Comic books are about telling stories. That is what Dan Slott has been doing. Even though spoilers have been flying around for the last couple weeks, I still won't go right out and say what's happened. There is something great in reading the events that occur here for yourself in the actual comic.
There has been a lot of outrage over what happens here from long time Spider-Man fans. I like to think that I am a long time fan as well. The key here is Dan Slott is telling a story about a fictional character. As he has even mentioned, nothing in comic books is forever. There's always a backdoor that can revert changes. Of course there is one here. This is a way for us to see a different kind of story. It's been fifty years and the time has come to try something a little different.
The story picks up on the battle between Spider-Man and the dying Doc Ock. We know there's a lot at stake for Peter Parker. It's a blast seeing both men, both equally desperate, use their ingenuity to try to outthink the other. This is a different type of fight. The two have clashed numerous times over the years but those have usually been physical battles. This is where we see how intelligent they each are.
Having Spider-Man's supporting cast present for most of the story further drives home what this battle's outcome means for Peter Parker. We see that it's not just Peter's life at risk but the others as well as they are brought into the middle to be used as pawns.
Humberto Ramos does a great job capturing and depicting this final story. There is so much going on and so many characters present. It truly is a wonderful send off to the series we've been reading all these years. Seeing the events unfold with the edge we have in knowing what's really going on is fun as we see Spider-Man interact with friends and foes. This is just giving us a taste of what's to come.
As for the ending of the main story...I'll get to that in a moment.
This is an oversized final issue. To mark the occasion, we do get a variant cover gallery. Whether you're a fan of variant covers or not, it's great to get the chance to actually see the great pieces of art produced. Chances are you won't get the chance to actually see them in person as variant covers tend to sell at a higher price.
J.M. DeMatteis and Giuseppe Camuncoli give us a story that begins "Once upon a time...in the near future." Future stories are to be taken with a grain of salt but this one will make you wonder about the possibilities.
Jen Van Meter and Stephanie Buscema also have a fun story involving Spider-Man and Black Cat, with more of a focus on Felicia.
Adding to the issue are some preview pages for SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN, AVENGING SPIDER-MAN, MORBIUS THE LIVING VAMPIRE, VENOM and SCARLET SPIDER. There's also one of those thumbnail galleries of all 700 covers. Of course we get an extra long letters column featuring Stan Lee answering questions as well.
Did I love the ending of the battle? As a longtime Spider-Man fan, of course not. But that isn't to say that it was a bad story. As the battle progresses, the ending is almost sudden. We know what's coming but it's a matter of how it happens. The shift does make sense but just felt a little abrupt. I'm not quite sure how I feel about the final speech in the story.
The extras are nice. Are they necessary? Not really. They're great to see. The DeMatteis story makes you wonder but almost feels like what we saw in the anniversary issue (AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #692). The Black Cat story was fun and had great art but wasn't necessary for a final issue. Maybe it makes sense because it wouldn't fit in after the events of this issue.
The final issue of THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN has arrived. Spider-Man as we know him is no more. Comic book readers will be the first to complain if we keep getting the same old stories but if a major change is done to our beloved characters, we'll also complain. This is a chance to see something different. Dan Slott has cooked up a crazy idea and now we'll get to see what happens next in SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN. I am on board to see how this plays out. I'll be reading to see what the next chapter holds for Spider-Man and the supporting cast. Of course Spider-Man fans will not be pleased with what happens. But we do see a great battle that really shows what Spider-Man is about. He is one of the greatest heroes and this issue is a testament to that. It's a fight fought on a different sort of battlefield. This is a story you'll remember for years to come. It does change everything.
Will this change last forever? Of course not. At least, as a veteran comic book reader, I'd like to think that. The main thing to remember is this is just a story. It's a comic book story. There are always ways to change things and bring back any status quo fans might miss.
The oversized issues contains a couple other fun and interesting stories along with a look at the variant covers, some preview pages and Stan Lee answering letters.
It's been a great 700 issues. It's the end of the series. Is it the last we've seen of the AMAZING Spider-Man? I seriously doubt it. This issue is a piece of history since you likely won't see another Marvel issue 700 due to all the re-numbering. Enjoy the coming ride to see what else Dan Slott has coming. He's been doing a great job since Big Time (and before). Next month we'll get to see if his gamble in writing this story pays off.