This should be a lesson on how to change established characters.
People argue there’s nothing you can do to characters who have been around for 30, 40 or 60 years. If you change them, people whine. If you don’t change them, people whine. But Dan Slott found a happy medium with his run on Amazing Spider-Man.
He changed details without actually changing what it is to be Spider-Man, Peter Parker, etc.
Quick review leading up to Amazing 600 (spoilers):
Aunt May’s getting married. Not the first time this was going to happen, but it is a change from the lonely old widow. She is shown by various writers to really be questioning her decision, feeling like she’s cheating on Ben. We want the old bird to finally be happy, and she gives the proper respect to Ben, so that makes us happy. Also, she’s marrying JJJ Sr., which makes Jonah and Peter family, which is just hilarious. As a friend of mine said, “It’s the Parker luck.”
Mayor Jameson. Jonah and the Daily Bugle were synonymous. Now, he no longer has the paper as his right arm, but he’s the most powerful man in New York. Jonah has arguably been Spider-Man’s greatest nemesis, from turning people against him to literally engineering supervillains against him. It’s a departure for him to get into politics, but one that a ego-tripping power hungry person with a temper could easily get into.
Doc Ock’s 8 arms. Otto’s been hit in the head so many times he’s suffered damage to his nervous system. His real arms and legs are useless. He builds four more tentacles and relies solely on these. It is an extension or furthering of what his character already was.
In looking back at this list, there’s something more I realized. Peter himself didn’t really change. But Spider-Man has such a rich group of supporting characters that a change to one of them is a change to him.
Any one of these changes, if handled incorrectly, could have felt like a betrayal. And when I first heard about them I shook my head and thought “What kind of a stunt is this?”
But when I read it, it all just felt right.