Pick of the Week

May 21, 2008 – The Amazing Spider-Man #560

What did the
community think?

Avg Rating: 4.2
iFanboy Community Pick of the Week Percentage: 36.9%
Users who pulled this comic:

Size: pages
Price: 2.99

I’ll admit, after reading last week’s The Amazing Spider-Man #559, and then gushing over it in several podcasts, I may have been predisposed to pick The Amazing Spider-Man #560 this week. But after braving through a mighty stack of comics, I gotta give credit where credit’s due, Dan Slott and Marcos Martin got me to care about Spider-Man again.

After the whole “One More Day” debacle, fans had two choices: Rub their face after J. Michael Straczynski and Joe Quesada slapped them repeatedly and stop buying Spider-Man comics, or they could shake their head after being slapped repeatedly and give the new status quo a shot. I’ve never been anything but stubborn and loyal, especially to my comics, and my oh my do I love a train wreck, so I stuck with it. During the first few issues of the “Brand New Day” in The Amazing Spider-Man pseudo weekly issues, the comics started to feel right again. Spider-Man has been fun to read again. Sure Quesada can take credit for it and say that separating Spider-Man and Mary Jane was what the book needed, and even if it wasn’t, then the publicity was worth it (I don’t know if he’s actually saying that, that is merely speculation on my part). I would be inclined to disagree with both those observations, rather going with a tenet of comic books that we’ve been holding dear at iFanboy for years:

Talented creators make good comic books.

When they announced the new direction/status quo for The Amazing Spider-Man, and the rotating creative teams, we were skeptical. There were some great names in there, McNiven, Jimenez, Gale, Guggenheim, Wells. But as we’ve gone around the merry go round of creators a few times now, the stories have been good, but they haven’t been really good. They haven’t resonated or settled into that sweet spot that makes you all excited to read them. Until The Amazing Spider-Man #559, when I heard a twinge of resonating, a glimmer of what a good Spider-Man comic is. It had been so long, I had forgotten. And now, with The Amazing Spider-Man #560, I can clearly see that we’ve got magic again with everyone’s favorite, relatable super hero. So what changed? We were treated to Dan Slott and Marcos Martin, two talented creators.

Dan Slott gets a lot of praise and a lot of criticism. For every good book he’s written, it seems as if its been followed by a lack of readers and cancellations. When they announced that he’d be a writer in the new stable of Spider-Man writers, I nodded in affirmation. Yep, that’s going to work. Especially hearing about his reverence for the character in his youth, way back in Episode #6 of iFanboy, I knew that he would do a good job. And he has. His stories have been modern, and yet within the grasp of what we would expect from Spider-Man. But even his previous arc on The Amazing Spider-Man didn’t get the type of praise that I’m gushing out now. Why? Well probably because I don’t even remember who the artist was on that arc. Not this arc. No sir, I’m going to remember this arc because of the combination of Slott and Marcos Martin.

How could I have forgotten about how much we loved Marcos Martin’s work (which, admittedly, I think I dismissed early on) on the Doctor Strange: The Oath miniseries with Brian K. Vaughan? Marcos Martin brings his style to The Amazing Spider-Man and I can’t believe how much of a perfect fit it is. I hope Marvel sees what I see and keeps this guy on this book for a very long time. His retro style feels to me (and apologies for echoing what we said on last week’s audio podcast) like a little bit John Romita, a little bit Steve Ditko, a little bit Tim Sale and a little bit Darwyn Cooke. That’s some amazing company to be with, no? Well Martin deserves it, and as the proprietor of my local comic shop said today, “Aren’t you kicking yourself for not buying some of that Doctor Strange art before this guy got huge?” And I am. It’s just that good.

The Amazing Spider-Man #560, with Slott and Martin, coalesces into a ridiculously fun comic book to read. You’ve get every aspect that you’d want to read with Spider-Man, as the challenges of his new role as a paparazzi photographer for the Daily Bugle (or The DB as its known now) take a turn for the weird, requiring Spider-Man to get involved. You’ve got a ranting J. Jonah Jameson, as well as the new DB editor who is starting to show that he’s not completely above board.

This issue’s high point brings a ton of action, as Spider-Man faces the mysterious villain in, of all places, the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. It’s almost silly how great this is to see Spider-Man drawn in a modernly retro manner by Martin, amongst all the pop art of one of the landmarks of New York City. Story and art working together hand in hand, bolstered by the backdrop of the city, which is almost as much of a character to this book as Spider-Man.

The only thing missing is some sort of romantic angle for Peter Parker, that is until the last the page, which culminates in a classic Spider-Man cliffhanger that had me screaming when I saw that the next issue isn’t out for two weeks! Two weeks? How will I manage to wait 2 whole weeks for another issue of The Amazing Spider-Man? Never thought I’d say that. For years, we’ve touted Ultimate Spider-Man as the book to read if you want Spider-Man. I don’t know if I can firmly say that The Amazing Spider-Man is back, but if they kept Slott and Martin on this book, I think it would have a chance.

I may not know much, but I do know one thing: Dan Slott and Marcos Martin are making Spider Man comics the way they should be, with a nod to the classic tone of Spider-Man but with enough of a touch of today to make it accessible to current readers. If you’re still smarting from the sting of “One More Day,” come back and try this arc, I think you’ll be glad you did.

Ron Richards
I had to break the string of #1s somehow…


  1. I haven’t been buying brand new day, but was thinking about his story because i really love marcos martin’s art. will pick this up for sure. 

  2. "Talented creators make good comic books."


    amen! slott and martin are just total gold on this book. i’m really in love with it. 

  3. ron, your the easiest one to ‘guess’ what the pick of the week is going to be. young liars, glamourpus, ect.

    that said, i agree. this was just plain fun. this is the first spidey i’ve picked up in a long while. glad i did.

  4. Nice try but I still ain’t gonna read Spider-Man again after OMD!

    It’s just not Spidey anymore!

    Don’t do it!

  5. @SamMorgan – How would you know if it’s not Spidey if you’re not reading it?  And what’s your criteria to gauge Spidey-ness?

  6. I do enjoy Martin’s art but Slott is a terribly boring writer. So, no. Not at all.


  7. Flipped through this book, wasn’t interested.  Of the 15 or so books I did buy this week, the best by far was Justice League #21.  As a kid, I always really enjoyed the "calm before the storm" issues of Uncanny X-Men, where the entire issue was dedicated to showing the X-Men hanging out and interacting around the mansion.  The opening scene of JLA felt just like that, with the "Big Three," and I loved it.  And I also loved what followed, leading into Final Crisis.

    I guess with Secret Invasion letting me down so badly (again this week with Mighty Avengers– seriously, an entire issue of the Sentry?), I’m really looking forward to Final Crisis.

  8. Did anyone else notice that "Ron from iFanboy" was mentioned in the letters section of The End League this month?  I thought that was pretty cool.

  9. I’ll definitely pick this up and look at it for the art — not enough of a Spidey fan to buy 3 books a month, though, even with a good creative team.

    This was a light week but a nice one, with two books I’ve read since the current issue 1 (X-Factor & Captain America) delivering solid stories that reminded me what I loved about them in the first place. 

    Taking some time to breathe before next week when I have like 20 books — 

  10. I agree Ron, fun read this week. I’ve been on board BND since it started and have dug it for the most part. It wasn’t until this issue that I actually felt myself relating to Peter tho. I can relate to him grinding out his day job….

  11. I got to read this POW, and while the art was really good the story really didn’t do it for me. My POW was somewhat of a tie between Mighty Avengers and JLA. I have always been a fan of the Sentry, and i’m probably one of the few, but i thought this issue did him some justice. JLA was my other POW because of the dialogue between the Trinity, i just kept laughing at the buddy interaction.

  12. I read about half my books last night and this one was in it.  Ron is right, it was very fun and harkened back to the Spidey of old.  For me, the reveal at the end was telegraphed and kind of ended the book…I want to say cheaply, bu tthat isn’t the right word.

    My POW would have been Avengers Initiative #13.  Boulder aka butterball almost out-Parkered Spidey this week.  The ending of the book was fabulous and I hope we see Boulder again.

  13. Oh, how I love me some Amazing Spider-Man. Since the Mephisting, they have had all the right moves. All is forgiven, Mr. Quesada.

    Let’s give it up for these villains, by the way! I don’t see anybody talking about this online (and maybe it’s just because nobody agrees with me) but since the Brand New Day initiative got underway I think the Spidey brain trust has been cranking out baddies that really stand a chance at some staying power. I want to know about Menace and Mister Negative. I want to see more of Screwball and Paperdoll. I’m even interested to see the othe shoe drop on this Jackpot; I’m assuming the MJ thing is a red (headed) herring. It is so nice to see a hero confronting someone besides SHIELD. Remember when they fought somebody other than Iron Man? Good stuff.

  14. @Jimski 

    >I’m assuming the MJ thing is a red (headed) herring.

    Jackpot is Jean Grey.  MJ Watson is the mutant baby.  You heard it here first.

  15. I read this and 559. Really enjoyed them. Marcos Martin is as good as you guys said. Too good, hes like a witch or something. These were the first Marvel/DC books I’ve read in months. I’ll stick on this book for a few issues probably.


  16. @jackwtweeg – Sadly, Martin is only drawing this arc, so it’s 559-561.

  17. I don’t think it’s fair to lump BND haters in the same boat. It’s assumed that the reason we all hate the new stat quo is because of the relationship dissolve. This is hardly the case, and not even a fact – apparently their relationship did exist, just not a marriage relationship.

    What bothers me most is the regression in Spider-Man’s character. Who says that noone related to him pre-OMD? I related with him much more. He seemed more adult. The dilemma of his identity, after forty years, finally being revealed provided a remarkable dynamic to the story, much better than watching him emotionally caught up on Mary Jane. 

    It seemed like an important facet in Peter’s maturity that Aunt May should pass on. Why not? So he can date again? Yuck. Watching him beat the hell out of Kingpin was probably the coolest moment I’ve ever witnessed in a Spider book, spec. considering he did the majority of it unmasked!

    So to be captivated by the last page of this book is hard for me. Thought this is what they were trying to get away from.    

  18. Just finished my books, and this was great.  This has easily been my favorite "BND" arc, and if they ever settle on one creative team, Dan Slott should be writing every issue of Amazing Spider-Man and let’s just be done with it.  He completely gets how to write modern stories with a retro feel.  I want to piggyback off of Jimski’s comment, and say how refreshing it is to see the creators actually creating new villains, and Mr. Negative, Paper Doll and Screwball particularly have a good shot at sticking, I think; these are solid, interesting creations.  (Menace is a close second, and I like Freak’s power set; too bad the drug addict aspect of the character has been largely mishandled and seems really awkward.)  Big thumbs-up for this pick.  A real good read; best BND arc so far.

  19. I have liked the art by Martin and I think it really fit this arc, however I can’t wait for August when John Romita Jr. comes back to Spidey for six issues.

  20. I am in complete agreement with Flounder. Avengers Initiative #13 was my POW. It was heart warming, and good fun.  Am I the only one in existence who just doesn’t like this art in AMS? I respect that it is indeed art, but it seems so sloppy and rushed to me.

  21. Contrary to the iFanboys, I think the big draw here is Slott’s writing. He writes the Spider-Man that always existed in my heart. His plotting in this issue was also something to be impressed by, it had me shouting, and hollering for a comic like I never have before. Martin’s art did have a nice retro-modern feel, but didn’t kick it like some of the other OMD artists like McNiven (he’s crazy-delicios) but it was still good Spider-Fun. 

  22. Don’t understand this pick at all. Slott’s writing is underwhelming and dated at best and most of the art is fugly to say the least (and that’s coming from someone who really liked Martin’s art on Breach and Batgirl Year One). There are some nice page layouts in this but the actual art itself ‘yuck’ (especially mj on that last page… why is her head so large?!?).

    This might be the issue that makes me give up on Amazing, Spidey just hasn’t been Spidey since OMD.

  23. *ring*  *ring*

    Ron, irony is on the phone and wants to talk to you.  Something about the best issue of ASM-BND including the one character that was supposedly holding back the franchise.  Do you want me to take a message or just tell him ‘you’re $%#* right!’?

  24. @Viktorr – It wasn’t the character of MJ, it was the marriage and everything that went with it.

  25. When I read the cliffhanger at the end of the issue, I got all excited because it’s Mary Jane with someone else, and Peter’s supposed to take her picture and it’s going to create all kinds of crazy emotional confusion!

    But then I remembered that OMD happened and they’re not married anymore and they haven’t been together in years, which makes the cliffhanger, at best, a funny little coincidence.  So what if MJ’s dating again?  So is Peter.  After taking just two minutes to think it over, it’s not hard to realize that MJ in that panel really means nothing to anyone but us, the readers.

  26. The reason i didn’t pick up this issue after reading #559 is not because of brand new day or the relationship with MJ, it’s because of peter himself.

    i read it and i saw that Peter is now a paparazzi, he is one of the smartest people in the marvel universe and the only way to get money to move out of his aunts house is to be a paparazzi that is just a slap in the face.

    i just hate that marvel thinks that the only way to write spider-man is to make him hit rock bottom all the time(living with his aunt, no real job, no girlfriend, ect).

    b.t.w my pick of the week was a tie between Fantastic Four #557 and Avengers Initiative #13

  27. Not touching it.

    I think I’m officially too old to relate to Spider-Man anymore.


  28. @Doski – They had a really bad break-up.  It doesn’t mean nothing to Peter – he is going to be torn up.

    @juand182 – They have almost never exploited Peter’s scientific genius.  They tried in JMS’s run when they gave Peter a different job in every book he appeared in, but it’s not like it’s new that they have Peter taking pictures to make money.  That’s who he is – a photographer. 

  29. I loved this book to bits, I’d be happy if Slott and Martin were producing the only Spidey book every month. Finally, something other than Peter’s camera clicks.

    I did smile at the book MJ had at the end.

  30. great review and i agree totally!

    this might sound weird, but am i the only one who saw the last page and felt like they found out their girl was cheating on them? with a douchebag, nontheless?



  31. fine let him be a photographer but a least have him be a magazine photographer or let him publish his own book, but being a paparazzi is the lowest of lows.

    plus i really enjoyed when he was iron man second man they could go back to that.

  32. @juand182, it sounds like you want the Spider-Man of late 1988. Peter had a book of his photos published in the early #300s and went on (what I remember as) an unending book tour promoting it and getting into cross-country adventures. As I recall, he did not bring MJ with him, suggesting that a year and a half in they were already looking for ways to get out of marriage stories.

  33. @juand182 – Being the lowest of lows is kind of the point of the arc.  He is struggling against the siren call of big money.

Leave a Comment