Elsewhere on the site, Best Shots team leader David Pepose called Amazing Spider-Man #655, out in comic book stores today, “the best issue of Amazing Spider-Man that Dan Slott has ever written.”
At least one other person is equally enthusiastic about the issue: Slott himself, who told Newsarama in a phone interview, “More than any comic I’ve done in my entire career, this one is now my favorite.”
The comic depicts the funeral of J. Jonah Jameson’s wife Marla, who died in issue #654 as a result of the Spider-Slayer attack focused on Jonah’s family and friends. It’s also a look at how death has affected Spider-Man throughout the character’s near 50-year history — dating back to the origin story demise of Uncle Ben in Amazing Fantasy #15, and including well-known instances like Gwen Stacy’s murder Amazing Spider-Man #121 and other, less famous yet still important character deaths from more obscure stories in Spidey's history.
“If you’re a Spider-Man fan from any generation, there is something in #655 for you,” Slott said. “It is just a complete celebration of the 48-year history of Spider-Man.”
As anyone who’s read past Slott comics like his run on She-Hulk (where old comic books were used as citable legal documents), it’s clear that he’s got an appreciation of comic book history, from major events to minor characters and continuity minutiae — all of which feeds into the issue, though Slott says not in a way that makes it inaccessible to those less versed on Marvel Comics comings-and-goings.
“One of the things people know me for is that I love continuity,” Slott said. “My take on continuity, it’s the bedrock that we stand. Stories should not be wallowing in continuity. Stories shouldn’t be obsessing about continuity, and the story should never be about continuity. But continuity should be there for you and to help you tell the best story you can. It’s there for us to stand on the shoulders of giants, to reach different heights.”
Spanish artist Marcos Martin, who illustrated several issues of Amazing Spider-Man during the “Brand New Day” era, handled art duties on the issue.“Marcos Martin, I think turned out the work of his career on this one,” Slott said. “It’s gorgeous.
“There is a double-page spread in #655 that when I saw it for the first time, words failed me. I did not have enough adjectives, adverbs — I was gobsmacked. Total jaw on the floor. When I finally typed it up, I just thought, ‘Oh my god, this sounds like complete hyperbole, but I mean this, I honestly mean this, I think this is the most beautiful double-page spread in the 48-year history of Amazing Spider-Man.’”
The preview pages released last week from Amazing Spider-Man #655 were all silent (and part of a larger silent sequence which opens the issue). Slott said that was done to showcase the art and the “storytelling magic” of Martin.
“The coloring [by Muntsa Vicente] is just gorgeous — just that shot of Jonah in bed,” Slott said. “There’s some heartbreaking stuff in there.”
Slott realizes that in an industry known for hyperbole, his effusive words of praise may sound a bit over-the-top, but his passion for the comic is clear.
“You don’t often get to pull out this card, I think you only get to do it once, and I’m going to say it: If you only buy one Dan Slott comic ever, buy this one,” the writer said. “This is my favorite.”
Check back with Newsarama tomorrow for much more with Dan Slott covering all things Amazing Spider-Man.