I'm kind of re-thinking my approach to Spider-Man: Brand New Day. I thought the first trade was uneven, but this one was even moreso. The first few issues are written by Bob Gale and feature art by Phil Jiminez, where Spidey takes on the Freak. The Freak is kind of an updated Lizard, I suppose, with a drug addict getting some animal powers from one of Dr. Connors' serums. It's ok at best, and Jiminez's art actually gets TOO detailed at times. I don't care for the way he draws Spidey's eyes on the costume either. I also find Gale's supporting character work a bit forced. There is so much going on with all the sub-plots involving the new and exciting cast, I really didn't care what happened. The first 1/2 of this book is Average.
The next story by Zeb Wells with Chris Bachalo on art is much stronger. The Mayan themed bad guys look great in the first issue, a Wolverine Team Up. Bachalo really gets to do his thing when he actually has the Mayan god show up in the later two story parts. The images of this odd creatures staking Spidey through a snowy New York look great, and Spidey has some great dialogue. I thought Spidey's jokes were much better in this section, and his banter really made this part of the story hold up well.
What I'm finding is that my enjoyment of BND is varying wildly depending on the writer. That's par for the course for me with comic books, but I had hoped the brain trust approach of the Spider-office would lead to a more even quality. At this point I really need to think about which of the upcoming trades I want to pick up. I'm sold on the Dan Slott issues, and I'd probably dig Zeb Wells' stuff too. But Bob Gale and Marc Guggenheim are not clicking for me yet. I think I've pre-ordered vol 3, but that is my last certain order at this point. One other note, there is not one main story in this book that couldn't have been told with a married Spider-Man. Brand New Day is a shift in tone that could easily have been made without one of the most stupid retcons in comic history.