Before we get into Amazing Spider-Man #694, I have to give major props to whoever chose the cover art. This cover hearkens back to one of my favorite comic book events ever. In 1976, DC and Marvel teamed up for the first time to bring us Superman Vs. The Amazing Spider-Man, which found the two heroes joining forces to try and stop the nefarious plot hatched by Lex Luthor and Doc Ock. I owned this comic; read it thousands of times until it literally fell apart. It was an awesome surprise to see artist Humberto Ramos’ homage to the book.
Enough gushing about the outside of Amazing Spider-Man #694, lets gush about the inside. Once again, Dan Slott fires on all pistons and delivers a kick ass entry to the Spider Saga. Teen superhero Alpha is still at large. While Peter Parker attempts to find a cure for the boy hero, Alpha continues his campaign to be the biggest jerk in the Marvel Universe (save villains). Rich, famous and using his powers for only personal gain, Alpha has become a menace to himself and everyone else. Ignoring the needs of his family, the FF and The Avengers, Parker has vowed to stop Alpha before his ego gets himself, or anybody else, killed.
Through a series of events, Alpha nearly causes the crashing of dozens of 747 jets, as well as the small jet carrying Aunt May and her husband. Alpha also blows his chance to be an Avenger by attacking without discipline and causing the damage. In the end, Spider-Man uses some rather convenient alien technology to strip Alpha of most of his powers and make him just another teenager, though Slott is smart enough to leave an opening for the return of the boy hero. The very end is rather exciting, as we witness the return of the real Hobgoblin. I’m hoping Slott will let the teenage one fall to the wayside. His Hobgoblin never worked anyway.
Slott’s writing is, naturally, the paramount thing that makes this issue so good. First, he knows how to write multiple characters. His Thor, Captain America and Iron Man all sound as right on with their characters as Spider-Man with his. Second, Slott knows how to pace action. The battle with Terminus is so much fun, as is Spider-Man’s attempt to safely land a plane. Finally, as always, Slott ties up multiple loose ends with out tripping over them. Avengers, teenage heroes, alien threats, family problems and even the return of a villain, Slott never misses a beat.
Humberto Ramos’s art is stellar as usual. I know people out there hate on the guy and I just don’t get it. Is he stylized? Yes. Is his art larger then life? Oh yeah, no question. Does it completely capture the excitement and splendor of comic books? Without question, it does. Ramos’ angular style and heavy line work move dangerously close to manga, but it never tips that scale. Instead, it just keeps the idea out there that this is a comic book, much the same way Walt Simonson or John Romita Jr. does. Between the story and the art, Amazing Spider-Man #694 is another check in the win box for Slott and Ramos.
(4.5 Art, 4.5 Story)