Title: The Amazing Spider-Man #600
Writers: Dan Slott ,Stan Lee, Mark Waid, Bob Gale, Marc Guggenheim, Zeb Wells, Joe Kelly
Art: John Romita Jr., Klaus Janson, Marcos Martin, Colleen Doran, Mario Alberti, Mitch Brietweiser, Derec Donovan
Covers: Alex Ross, John Romita Jr., John Romita Sr.
I am going to start off this little review buy saying that all #600 issues are NOT created equal. This week we saw two Marvel titles reach that milestone: The Amazing Spider-Man and The Incredible Hulk. The only thing these two books have in common are their price, page count, and stunning covers by Alex Ross. One of these comics was a tribute to history, a respectful handling of cherished characters and a love letter to fandom. The other was an outright joke, a swift kick to the pants and a regretful purchase to say the least.
The main story in Amazing Spider-Man by Dan Slott and John Romita Jr. clocks in at an astonishing 62 pages. That is not a typo. 62 PAGES! Hats off to both of these guys for their work here. Slott’s writing, Romita Jr.’s art and both of their professionalism help this book read like the milestone that it is. It feels that absolutely no corners were cut putting this together. You have everything from a team-up with Daredevil, the wedding of Aunt May, cameos of The Fantastic Four & New Avengers, the return of Doctor Octopus and the reintroduction of a certain redhead into the post One More Day storyline. Arghhh…One More Day. Yes, there are some small elements of this issue that deal with repercussions of that storyline but not enough to take away any enjoyment I felt reading this.
Bringing back Otto Octavious has been long overdue and I like the way that Slott handles it. Doc Ock been on the receiving end of one too many beat downs and his body is beginning to give out on him. Before that happens though he wants to make one last impact on New York but one for the better. With all of his good intentions though it seems he can not catch a break thanks to that meddlesome Spider-Man. And so the rest of the story plays out in classic comic book fashion and while the story doesn’t break any new ground it is a reminder to how much fun Spider-Man comics can and should be. I did enjoy the Spidey/Johnny Storm team-up toward the end quite a bit. It does a good job of showing what good friends these two are and the witty banter between them never gets old (in the hands of a good writer I should say).
This issue ran about 104 pages in length. Not one of those pages was an ad or some useless reprint filler. It was ALL original material which has to be a first for Marvel. If am going to pay $4.99 for a comic this is exactly what I want for my money. Though the back-up stories can’t quite compare to the main one they were each enjoyable in their own right with me favorite being the one about Uncle Ben written by Mark Waid.
I remember not too long ago that Joe Quesada felt the need to retcon Peter Parker’s marriage because “there were no good stories to tell about a married character” or something similar. How long is it going to be before he decides to retcon the marriage of Aunt May? Obviously now there will be no more awesome stories to be told with her. I can see Joey Q. killing her off in about a year because of this.
It should also be noted that Spider-Man is the character that got me interested in reading comics so I do have a fondness for him. With all the crap that the character has endured in the last few years thanks to Marvel editorial, it’s nice to see good, enjoyable stories can still being told with him.