WARNING: This issue contains spoilers for Amazing Spider-Man #801 by Dan Slott and Marcos Martin, in stores now.
After more than ten years on the title, writer Dan Slott has finally bid farewell to the Amazing Spider-Man.
For over a decade, the scribe guided Peter Parker through numerous big moments, from the start of his new direction in "Brand New Day" in 2008 to his big fight with the Red Goblin, a confrontation that concluded only an issue ago, leaving the web-slinger and his world irrevocably changed.
With Slott at the helm, Spider-Man went back to basics, he fought in Spider Island, took part in the mutliverse-spanning event Spider-Verse and went to the "Ends of the Earth" to defeat Doctor Octopus. He switched bodies with his greatest enemy, and later returned by taking his super-heroics worldwide.
Now, Slott, with the help of superstar artist Marcos Martin, hangs up his spider-hat with a final goodbye in Amazing Spider-Man #801, a surprisingly quiet issue that cuts to the heart of what makes Spider-Man a hero of the little people. But that's not all the issue does -- in fact, Slott also calls back to the very first issue of the "Brand New Day" relaunch in Amazing Spider-Man #546, the issue where he officially took over the reins of the title, bringing things full circle for Spidey, as well as for the writer.
Amazing Spider-Man #546 was released in February 2008, and was the first issue of Spider-Man's new direction after the controversial retcon of the "One More Day" storyline which wrote Peter and Mary Jane's wedding out of reality. Along with artist Steve McNiven, Slott gave readers a fresh start that was both new and familiar for Peter Parker. He was back at the Daily Bugle, trying to juggle his work life, his love life and his superhero life all at the same time, to less than stellar results (you can always thank the ol' Parker luck for that). On top of that, the issue properly introduced a new villain to Spider-Man's rogues gallery (after a brief cameo in a Free Comic Book Day issue the previous year): Mister Negative.
The alter ego of Martin Li, Negative appeared in issue #546 as a ruthless crime boss who wouldn't hesitate to slaughter his own men to make a proper name for himself. Most notably, the issue saw the villain come into possession of a briefcase that contained a mystic tablet containing a formula to create a poison called the the Devil's Breath.
In Amazing Spider-Man #801, Spider-Man is seen fighting Mister Negative's henchmen, the Inner Demons, in the middle of a New York City street in broad daylight. The sequence lasts no more than two pages, but it's there that Slott swings things back to the very first issue he worked on. Spider-Man is foiling a robbery/delivery perpetrated by the Inner Demons, who are attempting to deliver yet another briefcase to their boss, Mister Negative. As it so happens, this briefcase contains a formula for something called the Devil's Tears, which is most assuredly another poison of some sort.
From the Devil's Breath to the Devil's Tears, it appears that 10 years later, Mister Negative is still up to his old tricks. With this very simple nod, Slott tips his hat to his humble beginnings on a title he helped guide for the better part of a decade. It's an effective way of closing the circle on a character-defining run that already ranks as a classic for the wall-crawler.
And, just like that, with the briefcase in his hands, Spider-Man swings away, closing the page on one adventure, and heading off into a bold new one.