The Amazing Spider-Man #657 — Slott/Martin, Templeton, Plati, Caselli — May ’11/ Marvel Comics

Having given up on the Spider-titles many years ago (they were just too depressing for too long), I was moved to pick up this stand-alone issue by the brief, heartfelt cameo that Spider-Man made at the end of Fantastic Four #588 where he tried to comfort Franklin Richards after the death of his uncle. That aspect of the event was handled well, unlike the over-arching idea, which—if you ask me—was cheap, pandering, and just poor writing. Seriously … out of ideas? Kill off somebody.

[OK, since I opened that can of worms, I’d just like to quickly say, “You have a skyscraper full of those dumb-lookin’ Doombots flying around, and you couldn’t send one of them over to stay on the wrong side of the Negative Zone portal? What about that encephalitic dragon-looking dude that’s always lurking about? He’d probably fit right in over there. And, maybe—just maybe—if you absolutely had to have the Human Torch to do the job, why didn’t he go supernova on their asses and take a big chunk of them out for good measure?” Sigh.]

That said, Spider-Man will probably fill the patented Human Torch comic relief spot in the FF just fine (until he comes back from the dead, that is) and this issue of reminiscences is an enjoyable trip back to the simpler days when the Four-plus-one had the time to camp out to make sure a B-lister like Krakatoom didn’t “re-intamegrate.”

Five minutes of Photoshop and a head bereft of glue fumes and it’s fixed.
Kudos on the idea of having three different artists do the three flashback scenes, giving each of them a distinct flavor. Writer Dan Slott has fun with the teen-aged Torch and Spidey, bringing back something that has been missing too often since Peter Parker became a beleaguered adult.

If I had one bit of advice for Marvel regarding this issue, it would be to have the production department wait until paste up was done before huffing the glue pots. That’s the only reason I can imagine how such a poignant cover as this would have been allowed out the door with the logo, issue box, and UPC all crammed into the middle of it. Come on, fellas, you’ve got a good gig—with probably unlimited access to your drug of choice—don’t screw it up.

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