SPIDER-MAN: DANGER ZONE (Marvel, 2012; Hardcover)
Collects Amazing Spider-Man Nos. 692-697 and Avenging Spider-Man No. 11 (cover dates October, 2012- January, 2013)
Writers: Dan Slott, Zeb Wells (Avenging Spider-Man No. 11), and Cristos Gage (co-writer, issues 695-697)
Artists: Humberto Ramos (692-694), Giuseppe Camuncoli (695-697), and Steve Dillon (Avenging Spider-Man No. 11).
This book consists of two arcs with a filler...er, fill-in issue included. First we get the Alpha arc, where Spider-Man gets a sidekick in what must be the most uninspired writing of Dan Slott's career. The horrid, amateurish artwork by Humberto Ramos doesn't do any favors to the already bad story idea. These three issues are best forgotten. Let us never mention them again as long as we live.
Next we get the millionth flashback story about what happened after Uncle Ben's murder, in what must be the 1,000th annual visit to Uncle Ben's grave on the anniversary of his death. A horrid ret-con* retread. Someone needs to sit down and piece together all of these pointless flashbacks over the past decade. I bet that we can account for every nanosecond that occurred in between Amazing Fantasy No. 15 and Amazing Spider-Man No. 1. When you can't create, you ret-con. Oh, and Steve Dillon draws some horrendous teeth. I've never seen Aunt May portrayed as a horse before. I'll never be able to unsee that.
*Ret-con is short for retroactive continuity, where a writer inserts backstory that wasn't there before. It can be a great storytelling device but it is often used as a cop-out.
Finally, we get the three part War of the Goblins arc. The new Hobgoblin vs. original Hobgoblin. Kingpin and his inside man at Horizon Labs causing trouble for Spider-Man. All of these things have been building for a while and are resolved for the moment. I'm sure that we will see more of this stuff. These issues were solid and saved this book from a 1.5 rating.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 3.5 out of 5.
The OCD zone- Typical Marvel Premiere Edition Hardcover, with the same production values that the format has to offer.
Paper rating: 4 out of 5. Coated stock with a slight sheen, perfect for modern coloring.
Binding rating: 4 out of 5. It's glued, but it's a thin hardcover, so it's no biggie. It's not like it's going to fall apart or anything. I normally lose sleep over books with glued binding, but not with these Premiere Hardcovers.