Slott has a solid handle on the character and knows how to make him interesting. He plays Mysterio up as a showman more than a villain, which I liked. Slott characterizes Mysterio as a conman and semi-adrenaline junkie who's a villain not only because of the money but because he gets a kick out of it as well. It's nice to see a villain who isn't a villain solely because he's a genocidal maniac, which is very refreshing even as it is commentary on the sad state of the villains appearing in super hero comics.
Mr. Negative shows up as a part of the gang war Mysterio is creating and, while he isn't as compelling as he was when Joe Kelly is writing him, Slott does make good use of him for the most part. There was some nice humour to be found as well. Nothing particularly funny but enough to make you smile from time to time.
The main problem with this story arc is that there is some really bad drama injected into the issues. For example, Peter asks Carlie Cooper out to lunch, partly to get some information from her, but he feels guilty of the fact that he is involved with the Black Cat as Spider-Man. It does lead to an interesting moment later in the story but it still feels forced, cliched, and outdated. I know it's part of the whole Parker Luck aspect of the character Marvel brought back with Brand New Day, but it wears thin really fast since it's such an old aspect of the character that was dropped for a reason.
These attempts are just wastes of space. Slott never gives them any room to develop into something that could be worthwhile so they take up pages that could be devoted to the Mysterio plot. In fact, it does look like Slott may use the final example above to do some interesting character work with Spider-Man but he immediately brushes it aside, quite literally as Spider-Man begins to think about it but then tells himself that he has other things to worry about.
"The Journey -- arduous, companions on the way, et cetera! Traditional rules apply!"
Even the stereotypical orc who appearances is fleshed out to a degree that you would never find in another fantasy story. Stokoe not only gives the orcs their own culture but he even fleshes it out some as well. For example, famous orcs have a stone head carved in their honor and are assigned a number, the only kind of "official" identification an orc can ever receive.