Straight up, the hardcover provides the reader with a 2-page splash presented as…
The New Status Quo!
* Peter Parker dated Mary-Jane but never married. After their break-up, MJ moved to California to pursue an acting career.
* Gwen Stacy is still dead.
* Harry Osborn does not remember he was the Green Goblin, but Peter Parker does! Harry and Peter are best friends.
* Aunt May lives at the old house in Queens, and Peter still lives with her.
* Peter Parker has no money and no job, but it considering getting back into photography.
* NO ONE knows Peter Parker is Spider-Man. Even though Spider-Man unmasked to the public during Civil War, no one can recall the face under the mask! This also includes other super-heroes.
* Spider-Man’s web-shooters are once again mechanical, with his webbing only lasting an hour before disintegrating.
Ok, now we have that out of the way, let’s get into the hardcover. It begins with Dan Slott’s FCBD “Swing Shift” issue, which introduces new character Jackpot, who is a registered superhero working in New York. Jackpot is a red-haired female who likes to say “Tiger” a lot! Homage or something more? Time will tell.
“Swing Shift” is also the start of the storyline that will run through “Brand New Day”, with the baddie Mister Negative making life difficult for Spider-Man. Oh, and there seems to be another Goblin hopping about!
This hardcover is enjoyable, and a good reboot of the character for both new readers or readers that have not read Spider-Man for years.
However, as fun as the book is to read, I would have liked a lot more humor, and the writing (Dan Slott on #546-#548, Guggenheim #549-551) is for the most part predictable and by-the-numbers.
It’s too early to suggest that Spider-Man is back on track, but it’s a good start, and the possibilities for the character are once more limitless, so I guess that’s what Joe Quesada and Marvel always really wanted, anyway.
7 out of 10.