The Amazing Spider-Man #801 was written by Dan Slott with art by Marcos Martin and Munsta Vicente
After all this time, it’s come to this. Dan Slott’s swan song for Amazing Spider-Man. After the epic that was “Go Down Swinging” that finished up in issue #800, I figured this would be something to put a neat little bow on all of the story elements Slott had introduced over the course of his decade long run on the book. Instead, what Slott gave us in his final issue was simply a love letter to Spider-Man. It was a simple explanation of who the character is, what his motivations are, and why he matters.
We start out with a quick recap of Spidey’s origin, and by quick I mean one page and less than 150 words, which I feel is all the time anyone needs to spend on it these days. What’s really interesting about how Slott and artist Marcos Martin handled it here is that everything on this page is directly lifted from Amazing Fantasy #15, just this time around we see it from Peter’s point-of-view.
But it’s not simply a refresher course for the origin, it’s a framing device to let you know that the first half of the story is a flashback. We pick up not even a month after the events of the Amazing Fantasy #15 as we see a still-getting-the-hang-of-it Spider-Man foil a convenience store robbery and save the life of a man named Kenneth Kincaid. Kincaid had been burning the midnight oil at work and received an ominous phone call that caused him to rush out of his office. Before hailing a cab, he’d stopped to pick up a pack of smokes and wound up getting caught in the aforementioned robbery. Thanks to Spidey’s timely intervention, Kincaid was able to make it to his original destination: the hospital, to say a final goodbye to his dying father. Before we catch up to the present we see a selection of moments from Kincaid’s life over the intervening years; some happy, some sad as a voiceover from Kincaid’s wife tells him “All the moments, they add up. They all count. And they’re all better for you just being there.”
We then get back to the present, with Spidey fighting some of Mr. Negative’s goons who are attempting so steal a deadly poison. The first panel is a scene that’s all too familiar to the origin story. Only this time, things go differently.
Kincaid sticks out his foot to trip the fleeing goon in a moment that mirrors what Spidey should have done all those years ago. Back when that one particular moment of Peter Parker’s life affected every other moment going forward, that leading to Spider-Man’s interaction with Kincaid all those years ago, all of that ultimately leading to this moment. Every moment counts. They all add up. Kincaid’s niece, who was with him at the time, is bummed out that they didn’t get to meet a cooler hero like Thor or Captain Marvel.
And that, right there, (after “with great power comes great responsibility”, of course) is what Spider-Man is all about. Everybody is important. Everybody matters to somebody. Maybe you’re not literally saving the world but saving one person can change the world. And that’s what Spider-Man does…he saves people. And also punches bad guys in the face.