It’s been a while since I’ve read Amazing Spider-Man, but at Dan Slott’s insistence that this is a good jumping-on point, I had to at least give it a chance. Also, since there’s been a bit of controversy surrounding this book over the last couple weeks, that’s at least poked me in the right direction to see if it’s unfounded or not.
To be honest, I don’t really see the harm in this book besides a Peter Parker that’s slowly drifting away from his character and into something that I’m not sure I like. From the acid waterboarding of Sandman to the near-murder in this issue, it’s starting to feel a little “90’s extreme” for my liking.
However, there’s one saving grace in this book, and it’s a level-headed, intelligent MJ.
When I first gave ASM a chance a couple months ago, it was at the tail end of a large tragedy in Peter's life that made him say "No one else dies." After feeling like a failure for a large amount of time, he was taking it upon himself to avoid any other death on his watch. A complaint I had was that it was largely unfeasible: even with his spider-sense, people would get injured, maimed and horribly killed. It's kind of what happens in superhero books from time to time.
And hearing MJ say this to a despondent Peter almost makes me want to hug her: if there's anything Parker needs from time to time, it's a good swift kick in the butt. It kept this book from being stunningly mediocre, and kept my interest until the end.
Good work, Mary Jane.
The Amazing Spider-Man #688
The Verdict: Three cures out of five for being decent, but not terrible; pick it up if you're a fan of the Lizard, Morbius and some decent character work on anyone whose name isn't Peter Parker.