There likely isn’t a more controversial Spider-Man writer than Dan Slott. Slott was part of the brain trust of writers that took over The Amazing Spider-Man comics when that series went on to ship three issues a month in 2008. He became the sole writer for Amazing in November of 2010 and stayed on the title until June 2018. In his ten-year run, he introduced many concepts and storylines that were, at the time, highly derided by fans.
Many Spider-Man fans continue to express their outrage at the decisions Slott made to the character on either online forums or towards Slott directly on his social media accounts- which is never okay. Plenty of readers have even called for Slott’s head for the decisive decisions he had made. Though those are extreme examples, a lot of Slott’s story choices weren’t always for the best for Spider-Man. At the same time, Slott did create many great Spider-Man comics and some were quite good. Several of Slott’s Spider-Man comics are often cited as being some of the most impactful modern-day Spider-Man stories. Under Slott’s pen, fans were given classics like Spider-Island, Superior Spider-Man, and, the most popular, Spider-Verse. Despite many readers forever damning Slott for all he has done, his influence on Spider-Man will most likely live on in infamy.
10 What Doesn’t Hold Up – Some Of His Filler Arcs Felt Low-Effort Compared To The Big Stories
No matter what fans’ feelings are for Dan Slott’s big story arcs, they were undeniably ambitious. Stories like Spider-Verse and Superior Spider-Man were huge projects for Slott to undertake, and despite all their faults, are looked back fondly by most readers.
In-between those major storylines are some filler issues, and some of those comics are not the greatest. There are actually several great small arcs scattered throughout Slott’s run, with No One Dies and Great Heights being two noticeable examples. With that said, a lot of the other filler issues felt low-effort and didn’t have the same quality as some of his more ambitious stories.
9 What Holds Up – Introducing Agent Venom & Kaine’s Scarlet Spider
Over the course of Slott’s ten-year run on Amazing Spider-Man, several comics were spun-off from story arcs that he penned in Spider-Man. Early in his tenure as the sole writer of Amazing, he made Peter’s old-time bully Flash Thompson into the new Venom. Flash would then spin-off int0 his own solo Venom book written by Rick Remender, which ended up becoming critically acclaim.
At the conclusion of Spider-Island, Peter’s clone Kaine became the new Scarlet Spider and was given his own ongoing comic. Kaine’s comic was written by Chris Yost and it was also amazing.
8 What Doesn’t Hold Up – His Portrayals Of Characters Besides Peter Parker Were Inconsistent
Slott usually had a pretty strong voice for Peter Parker, and he was also able to work magic with some of the side characters. He was best when writing for J. Jonah Jameson and Betty Brant.
Unfortunately, he was incredibly inconsistent with nearly every other character. He made Norah Winters, one of the best side characters introduced post-2000s, a one-note meanie. He also had awkward portrayals of some of the other superheroes every time they guess starred. Worse of all, Slott was extremely inconsistent with Mary Jane Watson. Sometimes he would write her as competent and cool, but other times he made her come across as unreasonable.
7 What Holds Up – Spider-Island
An idea that on paper shouldn’t work, yet in the end it did. The concept of 2011’s Spider-Island, a story arc written by Slott and art by Humberto Ramos, is that the entire island of Manhattan has been infected with the same powers as Spider-Man.
It’s an incredibly silly premise for a story arc, however, credit where credit is due, Slott and Ramos were able to pull it off. It was Slott’s first major “event” comic for Amazing, and he was able to seamlessly blend the campy-ness with genuine great superhero action. It’s with this arc that put Slott’s Amazing run on the map.
6 What Doesn’t Hold Up – Resurrecting Ben Reilly
Clone Conspiracy is one of Slott’s later big “event” storylines and it is probably his weakest. Unlike Spider-Island, Clone Conspiracy actually had a great premise. The comic is written by Slott and drawn by Jim Cheung, and it is about people around Peter being reunited by love ones thought long dead. It eventually ties-in with his whole clone debacle he faced in the 90s.
There were decent issues within the “event”, but the nail-in-the-coffin moment for many fans was the reveal that Ben Reilly was the mastermind of the whole thing. Ben was a clone of Peter who passed away at the end of the Clone Saga. His resurrection and ultimate heal-turn weren’t well-received by fans of the character.
5 What Holds Up – Creating The Spider-Verse
Truthfully, Spider-Verse doesn’t feature Slott at his best. The event was written by Slott and drawn by several artists, mainly by Olivier Coipel and Giuseppe Camuncoli. It’s overall a decent comic storyline, yet the last few issues couldn’t match up with the build-up to the “event”.
In spite of that, the concept is so very strong; all the Spider-Men and Women from across the multiverse join forces to stop Morlun and his vampiric family from sucking the life force of every Spider token. It’s thanks to this event fans got Spider-Gwen and SP//dr (AKA Marvel’s Evangelion). It eventually led to the creation of Into the Spider-Verse, and none of that would have happened if it wasn’t for Dan Slott.
4 What Doesn’t Hold Up – Making Peter A Millionaire Business Man
The reason why Marvel took away Peter’s marriage to Mary Jane in One More Day is that writers and editors believed his marriage aged the character and made him less relatable. Somehow him being married to a long-term girlfriend was less relatable than him being the CEO of a multimillionaire company.
After the Marvel super event Secret Wars (2015), Peter’s company Parkers Industry was able to become a hugely successful corporation with buildings across the globe. That made Spider-Man a worldwide hero. There were some good stories during that time frame, nevertheless, the whole concept felt like a betrayal of his character.
3 What Holds Up – Doctor Octopus As The Superior Spider-Man
Superior Spider-Man is Dan Slott’s magnum opus during his time writing Spider-Man. It was a huge risk for him to do and he faced pushed back from nearly everyone. Yet he persisted, and he ended up creating something truly special.
In Slott’s and Humberto Ramos’ Amazing Spider-Man #700, a dying Doctor Octopus was able to switch bodies with Spider-Man, with the latter seemingly dying in Octo’s body. Now in the body of his number one nemesis, Doctor Octopus ends up becoming the self-proclaim Superior Spider-Man. Probably the most controversial comic of its time, the storyline ended up becoming a huge hit.
2 What Doesn’t Hold Up – Alpha
In the lead-up to Amazing Spider-Man #700 and Superior Spider-Man, Slott wrote a few story arcs that were more frivolous. One of these stories was a three-issue arc of Peter Parker accidentally giving superpowers to a nobody teen name Andrew Maguire. The teen’s name is a combination of Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield, the first two actors to portray the character on film.
The storyline was meant to be taken non-seriously, but even with that caveat, the story arc isn’t that good. The teen superhero, who went by Alpha, was too unlikable. Somehow he was given his own miniseries later on.
1 What Holds Up – Slott’s Encypedia Knowledge Of All Things Spider-Man
Slott loves Spider-Man. No matter what problems a lot of readers had on his run with the character, his love cannot be denied. The proof was always evident on the page; Slott would be one of the few Spidey writers who would constantly bring up oft-forgotten Spider-Man history to his story.
He wouldn’t just make them references either, he would make these obscure facts important plot points to his arc. What writers other than Slott would bring back long-forgotten characters like the Living-Brain and Stunner, and make it work? Through all his faults, Slott’s knowledge of all things Spider-Man is something that even his harshest critics can’t deny.
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