By: Main Story: Roger Stern (writer), Lee Weeks (art), Dean White (colors) & Joe Caramanga (letters); Back-up Story: Mark Waid & Tom Peyer (writers), Todd Nauck (art), Andres Mossa (colors) & Joe Caramanga (letters)

The Story: Spidey tries to save Juggernaut (of all people) from the new Captain Universe, meanwhile in the back-up story, Peter’s attempts to resolve his employment issues are thwarted by an untimely villain.

What’s Good: I’ve always loved Spidey versus cosmic entities! One of my favorite Spider-Man arcs when I was a kid was in ASM 269/270 when Spidey faced off against Firelord.  This was during a phase when Marvel (via Secret Wars) was showing that “your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man” could hold his own against the meanest and baddest folks in the Marvel U.

Thus, I was excited when Captain Universe was revealed at the end of ASM #627.  As if Spidey + cosmic entity wasn’t enough, this issue also features Juggernaut (one of my favorites), so this issue was just a bundle of goodness.  The big questions are: “Who is the new Captain Universe?” and “Why is he trying to kill Juggernaut?” I’m fairly sure Captain U’s alter-ego will be someone known to us, but I can’t wait to find out who he is.  I would also love it if he somehow crossed over into the Marvel Cosmic titles, but that might be too much to hope for.

In the back-up story, we get a fun little 8-pager showing Peter’s trip across town to a job interview being interrupted by a rampaging Absorbing Man.  While not a very impactful story, Peter really needs to be mostly down on his luck most of the time.  That’s why we cheer for him and why we’re so happy when he does “win.”

What’s Not So good: I’m struggling to come up with anything, but if I had to pick, it would be that I would have liked to see a little more action where Captain Universe is chasing Spider-Man across town, with Spidey occasionally pausing to squirt webs over his face.  We can’t expect major action in a middle issue of a 3-issue arc, but I think we could have gotten more than what was served to us.

I’m also getting a little sick of the penniless Peter Parker who can’t afford web fluid, but CAN somehow afford a Manhattan apartment.

Oh, and why does it take two writers to write an 8-page back-up?  Really?

Conclusion: This title has been like a rock for the last year where I just expect it to be good every issue.  I can’t wait until next week to see the conclusion!

Grade: B+

-Dean Stell