Peter Parker is back! Joe Madureira is back! All is right with the world.
I had to jump on this because of Joe Madureira returning to art duties. As a long-suffering Battle Chasers fan, I can't say I've ever gotten over my love for his work. While I'm not generally a major follower of manga, there's something about his combination of the style with westernized superheroes which just nails it for me in this medium. Combined with the bright colors, these images just pop off the page and look fantastic.
This is a reunion of sorts, since Zeb Wells and Mad worked together on the opening arc of Avenging Spider-Man. It was a straightforward story, but I remember enjoying it immensely. Based on this issue, it looks like it's pretty much more of the same here and that's definitely not a bad thing.
This is the first of a three-issue story arc which features a team-up between Wolverine and Elektra. Without giving away too much, there's a division within the mysterious ninja organization known as The Hand. Kingpin, its current leader, is at the center of this struggle as he's attempting to prevent an overthrow. While Kingpin is no stranger to challenges to his authority, he's particularly concerned with a hit that has been placed on him within the organization. The would-be assassin is formidable indeed, so Kingpin tasks Elektra (who is under his employ again) to form a special force to neutralize the threat. That's where Wolverine comes in.
But what about Spider-Man?! He's on the cover, right? Well, understand that this is a flashback story. So it occurs before the events of The Amazing Spider-Man #700. Also, Spider-Man isn't exactly part of this team-up. He is allowed some significant dialogue at the beginning of this issue, but the story is obviously about Wolverine and Elektra. That being said, Peter's dialogue is very funny. In fact, the characterization for everyone in this issue is spot-on. Wells isn't known for his earth-shattering stories, but everything here is very solid and more importantly, entertaining. If you wanted to see more Spidey, I heard that he's due another appearance toward the end of the arc.
If you're like me and you're not closely wrapped up in the current continuity, this is a great issue to pick up. It's clearly a standalone tale and it has some great character lines to go along with the gorgeous art. It's totally worth the $4 sticker price. Some comics aren't designed to be super-deep, they're just supposed to be fun. This is one of those comics, and it really nails what it set out to do.