Slott Knew Better.
So, let's just get this right out of the way. Spider-pus does not rape Mary Jane. So while I won't apologize for worrying that Slott would pull something like that, I do admit that it was probably my biggest subjective issue with this book so far. Now that this whole thing is over with I can now just focus on how, objectively, this book fails.
Now, my biggest problem with this book is that even though nothing bad truly happened, this entire issue was focused at least on Spider-pus desperately TRYING to rape Mary-Jane, which I found to be EXTREMELY unsettling. It was just so creepy, seeing page after page of him desperately trying to get in MJ's pants. 2 issues in, and I'm seeing a pattern: This new Spider-man is just an incredibly disturbing person, and it really kills his likability. Not only that, a large part of the humor in this book comes from his perverseness and it just doesn't work.
Worse still is Peter Parker's blue ghost. My god, was that the most annoying thing ever. Panel after panel of him bitching at Doctor Octopus, who we've established can't even hear him! It's so grating, seeing him there in just about every scene whining about how people don't realize somethings wrong and trying to stop Otto from screwing up.
I'm pretty sure that Peter's ghost is in this book for 2 reasons: to calm fans down from their justified anger towards this book after the events of ASM 700, and to give a mouthpiece to everyone reading this and seeing just what's wrong with this set-up, as if Slott is saying "I get it, this really doesn't work. Here, Peter will even agree with you, just shut up and let me write".
Now, the ending does give a surprising twist that resolves this rather unsettling conflict, and while it is clever... I just don't buy it. 2 issues in, and Slott seems unable to decide if Otto is the hero or the villain. Issue 1 established that he was still a complete bastard, but now, out of nowhere, he's being noble? Worse still is that his sudden change of heart comes out of nowhere, with absolutely no build up. In less than 2 panels, he goes from "Man, I really want to f*** this redhead" to "Now I love her!" and I just cannot believe it.
Ryan Stegman's art, while not bad, really doesn't work for me. I have heard rumors that the problem is the inker and colorist assigned to him, but I'm looking back on my old issues of Scarlet Spider and just can't figure out why there's such a drop in quality. I suspect he's adjusting his usual style in some ways, and it really drags this book down. It's a pretty book, but not really doing it for me.
I really didn't like this book. I really don't like this series. There's decent moments, but nothing really notable. The conflict over whether or not Spider-pus is a hero or a villain is incredibly shaky, Peter Parker is annoying, no one is putting 2 and 2 together except for Carlie, apparently, and the art isn't nearly as good as it could be. I feel people are still in a bit of a high over Peter not really being dead, and it's not going to last.