The greatest things about Dan Slott's work as a Spider-Man writer are all on display in "Amazing Spider-Man" #682. This issue is not only a great sample of the work Slott does on this title, but it is also a brilliant showcase of Stefano Caselli's artwork and the start of an epic eight-part storyline mostly contained in a single title.
Slott opens the issue with Spider-Man defending New York against Equinox, the Marvel villain with powers similar to Iceman and Human Torch. Right then, my mind whirled back to the concept of having Slott and Caselli on "Marvel Team-Up," but the creative duo certainly makes "Amazing Spider-Man" a title worth reading. The methods Spider-Man uses to take out Equinox leads into a fine exposition both of where Spider-Man is at this point in his life and also what makes Peter Parker a character worth caring about. Slott puts humor in and all around Spider-Man's life right alongside the very real, very plausible threats on multiple fronts. Even when Parker (or Spider-Man) is having a good day, the old Parker luck still creeps in.
Doctor Octopus is hatching a plot to put the world at his mercy and it's not simply a bank heist or terrorizing of New York. This is a global scale threat, one Slott has been building up for quite some time in "Amazing Spider-Man." The threat is severe enough that it prompts Spider-Man to try out some new equipment and call upon his teammates in the Avengers. See what I mean when I say Slott gives you some of the greatest things you could want to read in a Spider-Man comic? But wait! There's more.
Stefano Caselli's art is nothing short of phenomenal. If you haven't experienced "Amazing Spider-Man" in the past couple of years, you've truly missed out on a nice variety of artists but Caselli, right now, is the artist for this title. His style is very expressive (without words, you can almost hear what Mysterio is saying to Rhino), keenly detailed (just check out the preview), and marvelously composed. Even depicting seven characters jawing around a table, Caselli manages to make the panel exciting and worthy of studious contemplating. Not only does he draw the characters and scenery in an enticing manner, Caselli also experiments with the pacing of the story across the spreads. Thankfully, he also composes some magnificent splash pages, including the issue's final page.
We get almost as much facetime with Peter Parker in this installment as we do with Spider-Man, but Caselli and Slott effortlessly make those pages every bit as interesting and entertaining. This book has everything a Spider-fan could wish for: a rant from J. Jonah Jameson, heroic allies for the Webhead, a wild amount of comic book science fiction technology and a very serious threat. There's also a passing skateboarder singing R.E.M.'s "It's the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)." See? Everything you could want to read in one great issue of "Amazing Spider-Man" plus fabulous art. Now is as good a time as any to grab a web and swing on in.