Amazing Spider-Man #656

Story by
Art by
Marcos Martin
Colors by
Muntsa Vicente
Letters by
Joe Caramagna
Cover by
Marvel Comics

The second part of "Nobody Dies" continues the story of Spider-Man's supporting cast following the unexpected death of Marla Jameson, as Spidey vows to himself that from now on, no-one - not even his enemies - will die if he can help it.

After the sober events of the previous issue, Dan Slott steers Spider-Man back towards familiar territory this issue, taking on the murderous villain known as "Massacre." At the same time, we get to see Peter dealing with the loss of his spider-sense, and the realization of just how important it was to him.

Admittedly, there's absolutely no question that Spider-Man won't be without his spider-sense forever, but it's an interesting avenue to follow nonetheless. It's the idea that it has an unconscious effect on his choices is an interesting one to explore, and one that I don't recall ever seeing before either. Certainly not in such nuts-and-bolts detail.

That Peter solves his problems with a new suit is a nice bit of fun, but I can't help wondering how often they're going to pull this trick. This is the second new suit Spidey has worn since "Big Time," and the jaded fan part of my brain can't help but wonder whether the marketing department requested new variants so that they could create more action figures. It would probably help if the designs were a little more iconic, to be honest. I'm not entirely sure where this black, grey, and yellow design came from, but it doesn't fit with the character at all.

Still, that's a relatively minor complaint in what was otherwise a great issue. Slott has found an interesting way to turn the Jonah/Spidey relationship on its side, as the former proposes "zero tolerance on murderers" and the latter declares that "no-one dies." You can see that their rather uneasy truce isn't going to get any easier.

Marcos Martin, too, is proving himself to be nothing less than the most inspired Spider-Man artist of our time. His work spans the breadth of comic book storytelling techniques in ways that far too many artists today seem to wilfully ignore in favor of a more cinematic approach. Every page is an utter joy to look at and read.

With that in mind, there's no way that this issue could match the heights of the previous one, but it came far closer than expected. Amazing Spider-Man is one of Marvel's flagship series, and it's always enjoyable when we get issues like this which remind you exactly why that is. Undeniably great stuff.

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