Writer: J. Michael Straczynski
Pencils: Mike Deodato
Inks: Joe Pimentel and Tom Palmer
Colors: Matt Milla
Letters: VC's Cory Petit
Publisher: Marvel Comics
$2.50 U.S. / $3.50 CAN
When Peter is woken by a phone call from a concerned Robbie we see Peter's morning is occupied with a rising anger over what a tabloid reporter has done to Mary Jane. However, we see Tony Stark wisely sends Peter off to investigate a connection that they've unearthed in the Hydra case, and Peter's frustration is quelled when he discovers a far larger problem to hold his attention. However, we see his investigation does get him in a little too deep.
There are moments where I wish J. Michael Straczynski didn't feel the need to make such an effort when it comes to the injection of humour into this title as most of his gags feel a little too desperate. Now I'll concede that a couple of the gags make me smile, such as the cute scene between Jarvis and Aunt May, but for the most part the jokes have a strained quality about them, and it's never a good thing when the character actually starts to comments on how corny their jokes are, though I guess readers are suppose to take notice of the idea that there might be something more sinister to the degrading quality of Peter's attempts at humour. Still, there are moments where it almost feels like J. Michael Straczynski puts the story on hold so he can offer up yet another attempt at showing readers that he can be one funny guy, and this type of writing only works if the gags are constantly funny, which J. Michael Straczynski simply isn't able to pull off. Still, if one is able to look past the awkward bids at humour, there is a pretty engaging story being told here, as Spider-Man manages to stumble his way into one of the most ambitious plots that Hydra has ever tried to pull off, and it's not often we get to see Spider-Man called upon to play the big, brave hero against an Avenger level threat. Plus, there is something to be said for how Spider-Man goes about collecting the information that allows him to figure out what Hydra's sinister plan is, as it's about time a hero took advantage of the identity concealing uniforms that these villainous organizations make a practice of wearing. The issue also manages to offer up a pretty exciting cliff-hanger moment to carry readers into the next issue, and I'm delighted to see the "to be continued" tag instead of the "to be concluded", as one already knows that Peter's phone call means a cavalry style, last moment rescue by the New Avengers, but I can be secure in the knowledge that they won't be showing up next issue to pull Spider-Man's fat out of this particular fire.
First off I have to say that it's great to see Kaare Andrews work again, as he dropped off my radar after providing a string of highly memorable covers over on the "Incredible Hulk", and his return doesn't disappoint with this wonderfully moody shot of Spider-Man. A lovely looking cover, and my fingers are crossed that Marvel has more worked lined up for him, as he's one of the best cover artists this side of Mike Zeck. As for the interior art Mike Deodato continues to provide some very solid work, though as seems to be the case right from the word go his work on the out of costume material is far stronger than the scenes where Peter suits up. I mean there's some lovely quiet moments in this issue, from the opening page where we see a sleepy Peter gets his less than pleasant wake-up call, to the very funny panel where we see Logan returning from his early morning ejection from the building. There's also a fairly funny visual bit where we see Spider-Man takes a moment to look around before offering up his cheesy butler line, and the establishing shot of the underground base is very impressive.
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