By Marc Guggenheim (writer), Mike McKone (pencils), Andy Lanning (inks), Jeremy Cox (colors)

The Story: After a year of speculation, the mystery behind Jackpot is revealed. Spider-Man, fed up with the games and half-truths sets out to discover the identity of Jackpot and her motives. Little does he know that he’s going to discover more than he bargained for. Mutant Growth Hormone, drugs, and deceit all play a role in this surprising story that treads down a road the reader is most likely not expecting.

What’s Good? It’s a complete story and told in such a manner that readers not too familiar with Jackpot or Brand New Day will be able to follow along. The art by Mike McKone is clean and sharp in such a way that it fits perfectly with a Spider-Man book — or maybe it’s me enjoying Spider-Man rendered in a classic way. Either way you look at it, McKone’s work represents the character well.

Marc Guggenheim gives us some fun moments with Spidey and Jackpot doing their thing. It evokes memories of classic Marvel Team-Up action. I enjoyed these sequences and there seems to be genuine chemistry between the two characters.

What Sucks? The realization by Marc Guggenheim and the Spider-Man “Brain trust” that Jackpot is a useless character that’s run her course. I beg to differ, but that’s just me. Granted, the door is left open for Jackpot’s return, I just feel this character is a wasted opportunity. Also, the stupidity of the character blows the doors right open. I can’t believe the she lasted this long given her history with drugs and lack of training.

And then there’s Spider-Man chasing Blindspot around his home without using his webshooters to stop him. Talk about a waste of two pages. I’m sorry, but Spider-Man is not THIS stupid.

Finally, how is this Amazing Spider-Man #1? This is the 35th annual, people! Stop resetting the numbering to sell more copies. You can’t use this Brand New Day crap as an excuse forever.

Conclusion: This book plays out more like a double-sized issue than an annual. There’s no back-up stories, no pin-ups, no specials.  It’s a story that finally gives us some answers, yes, but the manner in which the answers are delivered leaves a lot to be desired (and feels cheap).

Grade: D

– J. Montes