The Amazing Spider-Man #565

Story by
Art by
Phil Jimenez, Andy Lanning
Colors by
Chris Chuckry
Letters by
Cory Petit
Cover by
Marvel Comics

After a few one-offs and two-issue arcs, Marc Guggenheim returns to the "Amazing" writer's seat for a much meatier three-part arc, which (surprise!) introduces yet another new villain. This time, though, there's a more familiar tinge to the character which will hopefully sate those who are upset about the lack of recognizable villains. The character debuting appears to be a new, female, Kraven.

It's not the first time someone's turned up calling themselves Kraven since the original's death, but it still carries with it some unease -- the death of the original Kraven is considered a classic story and has been left alone long enough now that it's considered "hallowed ground" by a large portion of fandom. That said, a third of the way into the story, nothing has been done here to upset that particular grave, so you can all rest easy.

Guggenheim's arcs have certainly been among the more entertaining "Brand New Day" stories, usually second only to Slott's. This arc easily draws my interest, not least because I'm a hopeless fan of Jimenez's McFarlane-inspired, giant-eyed, spindly-limbed Spider-Man. The plot employs some simple misdirection that nonetheless fooled even this jaded, cynical comics fan, and it's genuinely amusing to see that despite her fierce conviction and calculating nature, the new Kraven has actually made a bit of a slip-up. As a result, Guggenheim keeps the stakes personal even when Peter's not the one being attacked.

The Daredevil appearance quickly re-establishes the pair's friendship post-"One More Day", although Daredevil is shown as far lighter than he is in his current title. Unfortunately, while the scene itself is an enjoyable superhero team-up, it just serves to raise more of the continuity questions that dog appearances by any familiar face from the past, and that makes reading the scene a little distracting than it should be. Marvel, take note: some of us need these continuity gaps addressed, and soon!

With a prominent villain and a developing subplot inside Peter's cast, this issue re-establishes the title's momentum ahead of August's six part Thunderbolts guest appearance, featuring Norman Osborn and Venom. Guggenheim manages that nicely, and while there's nothing hugely groundbreaking, it's more than up to the task of keeping us entertained before the big villains arrive.

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