Main story by: Christos Gage (writer), Reilly Brown (pencils), Victor Olazaba (inks), John Rauch (colors), Joe Caramagna (letters), Ellie Pyle (assistant editor) & Stephen Wacker (editor)

Infested Part 3 by: Dan Slott (writer), Emma Rios (art), Rodriguez (inks), Edgar Delgado (colors) & Caramagna (letters)

Magnetic Man back up by: Frank Tieri (writer), Javier Rodriguez (art), Caramagna (letters)

The Story: Spider-Man and the Avengers Academy kids team up to against the Psycho Man.  Will Spidey be asked to substitute teach ever again?

What’s Good: Well, it is fun and fast paced.  I’ll say that for this issue.  It was a lot of enjoyable watching Spidey team up with the Avengers Academy kids because Spidey is kinda the king of team-ups and the kids are fun (and everyone should be reading their series)!

It’s going to sound like I’m banging on this issue when we get to the next section and I really don’t mean for it to sound that way because there is nothing that is “bad” about this issue.  There are fun little Spider-Man snappy banter moments and all the kids get to do their thing.  Reilly Brown’s art is perfectly fine too.  Not “great” art, but it is perfectly fine.

What Was Bad: I think the problem that I had with this issue is that it just failed to live up to the ultra-high standards of the Dan Slott-led, Big Time story.  That probably isn’t really fair, but Dan Slott elevated a series that had been a consistent “B” series to the point where it was almost the issue to beat for “pick of the week” every time it came out.  It’s been that awesome, and this issue just wasn’t that good.

Where this comic failed to excel was in the little areas: Spidey seemed a little off in his banter, the kids didn’t quite seem themselves, seeing Brown draw the kids after being so used to seeing them handled by Mike McKone in Avengers Academy, Rauch’s colors being a little more highlighty than I like.  It’s the little things that keep this comic from popping.

But, the biggest problem with this issue/arc is that I simply don’t want Amazing Spider-Man to be a team-up book and now we’ve had several issues in a row where Spidey is teamed-up with the FF or the Avengers Academy.  I also read those titles and if I wanted to see these team-ups, I want them in the pages of FF or Avengers Academy. Not in Spidey’s book that has so much momentum starting from that initial Slott/Ramos arc and continuing through the Marcos Martin issues.  I’ll put it this way, as much as I’m enjoying FF and Avengers Academy, they aren’t quite as good as Slott’s ASM and I firmly believe that the pecking order of team-ups is that you add “strong” to “weak” (or in this case “not quite as strong”).  I was enjoying the Big Time story and seeing Peter working at Horizon Labs and seeing him try to hide his identity from Carlie Cooper and this story arc just isn’t what I was in the mood for.  It’s probably unfair to say that because it isn’t bad work at all, but Gage and Brown were put in a tough position by having to do a kinda fill-in arc in the midst of a lot of excellence.

Conclusion: Not a bad story, but not up to par with what ASM has been giving us recently.  It also is sapping some momentum from a really good story that Slott is working on.  Mostly it is guilty of not being what I wanted it to be.

Grade: C

-Dean Stell

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