"Avenging Spider-Man" #7 sees the Wife-Husband team of Kathryn and Stuart Immonen take the reins of the title that no-one wants to call "Spider-Man Team-Up." In recent months, the book has been an unlikely home to some cracking one-off stories which showcase the web-slinger teaming up with Marvel's finest. This issue: She-Hulk.
With their fantastic comedic timing, the Immonens are an appropriate team for both Spider-Man and She-Hulk, so it's hardly a surprise to see this story work so well. What is a surprise is to be reminded so completely of the Jimmy Pamiotti/Justin Gray/Amanda Conner "Power Girl" series at DC. Between the bright, perfectly-cartooned artwork, strong characterisation and dialogue and breakneck plotting, it's a rare treat to find a comic which meets such lofty standards.
The plot is cast in the mold of a classic Marvel caper, but the villain and story are all-new, which gives it a modern feel -- it doesn't rely on past stories to emphasise what's at stake, instead setting everything up and knocking it down within the space of one issue. Although to be fair, this isn't so much the appearance of a new Marvel villain as it is the basis for a particular set of jokes, which is probably why it feels like a very necessary antagonist despite having no particular relevance or relationship with either lead.
In all honesty, Hollingsworth's colors tend more towards the drab end of the spectrum than I would have preferred, but there's no denying his skill -- particularly noticeable in the differences you see in the lighting of various scenes. All three members of the art team are brilliant, however, continuing "Avenging Spider-Man's" reputation for top visuals.
With Zeb Wells having departed as writer, there is a slight shift in the tone and humor of the book, but it's nothing so drastic that previous readers might be upset. With a strong emphasis on action, comedy and fun, it's everything the first five issues were (though I admit skipping last issue's "Omega Effect" crossover) and retains its status as one of the most enjoyable Marvel books currently being published. In a line full of crossovers and multi-part epics, "Avenging Spider-Man" is an oasis of understated brilliance and gives you exactly what you want to read when you pick up a book with Spider-Man and She-Hulk on the cover.