Amazing Spider-Man is now written by rotating creative teams. In this, the first issue of the new thrice-monthly format, Marvel are showcasing the other writers and storylines that we are going to see over the coming months. It's a welcome move and gives us more pages of story. First up is Marc Guggenheim. From issue #549 he'll be paired with Salvador Larocca, but for now we are treated to a splash of Greg Land.
The new superheroine known as Jackpot is on a race against time. An armoured truck full of explosives has been hijacked and is running amok in the city. Leaping from a building, she lands on the vehicle and swings herself onto the bonnet (that's the hood for all you lovely Americans). It is then she discovered the truck has no driver.
Smashing through the windscreen, Jackpot grabs the wheel and brings the truck to a spectacular halt. Suddenly, back doors fly open and the villain makes his getaway on what could be a goblin glider. Jackpot vows to capture the crook. To be continued next month!
The story here is pretty irrelevant, there's not much you can do with three pages and Guggenheim doesn't even try. The purpose of the short is simply to introduce Jackpot to the reader. Yes, I know she first appeared last May in Free Comic Book Day 2007 (Spider-Man), but we're still not sure how or if that fits in with the new continuity.
The reader is quite obviously supposed to think that Jackpot is Mary Jane, everything from her appearance to her turns of phrase screams MJ. As anything is possible in Brand New Day, it'll be interesting to see if Marvel do go down this route, and whether it has anything to do with the secret conversation between Mary Jane and Mephisto. Personally, I find the idea of MJ as a superhero a little misguided. We don't want a situation where her troubles, goals and angst overshadow Spidey's. It's his book after all. But as a short-to- medium term plot I can see the potential.
Greg Land's art is beautiful, as is his Mary Jane. Green is definitely her colour. However, it was only on my third reading of the story that I even noticed that someone flew out of the back of the truck. Mr Land is a master of the pin-up, but his story-telling skills (at least in this short) leave something to be desired.
Entertaining fluff to introduce Jackpot properly and make readers start to think how she can possibly be Mary Jane. The beautiful art lets it down where it counts. Two and a half webs.