Written by Dan Slott
Art by John Romita Jr.
Now this is an anniversary issue. All the stops are pulled out. Classic villain, large city-threatening plot, super-hero team ups and of course, a wedding. It’s definitely a story for fans to enjoy.
The wedding is between Aunt May and J. Jonah Jameson Sr. (daddy to cheery ex-editor-in-chief/current mayor J. Jonah Jameson Jr.). Of course, no Parker event can ever go smoothly, especially for one whose nephew is Spider-Man and who almost married Doctor Octopus.
Speaking of which, here’s our classic villain. Doc Ock emerges with a plot to take over all of New York City. Quite a ballsy move for the most super-hero populated town on Earth. Ock’s development is quite impressive in this issue with finally addressing what happens when a mostly physically normal man is constantly beat on by far stronger super-powered individuals.
The guest appearances are littered throughout the issue, as some of Marvel’s mainstay heroes seem to stop by and celebrate Spidey’s 600th issue. It’s a star-studded occasion. Daredevil teams up with Spidey in the beginning. New Avengers show up when the town is in chaos. Spidey drops in on the Fantastic Four. Of all of these, the New Avengers probably seem the most tacked on, but not so much so that they’re terribly out of place. The lack of Dark Avengers is questionable given the situation at hand, but perhaps Osborn is licking his wounds from the last issue. Or maybe they just didn’t get the wedding invitation.
This is a good and simple story. It’s a big, self-contained event to bring together Spidey friends and family, and it works. Slott does a great job writing a story that has some importance on both the super-heroic and human sides of Spider-Man. For the most part, the status quo remains the same, and that is refreshing for a change. Not every story has to cause massive changes, just to be fixed by the next big event or two down the road.
This story is important. It’s not a landmark story, but that’s not what it’s trying to be. It is a celebration of the last 47 years of web slinging with a good and simple tale of Spidey saving the day that almost any fan can enjoy. For an anniversary issue, it works great. More importantly, it’s a good and satisfying Spider-Man story. It feels right, and I don’t really have a problem with it.
John Romita Jr. is one of the top people I’d consider for an anniversary issue like this. He has a long history with Spider-Man, and that’s not even including his father. I always liked his tall and lanky Spidey and how he manages to make his costume look like clothing instead of a second skin.
With that said, this doesn’t seem to be his A game. Probably more so his B game. While his style is typically blocky, many out-of-costume characters, especially their faces, look blockier and plainer than usual. It doesn’t seem quite so clean or touched up as it should be. This is really apparent in crowded scenes, and there are plenty of them. His costumed characters are still fairly good though. Perhaps another run through by Romita could have helped. However, considering the main story alone is over twice as long as a normal issue, maybe it’s not too surprising.
There’s nothing particularly special about the inking, mostly tracing and shading. The coloring is decent though. All in all, the art is a little above average. It’s well enough to tell the story without distracting from the story, but it’s definitely not a notable part of the issue.
This is a well-made anniversary issue. Outside the main story and art, Marvel crams the end of this issue with extras. Over a third of this 104-page issue is unique extras and bonus material from top names in Marvel. There are six short stories found in the back after the main story. Most of them take a look at the past and the character of Spider-Man, with one in particular by some random guy names Stan Lee. Scattered among those are four funny and random parody covers. All of that combined with the extended length of the good main story make this issue surprisingly worth the $4.99 cover price.
Overall (Not an Average) 9.5
Overall (Not an Average): 9.5/10