Amazing Spider-Man #658 is a great book. Even though it feels like Marvel has no idea what to do now that Spidey is in the Future Foundation (the artists formerly know as the Fantastic Four), it’s still a kick ass issue. Writer Dan Slott (Arkham Asylum, She-Hulk) takes the newly acquired Spider-Man and delivers his first adventure with the FF in the style of a classic Silver Age comic.
The art, the crazy sci-fi adventures, the whole thing reads like a Stan Lee-helmed project, but with hipper dialog. This new membership with the FF, takes Spider-Man off his normal track and Slott allows it to be fun. True the story has nothing to it. Nothing really happens or moves the world of Spider-Man forward, but that’s the point. Amazing Spider-Man 658 is like those early era issues, where stories were stories and not part of some giant epic event.
658 opens with Peter Parker and new girlfriend Carlie Cooper dancing around the idea of their first overnight together. It’s cute how Slott writes the exchange, keeping it on a more G-rated basis. Suddenly the FF signal appears in the sky and Spider-Man must make a flimsy excuse and then bolt off towards adventure. From there the Future Foundation stops inter-dimensional dinosaurs, a living atom that may erupt, even a future world where there are a dozen Baxter Buildings built into a space station. See what I mean, a total '60s sci-fi adventure.
Slott is smart to avoid making Spider-Man’s first day out with the FF a heavy-handed one. Marvel has already milked the death of Johnny Storm and doing it again would serve little purpose. With such a big deal being made in FF #2 about Spidey’s new suit, I’m assuming his showing up to the Baxter Building sporting an old Fantastic Four uniform and a black hood is a scheduling issue. Aside from that, the whimsy and fun style Slott uses is a welcome change within the FF. Marvel remains cryptic about where they’re taking this idea, but hopefully they keep this light air about it.
Javier Pulido, the man behind pencils for Robin: Year One, Human Target, Hellblazer and others, keeps a splendid pace with Slott. The art here is loose and fun, not bogged down with modern criteria, a best guess at what Jack Kirby might have done. Don’t get me wrong; this isn’t Kirby (obviously), but a solid nod to his genius. I particularly liked the gatefold when the FF gets to Paris. If you look closely to the action and the layout, you’ll see it’s a great tribute to the cover of the first issue of Fantastic Four.
I also loved how Pulido penciled Peter Parker; it’s been ages since he looked like that all American square headed kid. Amazing Spider-Man has been bumpy as of late, and I’m still not sold on Spider-Man becoming part of the FF. That aside, issue #658 made me feel like a kid again, and for that, we thank you.