This issue prints the first three episodes of Amazing Spider-Man Digital, originally available on Marvel.com. Written by “Web-Head” Bob Gale and pencilled by Patrick Olliffe, this story occurs somewhere between Amazing Spider-Man #604 and #612.
Peter Parker is sharing an apartment with Michele Gonzalez, who he constantly clashes with over money, works at Front Line as a photographer and often volunteers at FEAST with Aunt May. Recently instated Mayor J. Jonah Jameson has commissioned an Anti-Spider Squad, a battalion of men armed with old SHIELD technology, to bring Spider-Man to justice.
Spider-Man discovers that Mayor J. Jonah Jameson has commissioned cameras to be positioned around the city to aid his Anti-Spider Squad! Suddenly a workman, installing the cameras, falls from his perch! Spidey swings by in the nick of time and catches him and, to return the favour, the workman offers up the location of the junction box controlling all the cameras.
Peter returns home to find that Michele Gonzalez is having the apartment painted a different colour and is charging him for half of the work! This is the last thing the broke Peter Parker needs to hear!
At City Hall, JJJ’s ever-changing assistant, Lubeck, is trying to convince him to support celebrity icon Teri Hillman in order for her to keep her base and revenues in New York. JJJ begrudgingly accepts and puts his name to Teri Hillman Day!
In high school, three girls, Emma, Becky and Leila, decide that Teri Hillman Day sucks and, after an altercation with super-popular Meg, that their status quo as unpopular geeks needs to change!
After Peter looks for more work to pay Michele, he decides to shoot some of Spidey dealing with trouble. However, he soon arrives at Central Park and discovers that the people there are under visual attack by a masked man named Spectrum! Spectrum has the ability to alter the eyes and perceptions of those in close proximity to him, but before Spidey can find out any more and tackle the villain, the Anti-Spider Squad arrive and attack! As Spidey deals with them he grabs a microphone from a passing reporter and tells the media that JJJ is selling them out with spending on the A.S.S (love the acronym!) and the cameras across the city! JJJ is also made a fool of when the reporter claims this is as big a waste as Teri Hillman Day!
Watching in her apartment, Teri is livid and charges her manager with dealing with this problem!
Elsewhere, Emma, Becky and Leila decide that they can’t have revenge on Meg as it makes them as bad as her. Becky spies a poster with JJJ calling citizens to aid in Spidey’s arrest… and gets an idea!
This is a fairly enjoyable journey through Spider-Man’s world but it no way packs any punch. Bob Gale has been the least impressive of the Spider-Man writers assigned to the book since Brand New Day I but this is a great improvement on the dated dialogue and clunking stories he’s delivered before.
I think that the introduction of a fair few new characters, including a spectacularly lame supervillain, as well as the less-than-impressive Anti-Spider Squad doesn’t help proceedings and that Gale needs to crank things up a bit next issue. The jury is out on whether, if the detail and depth of the supporting characters here, is enough to carry the title. It may not need massive villains and spectacular threats, but this high concentration on cast will need to be developed to maintain interest.
This mixed story is brought to life by the ever-consistent and delightfully clean Patrick Olliffe. He delivers the new characters with ease, gives us a Spider-Man with very real body limitations and is able to use perspective and distance well to mix up the story but still maintain recognisable characters.
This issue does not suffer from being translated from digital to print. There are no problems with flow or sequence and, where panels are copied or changed only slightly, adds to the effect and fluidity of the storytelling.
It’s a slow but sure start from Bob Gale that may establish this title to be a place for the supporting cast to flourish.
Solid and detailed art from Patrick Olliffe make this a title to keep your eye on.