[SPOILERS TO FOLLOW]
It’s hard to talk about the last issue of Amazing-Spider Man without getting into some spoilers, so I put the tag above in case any of you want to jump off now. That said, I will try and stay away from a ton of specifics, because you really should read this one for yourself. But major plot points will be discussed. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.
Amazing Spider-Man #700 is a $7.99, 104-page beast of a comic that features the conclusion of a storyline 100 issues in the making. Well, actually the main story is 40 pages, and the rest of the book is a combination of short stories, letters pages and a cover gallery. The extra material is hit and miss, but I’ll get back to that. First, let’s discuss the main story, which is written by Dan Slott with fantastic art by Humberto Ramos (pencils), Victor Olazaba (inks) and Edgar Delgado (colors).
Anyone remotely interested in comics has by now heard about the big “mindswap” that Doc Ock pulled on Peter Parker in issue #698. It was a brilliant bit of storytelling that offered one of the only “holy cow” moments I’ve had in comics in quite some time. Octavius’ masterstroke was a storyline that had been building since his return in Amazing Spider-Man #600, and it paid off beautifully. ASM #698 is one of my two favorite issues of the year (along with Daredevil #19), and when you read the twist, you immediately have to read the whole issue over again, which is a testament to how the story plays out.
For me though, the big question heading into issue #700 was whether or not the twist that Slott introduced in #698 would actually stick, or whether there would be a magical return to the status quo. I had faith that Slott would not disappoint, and that faith was well placed. Not only does the twist stick, but Slott takes the storyline to a powerful, emotional conclusion that I’ve been thinking about for days after reading it. I think what I love about it the most is how everything comes back to Peter’s mantra of power and responsibility. We as readers have gotten to see that mantra play out time and time again, through the experiences of both Peter Parker and Spider-Man. But to this point, no one in Peter Parker or Spider Man’s world has gotten to see all of the times he has lived that mantra--all of the experiences where that mantra has shaped the decisions he’s made.
Not Uncle Ben. Not Aunt May. Not Mary Jane.
The landscape of Spider-Man has changed monumentally with this one issue, and it’s clear that Superior Spider-Man will be a very different book than Amazing was.
It’s rare that a creator gets to stay on a book long enough to create a storyline this big, and be there to bring it to its conclusion as well. I truly feel like Slott’s run on ASM will be looked at as legendary in the years to come, and not because of the more controversial issues of that run, but because he captured everything we’ve come to love about Spidey and Peter Parker over the years, right up until the very end.
5 out of 5 Legacies of Responsibility
Following Slott’s fantastic conclusion to the Dock Ock story, we get a couple of shorter ones that both feel somewhat out of place. "Spider-Dreams" by J.M. DeMatteis and Guiseppe Camuncoli is up first, and features an alternate future story, while “Date Night” by Jen Van Meter and Stephanie Buscema is more of a Black Cat story with a Spidey cameo. Both are good stories, but they felt somewhat out of place to me, especially for the "final issue" of ASM.
The two pieces of supplemental material that I do think belong in the book are the extended letters page and the cover gallery. The letters page features creators from Stan Lee to Erik Larsen, talking about what Spidey means to them. And the cover galley is fantastic, as it allows readers to re-live some of the great (and not so great) moments in Spidey’s past through the covers of all 700 issues. Both are worthy additions to the 700th issue.
I think the issue overall would have been better served by taking the epilogue story that will be Avenging Spider-Man #15.1 and including it in issue #700 instead of the short stories. They feel like filler, and an excuse to make the book more expensive, knowing how many people would be picking it up.
3 out of 5 Some Killer, Some Fillers
Despite my gripes about some of the extra content, Dan Slott’s status quo-shattering storyline is one for the ages. I can’t wait to see what Superior Spider-Man has to offer.
4.5 out of 5 Landmark Issues