Catching Up on Reviews, Part 4 — Amazing Spider-Man

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The Amazing Spider-Man #654.1 (Marvel) – Dan Slott comes up with one of the best and most original plot devices in recent years in ASM, reviving Flash Thompson and repurposing the Venom symbiote as a heroic operative is pretty awesome. And Humberto Ramos’s art is as good as it has ever been.

Story: 9.25 Art: 9.75 Overall: 9.5

The Amazing Spider-Man #655 (Marvel) – This is really one of the greatest issues of ASM ever, with experimental art and storytelling by Dan Slott and Marcos Martin that is more reminiscent of Acme Novelty Library than anything Marvel has done recently. The death of Marla Jameson, a minor character, is handled so well here, I feel like she was one of the most important characters in the Spidey universe.

Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10

The Amazing Spider-Man #656 (Marvel) – While Slott and Martin can’t possibly follow up the previous issue, this is still a very good issue, taking a minor criminal event and turning it into an examination of good an evil that is quite compelling.

Story: 9 Art: 9 Overall: 9

The Amazing Spider-Man #657 (Marvel) – This is supposed to be a tribute to Spidey and the Human Torch and their relationship over the years, but it fails to capture the nature of their relationship and doesn’t work well as a story, either. A disappointment for what should’ve been an important issue.

Story: 5 Art: 7 Overall: 6

The Amazing Spider-Man #658 (Marvel) – Spidey’s introduction to the Freedom Foundation doesn’t result in a much better story than the previous issue. The Ghost Rider team-up is a little better, but not particularly compelling.

Story: 7 Art: 8 Overall: 7.5

The Amazing Spider-Man #659 (Marvel) – The introduction of zombies and the return of the Sinister Six into the FF storyline both work pretty well and the Ghost Rider story continues at its same pace, which is good, but not great.

Story: 9 Art: 8 Overall: 8.5

The Amazing Spider-Man #660 (Marvel) – The continuation of the FF-Sinister Six storyline is just as compelling and entertaining as it began. The Ghost Rider story ends about the same as it began, but I’m not sure it was necessary.

Story: 9 Art: 8 Overall: 8.5

The Amazing Spider-Man #661 (Marvel) – The two stories in this issue are good but not great. The lead story teams up the wallcrawler and the Avengers Academy, but is a little obvious. The back-up “day in the life” story is humorous, but doesn’t look great.

Story: 8 Art: 7 Overall: 7.5

The Amazing Spider-Man #662 (Marvel) – The Avengers Academy cross-over gets a little better, but is still a little heavy-handed, I think. The back-up story is similarly a little obvious, but is pulled off a bit better.

Story: 8.25 Art: 7.25 Overall: 7.75

The Amazing Spider-Man #663 (Marvel) – The main story here is a good mix of Anti-Venom, Cardiac and Mr. Negative that is a good read and the back-up is a mildly amusing “everything goes wrong and Spidey is misunderstood” story like we’ve seen before.

Story: 7.75 Art: 7.25 Overall: 7.5

The Amazing Spider-Man #664 (Marvel) – It’s good to finally see some resolution to the Spidey-Anti-Venom storyline that’s being gone on for a while. It’s a good story, too.

Story: 9 Art: 9 Overall: 9

The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #38 (Marvel) – An interesting alternate dimension tale and team-up with Hulk and Deadpool begins here. The spin is that The Spider (Peter Parker) and his still-living Uncle Ben aren’t what the seem. It provides a good plot device.

Story: 8.5 Art: 8 Overall: 8.25