Fun With Familiar Ideas in The Amazing Spider-Man 799

by Spencer Irwin

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

The end of a creative team’s run often finds the team building to a story that spans their entire tenure on the title, bringing together all their loose ends into one grand climax. Dan Slott, though, has simply been writing The Amazing Spider-Man too long to realistically do that; in fact, he’s tied up most of his long-running plots over the last few storylines, instead using much of his final arc to return Peter Parker to a kinda-sorta classic status quo for future creators to play with. Slott, though, has always found quite a bit to mine from classic status quos, from familiar plots and the immutable core of his characters. Even stories as well-known as “Norman Osborn returns to terrorize Peter and Harry” and “Spider-Man and Goblin fight” find a new life under Slott’s pen, and that’s no different in The Amazing Spider-Man 799, which finds Slott and Stuart Immonen tackling these familiar stories from new angles, from different perspectives, with a few surprises hiding up their sleeves.

Norman Osborn’s journey from Goblin King to Red Goblin has been told in fits and starts ever since the end of Superior Spider-Man nearly half a decade ago, but subtle moments of Osborn family drama have been doled out in single-panel increments for just as long, if not longer: Harry’s strained relationship with his ex and children (and even his father’s legacy) has always been the kind of detail that seemed more important to character than plot, at least until now. It’s funny — after absolutely decimating Peter last month, Osborn barely cares about him at all in this issue. His focus is on his family, and that not only makes him feel like a slightly more complex character and a more dynamic villain, but it allows Slott and Immonen to slip some surprises into even their penultimate issue (the return of Harry’s mother, Emma).

This issue’s other focus is Peter’s allies, which allows Slott to tie up a few more loose ends (such as Clash’s status and perhaps Anti-Venom’s powers altogether), but also to give some attention to characters who are important to Peter but who Slott hasn’t always had the time to highlight perhaps as much as he’d have liked (Silk, Miles Morales). Ultimately, though, their failure gives Peter an excuse to put back on the Spider-Man suit — no matter what threats Osborn may have made — and swing back into action. In some ways this is an underwhelming choice, if only because it means that the intriguing scenario established last issue (that Peter has to fight Osborn as Peter, not as Spider-Man) only lasts half an issue. Even Peter himself doesn’t seem to think it was all that interesting or effective for him to suit back up and try to help.

But that’s the thing about Peter Parker, the Amazing Spider-Man: he has a responsibility to help others whenever he can, with everything he has, even if it means fighting while injured, even if it means standing up to an untouchable madman who has threatened everybody he’s ever loved. Really, we never should have expected this run to end in any other way than with Spider-Man and Goblin throwing down face-to-face one final time. After this issue, I can’t wait to see the finale; Slott and Immonen have given me faith that they’ll find a way to make even this classic, age-old conflict feel fresh and interesting.

The conversation doesn’t stop there. What do you wanna talk about from this issue?

2 comments on “Fun With Familiar Ideas in The Amazing Spider-Man 799

  1. I think my read on this was pretty much the same as yours. This is a weird time: Slott has been on Spider-Man the entire time I have been back into comics (for me, about 7 years, Slott longer). Others have had minor impacts – Zdarsky has made a minor impact with Spectacular, which led to the JJJ revelation (but he’s dying next issue, right Drew?)… but this has been Dan Slott’s vision.

    And he’s mostly killed it. There have been some flops here and there, but damn, rereading Slott’s entire run on Spidey is going to be a treat.

    Anyway, if I had to sum up this issue, I’d quote you. As I write this, I realize that it’s weird praise, but it does exactly what a penultimate issue from a legendary run should do:

    “I can’t wait to see the finale.”

  2. Also, I love Red Goblin’s design. Immonen can make anything look good, of course, but man, I just find it a dynamic, intimidating design

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