The mystery of Senator Ward has been around since the reboot and this storyline is set to resolve this subplot. Previously Senator Ward has been scheming to gain power and has some strange powers. He has used the likes of Doctor Octopus and others previously in his plans. Arthur Stacy has an as yet unrevealed past with Senator Ward and believes the danger he poses is so great that he has been trying to assasinate the Senator.
The Senator Ward plot has been around for the nearly 2 years and is now being resolved. Previously, it was learned that Ward, Arthur Stacy and the Ranger worked for the government together. That went on a mission to infiltrate Hydra and Ward betrayed them after which he seemingly died. Turns out he hooked up with some aliens and as result of that mission was infected with a deadly alien virus that gives him power, but what is his ultimate goal...?
The issue begins with Eddie Brock/Venom being ambushed in a grave yard and then moves on to Peter hanging out with his friends and mulling over his lack of cash. As they leave the apartment they are interrupted by a very intense Arthur Stacy, who warns his daughter (Pete's friend Jill) and then his son to go into hiding, but they all think he's paranoid. Though Peter uses the fuss to slip a Spider tracer in his jacket to follow him later as Spider-man and find out what's really going on.
Later as Spidey, Peter deals with a couple of bank robbers. Which means he's delayed in catching up with Arthur. Arthur hooks up with the Ranger (who first appeared in Peter Parker Vol.2 #1) and it is revealed they are old friends are together have a shared past with Ward. They find Spidey's tracer, disable it and head off to deal with Ward. This leaves Spidey to find his bed instead of Arthur. Unable to sleep though, Spidey ventures out and catches Eddie Brock (minus the symbiote which makes him Venom). He then finds that his tracer has been reactivated and finds Arthur who then begins to tell Spidey the real deal behind ward.
Meanwhile, we catch up with the Venom symbiote who is in the hands of Senator Ward. Ward reveals that he needs the symbiote to learn to deal with a symbiotic virus that inhabits his body. And with this we are left with a "to be continued!"
To start off I'll say I was pretty pleased with issue #22. This is mainly because it is the start of a storyline that promises to wrap up all the subplots involving Stewart Ward, which have been around since the reboot. At first I was interested with this plot, but eventually it got a little tedious, because of how long it was drawn out. It was also great to see John Romita Jr. pencil this issue, thus making his debut as regular Amazing penciller. I enjoy his style and it's an imporvement on Erik Larsens work over the last couple of issues. I also liked the reappearance of Paul Stacy, he used to be an interesting support character and it would be good to see more of him again. Also, the whole starting scene with the Stacy family was done pretty well. Well, that's on the positive side of things, I'll switch to the neagtive.
This whole storyline of Senator Ward needs to be resolved, but I don't know if the ending will be satisfying. And if it's not, then it seems like Mackie has wasted almost 2 years of sub plotting, which in truth wouldn't be a surprise. Already there are holes in the story. First of all, Eddie Brock is once again separated from his symbiote. Except this time it has no ill effect on Eddie, but when this has happened previously he has been left close to death. These sort of character inconsitencies annoy me, especially when it comes from a creative team that have been working on Spidey for years and should know better. There is also wasted space this issue, the interim fight that Spidey has with those 'high-tech terrorists' could of easily been skipped.
All up there is not really as much to complain about as there usually is. Four webs for the first part.