Written by Dan Slott
Art by John Romita Jr
If you've been following my reviews of, New Ways to Die, you'll know that I'm not enamoured with the whole Brand New Day concept nor this story, in particular. As I've said many times now, and this is more a problem with BND than the actual New Ways to Die storyline, I'm a big Spider-Man fan and have been an avid reader of these titles all my life and as much as I disliked the JMS era, it was still Spider-Man and felt relevant.
These BND stories feel like the John Byrne stuff Marvel tried back in the 90's - it's an unneeded rehashing of stories from the past with a "modern spin", but none of the Ultimate-style fun. I liked the Harry / Peter relationship. I liked the single Peter Parker. I liked the constant troubles and relationship problems he had. However, I liked those 15 years ago. Things have changed since then and it all feels forced and really pulls me out of any kind of story they try to tell, even those by talented creators like JRJr and Slott.
Getting back to the big conclusion to this storyline, it really fell flat for me. I thought we were going to get a Green Goblin fight, but it's just Spider-Man throwing Norman through a few walls, some innuendo about Harry and the bad things he's been up to at Oscorp (no real answers, though) and a quick cut to Venorpion (Peter's naming, not mine.) vs Anti-Venom (Marvel's naming, sadly. Peter laughed at it, too.).
In fact, the Anti-Venom / Venom fight was about as cliched as could be. That big, bad poison Norman cooked up last issue for Venom to use on Anti-Venom? Venom uses it and it 'kills' the Anti-Venom suit (we find out at the end that it Anti-Venom is just fine), but the symbiote won't let Mac Gargan kill Eddie because it still loves him. That's all. They just walk away from each other after that.
In the end, after Norman self-destructs the building, the Thunderbolts claim Spider-Man is dead to save face, Peter decides to lay low for a few days and everything is back to normal, for the most part. If I had to describe exactly how this made me feel, it was like Slott was going through the motions, giving us a fight for the sake of a fight, sending the Thunderbolts packing without any real resolution, copping out on the Anti-Venom / Venom fight and just banging out a rather boring ending to a very 90's-like event.
Verdict - Check It. While the review may come off as overly negative, many of my problems stem primarily from BND. This issue never strays into a definitive Avoid It territory, but it's never overly impressive either. JRJr's Green Goblin is still one of my favourite interpretations of the character. Some of his best recent work, to be honest.