Writer: J. Michael Straczynski
Artists: Mike Deodato (p), Joe Pimentel (i), Tom Palmer (finishes)
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Well, Iím still not convinced by this whole May Jane subplot, but at least it seems that MJ is the only one whoís actually bothered by it, although I really canít see why. Otherwise, this is good strong writing from JMS, and itís certainly the funniest issue Iíve read in a while. Itís good to see that Spidey is back to his usual wisecracking, risk-taking self, and all in all this is starting to read like a proper Spider-Man comic again. Furthermore, Straczynski has the Avengers use Spidey in a sensible role which plays up his unique strengths, finally getting the balance of Spidey-as-Spidey and Spidey-as-an-Avenger right.
Deodatoís art is largely inoffensive this issue , apart from one knee-crackingly awful panel which suggests that Spidey is developing powers akin to those of Reed Richards. What doesnít work nearly as well is when Tom Palmer takes over the art duties in the middle of the comic; Iím never sure what ďfinishesĒ means in a comic-book context, as itís a vague and broad category that could range from little more than inking to working from layouts and as such, doing most of the work. Whatever Palmer does here itís not a bad job and in fact, I prefer his strong lines to Deodato and Pimentelís vague scritchy-scratchiness; if youíre doing a story about Hydra firing stolen missiles filled with biological agents into reservoirs, you donít want to be going for photo-realism. That said, thereís a noticeable stylistic shift which is quite jarring, and gives the comic a bitty look I associate more with DCís ďfourteen inkersĒ house style. If Deodatoís falling behind, it might be better to get Palmer to do every other issue rather than eight random pages in the middle of each comic.
I canít remember the last time Iíve actually enjoyed one of Straczynskiís Spider-Man issues, but the emphasis on character and dialogue over the writerís attempts to re-invent the Spider-Man canon have paid dividends with this issue.
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