Writer Dan Slott takes a break from ‘Amazing Spider-Man’ to make way for Mark Waid’s ‘Devil and the Details’ storyline, co-starring Black Cat and Daredevil. As the story opens, Peter is moping around after having lost his girlfriend in the aftermath of ‘Spider-Island’ when she discovered his secret identity. In the midst of his self-depreciation, Peter runs into his old flame, the Black Cat. When Black Cat is arrested for the theft of a hologram device at Horizon Labs that she didn’t commit, Peter turns to his old pal Matt Murdock (Daredevil) for some legal advice. As the pair investigate in an attempt to uncover the real thief, things take a turn for the worse as Parker’s trademark luck kicks in.

I’ve been enjoying Dan Slott’s run on ‘Amazing Spider-Man’ for such a long time that, I never even realized that his constant action and fun could do with a little shot in the arm via some downtime. Mark Waid’s darker Spider-Man may have been just the break that the title needed. And while the story itself is darker and grittier (it is Daredevil after all), this issue reads like a classic ‘Marvel Team-Up’ issue with the banter between Spidey and DD. It’s a nice breather after ‘Spider-Island’ and the Vulture story.

The interior art from Emma Rios (‘Osborn’) is perfectly suited for this Daredevil tale. It’s dirty, scratchy, and pulls the reader into the dingy streets of NYC as soon as the issue opens. A lot of times, when the art is gritty, the faces tend to be the same and lose some expression. That’s not so with Rios. Her faces, especially the way she uses Spider-Man’s mask, are brilliantly done. I’d like to see more of her work in the future.

The drawback with this arc is that, since it’s a cross-over, the second half of the ‘Devil and the Details’ story doesn’t take place next issue. Instead, Marvel chose to wrap it up next week in ‘Daredevil’ #8. This would be fine if I read ‘Daredevil’ but it reeks of promotion and it appears to be a gimmick to get readers to check out the new ‘Daredevil’ title. So, if I only read ‘Amazing Spider-Man’, I’ll only get half the story since a new arc starts with issue #678. Of course, it seems as if Marvel’s ploy is going to pay off since I’ll probably pick up ‘Daredevil’ #8 just to see where this storyline is going. Well played, Marvel… well played indeed.

Of course, if you’re not planning on getting ‘Daredevil’ #8, the verdict must be…

Verdict: Borrow

Written by MARK WAID