Or – “A Weekly Publishing Frequency Means Occasionally Having To Catch Up…”


So, Spider-Man’s life will never be the same.


And this time… they mean it. 

Previously, on Amazing Spider-Man:  Peter Parker has had a pretty questionable couple of years.  Aunt May was near-fatally shot by a Kingpin assassin, after which Peter sacrificed his entire married life to save her in a ASM2.jpgbargain with Mephisto.  Embarking on a Brand New (metaphorical) Day, Spidey has found that his roommate is part of a conspiracy to brand him a serial killer, that his best friend’s girlfriend is the latest crazypants killer in the Green Goblin legacy, and that Spider-Man’s own actions have led to the New York mayoral race being held up to where neither candidate seems likely to take office.  Trying to heal up from gunshot wounds, dealing with the standard issue Peter Parker bad luck, and unaware that the father of J. Jonah Jameson has entered his circle of friends, Spider-Man is about to embark on a series of adventures that literally change the entire status quo of his world.  (Of course, the phrase “status quo” with regard to comic book universes is always a silly expression…)

In issue #589, we get a one-shot dealing with old-school Spider-Man nemesis, The Spot, last seen in the truly awesome ‘Super-Villain Team-Up: MODOK’S 11’ miniseries.  A local crimelord named Dmitri Ivankov has been recieving strange notes that imply impending harm to him, consisting of only a black spot on a white piece of paper.  Ivankov is also trying to donate a ton of money to May Parker’s FEAST Project, but the principled old broad won’t take his dirty crimelord money. With some very Todd MacFarlane-reminiscent art, we see Spider-Man and the Spot again cross masks, and Spotty has even learned a few new tricks after being exiled to his own dimension of spots by Temugin, son of the Mandarin in SVTU:M11.  Spot nearly kills Ivankov, but Spider-Man’s webbing (ADVANTAGEOUS!!!) allows him to pull off the last minute save.  As for Spot’s motive?  A child injured by Invankov’s criminal acts turns out to be the Spot’s own son, and Spidey channels his inner Christian Bale to scare some minor criminals into giving up the truth about their boss, and even sends Spot’s kid a family heirloom: Daddy’s copy of Treasure Island.  It’s a done-in-one, and nicely handled at that.  I’d give this issue a stand-alone 3 out of 5 stars.

Issue #590 kicks off a two-parter bringing back two welcome things to the Marvel Universe: the first is the family vibe between Spider-Man and the members of the Fantastic Four, and the second is the wonderful art of Barry Kitson, late of The Order and Legion of Super-Heroes fame.  It seems that, “a couple of years ago,” Spidey and the FF took a trip to the Macroverse (not to be confused with the Microverse) and interacted with a mysterious society.  When innocents seemed to be in danger, Spider-Man found his great power yearning for great responsibility, and leapt in to save the day.  In the here and now, the new Norman Osborn regime has left Spidey at loose ends, when Reed Richards suddenly arrives with a mission: a distress call from that same world in the Macroverse.  After a cute scene in which he gives Spider-Man a blank check for his services (“It’s made out to “Cash.”  That’s like my middle name,” says a grateful Spidey) they set off for the hidden Macroverse, only to find that time runs differently there, and there have been entire generations of people who have heard their legends, and have turned the five of them into a new religion.  Worst of all, Johnny Storm flips out when he realizes that Spider-Man is unmasked in his statue, and realizes that Spider-Man has somehow messed with their minds, erasing the Fantastic Four’s knowledge of his secret identity.  He sets Spider-Man’s mask on fire in a fit of pique, and is shocked to see what is under the mask…    

…nothing at all, thanks to Susan Richards’ powers.  Sue supports Spider-Man’s decision to keep his true name secret, and Johnny slowly fumes as Peter puts his mask back on.  While the mayoral election runs it’s course back home, Spider-Man and the FF have to clean up a mess that their actions years ago caused.  We watch the team again defend a city against invaders, we see life at home continuing.  Carlie Cooper finds Harry Osborn in a drunken stupor after being abandoned by his fiancee Lily (Menance) Hollister, Jonah Jameson tries to reconcile with his wife Marla, while Randy Robertson (son of Robbie) bonds with a girl called Norah whom I don’t know, and May Parker finds a suitor of her own: J. Jonah Jameson, SENIOR.  Heh…  Peter and Johnny continuously feud about Spider-Man’s identity being secret, and what it means.  “My real’s life’s back on Earth!” cries Parker, “With my real friends and real family, and I’m missing it!”  The mayoral race seems to fall to evil guy Walter DeClun and Aunt May’s boss, Mr. Li, and Dexter Bennett finds that the DB is failing after his rabble-rousing about a murderous Spider-Man has gone bad.  Most ominous of all is the last message on Peter’s machine: “Hey, Tiger.  I…  I though you should know I’m–” says a seemingly feminine voice just as the answering machine cuts off because it’s full.  The battle between warring factions is resolved in a very “Frank Gorshin wearing black and white makeup in Star Trek” fashion, and Susan Richards convinces Spider-Man (with a little help from Reed, who promises to make the FF’s minds impenetrable to manipulation) to unmask for the second time in as many months.  The FF stand stunned for a minute before all their memories return in a rush.  “Hi, Pete,” says Johnny with a smile.  “Long time nosee.”  Awww.  It’s a touching moment made even sweeter by the Thing ruffling Spider-Man’s hair.  They get back home and find that they’ve been gone for TWO MONTHS, during which time New York has chosen a Mayor by landslide, and while I’m not spillin’ the beans, the character was once played by the same actor who played Schillinger in “Oz.”  Spider-Man realizes that his weird life has gotten even weirder as we fade to black.

My boss at the comic shop (Gatekeeper Hobbies, Huntoon and Gage, Topeka!  Ask us about our Richie Rich back issues!) says that Dan Slott doesn’t write good Spider-Man stories, but 590 and 591 put the lie to that conceit, at least for me.  Slott nails Spider-Man’s characterization, from geeking out with Reed, to slap-fighting with Johnny, to his insistence that they had to help innocents, even though the team was sworn not to interfere.  The whole sequence with removing the mask was very nicely handled, and the fast-forward view of two months of the Spidey cast’s backstory was an innovative way for the new ASM braintrust to reset the world around him.  With his former greatest nemesis as the head of superhuman affairs, and the new mayor waiting in the wings, Peter Parker’s life is about to get even more chaotic.  Part of me thinks that this is not a good thing, and worries where the edicts and whims of Marvel editorial might take Pete (who, no matter what Joe Quesada thinks, is not intrinsically more interesting as a loser or a single man) but taken on their own merits, these two issues rate a pretty impressive 4 out of 5 stars, for a composite score across all three issues of 4 out of 5 stars, (because we round up and I don’t want to create a 3.75 star graphic.)  The Marvel Universe right now is pretty well broken, and the fun, it seems, is supposed to come in seeing how we rebuild the characters and situations.  Presuming that Spider-Man editorial can keep the book looking and reading this smooove, I’d say that Mr. Parker is in pretty good hands…


The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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  1. MaximusRift
    April 15, 2009 at 7:59 pm — Reply

    Damn, looks like I might have enjoyed that. Too bad I won’t buy a Spider book until OMD is retconned out of existence (I will settle for just out of Marvel continuity). Seriously, It’s more than a year after Joe CRAAAAPPED OON SPIDER-MANNNN!! and I’m still not over it. Still hate it. Still can’t believe it happened.

    The sad part is that when they do decide to rectify this travesty, they’re gonna crap all over him again!!
    I can just see him go all emo, saying that he doesn’t deserve MJ and we’ll get 5 to 10 issues of it.

    Remember kids, every time you buy a copy of ASM; Joe Quesada keeps believing he did the right thing.

  2. April 15, 2009 at 8:28 pm — Reply

    That’s a good stance to take, actually. Voting with your dollars is really about the only power we have to affect Marvel… Problem is, thousands of readers only care that these are the guys that we saw in those 5 movies over the last couple of years, and want to read because of that, or because Spider-Man, Batman and Superman are the only “real” superheroes in the minds of many people, or just because of the big M on the cover.

    All I know is, these issues weren’t horrific. Your mileage may vary… :)

  3. April 16, 2009 at 2:15 am — Reply


    I have to agree with you on all accounts, the past month of ASM has been outstanding. I know I was one of the haters of Spoilerite Nation when OMD/BND initially bowed.

    I also much preferred Spidey’s unmasking in #591 to the awkward interaction that occurred in New Avengers last month. The reaction from the Fantastic Four was great, and while some might think that the flash forward might be a bit hacky … it works. Slott has done a good job, and I’m excited to see what Waid is up to next with the new arc.

  4. Kevin
    April 16, 2009 at 2:26 am — Reply

    Total Garbage…

  5. Beav
    April 16, 2009 at 2:36 am — Reply

    Will the marriage ever come back?! Joe Quesada has continuously ignored fans pleas to return the marriage but as time goes on more and more people seem to be warming to post OMD. Im not one of these people… Every Post marriage and Pre OMD Spidey comic and graphic I own now seems a lie…almost like ‘what if…’ tales. And I certainly wont buy any more post marriage spidey tales in the future unless the marriage is returned!”

  6. Salieri
    April 16, 2009 at 4:20 am — Reply

    Norah was in that other slightly-good BND story with Hammerhead, by Joe Kelly. She was making Peter’s life a misery, but then asked him out.

  7. Sanlear
    April 16, 2009 at 6:48 am — Reply

    I haven’t picked up a single issue of Spider-Man since OMD. As you noted, Matthew, voting with your wallet is the only way to go.

  8. hermit
    April 16, 2009 at 8:17 am — Reply

    haven’t read any major Marvel stuff for a while now, but i always liked Slott’s writing. isn’t he the one who wrote Deadpool for a while, or she-hulk. anyway, fun stuff.

  9. Edge
    April 16, 2009 at 9:01 am — Reply

    If you have been boycotting OMD, good on you. Stand up for what you believe, vote with your dollars, and all that.

    However, you have been missing some really good comics, this last year+ in ASM has been awesome and I for one am glad I have been along for the ride.

  10. April 16, 2009 at 10:56 am — Reply

    Thank you x 100 for the update! I never get enough Spider Man news since I usually wait until things have fallen to graphic novel format these days. I love being able to read the updates here since otherwise I’m completely lost on the story and Spidey has always been one of my favorites ;) I wonder what the “Hey Tiger” tease is going to lead to since I doubt we’ll see the real return of MJ quite yet (unfortunately.)

  11. April 16, 2009 at 11:35 am — Reply

    Total Garbage…

    While you have every right to your opinion, I’d like to hear some more feedback from your read of these issues. If you haven’t read them, I recommend at least a casual flip-through… I’m not a Spider-Man fan nor am I drinking the Kool-Aid as regards Dark Reign, but these books didn’t suck.

  12. April 16, 2009 at 11:39 am — Reply

    Will the marriage ever come back?! Joe Quesada has continuously ignored fans pleas to return the marriage but as time goes on more and more people seem to be warming to post OMD. Im not one of these people… Every Post marriage and Pre OMD Spidey comic and graphic I own now seems a lie…almost like ‘what if…’ tales. And I certainly wont buy any more post marriage spidey tales in the future unless the marriage is returned!”

    At some point, I’m pretty certain that the marriage will return. It’s comics after all, and one of the tenets of comics is “What I Read When I Was A Kid Is The Only Right Way To Do It.” When the guys who were aping Stan and Jack got old, we got the guys who aped late 60’s-early 70’s stuff like Gerber and Roy Thomas and such, and now we have a generation of writers who seem to be returning to the Marvel Universe circa 1975 to 1985. When the next batch takes power, expect to see glorious returns of Sleepwalker, Darkhawk, et al. Actually, come to think of it, that movement is already in effect…

    As for your stories being “What If” tales, I have a theory on that. Call it “Personal Continuity,” but if I liked a story, it happened. If I didn’t like a story, I can ignore it… Your Spider-Man stories are the real ones for you, so think of this stuff that’s happening now as a new version of Ultimate Spider-Man, retro tales in a modern style, and know that your Pete and Mary Jane are perfectly happy doing their thing somewhere that we just aren’t privy to right now.

  13. Salieri
    April 16, 2009 at 12:43 pm — Reply

    Actually, Matthew, that return could be sooner than we think. Look at what’s just happened.

    * Loose Plot points were forwarded
    * All potential new girlfriends for Peter have been taken by his former room-mates
    * Status Quo is puleld in, out, in, out, shaken all about
    * MJ (or someone like her) called, hung up
    * Aunt May is getting some. (Just a minor plot point, but I think by now she’s probably knocked boots more times than Peter himself. JJJ sr. is, what, the fifth after Uncle Ben, Ned Leeds, Doc Ock, the Vulture and Skrull Jarvis? Why does she never give her nephew relationship advice?)

    The original contract was “I will bring back your Aunt May from the deathbed and protect your identity as long as you let me take your marriage and erase people’s memory of it”. Now that he has revealed his face to both the NA and the FF, the original terms of the contract – that no-one would remember – have been violated. Surely that means that, sooner or later…or, even in the upcoming issue 600…the original Contractor will revoke any and all deals made?

  14. MaximusRift
    April 16, 2009 at 1:07 pm — Reply

    See… Here’s the thing.

    If they had done the separation well, I wouldn’t have as big of a problem. Instead, Joe Quesada decided to castrate Spider-Man by having his willingly sell off his wife. That pissed me off. Sorry for the language but that is the proper emotion I feel. If they had done it and let him keep his dignity, I might have been able to roll with the punch.

    The other thing that gets to me is that they refuse to at least let him have some of his ex-girlfriends. Is it really too much to ask that Black Cat be in the book? But No… Joe instead gives you Fake Gwen and Fake MJ. Oh, and Harry Osborn (So Harry died because Pete & MJ married? Interesting theory.)

  15. Spideyfan337
    April 16, 2009 at 3:16 pm — Reply

    Yeah, I agree with you on most part and mostly about JQ refusing to let peter hook up with some of his ex’s. They tease us with new girl Carly so many times, Pete and her almost hook up but no, then harry gf Lilly kiss pete but didn’t hook up and then other new girl Noah, almost but no. Then there’s his first ex-girlfriend Betty Brant from the famous ASM#583 Obama special. In that comic they got a date altough it’s nice and all but in the end they didn’t do nothing. Is that how grown up act? no sex?…notta! I mean c’on when he was still married with MJ they did the limbo a couple of times and now Pete is not with MJ anymore so says JQ and he still hasn’t had “any” for like a whole year. I just don’t get that, is he saving himself for MJ? They haven’t reveal the reason they split up in the first place. (beside the Mephisto part)

  16. Salieri
    April 16, 2009 at 5:10 pm — Reply

    If you look at the arc of Harry’s death, you’ll notice MJ is implicit in it. DeMatteis’ “Spider-Man: The Osborn Journals” places the blame squarely on MJ choosing Peter over Harry.

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