My fondness for Dan Slott’s writing is no secret, especially not when it comes to his Spider-Man work. But five and a half months into Clearing the Backlog, I figure it’s okay to put those thoughts on paper.
The “Big Time” arc and era of Amazing Spider-Man are not Slott’s first issues on the book; they’re his first as the title’s solo writer. For nearly fifty issues, he had been a member of a bullpen that co-wrote the title—not only did he come in with experience under his belt, but he had already been seeding ideas that would play out over the next fifty-plus issues. With “Big Time,” Slott starts giving Peter Parker the life he wants—maybe even the life he deserves. He joins a bleeding-edge laboratory, makes good money (and has a swanky apartment), and even has a place on the Avengers’ roster. It’s a pretty significant departure from the usual down-on-his-luck Spidey.
The Amazing Spider-Man was one of the last series I picked up when I started reading comics. I was afraid that a Spider-Man title that departed too much from the 90s’ animated series—which I held as the platonic ideal of Spider-Man—would be disappointing. Experiences with middling Spider-Man video games* and a trio of movies I didn’t care for reinforced this concern. But I did eventually** give it a try, and despite Slott’s drastic departure from Peter’s status quo, his Spidey felt like the character I grew up loving.
Many artists have worked on Amazing Spider-Man over the last few years; in the first “Big Time” arc, Humberto Ramos handled pencilling duties. Ramos has contributed to art for much of Slott’s run, and his pages—along with frequent collaborator Edgar Delgado on colors—are slinky and agile. This arc centers around the Hobgoblin, and the pair’s style makes for a lean, vicious take on the character. Their Spider-Man is as lithe and agile as he should be, making for dynamic confrontations between the two.
This run on Amazing Spider-Man (and what comes after it in Superior and still more Amazing) is one of the all-time great comics runs. You should give it a try—if at all possible, start at the very beginning; it’s a long run, but if you don’t let that intimidate you, it will be rewarding. The greatest compliment I can give Slott’s tenure on the character is that it has supplanted the cartoon I grew up on as my ideal version of Spider-Man.
* In retrospect, I might have been too hard on Ultimate Spider-Man, because I didn’t understand the difference between the Ultimate and 616 Universes before I got into comics. That said, I dug Shattered Dimensions, which I would learn later Dan Slott had scripted.
** The Amazing Spider-Man #688 was my first issue, in case you’re curious.
- The Amazing Spider-Man: Big Time (#648-651)
- The Amazing Spider-Man: Big Time Ultimate Collection (#648-662)
Writer: Dan Slott | Pencillers: Humberto Ramos, Neil Edwards, Stefano Caselli | Inkers: Carlos Cuevas with Joseph Damon & Victor Olazaba, Scott Hanna | Colorists: Edgar Delgado, Morry Hollowell | Letterers: VC’s Joe Caramagna, VC’s Chris Eliopoulos