Review: Amazing Spider-Man #658 By Dan Slott: The Fantastic Spider-Man

Amazing Spider-Man #658
“Peter Parker, the Fantastic Spider-Man”
Written by Dan Slott
Art by Javier Pulido
Colors by Muntsa Vicente and Javier Rodriguez

The Human Torch has died. He asked Spider-Man to take his place. But the Fantastic Four is no more. Welcome to tomorrow. Welcome to the Future Foundation.

So opens this issue, and if you’ve missed out on Spider-Man or the Fantastic Four, now you’re caught up. This issue of Amazing brings us the first solo look at Peter Parker’s life in the Future Foundation. Pity poor Peter. Not only is he balancing his social life, professional life, Spider-Man, and Avengers life, now he responds to the Future Foundation flare.

In typical Parker Luck fashion, Peter and girlfriend Carlie Cooper’s romantic evening is interrupted by a summons from the Future Foundation. Showing up in the F4’s trademark blue and black duds, instead of a fantastic welcome, he finds himself instead berated by Sue and threatened by Thing, as we learn the Fantastic Four is no more, and the blue and black is retired in honor of Johnny. It’s a small scene, but it’s perfect for reminding us that the Fantastic Four are Marvel’s first family, and Spider-Man is now a part of the legacy.

And so the Future Foundation is off, taking Spider-Man far from his friendly neighborhoods and into space-time continuum rifts that could cause reality to collapse. We’re treated to a cameo of Arkon as his homeworld of Polemachus spills into France. There’s a particularly funny Johnny Storm joke involved a mime that I won’t ruin, but like the black and blue costume, it’s a small, well-played scene.

The adventure continues through the Microverse and into the far Future, where we meet the Future Future Foundation, Mega-Storm, Supremo, Xandar, Yancy and Captain Wakanda.

On top of all this, Peter’s excuse to Carlie as to why he’s out of town falls through, and Valeria realizes the rifts all point to Dr. Doom’s first time traveling caper with the F4.

There’s a lot in here, and Dan Slott makes it all fit without being crowded, which is an achievement considering Spider-Man is not only his own hero, but a New Avenger, regular Avenger, and now this. The story is well paced and relatively silver age simple in execution, every character feels unique, and the dialogue and jokes are particularly snappy. It’s Dan Slott, that’s not really a surprise.

What helps sell Slott’s silver age tale is the art. Javier Pulido’s linework has an elegant simplicity, like a cross between Paul Smith and Steve Ditko himself. Pulido perfectly captures every moment, from the slighest squint to the most outrageous Microverse absurdity. And not only is his style a refreshing callback, the man can pack the panels in. Panels are cleanly laid out and easy to follow, and the splash pages really do splash out at you. Pulido is a perfect fit for Spider-Man and Slott.

Coloring duties are split, but the transition isn’t jarring at all. There are slight differences between Vicente and Rodriguez’s styles, but it actually works with the pacing of the comic. I really love the bright palettes and contrasts.

All in all a solid issue and one that’s definitely warmed me to the concept of Spider-Man and the Future Foundation. I’m adding this to my pull list, if you don’t already, do the same. For cover price you get one of the more accessible Spider-Man and Fantastic Four stories of recent months, a book that bleeds Marvel at every opportunity, and a slam on French mimes. If you want more out of your comic budget, I don’t know what to tell you.

Alright, there’s a Ghost Rider/Spider-Man Team-Up back up feature:

“Can’t Get the Service”
Written by Rob Williams
Art by Lee Garbett and Alekandro Sicat
Colors by Fabio D’Auria

Out story opens with Spider-Man swinging through Manhattan, when Ghost Rider invites him for a beer. No, really. Then Johnny Blaze waxes poetic with Spider-Man, asking him if he would go back and take a normal life…but male bonding is interrupted when The Servicer comes from Hell to tune up Ghost Rider’s sweet ride. Except Ghost Rider doesn’t drag souls to Hell, he punishes the wicked, and that violates the lease. No, really. It’s up to Spider-Man to save the bike as Ghost Rider is taken out by the Servicer.

It’s a fun little story. Like the main story of this issue, it doesn’t take itself too seriously and just as fun with the characters and concepts. It ends on a hell of a splash page cliffhanger, and I kind of want to tear it out and pin it on my wall. And now not only am I waiting for one cliffhanger, this back up feature leaves me with a second.

Williams has penned an enjoyable opening chapter, and in a few short pages really nails everyone. The “Mad Men” joke was out there, but one of the funniest jokes I’ve read in a Spider-Man book.

Garbett’s pencils are slick and finely detailed. Spidey looks great, Ghost Rider is amazing, but the demons really stand out, especially The Servicer. Sicat’s inks are gorgeous, the perfect emphasizing compliment to Garbett. And of course, D’Auria’s colors are just insane, with plenty of blazing hellfire and a grim and appropriate color scheme that doesn’t detract from the fun Spider-Man-ness of the story.

So, again, a solid issue. Spend the money, add it to your pull list, and if you haven’t followed any of the talent mentioned so far, now is the best time to get on board and prepare your mind to be blown for the rest of the year.

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