Big Time has come to an end, but did Spider-Man make the big time, or did he make a big time mistake? Dan Slott spins a tale of anger, loss, and Spider Armor in The Amazing Spider-Man #656.

Storytellers: Dan Slott & Marcos Martin
Colorist: Munsta Vicente
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Assistant Editor: Ellie Pyle
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $3.99

Previously in The Amazing Spider-Man: Having vowed to never let anyone die again, Spider-Man is confronted with The Walking Massacre – a psychopath who doesn’t mind killing just to kill. So much for that brilliant plan.


The Walking Massacre’s story isn’t a new one – way back in the Phineas Gage had a railroad spike blow through his head. He survived like nothing happened, but his demeanor changed drastically. Unable to cope with the loss of his ventromedial region, Gage became an anti-social misfit even though he was able to function normally. Something similar happened to Marcus Lyman, and the only way he can cope is by killing people. He gets what he wants, or people die.

Mayor J. Jonah Jameson, who recently lost his wife during Alistair Smythe recent rampage, is taking it upon himself to be the judge and jury in all matters concerning those who take a life. His eye for an eye approach to dealing with criminals is one that resonates in today’s world, as citizens demand blood whenever someone commits a heinous crime. In a sense, Jameson has become the mad mob, looking for retribution. His orders are simple – kill Massacre on site, no trial, no prison time, no questions asked.

It seems to be a solution in dealing with super criminals, and a topic that comes up at the comic shop counter on a regular basis. When the climax of the issue arrives, Spider-Man does keep his promise – no one dies. A solution that angers J.J. and raises the hero to yet another level.

It may have been interesting if Spider-Man would have taken the “I won’t kill you, but I don’t have to save you from being killed by the police” approach, but Dan Slott sums up the heroes don’t kill argument nicely. It’s a solution that will certainly have more serious repercussions down the road.


With my introduction into the mainstream Spider-Man universe served up with art by Humberto Ramos, Marcos Martin’s style is on the other end of the spectrum, and I’m still not sure I like it. The simple lines and rough faces, along with the flat coloring works as a single issue, but not something I’m sure I personally will like over an extended period of time – but that is me; others certainly dig on this style and I can appreciate the work that went into the tale.


Dan Slott continues to tell a spectacular tale in an amazing way. The web he weaves has me hooked, and Spider-Man’s adventures seem more interesting because of his work. The new armor is not a brand new look, but considering we’ve seen three different costumes in this giant arc only once or twice, fans will more than likely see the red and blue than anything else. The art is very subjective, and may not work for everyone, but as always, your mileage will vary. Overall, I think The Amazing Spider-Man #656 is worth picking up, and earns 3.5 out of 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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  1. Belmont
    March 21, 2011 at 11:58 pm — Reply

    Thanks Stephen for the review might check it out, reminds me of the Spiderman issue from the early 90’s with Wolverine and Windego, that covered a similar issue. I have the issue but it’s buried in the one of the footlockers I have…

  2. brenton8090
    March 22, 2011 at 5:39 am — Reply

    I really like his casual introduction of new one-off costumes. It sells the “new costume buy this issue” gimmick, but without trying to convince us the change is permanent. It’s a fun little gimmick that makes me feel like a kid again, wanting the latest action figure, Deep Sea Spider-Man! but with deep story and emotional resonances that keep adult me interested. Slott plays to a lot of levels, but does a good job of pleasing the immature four-color floppy fan in me and the sophisticated reader of sequential graphic literature as well. A fine line to walk, but he pulls it off.

  3. Brother129
    March 22, 2011 at 1:30 pm — Reply

    Another well-done issue. Slott re-captures “old school” storytelling. Remember when comic stories actually were started and completed in the span of one issue with the occasional cliff-hanger? None of this decompression crap. Loved the scene with Night Nurse and Paladin. Also loved how Peter once again uses science to beat not having spider-sense. They need to keep Slott on this book for a long time.

  4. JKMD
    March 23, 2011 at 2:36 am — Reply

    Accidentally picked this one up this past week. I haven’t been reading the title regularly, but I really enjoyed this issue. The writing had a “classic” feel and, although I don’t love the art, I thought it was definately good. Short version: Based on what I saw here, I’m going to pick up the next issue. And that’s the point, right?

  5. Armaan
    March 24, 2011 at 11:01 am — Reply

    I met Phineas Gage’s great niece! She was in my psychology class! It was so cool!

    Also, I really really loved this issue. It’s a Spider-Man I’ll treasure for years to come, one I’ll think of when they’re not writing him well, thinking, “Why can’t they write him like they did then?”

    Are you reviewing FF 1? I’m excited about him in that book, too.

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