This issue had delightfully-bizarre concepts like Dr. Doom replacing Ego as a living planet and the Phoenix force getting distilled into a bullet. You read that right - - it's a single bullet with the power to incinerate an entire world. Aaron's clearly having fun finding clever ways to turn these familiar standards of the Marvel Universe on their head. In fact, at times it recalls the kind of things that Grant Morrison was doing in his seminal run on JLA. I've always considered Kubert to be a gold-standard level penciler and his art here lived up to all my expectations. He lavishes detail in such a way that makes every single line look dynamic - - whether it's the appearence of a planet-sized monster or a simple class session with smart chimps.
This story's so crazy, I'm not sure if it's even appopriate for the characters. It worked for the JLA, but I don't know... maybe the whimsy factor wasn't pushed far enough here? As it was, I couldn't get behind it as brawny superhero story, nor a funny send-up, nor even a imaginative exploration of all these heady concepts. It's just standing awkwardly in the middle. I figure that has a lot to do with Spidey and Wolverine getting shoehorned together as a buddies. Sure, they're the most popular character in the MU, but they aren't really good foils.
The Verdict - 3.5/5
This is one the few modern comics I've read that felt like it'd fit right in with Scott Shaw's Oddball Comics column, which is both a good and bad thing. It's fun to see these characters in such a wild adventure outside of the restrictions of regular continuity, but it doesn't seem to work cohesively. This felt more like a weird annual or an odd issue of Spider-Man Team-Up instead of what I assume the Astonishing line is trying to do.