Let me just get this out the way, this issue might not do much for people but the preview peak within its pages are enough to get me jazzed up for the future of this Dan Slott ASM series.
Mandatory spoiler alert
Doc Ock has been trapped inside of a robot(?) -- referred to as Brain -- but that looks like it could finally be coming to an end with #18. That's all I have to say about that, as it has nothing to do with issue #16. Just playing the role of hype train, if you will.
Issue 16 kicks off the Before Dead No More storyline in fun, classic Parker fashion. He's balancing life as Spider-Man between life as the CEO of a worldwide company. It's been done before, it's being done again and it will be done again in two months.
There is a difference between meaningless repetition and what makes a character a character. Slott once again proves that he is a master of walking that fine line.
It's a familiar story with its own twists and turns along the way.
Aunt May's husband, John Jonah Jameson, is in the hospital with what appears to be a heredity heart ailment. Our buddy Pete feels partially responsible for the health of his aunt's husband, and J. Jonah Jameson's dad, as he had the old-timer traveling the globe going to third-world countries for Parker Industries.
I love a solid start to a new arc.
We get the classic creepy doctor comes out of nowhere with secretive plan that can heal anything. It's cliche, but it still works. J. Jonah scoffs it off, mostly just Peter, as our protagonist considers the thought without knowing much about the procedure that can apparently clone perfectly healthy organs -- and revive dead people -- from scratch.
He takes some samples with him when he departs for a business meeting.
This is where the Parker vs. Spider-Man plot gets interesting. Once again, this isn't reinventing the wheel, but the execution of making the climax of this issue both a Spider-Man AND Parker Industries AND Peter Parker problem is ingenious.
One of Parker's plants explodes and, inevitably, one of the workers is left behind trapped in Ladder 49 fashion. Spidey saves the day, but Parker saves the man's life.
The employee is saved, but the toxic chemicals he inhaled have left his organs borderline useless. You see what's coming next ... Parker drops the dime on the sketchy procedure and saves the day.
Little did he know that the people behind this "medical procedure" are the Connors Family -- Curt always gets me to chortle when he's Dr. Lizard in a lab coat -- Electro and the sketchy lady doctor.
Slott starts the arc in really superb fashion. We've got action, we've got Peter, his company and superhero alter ego intertwined and we've got J. Jonah making a deal with the devil.
As for Giuseppe Camuncoli. The artwork on this series is consistently phenomenal. I fanboyed so hard when Spidey came cruising in on his Spider-Cycle (YES, SPIDER-MAN HAS A MOTORCYCLE THAT DOES THINGS NOW).
His balance between the fast, slow, talky, fisty and funny scenes are unreal. The capturing of an emotional J. Jonah Jameson in the hospital, is some of his best work. The capturing of this desperate son clutching his credit card, unbeknownst to the rest of the family, is both emotional and infuriating.
He is walking into danger without having the slightest idea of what he's getting into.
Camuncoli's at didn't need dialogue or words from Slott to capture this. His work is clear, easy to follow and decipher.
Rating: 8.5/10 There is a difference between meaningless repetition and what makes a character a character. Dan Slott once again proves that he is a master of walking that fine line. Also, Alex Ross is doing some of his best cover work of his career week-to-week on this series.