Writer: Mark Waid
Penciler: Mario Alberti
Inker: Mario Alberti
Story Title: “Red-Headed Stranger: No Place Like Home”



The morning after. Angry roommate. The Reillys stick around. Peter can’t remember. Stood up because of over-sleeping.

The Commentary

First off; sorry this review is so late. It’s been crazy lately. I should be back on track in the next few days.

I’m kind of conflicted on this review. It happens from time to time, especially when I like the writer whose work puts me in that position. I am a fan of Mark Waid. I like his writing. I like his personality. I genuinely look up to the guy and there are only a handful of people that still have that effect on me. So it is almost upsetting when I read a story by a writer I have such a high opinion of and not really like it all that much.

There were a few elements about the issue that I enjoyed It definitely had that old school/mid-eighties feel to it and reminded me of a lot of the little one off stories that used to run in Web of Spider-Man or Peter Parker: Spectacular Spider-Man, which would focus on an hour or day in the life of Peter Parker. In this issue Spider-Man stops a newsstand robbery, Peter running into the Reillys at Aunt May’s place, Peter at the DB offices (with Gloria Grant, y’all) and Spider-Man showing up again to save the day. The lynchpin and the emotional hook of the story is the fact that Peter cannot remember when and where he was supposed to meet Mary Jane and while I have never gone through the exact same thing I can still relate to it.

The thing is as much as I liked all of that at the end of the day the bad of the issue far outweighed the good.

For one it opened on Peter waking up in bed with Michelle. Now that in and of itself isn’t bad. It could have made for a comical scene even. I just hated how she completely overreacted to him not remembering what happened. From the looks of those flashbacks it is pretty apparent that Peter was smashed. Drunk. Intoxicated. Seeing pink elephants. The man was soused. Frankly I am shocked anything happened between Peter and Michelle at all. Allowing for that, though, and assuming that Peter not remembering hurt her feelings what the heck was with the handguns line? It was very over the top and felt out of place. Most of all I was kind of upset because Slott set up a nice, friendly relationship between the two in the last issue and this was such a 180 degree turn from that.

Also I wasn’t much on the art. I did not care for Mario Alberti’s style. It wasn’t bad. I mean he has talent but the faces and the figures all looked just a bit off. Some of it worked. Spider-Man, for example, didn’t look all that bad. I just didn’t like the rest of the art and it was a bit distracting in places making me like the issue even less.

Finally, I just didn’t like the ending. Peter goes through this day of hell and at the end he doesn’t get to see Mary Jane and when we see MJ she is just waking and smiling like standing up a former boyfriend/fiancé/husband is just the most natural thing in the world to her. Wow, I slept through a date…ooh, The Daily Show is on! It was a poor ending to a rather bland story.

Parting Thoughts

Despite those feelings I am unhappy that I disliked this story as much as I did. It’s Mark Waid. I am supposed to enjoy the books he writes. I love Irredeemable, for instance. This just wasn’t my favorite of the stories he’s written. The art didn’t make up for that at all and when I first went through the book I thought the whole thing was kind of pointless. Subsequent readings to write this review led me to see some good in it but over all I wasn’t too thrilled with this issue and as much as MJ’s return was hyped she was barely in the story.

What did make up for some of that disappointment was the back up story by Bendis and Quesada. I really liked it. Then again I like Jessica, so that made it easier but really and truly I dug the crap out of these six pages. It was a nice conversation between Jessica and Peter and I liked how they took a panel that came out of a story from the sixties and incorporated it into the story seamlessly. I’m still not a huge fan of Quesada’s version of Spider-Man but it was a lot better than the art in the main story.

2.5 out of 5 webheads.

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