Amazing Spider-Man #801 / Writer: Dan Slott / Artist: Marcos Martin / Color Artist: Munsta Vicente / Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna / Cover Artist: Marcos Martin and Munsta Vicente / Publisher: Marvel / June 20, 2018
Last month, we witnessed the 80-page conclusion to the amazing Go Down Swinging story arc in Amazing Spider-Man #800, but this month presents us with a farewell. Dan Slott (Silver Surfer and Mighty Avengers) and Marcos Martin (Private Eye and Barrier)–the creative team behind the now famous Amazing Spider-Man #665 “No One Dies” issue–come together one last time in Amazing Spider-Man #801 to give us a final goodbye to Slott’s 10-year run with the Webhead.
This issue begins by following the story of someone Spider-Man saved early in his career, just after the death of his uncle. Spidey exits the story as it continues to follow this one random person Spider-Man saved up through present day. Eventually, the two run into each other again. Part of me wondered what was gonna happen to this guy. Was he an obscure, mostly-forgotten Spidey villain that Slott remembered? Was this series now Dr. Random Person, the story of a guy’s life that isn’t Spider-Man? In the end, it wasn’t either of those things. This was a Spider-Man story–a save the world story–as the narrator points out to his niece in the end.
This story wouldn’t be nearly as amazing–pun intended–if Marcos Martin’s artistic hand wasn’t involved or if the talented Munsta Vicente wasn’t right behind him, painting beautiful colors. We get tastes of both the past and present. Keen-eyed Spidey fans will notice that Spider-Man wears his original suit at the beginning of the story–because it takes place in the past. By the end of the issue, he’s wearing his current one. Present day Spidey is also more muscular in comparison to the early days, a subtle but amazing difference. Perhaps Martin channeled his inner Steve Ditko–the original Spider-Man artist for those that don’t know–while drawing this. The level of detail in both past and present day Spider-Man is done so well that I just stared at the art for a good five minutes.
Sadly, this is Dan Slott’s last issue, but being the all-star writer he is, he knows how to say goodbye properly. That’s why I’m glad his run didn’t stop with the big climactic 800 issue, but rather here. The issue starts out with a classic convenient store robbery. When we think about Spider-Man’s history, aren’t those robbery scenes some of the best? Fighting Green Goblin to save the city or Thanos to save the universe a great, but there is something special when Peter just stops a small-time robber with web swinging and banter. That’s pure Grade A Spider-Man, and Dan Slott mastered writing just that over the past ten years. That’s the something you don’t often get, and honestly, can’t get on the same level with other comic book characters.
One of the great things about this farewell issue is that Dan Slott never actually says goodbye. He tells us, throughout the issue, that Spider-Man will always be there for us. Slott conveys this metaphorically through the person Spider-Man saves at the beginning of the issue, but it carries a double meaning. He isn’t just talking about this one guy Spider-Man saved, nor is he pointing out all of the people Spidey saved throughout the Marvel universe. Slott speaks to us, the readers.
Without shame, I admit I teared up both while reading this issue and writing this review. Spider-Man is a very popular character, and on numerous occasions, he has saved many lives outside of comics, mine included. I’m not gonna talk about the pros and cons of comics, in general, or the ideas of escapism. Just know it as fact that Spider-Man has made people happy for over eight hundred issues, and he will continue to do so. He will always be there for us.
Verdict: 5 out of 5
In case you want to read more of Dan Slott’s Spidey run because you missed out on Spidey for ten years, want to reread, or are new to comic books, here’s the reading order. Feel free to just read the ones you’re interested in; I won’t tell on you.