By Dan Slott (writer), Marcos Martin (art), Javier Rodriguez (colors)

Is it me, or does this issue have one of the best Spider-Man covers of all time?

As predicted in my last review, this issue features the return of a certain someone in Peter’s life – someone we’ve all been anticipating for a while now. The whole story leading up to her unveiling is hardly unique or special, but the plot twist Dan Slott tosses in makes the story much more engaging. I’m not exactly sure where this is leading, but Peter’s eventual crossing with this character could have been either cleverly orchestrated by a third party, or it may all just be traced to fate. Given the monkey wrench Slott throws into the story, I’m beginning to think there’s a more sinester element at work here – tracing a path for Peter to follow.

As for the two new characters introduced last issue, only one makes an appearance here. Paper Doll takes center stage as she works her way through Bobby Carr’s enemies with deadly reckoning. Slott keeps the story tightly focused on her, never straying into her origin or how her powers work.  Peter catches on after having a close brush with his “power and responsibility” mantra, and begins a vigil to catch this deadly girl. Once he finds her the obligatory fight ensues, but c’mon, do you really expect Peter to beat on a little girl (no matter how deadly she is)? Instead, we’re presented with a rare situation where Spider-Man actually can’t win. And for once, Peter’s blabbering mouth ends up saving him and his would be victim. Great stuff.

Once again, topping off the story is Marcos Martin’s art. From the opening page his art is a joy to behold. All the meticulous detail he puts into his pages ensure that readers won’t be skimming through the pages. From the movie posters in the theatre lobby to the pieces of Andy Warhol inspired art in the museum to the brilliant use of half tones, I was constantly reminded why this artist is a dream to have on this book. This is beautiful comic book art, folks. We’ve got one more issue left before he parts ways with this title and I’ll be savoring every moment of it. (Grade: A-)

– J. Montes