I’m finding myself in a place and point in time where I’ve become exceedingly grumpy about comics for one reason or the other. Part of it could be unreasonable expectations, another part could be reasonable expectations unmet. But the sentiment is neither new nor original on the internet, so instead of spewing negativity for now, I’d like to take the time to focus on some positives.
It’s no secret I’ve been a fan of Dan Slott’s for quite a while. From his work on She-Hulk, Avengers: Initiative and The Great Lakes Avengers to his all-too-brief run on The Thing, Slott has proven time and time again that he’s a master of the art of comic writing and carries a respect of the history of comics in general. There is palpable love there, whether he’s bringing back a long-forgotten character and dusting him off or taking a well-driven car for a spin in a different direction.
When Dan Slott took over Spider-Man, I had all but given up on there being decent stories left about my favorite character. Spidey had suffered so many indignities that he seemed a shell of the character I love. Everyone knows the dark, bleak road that Spidey was descending, so I won’t bother going into them, but my trust in Slott’s storytelling persuaded me to give Spidey another chance.
And as usual, I was never let down. Spider-Man was different, of course. His marriage was over, his entire existence was shifted slightly to the left just a hair, but what could have floundered miserably in less-skilled hands became an intriguing new adventure in Slott’s. Before, I had shaken my head at the ridiculously convoluted nature of the dissolution of his marriage, now I found myself pulling for this new relationship between Peter and Carlie the cop. It seemed the fun Spidey was not only back, but he was thriving and better than ever. Not only was he a superhero, he was a scientist, and more well-rounded than he had been in ages. The stories were not just derivatives of old stories or filling in the chinks between previously-told adventures, but brand-new ones that added layers to Spidey and Peter.
And then Peter died.
Wow, did that lead to some backlash.
But instead of frothing and foaming like the idjit hordes of the internet seem all too eager to do, I trusted Slott, and he rewarded me with a brand new take on an exceedingly different Spider-Man. With a genius villain now in complete control of Spider-Man, the results could go horribly wrong, or, as is the case with Superior Spider-Man, can add even more depth and bring an entirely new level of storytelling to both the idea and the ideal.
It’s a $4 comic, but unlike so many books out now, I actually feel like I get my money’s worth each month. There’s meat, there’s growth, there’s actual storytelling in a time when comics seem content to give you month after month of setup to a story or payoff that doesn’t seem to come, or disappoints when it does.
Plus, he used the Living Brain. Come on — that’s awesome.
So thank you, Dan Slott, for “getting it,” and consistently providing intelligent, interesting comics books of some of my favorite characters.