Peter Parker died in battle with Morlun, only to be reborn in a cocoon after clawing his way out of his old body, effectively shedding his old skin. A new creature emerged from the corpse shell he had just shed and proclaimed herself to be the living, breathing answer to his unorthodox return. She escaped to an unknown location and concealed herself within a cocoon. Peter is left wondering about his return and what it all really means for him.
Tony Stark and Peter have a discussion over what he remembers from being in the hospital fighting Morlun, just before he died. Peter can't remember much, and makes a lot of jokes to Tony to try and mask his discomfort. Tony wonders if perhaps Peter isn't really Peter, but instead an impersonator. Tony brings Peter back to MJ, who hands over his last remaining costume which she's attempted to restitch. Peter and MJ embrace, but when Peter looks at a mirror, all he can see instead of his own refelction is the spider creature that confronted him last issue.
Spider-Man goes on patrol and stops off at Leo Zelinsky's, the tailor for superheroes/supervillains. Peter gives him his shirt to work on when the lights go off and there's a loud boom. Peter, sans shirt, swings out the window, only to find a collapsing apartment building, which is falling into a hole in the foundation. A couple is looking for their daughter, Jennifer, so Peter takes it upon himself to try and rescue the little girl. As he works his way through the collapsing building, he realizes he can see using a sort of night vision. He recalls the words of the spider creature as he finds his way through the building. He comes across a survivor, and webs a path out of the building so that the man can find his way out of the building, leaving Spider-Man to continue his search for the little girl. Peter shoots web all over the room he's in, and feels the vibrations through the walls, which leads him to feeling the scraping of stone on concrete as the little girl tries to claw her way out of her prison.
Spider-Man rescues the poor, asthmatic girl as she passes out, and tries to fasten her to his back, hoping that his sticking ability can work on any part of his skin, which it does. He feels the faintest trace of wind on the hairs on his arm, and runs and leaps his way through the collapsing building to get to the source of the wind. The building comes down as the girl's mother cries and screams outsider. The dust clears, and Spider-Man emerges from the destruction with the little girl in his arms.
Later, Peter discusses his new abilities with MJ, and tells her his secret fears over his powers and the possibility of him being more spiderlike than man. He admits that he never looked too closely at his powers, because he was scared at what he'd find. MJ tells Peter that he's received a second chance, to be free of old physical and emotional scars, and to move forward with his life. As the two exchange I love yous, Tony switches off his headset, content that its really Peter, come back from the dead and not an imposter. He then turns back to his work, which includes some armor plating and a gold spider...
This issue is the most direct continuation of Part 9 of The Other so far, more so than parts 10 and 11, and although I'm still not a fan of Peter coming back from the dead through mystical means, this issue did a lot more in the characterization department to keep me interested and not as revolted. The new abilities that Spider-Man suddenly uses... well, it does come off as way too convenient, and all at once. I would have much more preferred if it happened slowly over the course of more than just one issue, because packed all in to one, it seemed too artificial. The fact that he suddenly realizes he can do all these new things... its a pretty bitter pill to swallow, and although it does open up the character for some new story potential with the powers, I'm not left feeling that it was all that necessary a change to make to the character.
I did, however, appreciate that this issue was more dedicated to characterization and character study, something which was lost in the last issue. The writing, as always, is solid, although I'm not quite so sold on the direction that the story is taking. But the personal side of Spider-Man that is examined here is a nice change of pace from last issue, and his confessions with MJ came off very fluidly and organically. The growing friendship with Tony Stark is a nice touch, funny and also character building, for both of them. JMS' use of the New Avengers in this title has been really well handled, and at times better than reading New Avengers in the first place, as in New Avengers Spidey is too often written as just being totally uncomfortable and being the odd one out, whereas here he's getting more comfortable to being on the team, and is coming into his own in their interactions.
The art by Deodato Jr. is just as great as always, and I'm going to miss him when he's gone. He's done some great work on this title for the past few story arcs, and he will be missed. His rendition of Mary Jane in particular was quite lovely.
A better issue than last, with superb artwork, but the story ultimately still leaves much to be desired. Too much happens here very conveniently and although that isn't unheard of in comic books, the cliche and contrived nature of the new super powers just couldn't be totally forgiven by good characterization and examination of Peter and MJ post resurrection.