Garth Ennis humour is evident in the first of the three stories presented in this volume, but it lacks the sparkle of his most inspired works (which lets face it all involve graphic violence and bad language). John McRae ( a long-time Ennis collaborator) provides the art and again it is good enough but feels somewhat restrained. The second story is about a mob employee having a bad day, but coping with quiet dignity. Greg Rucka and Eduardo Risso deliver the most mature story of the three. Though perhaps significantly it contains only one reference to Spiderman (and not a glimpse of him). The third story focusses on the 2nd rate villain, Rhino and is amusing enough, but the moral of the story 'sometimes you get what you want but don't like it' is far from new. The writer (Peter Milligan) usually writes with a sharper wit and from a more offbeat angle and the artwork from Duncan Fegredo is well short of his best work.
This collection is part of a tentative effort by Marvel comics to come over all dark and adult whilst still retaining the humour and warmth of its colourful characters. Ennis weaves his unique brand of comedy, horror, wit and unpleasentness into the Spiderman continuity. It's irreverent but brilliant. Ennis skates on thin ice around the 'comic code' but pulls off stories (in this collection) that are both mature and extremely silly. Best story revolves around what happens when Peter Parkers school nemesis tracks him down years later, having eaten the spider which was responsible for our heroes' Spiderman powers! In between the revolting spider in the mouth sequences etc Ennis writes some great characters who have much greater dimensions than your average bit part players in a comic strip. In short, insightful, brilliant, violent, funny and stupid. It's Ennis. As for the art, clean and crisp with some great suprise splashes.