Dear Marvel,Spider-Man is 50 this month and he's wearing his age well, thanks to the cracking storytelling of Dan Slott and the slick artwork of Humberto Ramos.
Please let Dan Slott continue to write The Amazing Spider-Man for as long as there is strength in his fingers to type on a keyboard.
Coming off the back of the superb Lizard/Dr Morbius storyline, Peter Parker begins his 50th anniversary celebrations with the first part of a new storyline: Alpha, which is supposedly a game-changer for our friendly neighbourhood webslinger.
The main story in issue 692 follows shy teenager Andy Maguire who, on a school trip to Horizon Labs, gets accidentally zapped by a machine invented by Peter Parker. Andy is turned into the Marvel Universe equivalent of the Legion of Super-Heroes' Ultra Boy: a slew of extraordinary abilities, but he can only use one at a time.
The superhero community, represented by Reed Richards, Iron Man, Beast and Giant-Man, charge Spider-Man with the responsibility of training Andy, Richards' pointing out that Andy's powers will continue to grow and he could, eventually, become the most powerful metahuman on the planet.
Unfortunately for Peter, he soon discovers that Andy's new-found superpowers have turned him into a bit of a jerk!
The introduction of overpowered heroes into the Marvel Universe usually doesn't sit well with me (Sentry being the classic example), but Slott is handling the arrival of Alpha with great care and craft. Andy is a rounded character whose motivations are convincing and provide a dark mirror for Spider-Man, reminding him of his own snotty attitude when he first gained his spider-powers.
Slott manages to consistently tell entertaining Spider-Man stories - as well as Peter Parker stories - that never fail to engage and amuse, through his masterful grasp of the nuances of both Parker and his lycra-clad alter ego.
This bumper, $5.99, issue of The Amazing Spider-Man also includes a couple of back-up stories.
Now normally I'm not a big fan of these as I see them as filler to justify bumping up the cover price of special issues.
However, while Spider-Man For A Night is a rather corny vignette set after the classic Spider-Man No More issue of AMS (#50), Just Right is an excellent slice-of-Spidey-life story from Joshua Hale Fialkov and artist Nuno Plati.
This story sees Peter Parker trying to hit a deadline and being thwarted at every turn (to comic effect), until eventually he saves a kid from being bullied and instead spends his time with the youngster - who helps Spider-Man appreciate just how cool his life is.
Just Right is a smooth balancing act of comedy and pathos, that reminds us - as if we needed it - of what a great, all-round character Spider-Man is.
Here's to another 50 years!