Anti-Venom is back, but it seems as if he’s not the only thing to be afraid of, as criminals are begging to be put in jail to avoid The Wraith! On the flip side, Peter Parker is on cloud nine as he’s featured in his favorite science magazine, has a great job, and a beautiful girlfriend. Things couldn’t be going better for Pete until Aunt May bumps into Martin Li, who is secretly the villain Mr. Negative, and begins to have visions of their last meeting. This causes her to pass out while her husband is on the phone with Pete, who hears the commotion. As he’s racing to her aid he spots Anti-Venom attacking Martin Li’s limo, since he knows the man’s true identity. However, Peter, along with the rest of New York, only knows Martin Li as the man that runs the shelter that provides for the homeless and those in need. So of course he’s going to dive into the fight to stop the “crazy” Anti-Venom from harming this man.
Dan Slott has been keeping ASM a pretty fun read, though it annoys me when any writer makes Peter look like the dumbest smart guy there is. Falling back on the punch first and ask questions later method kind of weakens this story, though I could be annoyed with it because Spider-Man just did the exact same thing recently in Venom #3. It almost feels like Spidey is being forced into conflict with Anti-Venom just so the two will have to mix it up. None of their altercations have seemed like a natural fit for the story ever since the debut of Anti-Venom. This isn’t to say it wasn’t a good issue, but seriously, can we not dumb down Peter just to have an excuse for a fight?
Ever since becoming Anti-Venom, Brock has been overcompensating to redeem himself. Slott nails that perfectly in the beginning of the story through dialog, as Brock asks the criminal why he’s more afraid of The Wraith than him. Those opening pages were great, and even Brock’s cheesy internal dialog plays into his trying really hard to be the good guy for once. Also, Peter’s evaluation of his life and responsibilities to Aunt May’s playful dismissive attitude about her nephew’s appearance in the magazine were pretty much the high points of the issue in my opinion. I’m still on the fence about Martin Li/Mr. Negative as a villain, but I’m willing to see what Slott is going to do with him in the coming issues.
The artwork by Camuncoli reminded me a bit of the older Spidey stories from my childhood, which is always a good thing. The action scenes were handled quite well, and for some reason I’m a sucker for an artist that takes the time to show off Spider-Man’s acrobatics. You’re going to get a solid looking story here from start to finish. I say that because there are two back up stories here, and while I wasn’t too fond of Rios’s art in Slott’s Infested back up, I did enjoy Nauk’s work in the Todd Dezago story Thanks…But No Thanks.
Slott is writing some of the best Amazing Spider-Man I’ve seen in a while, even with this issue’s shortcomings. He’s made Pete a lot more interesting since his run began, and the stories are just fun to get into. Hopefully with the Spider Island event coming up soon, Slott will continue to deliver something worth buying.