The epilogue for Spider Island, which comes in the form of Amazing Spider-Man #673, is another example of Dan Slott’s mastery of storytelling. Not content to give us a simple ending, Slott lays the foundation for a story arc that won’t be coming for a while, mixes in a cryptic message from Madame Web, plus hints of what might come for Peter Parker and Mary Jane. He brings it to a boil with the wonderful life Peter Parker’s been living coming crashing down, then serves it up. It’s a recipe for a standout issue within the arc of a story that has been exemplary. It’s not often an epilogue issue stands up against the more action oriented issues, but then, most writers aren’t Dan Slott.
Issue 673 opens with a clean up, as well as a city full of naked survivors that have turned back from being giant spiders. I like that Dan Slott played with the idea of the humans turned spiders waking up naked. Most writers would have left that alone. As the heroes and the city scrape up the giant remains of the former Spider Queen, Spidey’s world begins to get more complicated. The first aspect is Jackal, who apparently had been using a clone to work alongside the Spider Queen, resulting in the real Jackal being alive and well and planning on revenge. Slott has already revealed his next story arc deals with the Doc Ock and the Sinister Six, so this Jackal plot is something Slott is laying out for later.
Then there’s Mary Jane, who still has spider powers because she used to sleep with the real Spider-Man (a nice adult touch, I thought) and was rendered immune to the giant spider mutation. How will Peter deal with that? Cue Kaine, who has been given a new set of marching orders from Madame Web, orders that he won’t reveal to Peter. Slott also manages to drop in a great conversation between J. Jonah Jameson and Robbie Robertson, one that might lead to more changes in the future. Madame Web has her own mystery for Spdiey, one that she says deals in loss.
Everything in this epilogue issue is about change and it all ties in with Slott’s Big Time arc. In that original series, Peter Parker’s life turned around, he stopped being the loveable loser and became something close to a science rock star. Slott is changing all that but with a subtle touch. Most writers would have demolished Peter’s life if only to return him to square one. Slott understands that is well-worn territory so he mixes hope and sadness, he gives Peter a balance of a real life. The city is grateful to Spider-Man for the first time in ages and Peter is still able to keep his job. However, his internet message pretending that he had received spider powers from the Spider Queen’s plot has weakened the spell Doctor Strange used to protect his identity. Now that it’s weakened, anyone can learn of Peter’s identity, returning him to the question of being able to love without putting that person in danger.
Peter also loses Carlie, who is the first to discover his secret identity and feels betrayed for not being trusted with it. Peter is alone again, alone because of Spider-Man, it’s familiar territory done with a new flair. This also opens up, in a very organic way, a new future for Peter and Mary Jane. Could that possibly lead to more having to do with the Brand New Day arc? Who knows, but if anybody can pull off that loop, it’s Slott. As opposed to just a simple wrap up, Amazing Spider-Man #673 is layered issue that moves our hero ahead. It’s a real triumph for the series.
I enjoyed the art from Stefano Caselli and I give him full props for the cover and its nod to one of the most recognized Spider-Man issues ever. The work is fairly straight ahead comic book art, nothing too flashy. Caselli has a nice touch with faces and figures, plus he is great with the dynamics of a panel, laying them out like camera angles. I think the restrained vibe of the issue is better served with Caselli’s humanistic art than Humberto Ramos’ more over the top work. I prefer Ramos to Caselli, but I do think the somber tone of the book is suited to Caselli’s art.
CRAVE ONLINE RATING: 9/10