Dan Slott’s decade long run on Spider-Man has reached its end. There has been a lot of ups and downs during the course of Slott’s run on Spider-Man. Both from a character and story standpoint. Most recently Slott tied up the long running plotline involving Norman Osborn that seemingly reset the rivalry between Spider-Man and Green Goblin. Along with that Slott left a lot of questions about where Peter Parker, Spider-Man and the supporting cast of this franchise will go after the events of “Go Down Swinging.” Now the question is what Slott plans to do for his final issue of Amazing Spider-Man? Let’s find that out right now by taking a look at Amazing Spider-Man #801.
Writer: Dan Slott
Artist: Marcos Martin
Colorist: Muntsa Vicente
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Peter Parker thinks back to his origin and how the death of his Uncle Ben lead him to be the Spider-Man everyone knows.
Three weeks after Uncle Ben’s death a man name Kenneth gets a call at his office from his family about only having a few hours left.
Kenneth quickly calls a taxi but before he gets in he realizes he needs some cigarettes and goes to a local grocery store.
Inside Kenneth notices a guy holding the cashier at gunpoint behind the register. The guy warns Kenneth and the cashier that he will shoot them if they don’t do what he says.
Spider-Man suddenly busts in and gets both Kenneth and the cashier to safety. Spider-Man then proceeds to quickly disarm and web up the guy trying to rob the grocery store.
A couple NYPD cops show up and Spider-Man leaves before they can try to blame and arrest him for what happened. Though Kenneth also wants to leave the police tell him that they need to question him on what happened in the grocery store.
A couple hours later Kenneth arrives just in time to the hospital to say goodbye to his father, who is surrounded by the rest of his family. After his dad passes away Kenneth tells his wife, Ellie, that he can’t believe he almost missed saying goodbye to his dad.
After his dad’s funeral as time passes Kenneth is able to see the birth of his niece, spend time with his family, his son graduate school and Ellie’s 40th birthday.
In the present Spider-Man is fighting Mister Negative’s gang. One of the gang members tries to escape with a briefcase they stole but is tripped as soon as he starts running away. Spider-Man quickly webs up Mister Negative’s entire gang.
Kenneth, who tripped the gang member who tried to escape, gives Spider-Man the briefcase that was stolen. Spider-Man says he owes Kenneth. Kenneth says to just see it as a thank you for saving him for what could’ve been the worst night in Kenneth’s life. Spider-Man wonders what he did. Kenneth says, with a smile on his face, Spider-Man got him to quit smoking. Spider-Man says he’ll see Kenneth around and swings away.
Kenneth’s niece, Judy, says its lame that the first superhero she gets to see in person turned out to be Spider-Man. Kenneth wonders why Judy feels that way. Judy says she wished it was Captain America, Captain Marvel or Black Panther since when they save the day they save the whole world.
Kenneth tells Judy that Spider-Man saves the world every single day. Kenneth talks about how Spider-Man risks his life everyday to save people. And to the people Spider-Man saves they are someones world, whether it is best friend, girlfriend, husband, mom or uncle.
Judy realizes that Spider-Man saved her uncle’s life at some point and says that Spider-Man is cool. Kenneth and Judy then walk down the street to continue their day together as Spider-Man continues to swing through the city. End of issue.
The Good: As a standalone issue Amazing Spider-Man #801 is a strong reminder of what the characters of Peter Parker and Spider-Man represents in the world of pop culture. In tapping into the core of what makes Spider-Man so popular Dan Slott was able to craft an issue that could be read at the beginning or end of his comic book run. Though this may not be exactly what some fans may wanted following the ending of “Go Down Swinging.”
Kicking Amazing Spider-Man #801 with a quick recap of Peter Parker’s superhero origins was a nice bait-and-switch. Slott knows that the amount of times Spider-Man’s origin has been told and retold is only matched by Batman and Superman. Understanding that Slott smartley used that origin set-up to instead further define who Spider-Man is and what he represents. That idea is very simply being that Spider-Man is the People’s Champion.
Seeing that idea of Spider-Man as the People’s Champion through the eyes of one of the people that he has saved throughout his career proved to be fascinating. Because in Spider-Man’s one of many day-to-day actions he was able to help Kenneth live a full life. Beginning the spotlight on Kenneth by showing how Spider-Man saved him and gave Kenneth the chance to say goodbye to his father was a powerful starting point.
Slott furthered Kenneth’s story to the present by showing how close Kenneth got with his family after Spider-Man saved his life. Throughout all these segments we see how Kenneth didn’t make his life all about work, which is what was implied it was before his father died. Slott also did a good job using these scenes to subtly insert another big change and that is Kenneth quitting smoking. That is a big change for any person as it is a hard habit to kick. It gave the connection Kenneth to that fateful day as Spider-Man saved his life in more ways than one.
All this made Kenneth telling his niece Judy why she should be excited to have Spider-Man be the first superhero in person an even more powerful moment. Because while Spider-Man has been an Avenger for over decade now it has not taken away from him being the “Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man.” Spider-Man has continued to live up to that moniker as he has been the hero that will save the day for the smallest and biggest crimes. Kenneth pointing this out and seeing all the examples of this, especially how it helped people like Kenneth, a stronger point. Seeing Judy realize that Spider-Man saved her uncle at some point made how Amazing Spider-Man #801 wrapped up even more satisfying.
Above Slott’s writing what made Amazing Spider-Man #801 even better was the fantastic artwork from Marcos Martin. Out of everyone that Slott has worked with Martin is at the top of the list of artists for his run on Spider-Man. Martin just knows how to make the reader feel like they are reading a classic Spider-Man comic no matter what the story may be. His artwork captures all the joy and sorrow various characters go through. His montages are strong showing of this, with the final double page splash sequence being the greatest example of that.
The Bad: The one disappoint aspect of Amazing Spider-Man #801 is the fact that it does not feel like a wrap for Slott’s decade long run. Instead this issue does read more like a standalone issue that can be read at any that. That is not a bad thing at all but given that Slott has put such an emphasis on Spider-Man’s supporting cast it would been more appropriate to see how Slott is leaving them as well. Because the fact is we did not get much of Peter Parker interacting with his supporting cast in “Go Down Swinging.” All the interaction was left to Spider-Man, which leaves this issue feeling like it is missing something in the grand scheme of things.
That is especially noticeable since “Go Down Swinging” placed more of an emphasis on Spider-Man’s relationship with J. Jonah Jameson and him knowing Peter’s secret. In terms of Slott’s run, it would’ve been a better ending if we got to see him show where Peter stands with MJ, Aunt May, the Daily Bugle staff and other supporting cast members. Even if that meant half of Amazing Spider-Man #801 was about this and the rest was what we actually got, it would’ve been more satisfying as someone who has read Slott’s run since the beginning.
Overall: Amazing Spider-Man #801 is a great standalone issue for Dan Slott to end his run on. Through the eyes of one of the many people Peter has saved as Spider-Man we are able to see what how the character is the People’s Champion of the Marvel Universe. With Marcos Martin elevating the story even further with his fantastic artwork Amazing Spider-Man #801 turned out to be a comic that is hard not have a smile after reading it. Though how satisfying this final Dan Slott issue of Amazing Spider-Man is will probably be left up to what you were looking for from the closing chapter of his decade long run.