoness in every stroke of the brush.
This issue ends with a Spidey-appropriate cliffhanger, and the introduction of a new villain: Massacre. I didn't realize it while I was reading it, but towards the end of this issue, I was holding my breath, and it came rushing out as I flipped the last page over to the letter column. Truly, Dan Slott and Marcos Martin have provided a breathtaking (literally) emotional and entertaining issue of "Amazing Spider-Man." I'm happy to say that with Slott onboard that appears to be par for the course.