Written by Dan Slott
Art by John Romita Jr
Amazing Spider-Man continues it's first major storyline since Brand New Day began and it continues to be decidedly average. I've said it in previous reviews of this storyline, but it bares repeating - if you like Brand New Day, you'll like this storyline, but if you dislike BND, this issue won't do anything to win you over.
It has it's moments and may do more for newer readers than me, but I just find it lacks any kind of emotional attachment for me. I can read it and I'm not annoyed nor do I hate it, but I wouldn't miss it if it wasn't on my read pile either.
As for the issue at hand, Bullseye leads a team of goons with 'smart bullets', which are designed to home in on Spidey's 'auto-focus target' embedded in his costume logo, which is there to help his camera auto-focus on the action better. These bullets, oddly enough, fire from guns, but then fly all over the place as they attempt to hit Spidey in the chest. Kind of hokey in hindsight, if you ask me, but Slott made it work in the comic and Spidey's spider-sense still managed to help him avoid any fatal hits.
Surprisingly, Anti-Venom came to Spider-Man's aid during this battle and even returned his missing camera, which he stole back from Norman and the Thunderbolts. I'm still not sure how to feel about Anti-Venom, though. He seems to be a one-shot character - here for this story, but no long time staying power. Maybe with the introduction of the new/returning Scorpion (more on this in a bit) will see Brock regain the symbiote and become Venom.
Another thing about Anti-Venom and the camera is that he now knows Peter has been taking his own pictures all this time and is Spider-Man. How did Brock come to this conclusion when the Thunderbolts all just assume Parker is a frontman for Spidey's pictures? I was hoping that was all Mephisto's doing, but it's clear that they are just being written as idiots now. Also, what's the point of wiping everyone's memories of his identity if they are just going to give it out to people all over again?
Meanwhile, Osborn is back in his Green Goblin costume, which Romita Jr does a fanastic job drawing, and is taking measures to get Venom back in the action and setting plans in motion to take out both Spider-Man and Anti-Venom.
To that end, he's used Freak, the drug addict / super adapting villain from earlier BND stories, as a test subject for making various cures and other research. Using a sample of Anti-Venom left over in Gargen's system, he pumps it into Freak, who immediately makes a super toxin to combat the new symbiote. Norman uses this to get Venom back in the action, along with a new costume to help shield the weakened symbiote. The costume? A new Scorpion armour. Things look to be building to a head for the next issue, but I suspect we'll get more hand holding until the final part.
Verdict - Check It. For how much was going on in this issue, it all felt like setup for the upcoming issues and I've yet to be wowed by a single issue of this event. It's not bad, but not great either.