In recent issues, Pete's wife, MJ, returned, but now has gone. Long-time writer Howard Mackie has left the fold and now it's time to pick up the mess and start some new stories with the much anticpated debut of JMS!
|Writer:||J. Michael Straczynski|
|Pencils:||John Romita, Jr.|
|Cover Art:||Scott Campbell|
|Reprinted In:||Marvel Must Haves #13|
|Reprinted In:||Marvel Tales Flip Magazine #1|
|Reprinted In:||Amazing Spider-Man Vol.2 Collected Edition|
|Reprinted In:||Spider-Man TPB (Amazing) #1|
|Reprinted In:||Spider-Man: With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility #3|
This issue picks up maybe a couple of days after the events which transpired in Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 2) Annual 2001. MJ is gone and Pete has moved into a new flat by himself. He's feeling a bit agro because of what life has served up to him lately, so he goes for a swing as Spidey. He demolishes a derelict building, scheduled for demotion. He visits some old haunts, including his High school and helps out a nerdy kid. Later, when Spidey's in the middle of getting some payback on some young thugs, he is interrupted by a stranger named Ezekiel.
Ezekiel, has spider-powers similar to Pete, is older though and knows intimate details about Pete. Ezekiel leads Pete on a chase, all the while teasing him (and us) with his knowledge. He talks of Pete being destined for a greater purpose and having to face a great struggle in the future. He also poses the question that is supposed to rock Pete's (and the readers) world. "Did the radiation enable the spider to give you these powers? or was the spider trying to give you those powers before the radiation killed it?" After this, Ezekiel dissappears and leaves Pete boggled.
In prologue, we are introduced to two mysterious and supposedly menacing characters. A power sucking evil dude named Morlun and his 'yes man" dex. They've arrived in the city and seem to have ill intentions for our beloved wall-crawler.
Well, thankfully Mackie is gone from the hallowed pages of Amazing Spider-man and instead we have acclaimed writer extrodanaire, JMS. SO what new and exciting stuff does he have? Can he live up to all the hype and anticipation? Well, definitely "Yes" and little bit of "No".
On the "Yes" side of the equation. JMS provides some great character moments for Pete and some much needed blowing off of steam. Pete's inner monologue is particularly and funny and most importantly, in-line with his character and a lot more realistic than forced emotions and dialogue that Mackie mostly served up. JMS also provides a nice recap at the start, in unobtrusive way, for new readers, which is great. Spidey's trip down memory lane was also nice and was great set-up for new material. Even the newly introduced Ezekiel character was kinda interesteing and his intriduction promises a purposeful direction for the upcoming plots, instead of the aimless meandering that's been going on lately. So, in all these ways JMS has made a great debut. I must mention he was backed up with some of the best art Romita JR has done on Spidey in a while. While this issue isn't as great as Jenkins intial stories, it provides alot of great set up and promises even better for future issues.
But, on the otherside of things there are a couple of things that have me worried. I'm not quite sure if what JMS has planned is all good and this issue falls a bit falt in a couple of areas. First of all, the supposed "5 million dollar question" that was supposed to rock my Spider-man loving world, really didn't. It fell flat for me. I thought "so what? Who really cares?". You see, it's Spidey's character and not how he got his powers that interest me most. I'd be more shell shocked if Ezekiel revealed he was Aunt May and Jonah Jameson's love child, because that would have ramifications for Pete's character. Plus, I'm not sure if I like where this is leading. I would hate for this to tie Spidey into some sort of mystical, voodoo crap thing. I don't think I've ever seen that done right and it normally turns out crap and thus forgotten soon after. For example, take the Punishers initial Marvel Knights resurrection, ugghhh; and of course, "the Gathering of Five" that tortured Spidey readers not too long ago. The other thing that fell flat for me was this Morlun dude. He seems way too generic for me and way to similar to some other recent Spidey villains. Even the character design is generic. I hope he doesn't turn out to be lame! In fact I hope both these worries are unfounded and JMS really does pull it off in the long run.
A great start in a new direction, but not quite as mind-blowing as I antcipated. I think JMS story will prove it's merit in the long run, since a lot of this issue is set-up for long-running storylines.