Now a member of the Future Foundation, Spider-Man is helping to investigate space/time anomolies. And Lord, is he annoying. Honestly, he won't shut up. After reading several thousand of his appearances, I realise that quips are Spidey's thing, and that's fine. He's our friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man, emphasis on friendly. But in this issue he just won't quit with the inane jabber. He's two minutes into his role of replacement for the departed Johnny Storm, and Reed, Sue and Ben are likely considering throwing him into the grave after the snuffed-out Human Torch (click to enlarge).
|Dear God, shut up|
Mind, they're pretty annoying too, making out of character jokes at inappropriate times. And then there's an appearance by Valeria Richards, the world's most intelligent gnome. Reed really needs to blast the ill-mannered know-it-all with that instant-coma gun he once used on son Franklin.
Elsewhere, Carlie Cooper has gone from personality free CSI officer to roller derby party girl, getting drunk and having a Green Goblin tattoo inked because she's mad at boyfriend Peter Parker. Apparently there are tattoo parlours in Marvel's New York that will work on drunks - do they never get sued?
The art by Stefano Caselli is decent, though the FF costume Spidey sports is incredibly ugly; there's an example on Caselli's witty cover, with the webslinger looking for all the world like a fat albino ninja.
I actually had to force myself to finish this story, which is strange as writer Dan Slott is usually a sure hand on the Spider-tiller. I don't know if he's aiming to get across that Peter is trying way too hard to impress his new FF colleagues, but whatever the case, the result is painful.
But aha ... and indeed, aha! A look beyond the cover credits tells me that Fred Van Lente scripted this issue, over Slott's plot. Fair enough, we know Van Lente is good, he's just not very experienced with Spidey. So I'll forgive, and likely be back next issue.
The removal of the back-up strips would make my purchase a certainty. Would someone please explain Marvel maths to me? As I understand it, back-ups are there to take away the pain of a price hike to $3.99 ... yet if the price weren't $3.99 there wouldn't be enough in the budget to pay for extra story and pages. I'll likely investigate whether trades contain only the main story in each issue and if so, switch to them, because so far there's not been a single 'bonus' story that I couldn't live without quite happily.
This time Spidey is teamed with Ghost Rider in a tale you'll find listed in the dictionary under 'throwaway'. Former Batgirl artist Lee Garbett draws a wonderful Spidey, resplendent in his proper costume, Ghost Rider looks suitably spooky and stupid demon Servicer - he wants to take GR's spectral bike away for a refit and I wish to God I were making this up - is big, bad and burning.
'Can't get the service', which reads like an especially bad issue of Marvel Team-Up circa 1975, is written by Rob Williams, who's behind an upcoming Ghost Rider book. He's British, so he's great, obviously, but this wasn't my cup of tea.
You may notice that the cover proclaims that this issue is a prelude to the upcoming Spider Island mini-event. That would be the vignette by Dan Slott and Barry Kitson, which is good looking, suspensful and all of two pages long. Thanks for that.
The Amazing Spider-Man has been one of Marvel's most reliable performers over the past few years, but this isn't my favourite issue - they're packing plenty into each issue, but I'd rather see less filler and a cheaper price point. And Valeria sent off to be a herald of Galactus. Or food for same.