This book collects Amazing Spider-Man issues 600 and 601, a story from Amazing Spider-Man Family #7, and Amazing Spider-Man Annual #36. Which doesn’t sound like a huge amount of content for a trade paperback but ASM #600 was a triple-sized issue (maybe more than triple-sized) and ASM Annual #36 was double-sized and this book ended up being a much more substantial read than I was expecting it to be.
The highlight of the book is the lead story from ASM #600, written by Dan Slott and illustrated by John Romita Jr (inked by Klaus Janson), in which a severely brain-damaged Doctor Octopus (brain-damaged because of all the blows to the head he has taken over the years) tries to take over New York and ruin Aunt May’s wedding to J. Jonah Jameson’s dad. I read this story when ASM #600 first came out and didn’t really like it then but I think I must have just been in a bad mood that day, because I enjoyed it quite a lot this time. The art is great and the script is witty, action packed and even quite touching in places. There is one line Aunt May utters that I liked so much I wrote it down to impress girls with at a later date: ‘All the good things that happen in life, they happen in an instant too.’ But then I am a bit of a sap (also a married sap, so don’t tell my wife about that impressing girls bit). Lots of guest stars, too, including the New Avengers, Daredevil and the FF, which helped to make it feel like a big-deal issue. Then, in ASM #601, Peter Parker has women troubles to deal with after he gets intimate with his female roommate, Michele Gonzales, and is stood up by a returning Mary Jane Watson. This issue, by Mark Waid and Mario Alberti, isn’t as good as #600 but I still enjoyed it.
There are lots of short Spider-Man strips in here, too, most of them from ASM #600, including a nice one by Stan Lee and Marcos Martin (a strong contender for the title 'best Spider-Man artist ever'). The rest of the strips were unmemorable but still decent reads, although the art was variable.
This has a recommended retail price of £14.99 / $19.99. You can get it for just over £10.00 from Amazon, etc., but I got my copy off of eBay for £7.12, including postage. I don’t regret buying it.