Writer: J. Michael Straczynski
Artists: Mike Deodato Jr. and Joe Pimentel
Publisher: Marvel Comics
I have to say I didn't see that final page surprise coming, and if nothing else it makes for a major wrinkle in the life of Spider-Man that is sure to get the readers talking. I also have to give the issue credit for managing to smooth over the rough patch of continuity that I took notice of last issue, as Gwen couldn't have run off to Europe while Peter was in Canada, as that story made it pretty clear that Peter was only up in the Great White North for a couple days, and it was Gwen's call about Harry's overdose that had Peter rushing back to New York. However the question than becomes how could have Gwen have hidden her hard to miss situation from Peter in the months before her trip to London, but I'm sure this will be explained, as will the other obvious question that springs to mind when one learns the identities of the mysterious strangers that attacked Peter.
In the end I'm perfectly willing to let J. Michael Straczynski mess about with this previously sacred ground, as I have to confess I'm curious to see where he plans on taking it, and whether it's a genuine development, or an elaborate scam being played on our hero. In fact the only real complaint that I would make about this issue is that Peter's secret identity has been outed a little too frequently over the past little while, as once again we get another story where a character reveals that they know Peter is Spider-Man, and yet another sequence that has Spider-Man racing across the city after receiving word that Aunt May has been kidnapped. Still, the big battle that results from this mad race is pretty intense, and the identity of these strangers makes for an engaging motivation.
The lumpy figure work that Spider-Man suddenly gains when he puts on the spandex has me wishing Mike Deodato Jr. would crack open a book on the human form, but I have to also give him full marks for a wonderful one-page shot of a sideways Spider-Man racing toward the reader, and the big explosion panel is also pretty solid. I also have to give the art full credit for its work on the out-of-costume moments, as there's a great quiet moment between Peter and Mary Jane. Still, the cover image is a bit off-putting, as Spider-Man looks like he's been disfigured by his attackers.
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