Reviewing "Brand New Day"

Despite all the whining and bitching about “One More Day”, many Spidey fans will still be reading the Wall Crawler’s adventures in Amazing Spider-Man. I count myself among them. What can I say? We’re junkies. While nothing is going to make “One More Day” any better the best us Spider-Fans can hope for is that the top notch new creative teams on Amazing Spider-Man turn out some good stories.

The first attempt is Amazing Spider-Man #546 – 548 written by Dan Slott and penciled by Steve McNiven. I remember reading an issue of Slott’s Avengers: The Initiative that guest starred Spider-Man and thinking “I’d love to see this guy write a Spider-Man book.” So, despite the circumstances, I was looking forward to these issues. Steve McNiven’s artwork was fantastic, but I’ve yet to see anything of his I didn’t like. I was disappointed to find out he won’t be returning for Slott’s next run on the book.

This is “Brand New Day” which means a whole new status quo for Spider-Man and the first issue establishes it with all the subtlety of a punch in the face. Very first page, Peter is seen making out with a random club girl. In case you missed it, Spidey’s single now, ladies! He’s also broke, practically unemployed, hanging out with his rich friend Harry Osbourne, and living with his elderly Aunt May in Queens. He’s also an unlicensed super hero, which makes him wanted by the government. Ol’ Sad Sack Parker is once again the lovable loser, only this time it’s slightly less lovable.

It seems Spider-Man’s been off the radar for a few months now.(How this fits in with the timeline of the rest of the Marvel U, I’d like to see.) J. Jonah Jameson has been using the Daily Bugle to tout how much safer the city is without that wall crawling menace but the truth is that the paper’s sales have tanked without Peter Parker’s pictures of Spider-Man. So much so that shareholders are dumping off their stock and it’s being bought up by Dexter Bennett, an idle billionaire who wants to own a newspaper and run it his own way. In order to hold onto every share he can, Jameson has stopped paying the Bugle’s staffers yet they continue working as a show of solidarity. Turns out Jonah still owes Peter for some old Spidey photos and Peter isn’t willing to wait. He wants his moneys and he wants them now. When Jonah calls Peter ungrateful for all he’s done for him, Peter fires back that it’s Jonah who’s the ingrate and that the current situation proves that it was his photos of Spider-Man that kept the Bugle in business so long. This makes Jameson so mad that he has a heart attack. Seriously. Peter feels so guilty that he decides to go out in costume and get some new Spider-Man pictures to save the old man’s business and life. But Jameson’s wife decides to go ahead and sell the paper to Dexter Bennett anyway, so it’s all for naught.

There’s a new villain named Mr. Negative. He has the power to…um…be the opposite color of what he should be…or something. He’s a low level crime boss who’s trying to take out the heads of the mob families in New York so that he can run the show. He has a bomb, some kids are in danger, Spidey saves the day. Mr. Negative escapes. The end. The whole thing seemed nothing more than a generic super hero adventure. And with someone as bad ass as The Hood running around trying to take control of New York’s criminal element, Mr. Negative seemed all the more pointless.

The new angle on Amazing Spider-Man seems to be to be reminiscent of the book during the 60s. Down on his luck Peter Parker, money troubles, lady troubles, a large supporting cast and monthly encounters with a new super villain who wants to put kittens in a wood chipper or something. I think that’s what Quesada and company were going for, to be honest. Nevermind all the growing the character has done over the last forty years. That being said, it’s an enjoyable read and a decent story. But in this case, decent’s not good enough. Coming off of the universally panned “One More Day”, the first three issues of “Brand New Day” needed to be a home run. It needed to not only establish the new status quo for Spider-Man but tell an excellent story in the process. Accomplishing that would outshine the grim specter of “One More Day” and genuinely make people forget about the old and embrace the new. As it is, Dan Slott’s story is only slightly above average. And it raises even more questions about continuity that only serve to remind fans of the ghastly story that came before it.

They say when you get your heart broken, all it takes is one great date with someone new to make you forget all about it. Aside from figuring out how Spider-Man works in the rest of the Marvel Universe, I believe us Spider-fans are just one great story away from putting “One More Day” behind us. This, unfortunately, is not it.


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