I've drifted away from "Amazing Spider-Man" in recent months -- one of the side-effects of an almost-weekly series is that if you get a little behind in your reading, you get a lot behind -- and after checking back in with the series this past month with the Marc Guggenheim-penned Ben Reilly mini-saga, I couldn't help but think, "I never need to read this comic again."
The arc that ended in issue #610 was banal, tedious, and everything I don't need in a comic book.
Then I read "Amazing Spider-Man" #611 and couldn't help but think, "if this comic were written and drawn by Joe Kelly and Eric Canete, I would get six copies every week, and distribute them to the needy!"
Issue #611 does everything right that issue #610 got wrong. The melancholy soap opera and by-the-numbers unfolding of the plot has been replaced by thrills, gags, strange asides, action, and fun. Good stuff, all.
The issue opens with Deadpool, the vixens of the Marvel universe draped all over him, fielding a phone call from someone named "Barack." What seems to be a delusional fantasy soon falls apart when his phone rings while he's supposedly talking with the president, and the gorgeous ladies of Marvel turn out to be low-class substitutes in make-up and costumes supplied by the mouthy merc. Deadpool's not delusional; it turns out, just extra-sleazy. (Okay, and delusional.)
Oh, and Lady Stilt Man debuts here in a comedy action sequence that gets Spider-Man and Deadpool in a team-up/cat-and-mouse chase. One that features Deadpool asking Spidey for an autograph, but the pen he hands over may or may not be rigged with a bomb (spoiler: IT IS).
We find out in the final pages that Deadpool had a plan all along, and he did exactly what he was hired to do. Even without the reveal on the final page, this would be a very good issue, with the light touch of Joe Kelly and the astonishingly expressive work of Eric Canete.
These two creators may only be around for a single issue, and it may be a brief diversion before the serious tragedy of "The Gauntlet" begins next week. But "Amazing Spider-Man" #611 shows that this series doesn't have to be bound up in pathos to be great. It can just cut loose and have fun.