When a writer takes over for a flawless book, it can be stressful. It can mean a lesser quality project, even if only for a few issues. Thankfully that’s not a problem with Amazing Spider-Man #677. Though the master Dan Slott has relinquished the reigns (for only one issue), he has given them to fellow master writer Mark Waid. If Waid’s legend isn’t proof enough, check out his incredible work on the current Daredevil series. Actually, Daredevil factors heavily into this story arc, a two-part mini-drama that starts here and ends in Daredevil #8. At the center of this tale, Felicia Hardy aka The Black Cat.
Peter Parker is heartbroken. At the end of Spider Island, his hot lady friend Carlie dumped him and now, trolling the city and looking sadly at other couples, Peter is growing desperate. Cue Black Cat, who arrives just in time for our hero to make an absolute fool of himself. After blowing it with Felicia, Peter arrives at work only to find that his laboratory has been robbed. Who could be the vicious culprit? None other than the Black Cat, except she was with Spider-Man, she couldn’t have robbed the lab. It’s a mystery, a conundrum, an enigma.
Who do you turn to when your legal troubles are of the superhero kind? Matt Murdock aka Daredevil that’s who! By the end of the story The Black Cat has escaped, Daredevil and Spider-Man are thwarted by a hologram and get caught in a rockslide. Will our heroes survive? Will the Black Cat be proven innocent? Will Spidey get lucky? Who knows, but thus far the ride has been awesome. Waid manages to take his own unique style and apply it into the world that Dan Slott has created without missing a beat. This isn’t Slott’s work, but it’s always respectful of what he’s done. Waid even manages to bring in his own work from Daredevil into this story without disturbing what Slott’s done.
The reason Waid can do this is simple, experience and talent. Waid understands that you don’t have to lay claim to everything in order to make your point in somebody else’s story. Slott’s structure is based on a careful balance of emotion and action, of serious story and fun. Waid keeps those parameters alive and then places his own knack for dialog and plot into the center.
What you get is a seriously fun book that never feels off or out of sorts from what Slott has done. Granted, Waid is only here for one book, but a lot of the younger scribes could use a lesson on this even when they take over a series. You don’t need to destroy to move ahead. The art from Emma Rios is really interesting, it almost has a look of old French advertising pencils in fashion magazines of the sixties. Thin line, a refined sense of style that never gives up the action. The scene where Daredevil and Spider-Man enjoy some high-flying fun atop the Chrysler building is wonderful to look at. Rios has a lot in common with Spider-Man artist Humberto Ramos only she’s a little subtler and less angular. I wouldn’t want Dan Slott to walk away from Amazing Spider-Man, but this little break with Mark Waid is a nice treat.
CRAVE ONLINE RATING: 9/10 (5, Story 4, Art)