All I have to say about ASM 641 is this: “Was that really necessary?” Oy vey! It made my head hurt!
Fortunately, that mess is all wrapped up in a tidy package (with a flip of the bird to most Peter/MJ fans out there) and we are all told to move on. Which is a good idea. Because ASM 642 is a vastly superior comic book.
I’ll get my opinions out of the way up front. I loved the Mark Waid script. He nails what an old-school Spider-man story should be. I’m less fond of the Paul Azaceta art. It’s very stylized. And there’s nothing wrong with that. It would be perfect for some independent book about a put-upon photographer. If this book were about hapless Peter Parker and how unlucky he is at life, the art would be a good fit.
But the book is only half about Peter’s failures at love and business. It’s also a super hero comic book. And I like my super hero comics a little less, um, sweaty.
My personal artistic preferences out of the way, Mark Waid writes one mean Spider-man story. The issue opens with a meeting of Spidey’s rogues gallery. The figure who called the meeting remains obscured in shadows. The other villains recognize the shadowy figure but our disturbed by whatever has happened to him.
With the set-up handled, we move on to the trials and tribulations of poor Peter Parker. Seems Pete’s strapped for dough. Naturally he has his own sense of warped guilt and J. Jonah Jameson to thank for his predicament. Pete’s so desperate, he’s willing to sell his last camera at a pawn shop.
Unwilling to let that happen, Betty Brandt floats Pete a loan so he can keep his date. Comic misfortune follows as Pete discovers that all of his clothes except a big, ugly sweater have been sold to pay his rent. So Pete dons the sweater and runs in the sweltering heat to the date he is already late for.
Naturally, when he arrives, he finds his date talking to Harry and MJ. MJ busts his balls which is so uncool after the way she did him in ASM 641 (not talking about it!) But the romantic tension is cut short when Harry’s ex shows up pursued by all those super-villains from the pro-logue.
The confrontation that follows is, well, weird. But it was interesting. I can honestly say I am looking forward to next issue.
Is this a return to form for the Spider-books? I don’t know. But it sure as hell beat the last four issues of mopey sulking that amounted to nothing!