This is the best Amazing Spider-Man issue I have read in the last four years. In my youth, I was a Spider-Man fan, but upon returning to the comic years later, I soon encountered the “One More Day” arc — the story that featured the ending of Peter Parker’s marriage to Mary Jane Watson. I hated it. Since then, there have been few good Spidey plot lines, due mostly to revolving creative teams, stinker new villains, and marketing/publicity-driven storylines.
Amazing Spider-Man #654.1 changes all that. Venom is back and he has never been this awesome before! Flash Thompson, long-time bully and then best friend of Peter Parker has donned the costume. After the events of OMD, Flash rejoined the US Army and was stationed in Iraq. Gravely wounded, both his legs were amputated. But in last week’s issue of Amazing Spider-Man, the back-up story revealed that Flash had previously joined a covert government group that was using the symbiote to create new “super-soldiers”.
Dan Slott’s writing really helps engage the reader’s sympathy for how badly Flash Thompson wants to rebuild his life and serve his country with purpose and distinction. Humberto Ramos’ art (which sometimes doesn’t appeal to me, like on Uncanny X-Men) is a good fit for the slightly exaggerated and bizarre body types that Flash’s Venom metamorphosis creates.
Marvel’s .1 issues seem to be hit and miss to me. The Invincible Iron Man #500.1, a series that is normally one of my favourite reads, left me bored and disappointed. From what I’ve read in previews, the .1 issues are supposed to be a great entry points for new readers, but also a one issue recap of previous events. That is what the Iron Man comic felt like, although in a very contrived manner. This Spider-Man issue didn’t really sum much up, but rather, launched an exciting new character, and got me hooked on following this new plot thread. Definitely a must read this week!