Written by Mark Waid
Art by Mario Alberti
What? Don't look at me like that! When they put a cover like that on the book, they're asking for the kind of interpreation like in that banner above. Joking and chauvinism aside, that cover is actually a pretty good indicator for the type of story found within these pages. It's what I would call a standard Brand New Day story. There were some things I really liked about the issue, but other nagging things that are part and parcel for the new (is it new this long after the fact?) status quo that will never sit right with me and hinder my enjoyment of the book. There was one thing, though, that really had me calling my mom and demanding a grilled cheese sandwich and you'll know about it after this image....
We even discussed this a bit on Twitter prior to my posting this review and I even posted this image for some in-comic proof that he simply doesn't want to drink because of his huge sense of responsibility and how he doesn't trust himself not to do something stupid, like seriously injure or kill someone, with his spider powers.
I'd like to note that I have no problem with Peter hooking up for some anonymous sex like with his roommate that he barely knows here. That's far better than the "Peter Parker is a 30 year old virgin living in his aunt's basement" mentality Marvel was shooting for as the reason for One More Day in the first place. My only real concern, and I've made a mountain out of a mole hill here, is the drinking copious amounts of alcohol, when he's made it abundantly clear by ordering milk and shirley temples at bars as well as outright saying it in comics that he doesn't drink due to his enormous sense of responsibility and fear of doing something wrong if he lost control with his spider powers, is one thing that really annoyed me after reading this issue.
Is it game breaking, quit reading comics forever, end of the world stuff? God no, but just one of those things that we comic geeks tend to obsess over. I doubt most will even care about this nor will it register as a blip on people's radar, but it bugged me similar to Batman picking up a gun to kill Darkseid after years of his no gun rule.
The most interesting point came when MJ woke up, realized she was late and then pondered what Peter was up to. As pictured above, she turned on the television and saw news of Spider-Man saving people in a blaze from earlier in the issue. She comments that he obviously kept busy after seeing this, prompting most to believe she actually knows he is Spider-Man.
Personally, I think it's more Marvel pulling our legs and she's actaully referring to Peter's photography job and how he's always chasing Spider-Man around for photos and not some indication of her knowing he's Spider-Man. I can't judge this yet, but, based on how they've played this up until now, I can't see this as being anything other than another cop out and am not setting myself up for more disappointment by believing she actually knows who he is.
If Marvel wants me to keep picking up Brand New Day, just put Bendis on it and I'll buy the shit out of that book. It is one character he just plain gets and his style of humour really fits the every man appeal of Peter Parker.
And one final thing, Joe Quesada was fantastic here. It's leaps and bounds above his One More Day Spider-Man and even the covers for Amazing Spider-Man #600. I'm not sure what changed, whether it was the inking or colouring, but this was some fantastic work on his part. Best I've seen from him in a long time.
Verdict - Check It. Aside from my nerdraging over a little thing like Spider-Man drinking alcohol, the issue was the atypical Brand New Day story. It looks and feels like a Spider-Man story, has the creative talent behind it and will definitely appeal to fans of the status quo, but, as a long time reader, I still can't get into this and it just doesn't feel like the book is 'for me' any more. The backup, however, was great. Really made my day and helped justify the purchase for me, despite enjoying the main story on a fundamental level.