Amazing Spider-Man #682 - 'Ends Of The Earth Part One: My World On Fire' - Slott, Caselli and Martin Jr.
Story - It's that time again, time for Spider-Man to enter event mode! But this is an event that's been growing organically for a long time, Slott has probably been planting seeds for this story ever since his revamp of Doctor Octopus way back in #600, and as a long-time reader of ASM it's exciting to see this stuff pay off, and also, it's exciting to see that in an age where most comic book characters are rather stagnant, see how much Spider-Man has grown under Slott's pen.
This issue serves two purposes really, the first is to kick-start Doctor Octopus and the Secret Six's new master-plan. We've seen the Six hovering around in the background for a while now, and they even took a little tour of the Marvel Universe a few months back, taking on the likes of Iron Man and Avengers Academy. The stage is set for the biggest Secret Six story ever, and on the basis of this issue, it probably will be. They've really stepped up their game, no longer are they robbing banks or museums, no, they're encasing the whole planet in some kind of dome and stopping the planet's rotation. But it's seemingly for a good cause! Doc Ock actually wants to save the world apparently, but he wants to be the one remembered as a hero. We don't see much of the other members of the Secret Six here, but it's clear that they aren't to be messed with, they're on a new level.
Which is why it's a good thing that Spider-Man has also stepped it up a notch. Since the start of the 'Big Time' era, Peter Parker has been working at Horizon Labs, which is basically a super-science Apple, and it's really helped the character to grow and change. The opening scene of this issue shows how Peter is using new technology to fight crime, so when faced with 'Equinox' he has more than just his webs, he has 'Thermoreactive Foam'. I'm not sure why he needed the Green Goblin-inspired 'Spider-Glider' but it looked pretty damn cool, and at the very least, Marvel can do a new action figure and make more money out of it! The next scene shows how all the other technological advances Peter has made in the last few months have had an impact beyond allowing him to punch out the Rocket Racer. Slott has it so that all of Peter's inventions have commercial applications for Horizon and it's cool that it's not just as Spider-Man that Peter is improving the world.
This all pays off when, faced by the Secret Six's evil proclamation, Peter dons a brand new costume, with a piece specifically designed to take down a member of the Six. It's pretty heavy duty, and while it won't last beyond this story, it's a good design from Caselli, and as I said, there's those action figure mega-bucks to think of.
Another thing that demonstrates that Spider-Man really has grown in the last few years is the way he takes charge of the Avengers meeting at the end, he's no longer content to sit in the back of the scene and crack wise, he's taking charge, he's the one saying the famous rallying call. It's a great moment and one that puts a lie to any claim that since One More Day the Spider-Man books have been stuck in the past, this is a forward thinking issue. Yes it's classic villains, but they, and the hero, are fresh and exciting. There's a lot more to come in this arc, and I can't wait.
Art - Stefano Caselli has been a favourite of mine since Secret Warriors, and he's really been bringing it as a part of the Amazing Spider-Man rotation, I like that his style is both cartoonish and also realistic at times, it's perfect for a character that can veer from comedy to drama inbetween two panels. His work here is among his best yet, I already mentioned that he manages to make the potentially lame new costume actually work, and he does, but he also manages to make the new creepy Doctor Octopus look a lot better than most other artists did. Frank Martin Jr's colours are also fantastic, the use of yellow in the scenes with people dying in the sone was great.
Best Line - 'Avengers Assemble!'