The title's first three-issue story art has yet to conclude but the last ten pages of issue #1 contain a special treat: a retrospective of Peter's last date with the late, lamented Gwen Stacy.
Thumbing through a photo album, Peter is drawn back in time (figuratively speaking) to the last date he had with Gwen Stacy. It was nothing fancy, just a quick movie date before Pete heads off to Canada for a photo shoot. After the movie, Gwen wants to walk downtown in the rain, but Peter refuses and hails a cab. They meet Flash, Harry, and MJ at the Coffee Bean but Gwen is less than pleased. After a few awkward moments, Peter slips Gwen out for a carriage ride in the park. The two kiss ("the most amazing kiss in the history of kissing") shown in a large panel that is bisected with an image of Spider-Man holding Gwen's dead body in his arms. "Did we know?" he asks himself.
Even as Peter remembers the end of the date he feels a pair of hands on his shoulders, and he turns to embrace Mary Jane, realizing that Gwen gave him the courage to love. Without that he never would have ended up with MJ. "I like to think that Gwen - wherever she is right now - is happy about that."
Good art, good script, good concept since this is an anthology book. Flesh it out a little and this could have been a full issue and a good one at that. As it is, a very strong backup story. I've always loved J.M. Dematteis' work and his style fits this "looking back" idea like a glove.
My favorite Spider-Man writer teams up with my favorite Spider-Man author. This sort of thing should be vehemently encouraged. Five webs.