I'm a big fan of classic comics, and classic comic tropes. The Amazing Spider-Man has been playing catch-up, reclaiming his life, his career, and his reputation as everyone's favorite neighborhood web-slinger. Dan Slott's in fine form, working beautifully with Humberto Ramos and Edgar Delgado, as per usual. Let's light it up. (Spoilers follow.)
So! The Eel is prepping for a meeting when the Black Cat arrives with a hooded partner. She wastes no time, playing up her luck powers and spouting such clichés as "This Black Cat's crossing your path." Tawdry? Sure. Welcome? You bet.
The Eel laughs her off: she's lost all her street cred (and her identity's common knowledge, if it wasn't before) after her public embarrassment at the hands of the Superior Spider-Man. Hardy takes umbrage at this, and introduces her partner: a seriously souped-up Electro. The Eel justifiably freaks. ZAP.
Cut to make-outs! Fierce, hungry, spider-y make-outs! Spidey's lost his shirt but not his mask, a clear sign of his priorities. Um. Silk reveals she already knows who he is, which is a mood-killer if ever there was one. (Superhero make-outs are weird.)
FOX News The Fact Channel, J. Jonah Jameson is gearing up for his first broadcast, only to learn he's been bumped. Conflict of interest (read the comic to get the particulars), plus there's no sign of Sajani Jaffrey.
Ms. Jaffrey's been abducted, and sitting pretty in a posh place with champagne and caviar on hand. (Black Cat steals only the best.) Electro's got a bone to pick with Parker Industries, since they're apparently gunning for him. He maybe changes his tune when Sajani mentions that they're looking to cure him, not just hold him. (His interest here gets no elaboration. Expect it to be revisited next ish.)
At an abandoned warehouse, in the bad part of town, Mr. Negative and
Ex-Green Goblin Ex-Hobgoblin 'Goblin King' are waiting on the Eel to show. He does, with a smash. She does the supervillain posturing thing, arguing for an audience and making a persuasive argument.
Felicia Hardy has been a crook, a would-be hero, kind of a lodestone, a hero, and has gone back to being a crook. She's been somewhat inconstant. What HAS been constant is her new hatred of Spidey, for... catching her. Humiliating her, webbing her up for the cops. (I.E, doing his job.) Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, and the Black Cat's sitting on a mountain of the stuff.
So, Spidey and Silk can't keep their hands off each other. At all. Anna Marie Marconi comes home to find them smooching on the ceiling. Marconi's a veritable fount of patience and understanding. "We've been in a relationship, but it wasn't really me." She responded by baking him cookies. Now she comes home to find her former lover getting in flagrante on the ceiling and sends him off to a TV interview. (She deserves better than this. S'all I'm saying.)
Pete greets his brother-in-law Jonah, before going on the air to explain what Parker Industries is up to. The broadcast lasts less than five minutes before Electro and Black Cat seize the studio. She plans to hold Parker hostage, 'til Spidey shows up.
(A refresher on the execrable One More Day reboot: nobody remembers who Spidey is under the mask, unless they see him unmasked themselves. Again. So a woman he was partners and lovers with for weeks/months/years has no idea who's under the mask. Classic Holding Bruce Wayne Hostage.)
Like I said, I'm a huge fan of classic tropes. This is a good 'un. Silk distracts BC and E long enough for Spidey to slip into his long johns. Excellent super-battle ensues. It's dynamic, it's flashy, it's great stuff.
Jameson capitalizes on the moment, seizing control and making sure the cameras keep rolling. "It's an exclusive!" You can take the reporter out of the newsroom...
Spidey shouts an explanation to Black Cat, about how Doc Ock was sitting pretty in his brainpan. Jameson hangs the appropriate lampshade: "What a load of horse hockey!"
So Electro zaps Spidey proper, since he can't get a bead on Silk. (Her spider-senses outstrip even Parker's.) Spider-Man's crippled by a blast... in a TV studio. Black Cat creeps close, and starts peeling off his mask. On national television.
I confess, this is one of my favorite cliffhangers, the kind that gets me all kinds of tingly. A hero's identity is his most sacred possession, and Parker's already demonstrated once this issue how important it is. He's seconds away from losing everything. So yeah.
I'm very, very pleased with the vim and vigor of this run, so far. It's been fast paced, it's got intensity, and all of its characters are playing entirely true to form. I can't wait to see what's next.
So, win: The cover accurately depicts events in the comic proper. Always gratifying to see.
So, fail: The comic has literally nothing to do with Original Sin, which is why I cropped it out of the cover. Seriously. Crossovers carry more weight when they actually, y'know, cross over.
Casey Jones is a writer of comics and a VO artist. He's never been unmasked on national television. So far.