So far with this series, Spider-Man has teamed up with his Avengers teammates the Red Hulk, Hawkeye, and Captain America. This issue, writers Greg Rucka and Mark Waid take over the title of ‘Avenging Spider-Man’ ignore the ‘Avengers’ angle for the first part of a cross-over with their own current titles…  ‘Punisher’ and ‘Daredevil’.

As the story starts out, it is revealed that Daredevil is in possession of a flash drive made up of unstable molecules. The nature of the molecules allows the security of the drive to be nearly impossible to crack, so DD brings the drive to the guy that invented the unstable molecules… the Fantastic Four’s Reed Richards. It turns out that the drive contains highly classified information on five of the world’s biggest crime organizations including Hydra and A.I.M. among others. After he pulls some information for the drive for Daredevil, Reed calls on Spider-Man to help him retrieve the drive for him since he can’t leave his lab in the middle of an experiment.

Got that setup? Good. It all happens in the first few pages and sets the stage for what’s to come. When Spider-Man arrives at the office of Daredevil’s alter-ego Matt Murdock, he finds that the Punisher has found out about the drive too and wants it so that he can bring down all of the criminal organizations. The trio disagree about what to do with the drive but come to the decision that the criminals must think that it has been destroyed or they’ll keep coming after it. So, they set up a plan to fake the destruction of the drive.

That’s it. I didn’t want to give spoilers but there’s nothing really shocking in this issue. The contrived setup reads like those retro team-up books from the 80s… and not in a good way. And to make matters worse, unless you’re planning on picking up issues of both ‘Punisher’ and ‘Daredevil’, you won’t get to see how the story plays out since it’s not continued in next months ‘Avenging Spider-Man’. I know the reasoning behind this issue is to bring readers into the other titles, especially since they’re getting some positive critical feedback at the moment but the forced way it’s being done doesn’t really entice me to want to pick them up.

If there’s a redeeming feature to this issue, it’s the artwork from Marco Checchetto. His style lends itself well to all three of these characters, which could’ve been offputting since Spider-Man tends to be lighter in tone than both Daredevil and (obviously) Punisher.

So, if you’re already reading ‘Punisher’ and/or ‘Daredevil’, you might want to pick this one up. However, if you’re just in it for some Spider-Man fun, you’ll be sorely disappointed.

Verdict: Burn