This issue prints episodes from 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. 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, and a set of Spider-cams across the city so they can pinpoint his every move. With all of this going on, Peter also has to cope with new, light-manipulating villain, Spectrum!
Meanwhile, three high school girls (Emma, Becky and Leila), plan to change their social standing…
Emma, Becky and Leila decide that they have a lot in common with Spider-Man (being persecuted by others and being unpopular) so they create a plan…
The next day, at FEAST, Peter Parker meets the three girls. They have volunteered and wear Spider-Man t-shirts. They explain that they want to be like him: doing good, simply because it is right.
Impressed, Peter persuades Norah Winters to interview the girls for Front Line. They get their message across that they are trying to make the world a better place, just like Spidey!
Soon after the article is published, the entire media world wants a piece of “The Spider Girls’” story.
Furious at the support Spider-Man is getting, Mayor J Jonah Jameson demands that his Anti-Spider Squad (A.S.S.) take down Spider-Man by the end of the month or they’ll be fired! Commander Gannon orders all of the Spider-cams to be activated!
After Peter pays Michele for the decoration in their apartment, with the money from his photos of The Spider-Girls, she begins to think that he is a good guy…
Swinging around that night, Spider-Man ponders Michele’s reaction. He suddenly remembers about the Spider-cams, and how they may cause him further problems! He swings to the junction box (the location of which was revealed to him last issue) and webs them all up. Problem solved!
The following day, JJJ presents Teri Hillman Day! On stage, Hillman pronounces herself as a Spider-Girl and introduces a range of merchandise available on her website!
Later, JJJ is furious with Lubeck, his assistant, as they aren’t going to make any tax on Teri Hillman’s merchandise as she’s selling it all online! Lubeck tells JJJ that he will fix it. He phones his associate… Teri Hillman’s manager who tells him that he’ll pay him plenty as part of their deal.
The A.S.S. review their situation and past attempts to capture Spider-Man. Gannon decides a different tactic: spy on the Spider-Girls and stay out of public view… until Spider-Man comes to them…!
At FEAST, The Spider-Girls are furious at Teri Hillman’s announcement and are hounded by the press. Peter gives them some advice and they make a statement saying that they will speak to the press on Monday.
That night Peter and Michele go to dinner. He asks her legal advice on the Spider-Girls’ problem with Teri Hillman but finds out that no trademark laws have been broken. Suddenly Michele’s wine changes colour along with the rest of the restaurant! Peter leaves Michele to go and “take photos” but quickly changes into his Spider-Man costume… Spectrum is close by…!
This continues to feel a very natural story. This is because Bob Gale captures very real voices within this issue, allowing this vast supporting cast the time and effort they are worth. I’ve criticised his forced dialogue before, but here it works well to deliver the detail of the story and characters.
In fact the reappearance of the villain at the end is the weakest section because it reminds the reader that they are reading a superhero comic which “requires” a villain. I wish Gale didn’t include him because he distracts from the very character-based story this title is turning into.
The story itself is very busy and flits from scenes quickly, a possible result of the transition from digital, but there’s never any confusion and I’m impressed that Gale is holding interest with quite simple but involving scenes. Even the Anti-Spider Squad, awfully portrayed in Amazing Spider-Man, have some life breathed into them here, simply through their recollection of past attempts and inclusion of a leader.
Patrick Olliffe’s art remains incredibly strong and offers a superb level of clean storytelling. I’m never bored reading anything he draws because he uses the story so well to structure his pencils around. The only weakness I’m beginning to find is his Spider-Man. There just seems to be little anatomical things wrong with either his head or arms that throw me.
As the story thickens, Gale and Olliffe continue to manage the array of scenes, characters and emotions well.
This remains one of the strongest depictions of Spidey’s supporting cast. It is not overly showy and I don’t necessarily think it needs to be.