Spider-Island is officially over. New York City is recovering and the status quo is returning. Sadly, for our old pal Peter Parker, the status quo isn’t always a great thing. This issue opens with a kid plummeting from the sky to the soon to be blood splattered pavement below. We quickly learn that this isn’t the first time this has happened. And, while some in the Police Department are chalking these deaths up to suicides or accidents caused by kids still trying to emulate the powers that they gained during Spider-Island, it quickly becomes apparent that something more insidious is afoot.

In the wake of Spider-Island, rebellious punk kids are migrating to New York in the hopes of somehow gaining Spider-powers. When they find out that the infestation is over and they aren’t going to suddenly become heroes or villains, a few of these lost souls are taken in by a mysterious group of kids claiming that they can offer powers that are better than Spider-Man’s.

Meanwhile, a mysterious string of murders and robberies are taking place throughout the city. The catch? They are taking place in high-rise skyscrapers and the perpetrators are apparently getting in through the windows! It’s up to Spider-Man and his now ex-girlfriend Carlie who are investigating these occurrences from opposite sides of the law to solve the riddle. Meanwhile, Spidey’s old nemesis the Kingpin begins some devious machinations of his own.

I began reading Spider-Man again after a long absence only a year or so before Spider-Island began. Since my return, writer Dan Slott has been in the writer’s chair for ‘Amazing Spider-Man’. He has proven himself time and time again by creating some of the most fun and interesting Spider-stories I’ve ever read. Then, he goes and creates Spider-Island – a tale that showed the reader and Peter Parker himself why Spider-Man was a real hero. It was epic! Now that things have settled down, it’ll be interesting to see if Slott can keep the momentum going. And while it seems that the title will be returning to traditional shorter story arcs to give readers a moment to catch their breath, Slott’s first pre-Spider-Island issue does indeed deliver yet again.

In the art department, I was saddened to see Humberto Ramos departing the title. He has been replaced (at least for now) by Giuseppe “Cammo” Camuncoli. Camuncoli is probably best known to Marvel readers from his work on ‘Daken: Dark Wolverine’. While I absolutely love Camuncoli’s artwork on that painted cover, the inner work is just okay. It’s sketchy and detailed but it seems a little too gritty for a Spidey book. Maybe it’ll be fitting for this first arc seeing as it does have a bit of a darker tone to it, but after Ramos’ fun style, it’s a bit of a complete turnabout and a shock.

But don’t let my comments on the art dissuade you from grabbing this issue. Slott continues to prove that he’s the perfect guy to write Spider-Man. He obviously loves the character and has a great grasp on Peter Parker and, even better, on those supporting characters that make Spidey titles so great.

Verdict: Buy

Written by DAN SLOTT