A week ago I covered Spider-Man, and how liberal writers have turned him into a walking war zone liability. In a situation where 6 billion lives hung in the balance, the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man did the “neighborly” thing and thought to use precious seconds wondering whether a bunch of North Korean soldiers (those same guys overseeing the world’s most notorious gulags) were ushered to safety before explosives took out the weapons … they were guarding. He then saw fit to warn his soldierly teammates “no one dies,” precisely the kind of all-or-nothing delusional thinking that sets the stage for death to occur.
Issue #686 of Amazing Spider-Man takes place right after our heroes believe half the world has been destroyed. With carnage surrounding them, Black Widow tells Spider-Man they must leave immediately, as time is not on their side if they want to save the roughly 3 billion people remaining on earth. Spider-Man’s response? He’s not budging because he has people to save right there. Dan Slott’s Spider-Man is so myopic that he only sees the lives right there in front of him. He’s like a baby, tricked by peek-a-boo because his mind isn’t fully developed; if there are lives to be saved right in front of him, there’s a good chance he can be distracted. The Black Widow knows it and, sadly, his deadliest foes take advantage of it.
In the end, Dan Slott gives Spider-Man a reprieve, and the hero is given a chance to save the day by taking advantage of the vanity, greed and hubris of his enemies. The “end of the world” was an illusion meant to distract the heroes and buy time for the machinations of evil men to materialize. It would have worked, but the enemies who literally have the world in their hands want more, overreach and lose it all. Spider-Man takes advantage of his second chance, but it feels like a Deus ex Machina of sorts, freeing the character of the consequences of his short-sighted actions. In the real world we often don’t get second chances.
Even Black Widow can’t resist rubbing Peter Parker’s nose in the evidence of his ignorance — in his own book, no less:
At $4.00 a pop, The Amazing Spider-Man hurts the wallet over the course of a year. These days, it also hurts just to read the title, period. Here’s to hoping Peter learns something from the experience. If not, look for books featuring Black Widow. She deserves it.