Marvel has gone from asking you to root for the anti-hero to asking you to root for the villain. Doctor Octopus' mind is now inside Peter Parker's body, but instead of a few issues it looks like he'll be around awhile.
Marvel has gone from asking you to root for its stable of antiheroes to the villain. Doctor Octopus’ mind is now inside Peter Parker’s body, but instead of a few issues it looks like he’ll be around awhile. Hopefully an exodus of readers ensues. (Image: ASM #699)

I grew up on The Amazing Spider-Man. For all intents and purposes I learned to read with the character. My older brother was the one who introduced me to Marvel comics. I’d sit on the arm of our old chair in the family room and he’d read to me. “With great power comes great responsibility” was engrained in my mind before “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…” (although, truthfully, it’s not too hard to imagine that Peter Parker’s Uncle Ben would have fit in rather well with the Founding Fathers). I repaid Marvel for bringing the old web head into my life with years of loyalty — and Marvel then returned that favor by spitting in my eye.

In 2007, Marvel’s “One More Day” took the character tens-of-thousands of readers loved for his honesty and integrity and essentially had him make a deal with the Devil. Got that? The Devil. It was a move that was so fundamentally disconnected from anything Peter Parker would ever do that to this day it still makes me angry that a creative team that would allow for it to happen was placed in a position of authority.

What was “the deal” over? His grandmother. Peter Parker’s and Mary Jane’s marriage was “magically” erased (i.e., a deus ex machina that managed to make other deus ex machinas cringe) so that Peter could save his elderly grandmother, who had lived — any way you slice it — a full life. A grandmother who had a husband she wanted to be reunited with. A grandmother who knew her time was up and, rightfully, knew that at some point we all must face death.

One would think that after sucker-punching its fans and kneeing them in the kidneys Marvel would back off until the blood had disappeared from our urine. Wrong.

As the Amazing Spider-Man ends its run, Marvel has in effect put one of Spider-Man’s all time villains into his body. The Superior Spider-Man will apparently be none other than Doctor Octopus. The villain is now the hero. We’ve gone from being asked to root for the hero who compromises his principles to make a deal with the Devil to being asked to root for a monster. Up is down, down is up, good is bad and bad is good.

If Marvel was smart it would use a story about Peter defeating death to undo the deal with the Devil and finally put his marriage back together — but that increasingly looks like it isn’t going to happen. The same people who whined for years that a married Peter Parker was too hard to write made him single again — and shocker — the stories still sucked. That’s what happens when people who don’t respect the character’s core principles are at the helm.

To add insult to injury, the Superior Spider-Man (i.e., Doctor Octopus) slept with Aunt May and will now apparently be sleeping with Mary Jane. So the editors kill off the true hero and then ask us to shell out cash so we can be reminded once a month that the bad guy has been in bed with the good guy’s wife and his aunt. Classy.

Every time you pick up an issue of Superior Spider-Man you can be reminded that the villain slept with the real hero's wife ... and aunt.
Every time you pick up an issue of Superior Spider-Man in the future you can be reminded that the villain slept with the real hero’s wife … and aunt. (Image: ASM #699)

At some point in time Marvel decided that a good business model would be: “Let’s piss off our fans, particularly the ones who have been loyal to us for decades.” In a sane world, an organization seeks to find ways to hold on to loyal customers while bringing in new ones with each generation. Not Marvel. These days, when it comes to Spider-Man, smashing what’s left of his reputation seems to be the sole motivation for those in charge. The result? Many fans walk away all together, and some (like me), cut out basically every Marvel book they used to buy, only to sporadically purchase the one they love to hate out of sheer morbid curiosity.

The Amazing Spider-Man has become like an old dog to me. I grew up with and loved him for years, but he’s sick. He needs to be put down, but I haven’t been able let go because it’s not the old age that’s killing him; it’s a pack of self-absorbed men who keep poisoning his food. I think that with the new title, Superior Spider-Man, I’ll finally be able to say goodbye. Sadly, it seems as though that’s what “the brain trust” at Marvel was hoping would happen to readers like me all along.

Related: Amazing Spider-Man #700: Doc Slott pens ending only villains could love
Related: Super Spider-Man: Is Dan Slott asking readers to root for a rapist?
Related: Dan Slott’s Spider-Man won’t kill N. Korean soldiers or waterboard a man to save 6 billion.
Related: Dan Slott’s Spider-Man: World’s Dumbest Super Hero
Related: Dan Slott’s Spider-Man: War Zone liability thinks small in big situations


    1. Here’s the deal: As a stand alone story, sure — I could swallow this. I actually think it opens the door for a lot of cool stories if it was done correctly. Say Doctor Octopus has an epiphany and is like, “Oh my God … this is what it means to be a hero.” I can like that sort of thing. But what I don’t like is completely killing Peter Parker off and launching “Superior” as its own title.

      They said the marriage hindered the character — so they did away with it. They tried to write Peter as a single guy — and the stories still were generally awful. And instead of admitting that the direction they were taking the book in was flat out wrong, they just killed Peter off. The idea that the villain would seize Peter’s mantle AND his wife is just B.S. on so many levels.

      I don’t care what Dan Slott says about reading the whole comic first if the bottom line at the end of the day is that Doctor Octopus is Spider-Man and Peter is dead. If Doctor Octopus ends up sleeping with M.J. — not cool. (Yes, that’s the understatement of the year award.)

      I will read the whole thing. I will recant if I’m wrong, but based on the decade-plus of being crapped on by the editors at ASM, my money is on this being a monstrosity.

    2. I’m currently working on a post decrying the whole decision to kill off Spider-Man and have Doc Ock hijack his body and sleep with M.J… I’ve never seen a company that, like Marvel (okay, DC does it too) seems so intent upon alienating its fans. Especially the Spider-Man fans.

    3. NIce! There was a part of me that wanted to hold off … but the thoughts have been building for quite some time and I figured I could always do a follow up post.

  1. I’m surprised that Slott hasn’t showed up at my blog like he has in the past over at Four Color Media Monitor, considering how often I criticize him and his poor behavior towards fans. He once told a fan to “f*** off” simply because said fan didn’t like a story he’d written. Avi at FCMM even speculated that Slott must have a Google Alert every time his name is mentioned, because anytime someone criticizes him on a blog, a forum or elsewhere on the internet… he’s sure to come there “and set the record straight,” as per the nickname I’ve given him.

  2. So this is “Marvel Now” I say …Marvel NO!
    I’ve had enough of the bozos at Marvel pissing
    On my shoes and then telling me its raining. Not one
    Penny of my money is going to any Marvel titles.
    It is time to say goodbye. I just refuse to be jacked around
    Any more. It’s just so incredibly sad to see the.destruction of A.once
    Great empire. The house that Lee and Kirby built is no more.

  3. I have to say I gave up on 616 Spider-Man after BND; when it became clear that Slott, and the others writing ASM with him, weren’t writing about a heroic competent underdog anymore, but about a complete and utter loser. The more I saw of BND, the happier I was not to have spent any money on it due to the utter destruction of Peter’s character.

    No longer the very image of responsibility, no, Slott’s Spider-Man is a worthless piece of scum. Having read this issue online, I have to say it continues Slott’s utter inability to write Spider-Man in any meaningful way.

    I used to think I’d raise my sister’s kids into becoming comic book fans. But now the only Spidey they’ll get to know is Miles Morales from Ultimate Spider-Man. I like Miles, but I really would have wanted to be able to have them get to know Peter.

  4. Well said. I have a similar experience, growing up with Lee and Romita’s in Marvel Tales and getting in ASM during the very disappointing clone arc. The Romita/Lee run is my personal favorite.

    The best way to handle this this to quit buying the books—ALL THE BOOKS. Marvel could publish only a handful of titles in the 1960s and their quality was amazing. Since the 70s, Marvel has spammed books of poor quality, crossovers, and special events that turned out to be not-so-special.

    Marvel has placed their flagship character in the hands of bad writers and artists, who have jumped the shark, iintroducing so many awful moments into the character’s history. They’ve cheapened the character by publishing too many books and too many characters who are too much like Spider-Man to capitalize on the character. And they figure if fans are upset, they’ll opt for the other five or ten Spider-Books they peddle every month.

    I say cut them off. They’ve made these decisions for financial gain, and if they are not rewarded for their incompetence or their stupidity, they’ll be forced to rethink their “strategy” [scare quotes necessary].

  5. Jeez you guys are crybabies. I can’t believe your waste of time writing this. Just drop the comic and stop whining. Or go write a story yourselves.

    The storyline until 699 kept me on edge. I’m sure 700 will sell a lot and then everything will go back to where it was in a few issues. You whine so much maybe marvel hired you to “stir things up”.

    Marvel comics and DC comics are just a little better than Archie – characters that live on forever. Deal with it.

  6. Just finished reading #700, and as a lifelong fan of Peter Parker aka Spider-man. This issue broke my heart, and probably ever other fan as well. The story leading upto it was horrible. Slott should be ashamed of his work. I can see where the death threats came from. You do not mess around with Apple “goddamn” Pie. I am never reading another Marvel title ever again..

  7. What Marvel and Dan Slott did was horrendous. They should have never kill off Peter Parker. I hope all die-hard Spider-Man fans refrain from buying the Superior Spider-Man until Peter Parker is once again Spider-Man (forever) and Doc Ock dies and is never again seen in the comics.

    1. I never ever reply to blogs, but I can’t keep my mouth shut. This is a joke. I learned to read off amazing spiderman. What Marvel has done is inexcusable. I will no longer support Marvel. Not a dime. No movies, no comics, nothing. I’m not gonna whine, but I sure as hell won’t support this. It’s just sad to see what they have done to this character.

  8. When I read this story, I stopped caring about Marvel altogether. I realized that they’ll do anything they want if it means getting money or new fans or riding the movies like they’re doing now. I’m kind of glad this happen because I never would’ve discovered the Punisher, who is now one of my all time favorite characters. I began to read Indie stuff as well, which was way better than anything Marvel puts out these days.

    I always felt that Marvel was trying to get rid of Peter because they didn’t have the movie rights back then. I mean they killed Peter in the Ultimate universes and they kill him here in 616. That’s just what I think but hearing your opinion, it’s obvious the only reason Spider-man is failing is because they are trying too damn hard to make Spider-man interesting, when he’s already interesting. It’s like if they tried to make Wolverine interesting by making him leader of the X-men…oh wait.

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