Christopher Yost continues to write fun adventures for the superior version of Spider-Man and Marco Checchetto joins in to draw a S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier based adventure for Spidey in "Avenging Spider-Man" #20. This issue doesn't feature just one hero for the wallcrawler to team up with, but rather brings in a pair of "secret" Avengers -- Hawkeye and Black Widow -- and a pair of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents in Nick Fury and Phil Coulson as foils for Otto Octavius' wit and derision.
Yost's Spider-Man is flip and crass, liberating the writer to include a Samuel L. Jackson joke, a Star Wars reference, and multiple one-liners to balance Octavius' scheming inner monologue. This story is the first of two parts, setting Spider-Man on the trail of the Chameleon, which plays to the larger subplot Yost has been building throughout his work on "Avenging Spider-Man." Like those other stories from Yost, this is fun and smartly paced, packing plenty of recap, story and action. Yost caps it off with a stunning cliffhanger that pours plenty of the old Parker luck on Spider-Man's plate. Additionally the writer puts a hefty helping of creepiness in the Chameleon's character in simple scenes that reveal the constantly turning gears in the mind of the master of disguise.
Checchetto's art is surprisingly lively despite his intense dedication to detail and the stark tone of the setting aboard the S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier. The artist has proven his ability to draw Spider-Man time and again, through his work on this title as well as during his stint drawing "The Punisher." He brings all of that experience to the fore and deftly balances shadow and spotlight for all of the characters in "Avenging Spider-Man" #20. Rachelle Rosenberg's strong colors work nicely with Checchetto's rich, sharp artwork while Joe Caramagna's lettering tops the visuals for this comic book.
As Yost has done all along, this issue is completely open for new readers and masterfully catches them up to speed regardless of their depth of familiarity with Spider-Man (either Superior or Amazing) or this series in particular. Everything a reader needs is right here in "Avenging Spider-Man" #20, including sharp art, a solid story and fun character interactions. While "Superior Spider-Man" has certainly received more attention, "Avenging Spider-Man" is my preference of the two as it is more open, self-contained and self-sufficient. Yost and Checchetto have a great thing going here with a solid quartet of guest stars in this issue.