"There Goes the Neighborhood"
Writer: Dan Slott
Artists: Kieron Dwyer, Laura Villari(c)
My eyes! My eyes!
That is one butt-ugly Spider-Man costume. The colors, which work for Iron Man, reek of awfulness for Spidey. The metal arms are mighty stupid. What is he The Amazing Spideypus? There's not one thing good about that costume. For forcing that costume on the unsuspecting public, Joe Quesada should be prosecuted for terrorism against fashion.
That said. Dan Slott breezily writes the snappy-patter you expect from Spider-Man and makes use of one tiny, obscure bit of continuity to explain his presence. He also employs current continuity to subtly deepen Spidey's characterization. If Spidey was not an Avenger, in good standing, rather than a reservist as he was, it's unlikely he would even think of himself as part of any team, past or present.
Slott also brilliantly shows that part of the reason why villains hate Spidey is that he's absolutely annoying, to them and habitually humiliates them. The Thing's reaction--Yes, it's still the Thing's book--is absolutely priceless and almost makes the reader ignore Kieron Dwyer's slapdash substitute artwork. Now, don't misread. Dwyer's artwork is good just rushed. When he has the time, Dwyer can really do some fine illustration. Here he punctuates the cartooniness required and sketches the rest. Villari's colors mesh well with Dwyer's art, but I hope she just put in the color codes for Spidey's costume and didn't actually fill it in herself. If she did, I suspect she'll soon be going to the hospital.
Apart from perfect wall crawling characterization, Slott comes up with a smart way to stop the Sandman and keep Ben's legacy to Yancy Street from going up in smoke. He also seems to create an out for the Sandman should Marvel wish to reclaim him from dark side.
This is another excellent issue of The Thing. It's so good that it even overcomes the Spider-Man eyesore that was foisted upon the web-slinger by people who should have really known better. He's not the only guest in the book, and Marvel fans--Slotted and un-Slotted--will be delighted by the surprise cameos.
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