AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #658 – REVIEW


AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #658

  • Writer: Dan Slott
  • Penciler: Javier Pulido
  • Inker: Javier Pulido
  • Story Title: “Peter Parker: The Fantastic Spider-Man”

 

Spider-Man joins the F.F. Well, a F.F. at any rate. How does this go? Read on…

 

Plot

Peter and Carlie are all set to spend the night together when both get a call from their respective jobs; Carlie as a cop and Peter as a member of the newly formed Future Foundation. Pete heads to his other place of employment, Horizon Labs, to get his gear before arriving at the Baxter Building in a Spider-Man version of the Fantastic Four uniform, which offends everyone in the room. Reed Richards gives him his actual uniform and after some complaining on the part of Peter they head off on their mission, which is to take care of three rifts in the space-time continuum. One is on the Microverse, one is in the distant future but the first one is in…France.

They take care of the first rift in record time allowing Sue to get some get back at a mime that was messing with Ben. Meanwhile Carlie is at the crime scene where the suspect is singing like a canary because he is more afraid of someone known as the Wraith than jail time. While there Carlie gets a message from Peter that he has been called out of town on a business trip. In the Microverse the FF helps a giant atom though they are unaware that the Psycho-Man is watching them and has even acquired the expansion frequency that will apparently allow him to torment an entire dimension.

Back at the Baxter building Valeria triangulates the three dimensional anomalies that the FF are taking care of to the island where Ben, Reed and Johnny took their first trip through time thanks to Doctor Doom. At the same “time” the FF head to the year 3,141,592,653 where the Furture Foundation lives on and even has a snazzy headquarters in space that is composed of interlocking Baxter Building. Apparently the FF of that time period is having trouble with some ancient tech. Peter makes a comment that all of what they are seeing is giving him ideas for his other job at Horizon Labs but Reed makes him pinky swear that he won’t use any off world or future tech back in his regular life. Meanwhile, Carlie tries to drop some snickerdoodles off at Horizon Labs so they can send it to Peter but she is informed that he is not on a business trip for them.

 

The Commentary

All righty, the first order of business in this review is to address once again how much I dislike the fact that Amazing Spider-Man is fast turning into Marvel Team-Up. I hate to sound like a broken record but since the start of Big Time we have gotten one story arc and one two part story that were about Spider-Man and Spider-Man alone. Otherwise the book has involved either a team-up with the Avengers or the Fantastic Four/Future Foundation and this bugs me. If I want to read about Spider-Man’s adventures with the Avengers I will read whatever Avengers title he is in. If I wanted to read about his adventures with the FF I would pick up that title. While I expect the occasional team-up in Amazing Spider-Man I also expect that the majority of the stories will be about him, his villains and his supporting cast and it is really getting to be annoying that I am not getting that.

On to the story itself and in the interest of being honest I will say that I didn’t care for it all that much. We begin with Carlie and Peter looking like two ten year olds getting ready for a sleepover. While I don’t necessarily want them both to be nekkid and grinding against each other like a Cinemax movie at three in the morning this was a little too…sixties sitcomish. It was nice to see the progression in their relationship and I will admit that I liked how Slott had Carlie get a call just as Peter saw the FF signal but come on. These people are adults. You could have just as easily had them both sitting on the couch talking about this than in their jammies getting ready for bed.

Then we move into the “Peter needs to feel guilty about something,” scene where he shows up at the Baxter Building in his own version of the Fantastic Four uniform. Was this scene really necessary? I know that guilt is one of Peter’s “things” but at the same time this felt forced and was annoying. Slott made up for this somewhat with the whole, “I look like Anti-Venom,” thing. The thought hadn’t occurred to me but I could see my fellow readers making such comments so Slott dealt with it right away. That said, I hate the costume and going along with what I was discussing earlier I don’t like seeing it in Spider-Man’s own title. I came here to see Spider-Man in his classic red and blue suit. I can deal with the Tron-style suit he wore a few issues back or the bullet-proof armor from two issues back or even the black costume, which is made of 50% awesome , 25% bad ass and 25% “Oh hell yeah!” Peter can wear this costume all day long and twice on Sundays in FF. I don’t want to see it here.

The actual plot was decent enough, just not my thing overall. I like the FF and I have read FF stories that I have enjoyed, but my favorite Spider-Man stories are more street level in nature even when he is dealing with super villains. I want to see Peter in New York, swinging around town, fighting in warehouses and on rooftops. I don’t want to see him going to the Microverse or traveling to the future. The character really isn’t built for that. I know I have that whole broken record thing going on but if they want to tell those stories in FF that’s great. Leave this title to the people that want to read good, old fashioned Spider-Man stories. Yeah the bit with the mime was funny and the Microverse thing had some wacky elements to it and I even liked the conversation Peter and Reed had in the future but those scenes didn’t endear enough to like the rest of the issue.

I think it is telling that the two scenes that I did really like in the issue were the ones involving Carlie. The hints about the Wraith were neat and I especially liked the perp confessing to anyone and everyone because he was just so, pants soiling afraid. This is the sort of thing I want from this title. I even dug the last page because it had such a great soap opera feel to it and let’s be honest here comics, especially Spider-Man comics, are soap operas with tights and there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with that.

This may sound odd but Javier Pulido’s art was a good fit for this story. I may not have liked what was going on but Pulido had a Kirby thing going on here and that is always nice to see in a Fantastic Four type story. The art was fun and bouncy and made the story go down a lot easier.

 

Parting Thoughts

This issue wasn’t terrible but I wasn’t terribly fond of it either. It boils down to the fact that this isn’t the type of Spider-Man story I want to read. The back-up story was decent enough but not particularly memorable either. So this wasn’t the best of issues for me, I guess.

Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later.

2 out of 5 webheads.

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