After all the trauma of finding Aunt May and once again defeating the Green Goblin, Spider-Man is now a full member of the New Avengers, living in Stark Tower with Aunt May and Mary Jane.
Somewhere in a supervillain prison - Riker's perhaps, though it's not named - the Absorbing Man escapes. In school, Peter is teaching his science class and, after the lesson, one of his students tells Peter he could make the lessons more interesting by explaining about super powers. Later, Pete returns to Avengers mansion and, after getting offended by Jarvis the butler for no apparent reason, he walks in on MJ talking to Wolverine and again seems angry, threatening Wolvie before MJ steps in.
The next morning, Pete's catching a train to work when his journey is interrupted by the Absorbing Man robbing a bank. He does a quick switcheroo to Spidey, then leaps into action. After a bit of back and forth, AM burps loads of weird coal-stuff over Spidey, burying him, then wanders off. When Spidey breaks free, no one apparently knows where the villain went.
Peter gets to school late and the head tells him that, because he's the last member of staff there, he will not be required to teach summer classes and won't be required again until the autumn. Elsewhere, the Absorbing Man is popping bills in a pharmacy somewhere when an attractive young woman comes in and says her employer could have use for him. Pete goes to the Bugle to find work. A new blonde receptionist knows him but he doesn't know her. He also meets a new reporter from Iowa who is very tall, called Ethan Edwards. He looks a lot like Clark Kent (who?) and Jonah says the guy must have X-ray eyes or super hearing because of the good stories he's broken. Jonah says Ethan's going to do some stories on Spider-Man and Pete talks his way into getting a staff position on the paper to take the accompanying pictures. Ethan makes Pete's spider-sense go off.
The Absorbing Man has been taken to see the Owl, who gives him a list of people he wants killed in the next 72 hours.
Back at Avengers HQ, Captain America gets the teams to split off to fight each other so all members can understand each others' moves. Wolverine is fighting Spidey and ends up stabbing him.
My first issue with the book is the art. For me it just doesn't sit right - with MJ more than anyone else. In the other books, it is clear that MJ is in her late- twenties / early-thirties. Here though, she looks about 15 at the most. The art is very similar to the Marvel Age Mary Jane books where she is that age and it just doesn't look right for a core book. Peter, too, is drawn in the same kind of way and, in fact, he looks very generic.
Next, the characterisation of Peter is so far off the mark, it's not even funny. I have no clue why he was upset with the butler when he arrived back at the mansion and his reaction to Wolverine was almost as if he'd never met the guy before. Let's not forget how many times they've teamed up - from the Spider-Man vs Wolverine one-shot back in 1987 all the way through to 2004's Marvel Team-Up Golden Child storyline, they know each other well enough for Peter to not act like a total dick.
On top of that, all the years of character building and getting Peter away from the Bugle is totally undone by some needless storytelling which gets him right back to where he was under Jonah's thumb in the sixties.
Also, I really don't believe that with Spidey's powers and speed Wolverine should be able to lay a finger on him. Isn't that what his spider-sense is for?
Finally, there're also a few continuity problems in that, in the New Avengers book, Wolverine isn't even a member of the New Avengers yet. Also, there's not been a book out yet where Peter has moved into Stark Tower. I think it's happening in ASM 519 - which isn't out yet!
A wholly uninspiring start. Peter acts so out of character early on it's hard to pick this as a Spidey book. New writer Reg Hudlin seems to have little idea about Spidey's powers and the continuity mix with the other Spidey books is well off the mark.