Written by Dan Slott
Art by John Romitat Jr
New Ways To Die continues along with this issue. Last issue ended with Anti-Venom attempting to 'absorb' the radiation out of Spider-Man (the same radiation that gave him his powers).
Picking up right where that left off, Anti-Venom continues to suck the radiation out of Peter, but not before the Thunderbolts cleanup crew / nameless soldiers come in and collect Venom. This causes Anti-Venom to release Spider-Man, as he "wasn't finished" removing the symbiote from Venom.
There's some interesting reveals about Anti-Venom here. Apparently, it's not a symbiote or, at the very least, has no weaknesses like the original Venom or other symbiotes have. By this, I mean it is immune to both fire and sonics, as evidenced by the attacks by Songbird and Radioactive Man (he ignited the air with flames after super cooking it with radiation). Is he just a new breed / evolved form (I choose you Charizard!) of symbiote or is this something completely different, possibly created by Mr Negative? It'd be odd if it was so similar to a symbiote if it ends up not actually being one.
Another thing revealed about Anti-Venom is that it will not function like the Ultimate Venom symbiote. As we see in the current Ultimate Spider-Man storyline, whenever Ultimate Venom is near Ultimate Spider-Man, it causes Spidey pain and messes with his powers. Similarly, Anti-Venom, most likely due to sucking out Peter's radiation earlier in the issue, causes Spider-Man's powers to go haywire.
The other big happening this issue was the fight between Menace and Norman Osborn. Previous fights with Spider-Man had me thinking Menace was like the original Hobgoblin, in that he had the gear, but no super strength. He just didn't put up any kind of fight with Spider-Man on the physical level. However, this issue shows Menace can clearly take on Norman one on one in a fight (although Norman was definitely pulling his punches and measuring Menace up).
The fight didn't reveal much, but it's still hinting heavily towards Menace being Harry Osborn, but I'm sure that has to be a swerve. They even have Harry 'late' for his meeting with the Frontline crew, which he doesn't show up to until after the fight. I don't think I want Harry as a Goblin again, as it would defeat the purpose of bringing him back as Peter's friend again, but there's not really anyone else Menace could be at this point...
In the end, though, the story doesn't really go anywhere. We have fights, Anti-Venom sucked Peter's radiation out, which just adds a new weakness when fighting with him, and the Thunderbolts were jobbed out to Spidey and Anti-Venom. Granted, only Songbird and Radioactive Man were present (Venom was taken out last issue), but it still made them seem overly incompetent when those two are probably the most level headed and capable characters on the team.
One last thing of note was Norman finding Peter's webbed up camera after the battle. They find this camera with all these Spidey photos, figure out it has a homing chip to auto-focus on his chest emblem and the only possible solution they can come up with is that Peter Parker is fronting for Spider-Man's photos? No one believes Peter is Spider-Man? Does Mephisto's magic drop everyone's IQ 50 points, too?
Verdict - Check It. It's mindless fun and very little story. Sets up some interesting quirks with Anti-Venom (change that name already, jeez), but I don't see anything that screams 'must read' to me and I probably won't be sticking around after this storyline unless something drastic happens.