The Amazing Spider-Man 801 hit a milestone last month with the release of its 800th issue. This is a first for any Marvel title. But this past week’s issue of Amazing Spider-Man 801 marks another significant moment.
After 10 years it is Dan Slott’s last issue on the title. There have been some ups and downs during that period. Some arcs may have rubbed fans the wrong way, but after 180 issues you have to give credit where it’s due.
There were moments where Dan Slott wrote of supernatural forces dissolving Peter and MJ’s marriage. Then there was Peter and Doc Ock switching brains. But for this send-off, Dan Slott grounds the story in reality. One might have expected him to go out on a bang like in the Red Goblin story arc, but I appreciate what Slott did here.
The “Man” in Spider-Man
A large appeal of Spider-Man and his character is because of how human he is. He is someone that so many people can relate to because he has regular people problems. He doesn’t have to constantly save the universe for us to root for him and this shows in #801.
The story starts out with a familiar origin. We all know Spidey’s backstory and Slott doesn’t dwell on that. Instead, we read about a night during Spider-Man’s early days and how a man’s bad night transforms his entire worldview. In some ways this issue isn’t only about Spider-Man or that one man, but about all of us and how transformative one night can be.
Spider-Man is a character passing through the pages who does what he does, but his effects are seen, and more importantly, felt. Instead of leaving the franchise on an extravagant and outlandish moment, Dan Slott offers a more subtle, but meaningful bow. His message is that of warmth and hope.
The artist, Martin Marcos, and colorist, Muntsa Vicente, really compliment Slott’s story with relatively simple but strong images. The emotions that Slott writes shine through as you see the fear or hope in a character’s expressions. While the art may not be super detailed, there are details within the panels that show the artist’s efforts.
During the robbery scene, there is large text that reads “THWAM” to show the robber has just been pummeled. Marcos takes it a step further by having items from the shelf fly in front of the words to really draw you into the scene. Later on, there is a beautiful double page spread showing Spidey saving regular people that really exemplifies Slott’s message of hope and sincerity.
In the end, Dan Slott’s final issue shows why he stuck around for as long as he did because even if the stories during his tenure may have gotten a little wacky at times, he displays that he does understand the man behind the mask and what he means to us as readers.