In these days of launches and relaunches, it’s actually quite unusual for a Marvel comic to get to 25 issues. Let’s face it, though, if any series was going to do it – it’s Dan Slott’s Amazing Spider-Man. Incredibly, Slott joined the team of Amazing Spider-Man ten years ago, back in 2007, and in those ten years we’ve seen dramatic changes to Spider-Man‘s status quo. Under Slott’s direction, the franchise has broadened out more than ever before, with the “Spider-Verse” event launching other web-slingers into action; we now have a wider-than-ever spider-centric corner of the Marvel Universe, with spinoffs like Silk, Spider-Gwen and Spider-Man 2099.
A lot of writers tend to use an issue like this to complete a story, but not Dan Slott. He tied up “Dead No More: The Clone Conspiracy” in the last month, and now he’s moving on to the new arc, using this bumper-sized issue to set up “The Osborn Identity.” The issue opens with Peter Parker in a very dark place indeed; he’s just had to consign his loved ones to death once again, and he’s so desperate for a win that he even made a deal with the Kingpin to get on Norman Osborn’s tail.
One thing I do need to stress, by the way; the villain of the piece is Norman Osborn, not the Green Goblin. The last time Spider-Man clashed with the Green Goblin, he was able to inject Osborn with a cure for the Goblin formula. This Norman Osborn is cured of the insanity of his Green Goblin identity, but that means he’s more dangerous than ever before. The obsessiveness, the fits of rage, the rash and impulsive actions? They’re gone, leaving only a ruthless, immoral business who understands superheroes and supervillains in a way that will make the world tremble. With Peter Parker now a global businessman in his own right as head of the successful (but struggling) Parker Industries, this is a confrontation that’s never seemed more intriguing.
Amazing Spider-Man #25 is a fun rollercoaster ride of an issue, and Slott uses the extra pages to tell an action-packed but emotional story. There’s a beautiful moment that explores the raw emotional pain Peter’s feeling in the aftermath of “Dead No More,” one that adds a poignant human dimension to the sci-fi (and so very Spider-Man) concept of cloning. It’s soon followed by a wonderfully humorous moment in which Peter works up the nervous to ask Mockingbird out on a date – and let’s just say that’s when the good ol’ Parker luck hits. Soon, he’s sat there fuming as Aunt May happily shows Bobbi all his embarrassing baby photos. It’s a laugh-out-loud moment that adds comedy to what is, at heart, a very dark issue.
The main story benefits greatly from Stuart Immnonen’s art; he works hard to ensure that every page is gorgeous, and he’s supported by a team who are firing on all cylinders. Wade von Grawbadger (inks) and Marte Gracia (colorist) perform so strongly, with each page full of mood and tone. Their use of shadow is exceptional, especially in one graveyard scene.
All this is complemented by a series of backup stories. Most are fun, lightweight moments, but two are particularly important – setting up the future of Clash, a background character Slott’s been developing over the last year, and also Spider-Man’s “Secret Empire” tie-in. Plus, the issue as a whole gives a stark warning: we already knew that, sooner or later, Peter’s focus on superheroics would sabotage Parker Industries. It was always going to happen. This issue gives so many hints that we’re headed towards the inevitable downfall of Peter Parker, global industrialist, and that Dan Slott is even now preparing a new status quo for everybody’s favorite web-slinger.
Slott’s run has been tremendous, transforming the Spider-Man canon. Amazing Spider-Man #25 is frankly one of his better issues, showing just how powerful and creative a writer he really is. It sets up one of the most promising arcs of years, resurrects a key character, and offers tantalizing hints at the future of Spider-Man. All in all, it’s a must-read.
Amazing Spider-Man #25 is a tremendous issue, kickstarting Dan Slott's next arc and bringing Peter Parker and Norman Osborn into head-on collision!