Avenging Spider-Man Annual #1 gives the Marvel universe something no one ever expected nor demanded – although I wouldn't recommend a Google Image Search on the subject to prove me wrong.
In this issue, Peter Parker kisses Ben Grimm on the mouth. Spider-Man swaps spin with The Thing. They make out for three whole panels.
Yeah, there's a lot of other stuff going on in this Rob Williams story – two brothers named Frankie and Spags dig up some alien emotion-control box in Central Park and sent the whole of the city into a fighting frenzy, then try to make money off their score – but mostly this issue will be remembered for That Which You Cannot Unsee.
Fret not, those of you whose brains will implode at the idea that both of these stalwart characters have come out of the closet for publicity purposes – it's all the fault of that mystery box. First, it makes everyone fight each other, then the dopey brother switches the setting and everybody gets tonsil-hockey happy. Mind-control make-outs are always a bit skeevy, regardless of where you fall on the sexuality spectrum as it pertains to giant orange boulder-men. It's hard to hearken back to a more innocent time when forcing someone to do things they wouldn't normally do was fun and hilarious instead of being kind of rapey. Sometimes I miss those days, as I feel like sort of a killjoy about the whole thing, but at the same time, it's just more unsettling than it is knee-slapping. However, the fact that the entire city is involved seems to mitigate whatever personal trauma you might dwell o'ermuch upon, since it's a weird, shared experience with everybody in the tri-state area. And it's just kissing. It's not THAT bad. Maybe we should all swap spit more often… ?
Brad Walker's art is really strong, very cool and featuring quite expressive faces, and Williams' story isn't too bad overall, although there's a mild sense of ain't-I-clever about the dialogue, but I'm sure he'd tell me I'm making way too much out of his funnybook slapstick… or slaptongue… or slapnuts…
Gah, anyway, Williams is going for a light-hearted Spidey story and, if you don't think too much, it should be fun for you. Me, I now can't figure out how to stop imagining what it feels like to liplock with rocks. I mean, your lips would have to be chapped immediately and for all time, wouldn't they? I don't know how Alicia Masters ever did it. If she ever did it… aaaaaand oh god, I'm going all Brody from Mallrats here. CHECK PLEASE.