First of all I have to mention Ryan Stegman's art. Since I first saw his interiors in Scarlet Spider #1 i've been in love with his pencils and style. He is one of my favorite artists out there at the moment and to see him back on a Spider-Character is a dream come true. I could spend the whole "Good" part of this post just praising Mr. Stegman's art but I will pull myself away and get into the other aspects.
Dan Slott has been a consistently good writer of Spider-man since his run began. Some people may not like the storylines but you cannot deny he nailed Peter's personality. This Spider-man however is a completely different kettle of fish and when I heard what was going to happen after ASM 700. I was worried the transition may not all that murky and that we would continue to have Peter's personality just slightly rougher round the edges and that would have been awful. However I was so wrong. This Spider-man isn't Peter. Not in the slightest! He's arrogant, brash, egotistical and downright brutal. Slott did an amazing job setting the difference between the two. This really isn't the Spider-man we all used to know.
Another thing I liked was his use of Superior's intelligence. Superior is at heart an evil genius after all and somehow that shone through in this issue which was a very nice touch.
I am going to start off with the part of this that struck me as the worst. Prior to it's release Dan Slott had said this was a good jump-on point for new readers. Believe me when I say it IS NOT! As soon as I finished reading this issue that was my first thought. This issue is not new reader friendly. Unless you have read "Dying Wish" as well you will have next to no idea what is going on or why. It is even worse for new readers who come to this from watching the movies. This issue is far from friendly to new readers and I would not recommend it as a jump-on point at all.
The next part that I didn't like was the fact that Mary Jane of all people seems to be largely oblivious to the fact that Spider-man is not the same man she once knew. Don't get me wrong she makes a few remarks but this is the woman who has seen through multiple people pretending to be Peter in the past within a few minutes. However we have not seen the story from her point of view. Maybe she knows more than she is letting on?
The next part I had trouble swallowing was during Ock's first confrontation. I won't go into detail but he basically jumps into a fight beats up a few villains before throwing a fit and attempting to leave. I have two major problems with this and here they are:
- Ock is an evil genius. He uses his brain's not his brawn to get the job done and never rushes in without thinking things through and yet this is exactly what happened here. I understand Spider-man is no longer the same person but Otto is. There was no point in detracting from his character by doing that.
- This is Doc Ock we are talking about here. The same guy who has taken direct attacks from Spider-man, Iron Man and many other prominent Marvel characters and this was before he got Spider-man's superhuman durability. Now suddenly he's throwing a fit about being hit hard and deciding to leave rather than keep fighting even after he made the promise to himself that Doc Ock's days of losing were over? Nope sorry I ain't buying that!
Although I found this very unfriendly to anyone new to Spider-man, to anyone who isn't and has followed Spider-man since Slott's run or indeed since "Dying Wish" this issue is great. To well-versed Spidey fans this issue is coherent and fun to read. In fact my only major complaint is about MJ not noticing the difference but as I said earlier maybe she knows more than Slott has shown us thus far. Anyone who read "Dying Wish" may know what i'm referring too so i'm willing to give Slott the benefit of the doubt.
I'm giving it 4 stars as Ryan Stegman's art is just so awesome that this issue deserves 2.5 just for that very reason. The rest of the points go to Mr. Slott. All in all the story wasn't bad and Slott still makes his characters interact well, there were just a few nagging problem's that I mentioned above mainly to do with Ock's weird change in character these prevented this issue getting the full 5.