What does Big Time mean to you? For Peter Parker it means good times, for a new/old villain, it means something very different.

THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #649
Writer: Dan Slott
Artist: Humberto Ramos
Inker: Carlos Cuevas
Colorist: Edgar Delgado
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Editor: Stephen Wacker
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Previously in The Amazing Spider-Man: Things were looking pretty bad for Peter Parker when he found out he lost his lease on his apartment and needed to find a place to live, even though he didn’t have a job or money. By the end of the last installment, things looked like they were turning around as Peter landed a great job and a great place to live. Face it Parker – You hit the Big Time…

THE PROBLEM WITH BEING CURRENT

After last issue, I was pretty sure I was going to end up with a disappointing experience simply because good times (not THAT Good Times) never lasts long for me. However, this time I was pleasantly surprised to discover the issue was just as solid as the one before. The best part about the issue wasn’t Hobgoblin crashing Peter’s first day of work, nor was it the playful banter between Spider-Man, Black Cat and Norah, and it certainly wasn’t the great, but brief interplay between Peter and his CSI girlfriend as she almost discovers his Spider-Stuff. Heck, it wasn’t even the hilarious moment when Commander Rogers asked Mayor J. Jonah Jameson to give Spider-Man the key to the city. The finest storytelling moment of this issue played out like the opening sequence to Psycho as readers are introduced to Roderick Kingsley who starts the issue as the current Hobgoblin, but before the reader hits the opening credits, he’s dead and a new Hobgoblin is taking his place.

It’s one of those moments you really don’t expect to happen, and then it makes you even more interested in seeing how the rest of the issue is going to play out. It worked for Hitchcock, and it works great for Slott in this chapter.

With all the really fun moments that pop up in the issue, there is one thing that kind of bothers me. At one point, Peter’s girlfriend stops by the hotel and says, “I brought Netflix.” In an attempt to be relevant and current, Slott uses a callout that totally pulls me, and probably other readers, completely out of the story. Don’t believe me? Yesterday, November 30, 2010, my friend Rodrigo Lopez came over and said, “Hello my good friend, Stephen Schleicher! I brought over some Netflix. Let’s pop a few Miller Genuine Drafts, sit down on your Furniture Mart sofa, turn on your 65-inch Sony Bravia television, warm up the Sony Blu-Ray player, and watch us some fine movies by alumni from Northwestern University.” This isn’t the first time writers have pulled this kind of stunt to remain relevant and current. Remember Captain America’s dressing down for not know what MySpace was? At the rate MySpace is falling, Steve Rogers probably isn’t the only person walking around right now who doesn’t know what MySpace is. I’m really liking how these first two installments of Big Time are playing out, and it could end up being one of those arcs that years from now comic fans are still talking about, but that one simple name drop could end up having people exclaiming, “I loved ASM Big Time! It was so awesome! Too bad it’s sooooo dated…” (Hint: If you say it in the whiny voice that Matthew is found of doing, it sounds so much better.)

I know. This is a minor moment that I’m making a big deal out of, but when I hit that line, I was completely jarred out of the joy of reading the issue, back to the real world, where my first thought was, “Damn. I better send those Netflix movies back so my good friend Rodrigo Lopez, can get the next fine Disney feature film that is in his Netflix queue.”

There are a few other dialogue moments that come off kind of stiff, but they still work in this issue, as apparently everyone is scared of using Editor Notes these days.

On a side note, I’m thinking about trying to talk my wife into naming our next kid Uatu Jackson. I let you know how it goes…

COME FOR THE BIG TIME, STAY FOR THE RAMOS

Once again, Humberto Ramos delivers art that I love. While I lamented last time about the lack of big feet, big heads, there were character moments that the Ramos style from days gone bye shown through and made me smile. Plus, there were plenty of Black Cat T&A moments that should keep those that are into that sort of thing happy.

Likewise, the coloring of the issue was very well done. From the flaming sword to the explosions, and the subtle lighting effects on the walls of Peter hotel room, it’s the interactive lighting effects that brings the issue to life.

BOTTOM LINE: BUY IT

Regardless of the problem I have with corporate name dropping, this is a really good issue. There are great action moments, great dialogue moments, and moments where the art shines. There’s not a lot of super heavy continuity concerns that would keep the casual/new reader away, and any questions that would arise can easily be found by doing two minutes of online research. The Amazing Spider-Man #649 is worth buying and earns 4.5 Stars.

Rating: ★★★★½

The Author

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment.

You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...

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12 Comments

  1. December 1, 2010 at 5:22 pm — Reply

    I liked this issue as well. It’s nice that even though they’ve re-introduced an old character who readers may not familiar with, you don’t need to know his history. You just have to know he’s the new Hobgoblin.

    That being said, and sorry for the self-promotion, I wrote up the origin for Phil Urich, aka new Hobgoblin on my blog. It’s in no way as in depth as one of Matthew’s Hero Histories would be, but it’s a nice refresher on who this guy used to be.

  2. Petro
    December 1, 2010 at 10:41 pm — Reply

    It didn’t bug you when Pete referenced how difficult it will be to keep Spider-Man a secret from his “C.S.I. investigator” girlfriend? What does Peter think the “I” in C.S.I stands for?

    • Brother129
      December 2, 2010 at 2:02 pm — Reply

      Not really the same thing as CSI’s will always be around regardless of airing 7 says a week….

      • Petro
        December 4, 2010 at 6:03 am — Reply

        Ah, I didn’t explain myself very well. I was commenting on the “dated” aspect so much as a tiny nitpick-y thing that annoyed me for a second while I was, otherwise, GREATLY enjoying the issue. It’s like when people say PIN number, Number is the “N” but most people still say it.

        Being facetious more than anything else.

        • Petro
          December 4, 2010 at 6:04 am — Reply

          It should be “wasn’t commenting” and now I’m done filling your screen with nonesense, I promise.

  3. brenton8090
    December 2, 2010 at 6:11 am — Reply

    Loving this arc so far though. I’ve been buying ASM for the last 45 issues or so, and Peter’s life has really been in the crapper. I mean, I understand the “down on his luck” thing is one of PArker’s characteristics, but it was almost painful to read anymore, to see what they would do to him this week. Then, these past two issues have been such a contrast that I have felt this huge catharsis, that almost makes me want to punch the air. Finally, something good! But I know that it will all come crashing down soon, and I will be horribly sad, but that makes it a good story. If he never had those little bright spots as contrast to the dark, and nothing good ever happened for him, he’d just be Hank Pym.

  4. gilberto nieves
    December 4, 2010 at 2:24 am — Reply

    i liked the original hobby, why bring him back just to kill him.

    • draco
      December 17, 2010 at 8:21 pm — Reply

      Because the editorial staff and most of the writers at Marvel hate the Hobgoblin plain and simple. They only brought him back just to shut the fans up who wanted him back and then kill him off so that nobody would ever ask for him to be brought back again. Plus they are sticking us with a new goblin wannabe just to rub it in the fans faces.
      Basically Marvel’s message is this: we hate the Hobgoblin-we have no respect for the character-so by killing him off and giving you a new Hobgoblin you will most likely hate-we’re reducing the character to what we think of him as: crap.

  5. gilberto nieves
    December 4, 2010 at 2:33 am — Reply

    he was a major force and i mean huge part of spidey during those years when green goblin wasn’t around. major plots, major foe, great look. he set flash thompson up, then ned leeds, went underground when imposter jason macendale took the title of hobby and then came back and killed him. went into exile after norman kicked his ass. brought back just to be killed by goblin junior with sonic laugh, why bother.
    should have left him where he was.

    • draco
      December 17, 2010 at 8:24 pm — Reply

      This isn’t the first time the spider-fans have suffered because of Quesada’s prejudices.

  6. Carl
    December 8, 2010 at 11:43 am — Reply

    If it were a corporate name drop that made sense, I wouldn’t mind. Who says, “I brought Netflix”? You say, “I brought a movie” or “I brought a DVD”. If they wanted to be current, why not say, “I brought Avatar” and hold up the DVD?

    • Damascus
      December 28, 2010 at 1:00 pm — Reply

      EXACTLY!! I’d have been fine with it too, if someone’s going into the kitchen and Peter yells out, “Can you grab me a Mountain Dew (Pepsi/Coke/Sprite/Four Loco)?” At least that sounds better. Besides when I read that line, I’m so used to using my Netflix account pretty much only to watch streaming movies, so when she said that I instantly thought that maybe she brought her laptop and was going to piggyback on someone’s WiFi so they could watch some MST3K or something.

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