WRITER: Dan Slott
PENCILER: Humbero Ramos
INKS: Victor Olazaba
COLORS: Edgar Delgado
LETTERER: Chris Eliopoulos
ASSOCIATE EDITOR: Ellie Pyle
EDITOR: Nick Lowe
PLOT: As par for the course we start out the issue by yet again checking in with our mysterious Spider-lady. We learn that she has been locked away from her family for years, and now intends to get out. We finally get her name which is Cindy, and we learn who it is that put her away for all these years…EZEKIEL. From here we get to the bulk of the story with Black Cat. She is showing off her snazzy new costume, and proceeds to break into a penthouse to steal wine and caviar. Felicia further pontificates that she intends to watch Spider-Man squirm. Next we check in with Electro who is still suffering trauma from his bout of mind control during the superior era. He wakes up in fright and starts a mighty fire in an abandoned building. The last story thread we begin to weave is that of our hero Peter Parker. Peter is still attempting to win over the hearts of his employee’s after Doctor Octopus scared the heebie jeebies outta them. He invites few choice employee’s to help him track down Electro so he can cure him. Anna Maria and Sajani try to convince him the folly of this situation, Peter of course shoots them down and begins his journey. Anna Maria tells Sajani she can finish the nanotech that Peter has abandoned.
Now we weave all of these disparate story threads together. Peter and the gang meet up at Electro’s building fire, who has Pedro combatting it with his firefighting team. Peter, and Pedro team up to save the trapped homeless people in the building. All seems to be going well until Pedro makes a wrong step and nearly falls into the fire. Black Cat comes out amongst the rubble revealing that she was the cause of Pedro’s ill luck. Spider-Man, and Black Cat duke it out. Felicia has not a care in the world who it was in Peter’s mind at the time of her arrest, she declares her intent to send a message. Peter psyches her out by doing his best Doc Ock impression, which scares her off. Peter rescues Pedro, Pedro reunites with Mary Jane, and Black Cat meets Electro with the intent of teaming up. Oh and J. Jonah Jameson gets hired by the “Fact” network to be an on air personality.
STORY: This is a fantastic issue, that has some interesting developments that make me really excited to read future issues. First of all unlike Superior Spider-Man #20 this issue actually has the Black Cat in it, and has her doing new and exciting things. Personality wise the Black Cat seems to have reverted back to her late 80’s, and early 90’s personality but ramped up in the anger department. She is less playing coy, and more playing kill. Unfortunately she seems to have the same opinion that every female has had in this book post-superior which is “I DON’T CARE IF IT WASN’T YOU”. They don’t have any trouble believing the mind swap but they don’t think it matters regarding his actions. Mary Jane had this same exact sentiment in Superior #31. It’s forgivable, but regrettable. The best part about her appearance is the new costume. I adore this costume to the nth degree: the fur lining, the awesome eyes, and that weird butt belt. Yes you read that right BUTT BELT…look at the artwork that belt is only ever around her butt, how is that comfortable?
As far as the revelation that Silk has a connection to Ezekiel I’m a big fan of that. Ezekiel was an interesting character introduced by JMS in his Amazing Spider-Man run. He has all the powers of Spider-Man but chose to become a wealthy businessman. I suppose I should have seen this reveal coming with the fact that Morlun is coming back, but nonetheless it surprised me. Perhaps this is the answer to the question people were asking from the previews a few months back in which they touted the surprise return of a particular character.
The Otto Octavius fake-out was an enjoyable addition at well, at first I half suspected that Doc Ock really was back, but then I remembered Dan Slott hadn’t tweeted yet saying it was “THE GREATEST SPIDER-MAN ISSUE EVER” so I knew it was a fake out. As for Jolly Jonah being given the reigns to a TV station I feel like this could turn into a mind numbing parody of Bill O’Rielly or something of that nature. It also seems just a little bit too similar to Jonah’s role in the Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon.
ART: I am surprised by how easily this book’s artwork won me over. I really enjoyed all of the art for the costumes, and environments. I particularly adored the fight with The Black Cat in the burning building. It looked outstanding to see the flames consume them during the fight, absolutely beautiful artwork. Also a lot of nice background work, with little details such as the repairs of the P in Parker Industries, and the code we see Silk entering during the Ezekiel segment “616” the commonly used universe number ascribed to the mainstream marvel universe.
ODDITIES: The butt belt? Why have the code 616 a mere reference or a deeper meaning? The Fact Channel is bound to be up to something more than just Jameson’s new employer, where did they come from? Who was their benefactor? What are there goals?
BEST BACKGROUND CHARACTER: Pedro, I am really enjoying this character. He seems like a legitimately good guy, who works well with Mary Jane. Mary Jane may not be written super well as of late but at least she has a decent boyfriend.