By Dan Slott (writer), Ty Templeton (pencils), Tom Palmer, Nelson, Frank D’Armata, Drew Geraci (inkers), Sotocolor, J. Rauch (colors)

If you love Spider-Man, then this mini-series is a must read. I’m flabbergasted when I talk to people about this series and they’ve never heard of it. I can’t believe how much of a low-profile project this was when it came out. Even to this day, it’s not as widely recognized as it should. Marvel’s never put out a trade (only a hard to find digest), and back issues are tough to find (especially issue #2). But if you manage to hunt these issues down, I promise you a world of enjoyment.

Spider-Man / Human Torch contains the best Spider-Man stories since Kraven’s Last Hunt. It’s also the best Spider-Man mini-series ever produced. Dan Slott is the perfect writer for Spider-Man. He gets it. It’s so obvious that this guy’s read every single issue of Amazing Spider-Man because the way he tells his stories – the references, the nuances, and the dialog – they all harken back to classic Stan Lee storytelling. This series isn’t a story arc either,  instead we’re given five wonderful issues that each tell a different story at different times of the wallcrawler’s (and Human Torch’s) life.

For instance, the first issue’s story is one that could easily be inserted within the first 20 or so issues of Amazing Spider-Man. While the third issue comes in around the 150s. Slott doesn’t mess around either. He takes out all the toys and things we wished were buried (like the Spider Buggy) and shows them off proudly. As silly and cheeseball as it sounds, he makes it all work wonderfully. Reading these books made me feel like a kid again. The kindred essence that makes Spider-Man so attractive to kids (and now grown-ups) is completely captured in this mini-series. And we don’t necessarily see Spidey’s relationship with the Human Torch grow. Instead, Slott opts to show us how the relationship has evolved.

Speaking of evolving, Ty Templeton deserves a lot of accolades for his artwork in this series. He works hard to keep it in-step with the time period he’s working with and he pulls it off. Sotocolor also deserves credit for doing the same with the color work. The faux zippatone effects work well, but in the end, it’s still computer coloring. It’s not perfect, but the sentiment is definitely appreciated.

If you want a comic that embodies all that is fun and good about Spider-Man, this is the series to read. It’s got touching moments, lots of gags that’ll make you laugh out loud, and classic Spidey moments. This is still, by far, Dan Slott’s best work to date. Marvel needs to put this out in a trade like yesterday. (Grade: A+)

– J. Montes