Much has been said of Dan Slott’s time on Amazing Spider-Man. He was there in the wake of One More Day to relaunch the character during a pretty weighty time, and he ended up being a mostly solo act when that gave way to Big Time and all the status quos that followed. But, ten years is still a long time — especially in an industry that’s prone to relaunches, reboots, creative changes, etc. Last issue was the big anniversary showdown with Spider-Man vs the Red Goblin, with all the major plot lines of the last ten years closed down, and of course some new stuff left for the incoming team. But where does that leave Dan Slott when the show is over after the big explosions? The answer is the best one: bring in Marcos Martin and Muntsa Vicente — the team behind some of Slott’s best stories in his run — to tell a more personal story about Spider-Man.
Without getting into the details, the story for this issue is an introspective look at Spider-Man, what he means to people, and just what it is that distinguishes him from other Marvel heroes. Slott has gotten flack for the various changes introduced to Spider-Man such as the Doc Ock brain swap in Superior Spider-Man, the emphasis on Peter Parker’s being a scientist, and his becoming a CEO for the final few years of his run; but all of those takes have one thing in common: showing Peter Parker’s compassion for other people. The idea being that no matter how high or low Peter Parker goes, he always is there for people who don’t have anyone else to help them. It’s a pretty sweet coda to a run that’s gone from San Francisco, to Shanghai, to space, and even the entire Multiverse. While Slott’s story isn’t connected to that last issue’s finale, it works as a coda of sorts to his run and even the idea of Spider-Man.
This entire issue lives and dies entirely on Marcos Martin and Muntsa Vicente. While it’s been awhile since this team was a regular fixture of Amazing Spider-Man, anyone who’s read their work on Private Eye or Barrier knows that they’ve managed to evolve quite a bit since they moved on. But in this issue, it’s like they never left. Martin’s penciling is as beautiful as ever, and continues to evoke the post-modern Ditko flavor that helped to define his version of Spidey. The changeovers from the kinetic energy of his Spider-Man scenes versus the more slowed pace of the other scenes continue to show why he’s the preeminent modern Spider-Man artist. Muntsa Vicente’s colors also bring a great deal of the flavor in this issue helping to sell the pacing of the more bright and bombastic scenes, vs the darker and lighter palettes in the rest of the issue. While it has been a long ten years, to quote Doctor Who for a second “This song is ending, but the story continues”. While Spider-Man the property and Peter Parker will outlive any singular run, Dan Slott has probably done the most at defining and reshaping Spider-Man since Lee and Ditko were at the helm. It says something when even after ten years, you’re still not ready to say goodbye to one particular person’s vision of such a long-running character. While Dan Slott will more than likely be fantastic (no pun intended) on Tony Stark: Iron Man and Fantastic Four, it’s going to be hard to disassociate him from Amazing Spider-Man.
5 Codas out of 5