The Amazing Spider-Man #688
Amazing Spider-Man #688
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Writer: Dan Slott
Penciller: Giuseppe Camuncoli

After an ambitious but self-contained spidey event in Ends of the Earth that ultimately fell flat, Dan Slott returns to a more classic, grounded Spider-Man tale that non-coincidentally features the Lizard. This opening chapter of this story shows a lot of promise, pulling me back into Slott's Amazing Spider-Man just as my interest was starting to wane.

Still reeling from the death of an ally during his fight with the Sinister Six, Peter returns to New York City, only to find that his old enemy, and current co-worker Michael Morbius has done something unforgivable. Spider-Man's confrontation with Morbius puts him on a collision course with his old enemy the Lizard. After a brutal fight, it looks like our heroes may have succeeded in curing Connor's of his condition. But being as this is the first part of the story, this is just the tip of the ice berg, and things are about to get much, much worse for the gang at Horizon Labs.

Slott's greatest strength as a writer, and specifically as a Spider-Man writer has always been his encyclopedic knowledge of the character's history, and his ability to find new spins on and connections between some of the most beloved (and even the least beloved) characters, tropes, and events in Spidey's storied half a century long history. Morbius' obsession with the Lizard is obvious when you think about it. Spider-Man reluctantly teaming up with Morbius and fighting the Lizard in the sewers feels like something right out of the 90s Spider-Man animated series. Slott does have a commanding grasp on Peter's character, however his dialogue, as always comes off rather clunky. It's obvious just how well Slott gets Peter and his supporting cast, but some things don't need to be spelled out in such obvious fashion, case in point again, Morbius' obsession with the Lizard.

Giuseppe Camuncoli, like Slott displays both his greatest strengths and weaknesses. The fight between Spidey and the Lizard is gorgeous and his rendering of Spider-Man evokes the styles of some of the greatest Spider-Man artists of the past years. However anytime Camuncoli has to draw ordinary people, the art falls flat, especially in his depictions of faces. The art mostly succeeds in this issue due to the large amount of time Spidey spends in costume.

This arc is off to a good start, but the same foils that have held this creative team back in the past persist albeit muted for now. A shorter, more traditional Spider-Man story is just what was needed following Ends of the Earth, and as long as we stay on this trajectory, I think this story will reenergize the title as it approaches the 50th anniversary milestone issue, and issue #700.

Grade: B
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