By: Dan Slott & Christos Gage (writers), Giuseppe Camuncoli (pencils), Dan Green (inks), Antonio Fabela (colors), Chris Eliopoulos (letters), Ellie Pyle (assistant editor) & Stephen Wacker (editor0

The Story: How in the world can SPIDER-MAN show up to deliver the ransom to save PETER PARKER?  That’s going to cause a problem.

Quick review: Sometimes an issue gets a quick review not because I’m pressed for time, but because there really isn’t much to say.  This isn’t a “terrible” comic book or even a “bad” issue; it is just “fine”–it is “competent”.

Last issue introduced the pretty fun concept of The Kingpin and the new Hobgoblin ramping up Peter’s spider-sense to 11 on the dial.  It was funny to watch Peter suddenly perceive danger from fat men eating burritos!  But, that crispness is not present in this issue.  Although this is a nicely written issue and the central conflict of The Kingpin holding Peter hostage and demanding that Spider-Man bring the ransom (problem!) is kinda clever, this issue suffers from a lack of spark.  Again, competence as opposed to brilliance.

The art is in a similar state.  There is certainly nothing wrong with the Camuncoli/Green combo and I’ve mentioned before how much better this combo is than Camuncoli/Janson, but there is also nothing in here that sends me scurrying to Google in an attempt to find whether the original art is for sale.

If there is a hook in this issue, it probably comes from the battle between Hobgoblins old and new.  A lot of people have felt that Phil Ulrich was a poser and so it is kinda neat to see the Original Flavor Hobgoblin come to kill him.  If you’re an old school Hobgoblin fan, this battle will pull you in.  If you’re not, well, it’s just two supervillains fighting and we’ve seen that before.

Honestly, this issue is a great litmus test of where you are as a reader of superhero comics.  If you love it, you’re still in love with superheroes because it is a very competent issue.  But, if you’re losing the love a little (like me), you kinda think, “Why did I pay $3.99 for this?  This has no spark or snap to it?”

Conclusion: Competent.  You decide for yourself if that is worth $3.99.

Grade: C

– Dean Stell