I do love when I get what I want. After months of trudging through issues of Spider-Man being part of the Future Foundation and teaching at the Avengers Academy, it’s nice to get a good kick ass Dan Slott story to delve into. Amazing Spider-Man #663 is the first step towards the much-anticipated Spider Island story arc and what a way to jump in. With so much fearing of itself and flashpointing, I tend to forget how much fun comic books can be. How can you not be excited when on the very first page is a glorious shot of Anti-Venom going after evildoers?
Slott opens the issue perfectly by recapping what we’ve missed during the “white suit” issues (as I call them) but without allowing it to be boring. He does this with an odd use of comic relief. Following Anti-Venom, we’re led up to what is supposed to be his moment of rage against the henchmen of Mr. Negative. Suddenly, The Wraith appears out of nowhere and steals Anti-Venom’s thunder. Watching the confused and slightly disappointed Anti-Venom as Mr. Negative’s men thank him for saving them is priceless. Slott plays this entire issue with a great blend of comedy, action and tension.
It’s as if Slott is re-establishing all the old connections that had worn thin during the time focused on the FF. We get a bit of Peter Parker with his new girlfriend Carlie, which is tainted by the fact that Peter has to lie to her about who he is. Parker is flying high on finally being published in a science journal, which is tainted by Aunt May collapsing after coming in contact with Mr. Negative’s alter ego Martin Li. Every bit of joy that re-connects all these characters together becomes marred by a tragedy. Slott releases some of that tension with a slam-bang fistfight between Anti-Venom and Spidey, which is turned into a bad moment for Spidey. By the time issue #663 is over you’re fully back in the swing of the Spider-Man we all know and love.
The only flaw in issue 663 is the art, which is rather lackluster. Giuseppe Camuncoli does a decent job of putting together the action but the story deserves more. There’s no flow here, the panels lay flat and the action never goes anywhere. Camuncoli is also inconsistent. The Anti-Venom is drawn with strong lines, but Spider-Man is drawn weak and with no weight to him. I also felt the human faces were just bland, with bad coloring and no life to them. Nothing done here is awful, it just seems less than the issue deserves. I can’t wait until Humberto Ramos returns.
How this all ties into Spider Island is beyond me. It might be The Wraith; it might have something to do with Anti-Venom or Mr. Negative. It may be something none of us have seen yet, something that Slott will whip out and shock us all. If anybody can do that, it’s Dan Slott. Dan Slott spins a tale any size and makes Spider-Man awesome, every time.