Oh, The Stories I Can Tell You
I can't say how much it thrills me to say this: I found literally nothing wrong with this issue. It had everything that I love about comics and everything that made me want to read comics in the first place years and years ago. Spider-Man is maybe my favorite character, and after the slight let-down of Spider-Island (though I did like its resolution and the things it changed for all of its crazy confusing plotting) it's great to get back on track. Let's get into the specifics:
Great Power: Let's start with the art, because after several weeks of Ramos's art (which I'm not saying was bad, but it wasn't my favorite) I'm a big fan of this new artistic team. It isn't perfect, but the work seems more realistic and takes much less effort to make sense of. The way a few of the characters were rendered was only a touch off at times, but really it did not take a big step to overlook it. The Vulture never looked so menacing to me.
The issue was wonderfully plotted, although I'll get back to that in the bad for just a brief bit. The characterizations were all understandable and compelling, and Spidey's quips were as smart as always. Carlie and Peter's interactions throughout the book proved to be some of my favorite scenes of the post-One More Day era, explaining a lot of their relationship and their fallout that I did not really understand before. Plus the final scenes (both the fight and the after-fight) were pulled off in both humorous and dramatic fashion. Overall, a definite success.
Missed Responsibility: Really the only thing, and the only reason that I'm missing half a star, was the fact that the book doesn't really have much of an overall significance. That's not really a bad thing always--not every issue is a world-changer--and I understand the desire to scale back after such spectacularly over-the-top hijinks in Spider-Island. It also wasn't that emotionally affecting. I wasn't truly moved by it, or extremely excited by it. Something like Secret Avengers, which manages to stay exciting and compelling despite the contained nature of its book, achieves that feeling. It was missing here, though I only slightly cared.
The Ruling: The book was a success. Spidey and friends are portrayed well, the writing was funny and smart, and I gained some insight into the characters that I was missing before. The return of the Vulture to Spidey's rogues gallery was so very sweet. I highly recommend it.