The ‘Ends of the Earth’ storyline in Marvel’s Amazing Spider-Man has severely damaged the character’s credibility, due almost entirely to writer Dan Slott. I took flak from fans for mentioning that Spider-Man’s dangerously naive “no one dies” mentality is a war zone liability, and that only a fool would jeopardize a time-sensitive mission by worrying about the well-being of North Korean soldiers — when over six billion lives were on the line. Only a few weeks ago I said: “A hero is still a hero, but some of them are meant for city streets, and some of them are meant to determine the fate of the world.” And now, Dan Slott’s Spider-Man proved it through his own dialogue and actions:

“I’m not used to ‘End of the World’ stuff. Gimme a bank robbery or one of my regular bad guys. Now that I can handle,” (Dan Slott’s Spider-Man, Amazing Spider-Man #687).

Sadly, truer words were never spoken. Only pages later, Spider-Man is put in a situation where he must choose between saving Silver Sable’s life as she is held beneath rising water by the immovable Rhino, or stopping a satellite launch that will doom billions. Our hero feebly pulls at his enemy’s forearm like a little boy who yearns for a toy until Sable uses one of her last breaths to berate his idiocy: “If you don’t go — EVERYONE DIES! GO!”

Look at Spider-Man with that blank stare on his face. You can almost see the wheels turning as he realizes what a fool his “no one dies” mantra is. Even in the face of death, Silver Sable has a clear enough head to know the correct course of action to take.

As I said before, 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.

With the climax of ‘Ends of the Earth’ at hand, Slott delivers — in the wrong way. The blinded fan will only remember Spider-Man finding an inner reserve of strength to break free from his bonds to save billions — again, thanks to the Silver Sable’s clear thinking at death’s door. What they won’t remember is that Doctor Octopus admitted he is pure evil right before Peter decided to save his life — instead of using the opportunity to return to Silver Sable. Doctor Octopus says: “I shall live on in infamy — a mass murderer worse than Pol Pot, Hitler, and Genghis Khan combined.

Only moments later, as Peter attempts to save the genocidal maniac from the crumbling fortress, he says: “I made a promise. As long as I’m around no one — … Come on. I’m getting you out of here.”

Note the pause. Peter obviously thinks of his teammate possibly drowning a few rooms over. I say ‘possibly’ because Spider-Man doesn’t know what happened after he left the room, and neither does the reader. Perhaps Silver Sable had one last trick up her sleeve. Perhaps another hero found a way to come to her aid. In that moment, wouldn’t the true hero have ditched the man who hoped to transcend Hitler, in an effort to check on his ally? In that situation, would it not have been better to at least recover her dead body over saving the man who was willing to subject billions to a burning death just seconds earlier? Let’s not even get into the many people who have been resuscitated after having been submerged in water for lengths of time conventional wisdom says is impossible…

It’s fitting that ‘Ends of the Earth’ would feature a character who (seemingly) died from drowning, because Dan Slott’s Spider-Man walks around like there isn’t enough oxygen going to his brain. Here’s to hoping that one day Spider-Man will come to his (spider) senses.

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About the Author Douglas Ernst

I'm a former Army guy who believes success comes through hard work, honesty, optimism, and perseverance. I believe seeing yourself as a victim creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. I believe in God. I'm a USC Trojan with an MA in Political Science from American University.

11 comments

  1. Mr. Ernst,

    I have been reading your blog for the past couple months and have been impressed by your two fisted presentation of conservative values. You are writing some great stuff and making some great points.
    I am even more impressed that you are still reading comics. I was a long time collector. I started way back when GI Joe: A Real American Hero first came out in 1982 and that comic was one of things that lead me to the Naval Academy 10 years later. I gave up on collecting right around Infinite Crisis, or whatever Geoff Johns or whatever his name is made a mess of DC. I still read the comic blogs and see that all DC and Marvel produce is comics full of violence, sex and nihilism. I don’t need to read that junk. I am enoying the DC Showcase books and Marvel Essentials, because the stories at times may be hockey they are 100 times better than the crap today. I also like the Avengers cartoon, they may include the stuff from today’s storylines, Disney and just producing it for the general audience means that cut a lot of the leftist junk out of the storylines.
    Keep up the great blog!

    1. Scott,

      Thanks for reading! I’m glad that you’re enjoying the ride. If you ever feel as though there’s a topic I should carve out some time for, let me know and I’ll try and figure out how to put something together.

      Comics have definitely taken a turn for the worse. Every so often there’s some good independent stuff that comes out, but you’re right … the quality has deteriorated. I cut way back on how much I spend, in part because of the constant progressive messaging they were trying to shove down my throat. Once I get my student loans paid off I’ll probably get myself a few of the Marvel Essentials.

      You’ll be sad to hear that the Avengers cartoon that was so awesome … has been canceled. Only two seasons for a cartoon that was amazing. They’re replacing it with something new that I doubt will live up to expectations.

      Finally, thanks for your service! It’s been a Naval week for me. I was telling my boss at work that my dad is going to disown me for saying so many nice things about the Navy since he’s a West Point guy…

      Talk to you soon.

      Doug

  2. Yet another reason why I haven’t read a Spidey comic since One More Day. Well, actually before OMD, during the Civil War nonsense and basically JMS’ abyssmal run in general, but you get the point.

  3. I must say that I never expected a more pathetic “superhero” than Batman to emerge, and yet an idiot who would insist on saving an evil killer who aspires to be worse than Pol Pot and Hitler just might have to wear the crown as “most unworthy of heroic stature”.

    Then again, I had an inkling about Spiderman way back when I wrote about Batman’s vajayjay (you’ll recall the reference to Spiderman in my Batman / Joker mock repartee).

    Suffice it to say, DE, that I’m waiting and hoping you’ll come around on the so-called Dark Knight and fillet him as you have done Spiderman… because I can pretty much guarantee that Batman will have yet another power failure at the critical moment and will once again do the very opposite of what he must do when confronted by evil.

    1. Ha! We shall see. Spidey is my childhood hero, so it stung to do that. However, I really blame the writers. If a hero lives by certain principles, it’s always obvious when someone who doesn’t understand how they would play out in practice is at the helm.

      I’m looking forward to your Batman review. I know it will be good.

    2. It’s not Peter Parker that is being messed up, its the writers. And OMD was crazy, but I saw it as a chance for Pete to protect his loved ones and to also expand the realms Spidey can face. He is considered one of Marvel’s greatest heroes. I think the writers felt to make him face even more impossible odds. But only to make him stronger.

    3. In every story there is a chance to make it great. That’s what GOOD creative writers can do. I’m not even completely opposed to breaking up the marriage — if it was done correctly. If a story is executed correctly, you can do all sorts of things and have people buy into it. They might not like it, but they’ll say, “Fine. I get it. It’s plausible.” With the current team at Marvel they can’t write, so they just executed Spider-Man instead. Sad.

      Instead of some stupid magic to break up the marriage, couldn’t MJ say, “I love you, but all these kidnappings, worrying at nights, threats on my life … I thought I was strong enough to handle this, but I’m just not.” That makes sense. That is a human response. I could buy that, even if I didn’t like it. AND they could always get back together. There are plenty of marriages that have “failed” … only to have the two individuals rekindle their love, commitment, etc.

  4. I always feel that Spider-man should stick to being a city hero instead of a world hero. Batman is both but even he knows how to act in world events because he already believes he’s fighting a war wether it’s in a city or not.

    This whole “No one dies” ideal is unrealistic. You know how it can be better? if after he says “No one dies” he starts to do villainous things to make sure no one dies, because even Peter can’t stop people from going into danger and he’ll probably put them in chains (or web) or start manipulating them if it means saving their lives. I know it’s not very “Spider-man” of him but it would make sense considering all he’s been through.

    I get that Spider-man gets involve in world-wide events but he should stick to support, I know Dan wants to have Spider-man lead and there’s nothing wrong with that, but he needs to be more mature about it. Captain America is the leader because he’s use to making the hard decisions and seeing the bigger picture. Sure he tries to stay the good guy but there’s so much he can do without compromising his ideals. He even went as far as to hire Punisher and villains during Civil War.

    1. “This whole “No one dies” ideal is unrealistic.”

      I think it was in either the first or second issue of the latest reboot where Spider-Man even mentions that the “no one dies” era was naive and silly. That was a very interesting editorial decision by Dan since he mocked me at the time for my opinion.

      “You know how it can be better? if after he says ‘No one dies’ he starts to do villainous things to make sure no one dies, because even Peter can’t stop people from going into danger.”

      Your idea actually is the logical outcome of someone with such an obsession with having total control over death. The question someone in Peter’s shoes faces is, “How do I do this job while not compromising on my deepest-held principles?” That is a very tough question, since in many instances we’re dealing in trade-offs.

      Does he stay with Silver Sable and waste time, even though every second could mean six billion people die? Does he allow Doc Ock to die — a blood-thirsty megalomaniac — in order to return to Sable, who may have already drowned?

      Time and time again, I feel as though Dan decides to pass on exploring really fascinating subject matter because to do so requires a bit of research and intense concentration. He would much rather play around with superficial “Spider-Ham” jokes in something like Spider-Verse than to use comic book real estate to discuss deeper issues.

    2. Hell that would’ve been your “Superior Spider-man” right there. A Peter Parker going so far to save lives while being villainous about it. That whole “Freaky Friday” routine was just silly and would’ve been better as just a 4 part storyline than a ongoing story. Hell it would’ve been a great character study but alas, this is Dan Slott we’re talking about.

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