Review: Amazing Spider-Man 546

The much-hyped Brand New Day starts here. Yay.
The Internet never seems to break wide open for anything good, does it?
Seriously though, the utter train wreck called “One More Day” is what really has people talking about Marvel today. One wonders if Joe Quesada will eventually decide that fantastic screw ups are the only real way to spike the sales. I felt a little bad about buying this supposed first issue in an awesome new era for Spider-Man. I didn't want to encourage him.
In reality though, this issue provides precious little to be mad or happy about. I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest that they take “Amazing” out of the title and just replace it with “Generic”. Or possibly “Safe as Milk”. This is basically a Spider-Man story that could be told anytime. And it has been. Numerous times, in fact.
Aunt May doesn't know who Peter is anymore. What do you want to bet that within the next three issues she says something about "That awful Spider-Man?”
Spidey's membership in the Avengers is, if not dissolved, at least distanced to the effect that it no longer does anything to affect his hard-luck, day to day life. Just like the last 40 years.
Oh, and they've surrounded Peter Parker with what seems to be a legion of Hot, Available Women. Seriously, I know they intended to tell stories about dating when they dissolved the Spider-Marriage, but if I was writing a parody I don't think I'd be able to make the legions of Hot, Available Women crossing Peter's path any more blatant than they are here. It's played for laughs sometimes, as on the first page, but for the rest of the time it's just unintentionally hilarious and incredibly unsubtle. Eventually, hanging a lampshade on what you're doing stops excusing the fact that it's just stupid.
The plot itself is incredibly by-the-numbers. Peter Parker has a lousy life. He gets into misunderstandings based around his inability to reveal his identity. Jameson carries on about nothing in particular. Although the last page of the story proper did catch my attention with something I didn't expect, my overwhelming response is just to yawn.
The thing in this book that caught my attention was the side story featuring new heroine Jackpot, an atrociously dressed vigilante with Initiative backing, widely speculated to be Mary Jane herself. The idea of a sexy, costumed foil for whom Spider-Man is the amoral one would be a nice subversion of the normal Femme Fatale relationship, something Spider-Man is very familiar with (Black Cat, anybody?). I see some potential for interesting stories there. It's something new, which this book is otherwise sorely lacking. Oh, and they need to do something about those gilded bell-bottoms.
If you're a fan of Spider-Man, there's otherwise nothing in this book that you haven't seen a dozen times before. It's not poorly written or saddled with unnatural dialog. Heck, some of the little comedic touches, like Peter's cell phone conversation with Harry, actually made me smile. The fake classified ads made me chuckle. Dan Slott is probably a good writer, but is clearly operating under editorial conditions that allow him to do little more than to pace over terrain that's already been treaded and retreaded by over 40 years of stories.
Perhaps as he gets some distance from “One More Day” and its heavy editorial control he'll be able to tell some decent stories, but anything truly new or different seems likely to be erased from existence, the same as most of his predecessor's run or Grant Morrison's time on New X-Men.
And that's a truly depressing thought to carry with you when you're supposed to be stepping in a bold, new direction.
0 Yes
0 No
Earth's Mightiest