This issue is the first official installment of the "Spider-Island" event. Some of the pages have already been shared in the "Spider-Island: Daily Bugle Free Preview" and the preview on CBR last week, but those pages only give you a slice of the action.
While I favor Stefano Caselli as my current favorite in the stable of Spider-Man artists, Humberto Ramos' art is cartoony and wild, perfect for a story that features enough wall-crawlers to make J. Jonah Jameson's head absolutely explode! Don't worry, that wasn't a spoiler. Jameson's head doesn't blow up in this issue. Lots of other things do blow up, though, as Spidey's old foe, the Jackal, returns and brings a mess of trouble with him. In addition to things blowing p, there's ualso looting, plundering, and pillaging. Of course, in New York City in the Marvel Universe, Spidey isn't the only hero around, so Dan Slott sets up a myriad of tie-ins with appearances by Cloak and Dagger, Shang-Chi, Ben Grimm, Reed Richards, and a half dozen Avengers.
The best part? There's even a chance for the creative and production team to insert a "Fantasy Island" reference. Seriously. Well, serious about it being in this comic, not so serious about it being the best part.
Dan Slott once again combines humor and action, adventure and intrigue and does so in a story that delivers a great deal of excitement. I've praised Slott's work on this title before and everything in this issue, including the subplots of Peter Parker's closest friends and relatives, shows exactly why Dan Slott is the Spider-Man writer.
Like all of Marvel's events of late, this one has a ridiculous number of tie-ins. The eight part (well, six parts plus a prelude and an epilogue) "Spider-Island" story offers an additional twenty-one installments in such wide-ranging titles as "Black Panther" and "Herc." I'm hoping we don't need all of those for the whole story, and given the spectacular action in this issue I think I'm going to be just fine holding on to the fantastic tale delivered by Slott and Ramos.
Ramos seizes the opportunity to depict a plethora of Spider-People in a plethora of Spidey outfits. Almost every costume gets some panel time from the pencil of Ramos, including the "Iron Spider" get-up and the Scarlet Spider hoodie. Plain and simple, this is a big, fun book that is filled with raucous action, exciting characters, and energetic art.