This issue is the perfect palette-cleanser after reading Amazing Spider-Man #677, which was mediocre-at-best, starting a two-issue storyline which crossed over into Daredevil #8 for the conclusion (which, thankfully, was so good it made up for the first chapter). This issue is part one of a two-part storyline, and one which is inventive, and a great piece of science fiction writing over all. The premise is deceptively simple, and the issue starts quiet, but soon ratchets up the intensity, as the issue speeds towards its climax, and a fantastic cliffhanger.
Dan Slott is clearly having the time of his life writing Amazing Spider-Man, and it’s evident in every issue he puts together. Now that he’s the sole writer and voice on this series (save for the occasional fill-in, like last issue), he’s able to really get into Peter Parker’s head and his world, flesh out the new developments, and carve his mark into Peter Parker’s history. His introduction and use of Horizon Labs is testament to his long-term planning with the character, because not only has he given Peter Parker a great new job, and evolved his character, but he’s also making good use of the new setting and supporting cast. Spider-Man has worked at lab jobs before, but this is the first time that a writer’s really invested the time and energy in fleshing out that world, making it a big part of stories, in a natural way, and yet at the same time manage to not forget and leave behind the more memorable members of his supporting cast, who traditionally rotated around the orbit of the Daily Bugle. Horizon Labs has become a great supporting cast member, and the evolution of Peter’s cover story as being the guy supplying tech to Spider-Man is a fun new direction to take his character in, and allow him to still succeed in his work, and given a new dimension to his secret identity.
This issue is a great use of science fiction to tell a riveting story, which becomes a harrowing and suspenseful issue as Peter Parker tries to do everything he can to avert catastrophe from befalling New York City. When a routine day of checking equations on a colleague’s project suddenly spells doom within the next 24 hours, Peter must go into action as Spider-Man to ensure that the twisted, desolate future reality he saw doesn’t occur. The twist here, of course, is that Peter Parker/Spider-Man’s temporary absence from the timeline is what caused the possible future to happen, and now he must work against the clock with Grady Scraps to ensure he does everything he was supposed to do before reality was altered, to prevent catastrophe from happening. The issue is a fun romp, which becomes ever more intense and exciting as the issue races towards the climax, showing just how masterful at setting up the pacing of a comic Dan Slott is. He makes terrific use of science fiction tropes to make this story happen, giving the reader a great roller-coaster ride as a result.
Humberto Ramos is the perfect artist in Amazing Spider-Man’s current artistic rotation to handle the art chores on this story, because his art style perfectly captures the frantic energy in Slott’s script. His action beats are spot-on, and together with the script make this such a fun, suspenseful comic. There’s a lot of material in this issue, and Slott/Ramos are able to come together to tell a riveting story that doesn’t skimp on detail or storyline progression, and yet also manages to be a complete and utter page-turner.
This issue more than makes up for the last issue, with a storyline which demands the reader not put it down for a second, and instead read it all through to the climactic cliffhanger. There hasn’t been an issue since the Big Time era started that has made me wish this fervently that this book still shipped three times a month instead of just twice, because I can’t wait for the conclusion to this fantastic story.