Vin Gonzalez is Peter Parker's new roommate, and a good friend of Carlie. Carlie is the best friend of Lily Hollister, the girlfriend of Harry Osborn. Peter and Vin don't get along that well, but they're doing okay so far. A long time ago, Kraven the Hunter took his life during KRAVEN'S LAST HUNT, after subduing and burying Spider-Man alive, then taking his place and performing a feat Spider-Man himself couldn't do on his own, which was defeating Vermin.
Spider-Man wakes up to find himself upside down, captive of a girl who says she's going to kill Spider-Man.
Two weeks earlier, Spider-Man and Daredevil team up to take on a bank robber named Fracture. As the girl watches her foe, Spider-Man protects himself and Daredevil from falling debris. The mysterious girl takes great pains to track and study her prey, as Spider-Man and Daredevil conclude their team-up.
The girl plans to weaken Spider-Man, by striking at those he loves, and brings up a file on Peter Parker.
One week later, in the morning, Peter Parker has answered an ad on Craigslist to work at a comic book store, although the other employee rips on him for not reading comics and calls him a weirdo for making a quip about the X-Men. Peter dives and saves himself and his coworker from a sniper's bullet, from the mysterious girl currently tracking Spider-Man. Peter grabs his coworker and escapes from the building, as more shots are fired, and they run into the subway. To make his coworker stay quiet, and never say anything about what he saw Peter do, Peter convinces him he's a Skrull, and intimidates him into not talking to anyone about it.
Meanwhile, Vin is suspended, as a drug dealer that was shot and killed turns out to have been shot by Vin's gun. Vin claims he's innocent, that the gun was taken somehow and used, but can't prove it and can't stop the suspension.
Meanwhile, Peter Parker is served a subpoena, relating to the Maxwell vs. Spider-Man case.
Vin is walking along, upset about the suspension and not understanding how he could be so unlucky, when a Benz hits him and knocks the wind out of him in broad daylight. Later in the day, Vin tries to vent to Harry as they play pool, but Vin's in a bad mood with everything happening, and his bad game of pool is getting to him. Vin reveals that he's also the victim of identity theft, and has no money left, student loans being called in, etc. Harry tries to console him with his own woes of being cracked down on by the Health Department. Dejected and down, Vin leaves Zeck's Billiards, leaving Harry and Peter there alone.
Vin arrives home, and is ambushed by the mysterious girl, who then forces him to put on a Spider-Man costume, calling it his uniform. He puts on the costume, with his back facing the girl, who holds a gun, and she strikes him hard with it. When he wakes up, it's the scene that started the issue, with the girl unmasking "Spider-Man" as Vin, as he's in chains and now bleeding...
For the most part, I really enjoyed this issue, although there were two major things that bothered me, and so I figured I'd start with the bad and then discuss the good this week. This issue has a moment where Peter Parker gets a job in a comic book store, and it feels so hokey, self-congratulatory and metatextual that it totally took me out of the comic, and almost made me want to just put it down. And this is coming from a huge fan of the current direction, of Brand New Day, and of these writers. So that's really saying something, when I wanted to just put it down and stop reading. It took me out of the book, and though the rest of the issue is actually really entertaining and well-written, that moment stood out as a black mark (although the Codename: X-Men could ALSO have been a shout-out to those that actually remember the fifth-week event Marvel did called Marvels, where it published a bunch of titles as if they were actually published within the Marvel Universe, I don't discount that possibility, but it was still a little much).
My second gripe with this issue is the layouts by Jimenez. First off, I really enjoy his artwork, and its really great here as well, but at times there's way too much blank space here, and not enough artwork. There's a few pages in particular which really stood out to me as being sparse, and noticeably so.
Now on to the good stuff! The hunting aspect of the storyline isn't bad, although the character as of yet has no real character to make mention of. The real meat for the reader is in the interactions that Peter has with Vin, and how Vin's life is going, and its hard to not feel bad for the guy. I really like the cast of characters in this book, and I really like Vin and how he's been built up as a character, with his own distinguishing characteristics, and so on. This issue had a nice twist at the end as well, which was a nice surprise which made sense but wasn't obvious either from the beginning.
The artwork, as I said, was pretty great, all in all, although the layouts and the sparsity of some of the panels in particular was a real letdown, especially when you're dealing with an artist of Jimenez's high calibre.
All in all, a good issue, although I'm hoping the next issue fleshes out the villain as the villain really didn't receive any real characterization in this issue. A good start to a new arc, very enjoyable (sans those moments I mentioned).