Welcome to another edition of "What will Spider-man do next?" These issues are a road of small pit stops, introducing larger themes that will pay off later, but all in all give a damn fine showing for the slapped together stories they are.
#676: Sinister Six Take Over
Doctor Octopus gets a new suit, reminds the audience he is dying over and over, and gathers the Sinister Six to save the world!
This book, despite containing no Spider-man whatsoever, commits to its mission of reminding the reader why Spidey has a great rogues gallery. The S6 bounce around the other villains in this book, throwing out just as many quips as the regular hero of this book. Most fun is the art and the dynamic panels angling around for every villain to get a show piece. Plus, psychic monkeys... I’m just saying.
Overall a fun read that sets up Doc Ock and the rest of the S6 as major players to come.
#677: Devil and the Details, Part One
The team from Daredevil come over to ASM to tell the story of the Black Cat getting framed for a break and Spidey getting Daredevil to help her.
Bar none, this is one of the best told stories in the run so far, which I hoped was a kick in the pants to the regular team. The art and story command center attention as divergence from the regular style, giving this rather basic crime story weight and meaning, something lacking in the previous rather flippant reactionary stories. Every character here is given purpose and not used as a set dressing. We get to see why they are friends and a playful side to our otherwise darker Daredevil character. The only downside is this comic is a crossover and does not finish in this mag. I can only hope this lead many to check out the team over at Daredevil, if only to see how awesome a book can really be.
#678-679: I Killed Tomorrow
A science experiment in time travel goes wrong and Spidey and the folks at Horizon labs have to rush to stop a devastating future from happening.
Let’s call this story what it really is: a setup for Silver Sable and to show the dangers that unsupervised science can accomplish. That being said, this is a solid two issue arc that has Peter running around and generally kicking ass while doing a reproduction of that old TV show Early Edition with a silly sidekick. A fun place holder story with little consequence other than to introduce characters and plot points in the larger story arch. And that is fine, as it seems this book succeeds the best at the smaller stories the team rushes through to get to the larger, full of fail type stories.
#679.1: Uatu in Lab Six*
Another issue to introduce plot points that the audience may have forgotten about, in this story our heroes find Morbius the Living Vampire in the basement of Horizon Labs.
This is yet another solid place holder story. Nothing special, a vampire/scientist takes a potion that makes him lose control and our heroes stop him. The addition of Horizon teenage scientist Uatu gives an interesting perspective on events and the crazy preparedness of everyone smart in this universe is asstounding. The dude had a box of anti-whatever for just about any creature you can imagine. I almost wish we got more like this, stories that could stand alone but are shoved into a greater plot machine. Either way, though, this was a fun read.
#680-681: Space Station Guys*
The Space Station falls from the sky killing everyone aboard unless Spidey and the Human Torch can get up there and stop it!
Another issue of Spidey and his amazing friends continues as we gather up Johnny Storm and fly off to space. The brotherly banter and competition fuel this book, along with the genuine concern and crazy overreactions of J. Jonah Jameson for his son, who was aboard the space station. Plenty of oxygen and gravity gimmicks are thrown around and even some zombie tropes get action for awesome effect. For all the machinations to build to a big fight with Doc Ock, this is the best use of throwing story at us for the purpose of the larger plot. Really, this team should stick with the soap opera of heroes going on tight, one and two issue adventures rather than some larger plot. The fun really is evident in these books, making them enjoyable reads.
*I made up these titles