"With great power, there must also come, great responsibility".
Spider-Man's famous mantra, the words he lives by and the words that inspire him to be the hero he is. These are wise words indeed and they can, of course, be followed in the real world by you and me. However, there is one man who will live by this phrase every day of his working life. That man is Dan Slott, the current writer of Spider-Man.
In 2008, Slott became one of the team of writers on the core Spider-Man book, The Amazing Spider-Man. He was certainly given a baptism of fire -- his first issues had to deal with the aftermath of the highly controversial One More Day storyline. After writing the Spider-Man Shattered Dimensions video game, Slott eventually moved on to become the sole writer of the series in November 2010 and he continues to write it today. He has been involved in a number of big storylines for the character and is responsible for writing over 100 issues of The Amazing Spider-Man. He also currently writes the excellent Silver Surfer series. But today, I want to talk about Spider-Man.
Dan Slott is obviously a man who loves Spider-Man. Reading his tweets, you can tell that he is truly living a dream and this comes through on the page. His understanding of the characters is excellent and he also knows, as a fan, what the readers will like. In his time as writer, Peter Parker has evolved from a photographer struggling to make ends meet to the successful CEO of Parker Industries. He quickly realized that a man with Peter's intelligence (he created his own web shooters at age 15 for goodness sake!) would need to stimulate this intellect, and photographing Spidey for the Daily Bugle simply would not cut it anymore. Slott introduced Horizon Labs to Peter's life, which gave him the stimulus he needed and also allowed him to create new tech for Spider-Man. This was a big change from the status quo which many casual fans would have come to expect, but it was an organic change and something that made perfect sense. Over time, Slott has used his love of the character to try and allow him to evolve. However, his run has not been without controversy. The Dying Wish storyline caused outrage because it killed off Peter Parker and the consequences were equally controversial...
Superior Spider-Man was, in my opinion, an excellent story for the character. It truly was a love letter to Peter Parker. Many were critical of the story when it was first announced and even sent Slott death threats, but it showed everybody just how amazing (pun intended) Peter Parker is. Otto Octavius was Spider-Man in his own way. He did many things that Peter Parker would never do and used his own methods, but ultimately he came to realize that the truly Superior Spider-Man was, in fact, Peter Parker. Slott told the story he wanted to tell and actually brought many readers back to Spider-Man, and surprisingly he made people miss Otto when he decided to allow Peter to have his body back.
If Superior Spider-Man wasn't a love letter to Peter, then the next big storyline most definitely was. Slott was the brains behind Spider-Verse -- a multi universal crossover story that featured "every Spider-Man ever!" (that they were legally allowed to use). This featured Spider-men and women from across the Marvel universe fighting against Morlun (an evil life force-sucking vampire) and his family, the Inheritors. The Inheritors survived by absorbing animal-based life forces, and they were particularly fond of spider totems. The various teams of Spider-men and women joined forces to ultimately defeat the Inheritors and the storyline allowed for many different versions of Spider-Man, both new and old, to appear. Of course, the hero was the original Peter Parker, but he also teamed up with Miguel O'Hara, the Spider-Man of 2099, Miles Morales, the Ultimate Spider-Man, Kaine, a clone of Peter Parker, the current Scarlet Spider and Jessica Drew, Earth-616's Spider-Woman and a number of new characters.
Silk (who had recently been introduced as part of the Original Sin storyline, was a girl who was bitten by the same spider as Peter), Spider-UK (a spider themed member of the Captain Britain Corps), and Spider-Gwen (an alternate universe version of Gwen Stacy) were some of the notable additions. Peter also came face to face with another of Slott's creations: The Superior Spider-Man! This was a meeting that I had been clamoring for ever since the series was announced, and Slott certainly did not disappoint with the story (it even led to one of my favorite images in comics, pictured below).
What the Spider-verse story showed was that Dan Slott truly does understand Peter Parker. Even though he was writing versions of the same character, he allowed each one to be unique. When the story is announced, straight away we realize that the Peter Parker we have all known for over 50 years will be the one to save the day. What Dan Slott does is explain to us WHY the character is so loved, what values make this Peter Parker better than all the others. This is something Dan Slott knows and tries to show through his writing, and I for one am glad. I am definitely interested to see where he takes the character in the new Amazing Spider-Man series and I hope he continues in this role for a while to come! And wouldn't it be great if he was involved in writing the Marvel Spider-Man film?
I'll leave you with this tweet from one of his DC rivals.