If The Blues were written for one man and one man only, it would be Peter Parker. In the midst of an outbreak that calls out to every cell of Spider-Man’s being, he gets benched. The Avengers, rather than accept Spider-Man’s help in fighting the inexplicable outbreak of spider-powered citizens of New York, politely ask Spider-Man to sit this one out so they can fight Spider-People without worrying about bonking their own Spider-Man on the noggin. Never mind that this threat is exactly the type of problem we need you for, Spidey, but sit this one out.
A big heaping helping of “Thanks, but no thanks.” That stings.
As Dan Slott is wont to do, though, he finds a way to have Peter Parker make some lemonade from those darn lemons. Casting aside his Spider-Man outfit, Pete takes problems into his own hands, and that gives this issue a whole new vibe from the bits of this “Spider-Island” story up to this point. Naturally, Pete being Pete, just as it seems as though things are looking up, the world finds a new way to bring things down around him. In this case, that involves MJ showing up to bust Pete’s chops.
This is where Slott’s Spider-Man/Peter Parker is different than other writers before Slott. Slott’s Pete doesn’t wallow in his own misery; he picks himself up, dusts himself off, has a bit of chuckle-worthy inner monologue courtesy of caption boxes, and moves on. The end result is a Spider-Man that is more fun to read and well worth looking forward to.
Humberto Ramos continues to over-exaggerate and cartoonify the entire Marvel Universe in this issue, and it works. With hundreds of people gaining Spider-Man powers, Ramos is able to go crazy with anatomy, agility, and expression, and it all adds layers of depth to the visuals of the story. So many artists would be hamstrung by the concept of drawing scores of people with the same powers that readers would almost wish for lightbox-generated phototraced variations. Here, however, there’s no need to wish: it’s animated, electric, and fun.
“Spider-Island” may be a simple story at its core concept, but two issues in, with four parts of the main story to go, we’re almost as in the dark as Peter Parker, himself. And we know the main villain! Slott and Ramos are giving us a mystery with serious repercussions to figure out alongside our favorite Webhead. The “eventness” of this story, with its twenty tie-in issues and eight-part (six “actual” plus prelude and epilogue) may be chasing some folks away, but if you’ve got patience and finances enough for an entertaining eight-part tale, pull up a chair and web up a copy of this issue. It’s not too late to join us on “Spider-Island” in these waning days of summer.