SPOILER ALERT - Today I'm talking details of the final issue of Amazing Spider-Man, which went on sale Wednesday. If you don't want the details spoiled, stop reading here.
I looked forward to every issue of "What If?" as a kid. There were no rules with that series - anyone, hero or villain, could die at any moment. And thought that death would only be felt in that issue, it was momentarily epic and often very fun.
And that's how I'd describe Dan Slott's last three issues of Amazing Spider-Man - culminating in #700. I feel like he had just given me "What if Doctor Octopus won?". And for that, I love him.
But did it make for a good final issue of Amazing Spider-Man? Yes and no. And no.
YES - I found the issue exciting - a "page turner" if you will. And I like that Peter both fails and succeeds at the end. Points to Slott and Marvel for taking chances and sticking to their guns (even if the end result involved real-life death threats). So as far as the story being an appropriate climax for the end of a series - I feel like it was done as well as it could be done. There isn't a writer in the world who could have pulled off a final story that would have pleased all the Spider-Fans.
(I've got to come clean here, to me Peter Parker died with Brand New Day. The issues before that were the last time I actually cared about the character. Everything that happened since felt to me like it was happening to a "different" Peter. So it may have been a lot easier for me to give this issue a pass since I had little invested in the character over the past 5-years.)
NO - This isn't the final issue of The Amazing Spider-Man. And this isn't the last time we'll see Peter Parker. We all know this, so Peter's "death" is just another manipulation of the audience in the vein of the deaths of Captain America, Human Torch, and Superman. And I'm tired of that. Even if they are often executed pretty well. Death means nothing in mainstream comics, and in a couple of years, this issue will be just another "landmark event" that will be relatively meaningless in the rebooted continuity.
AND NO - All that aside, I liked the idea of Doc Ock seeing the light and vowing to redeem himself. The last pages of #700 had me thinking "ok - not sure how I feel about Peter's death, but I do like the idea of watching Doctor Octopus make good on his promise. Interesting character arc, cool to see the "new" Doc Ock". But for those of you who picked up Avenging Spider-Man #15.1 (also on sale as of last Wednesday), you'll see that this "new" Doc Ock is kind of an ass. He's an unlikable character in almost every sense, and it was hard to get through the book. I'm not at all as excited to pick up the up-coming Superior Spider-Man as I was at the end of issue #700.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go dig up some of those old "What If?"s...
Bonus: Know an enraged Spider-fanboi? Pass him this link, then give him a big hug.