Amazing Spider-Man #658

Story by
Art by
Javier Pulido
Colors by
Muntsa Vicente
Letters by
Joe Caramagna
Cover by
Marvel Comics

With this issue, "Amazing Spider-Man" snaps into line with "FF" #1 as Spider-Man goes on his first adventure with the Future Foundation, immediately finding himself thrust into all sorts of strange situations, the likes of which he doesn't normally face on the streets of New York. By contrast, the issue opens and closes with some decidedly down-to-earth moments involving Peter's new girlfriend, Carlie. In particular, the ending is a classic "where can this go next?" cliffhanger of the kind that makes you glad to be reading comics monthly.

While good, it's not a perfect issue by any stretch. Slott's take on Spider-Man's sense of humor is normally good, but I did struggle to enjoy the scene where Peter arrives dressed in a modified Fantastic Four costume. Given that the matter had already been dealt with in FF #1, it felt deliberately insensitive on Peter's part, and not at all the kind of act you'd expect from him. While it's clear that it was an attempt to show how Peter's inclusion in the FF was intended to fill the "mildly-antagonistic prankster" void left by Johnny's departure, the scene didn't quite work for me. Surely the wounds are still too fresh for this kind of joke?

A rather more startling misstep, though, is the lack of any reference to the loss of Peter's spider-sense. Arguably, this is because in a story where Reed Richards is hanging around, he could probably get it fixed in a few minutes, but it's the sort of subplot that should really be addressed in a line or two, not simply ignored for simplicity's sake.

That criticism aside, though, it's a typical Spider-Man issue, and by that I mean it's a typically good one. Although Peter might not always act like the "classic" version of the character (by which I mean that I can't remember the last time an issue of "Amazing Spider-Man" opened with him talking to his girlfriend about having sex), it's clear that Slott's intentions are to make sure Peter Parker embodies the spirit of the original version of the character, even if that does mean adapting him to modern trends and sensibilities.

Javier Pulido's art gives the book a nice retro sheen that really fits the character, and it's a welcome choice of artist. It seems that art trends at Marvel (and particularly on "Amazing Spider-Man") are moving away from the over-rendered attempts at photo-realism in favor of subtler work. As a fan of such artwork, it's a shift I'm glad to see.

Regardless of how interested you are in Spidey's role in the FF as an ongoing prospect, it's clear that his own title won't ignore it entirely. We don't need to see every arc as FF-heavy as this issue (after all, that's what FF is for) but in terms of establishing how the FF fits into Peter's life, this issue tells us all we need to know, and it's a story worth reading for that reason alone.

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