It was only months ago that Marvel and Dan Slott gave Amazing Spider-Man fans a radioactive middle finger by giving the iconic character a send off only a villain could love.
As Dan Slott explained to CNN at the time:
For all intents and purposes, [Otto] was the adult Peter could have become, Spider-Man’s dark reflection. So what if we flipped it? What if we gave him a second chance? Peter’s final, heroic act was giving Doc all the memories and experiences that kept him on the right path. But is that enough? Can that overcome Ock’s true nature? (Dan Slott)
The answer is clearly no.
Over Easter weekend my wife and I went to Barnes and Noble for coffee and there were two months’ worth of Superior Spider-Man sitting on the shelves. Apparently, sales are not so “superior” in Lynchburg, Va. And so, I did a quick read, got what I needed to write a review and saved myself roughly $10 — which I promptly spent on Sweet Frog frozen yogurt.
Issues 5 and 6 of Superior show once again why liberal guys like Dan Slott often drop the ball when it comes to weaving a thought-provoking Spider-Man tale. Let us consider the evidence:
1. In Massacre, the audience has a character who has committed mass murder in the past and who is intent on doing so at the first available opportunity.
2. The guy is an expert, going so far as to have an explosive-rigged building filled with hostages as his ace in the hole.
3. Doctor Octopus (in Peter Parker’s body) is a bright guy, and figured out how to save the hostages beforehand and disable the bombs. When Massacre clicks his detonator and nothing happens, it’s game over.
As usual, the criminal (in this case, one who isn’t supposed to be capable of emotions) fears for his life after he has been caught and his hangs in the balance. Funny how those epiphanies happen at just the right moment, isn’t it? And as usual, Dan Slott via Peter Parker tries to make the case that killing is always off limits for the hero because “there’s always hope” … for change. (Think Mr. Slott’s version of Peter voted for President Obama?)
If Peter Parker comes back to life, or takes back control of his mind — or does whatever the heck he needs to since the exact status of his soul is still in question — he should rename himself the Amazing Red-Herring Man, because Doctor Octopus rightly points out that sudden feelings of guilt and remorse changes nothing — particularly for the dozens of lives the murderer extinguished. The innocents are still dead. The family and friends and loved ones still must pick up the pieces while the murderer lives on. Over time the victims are forgotten about, and dupes like Peter Parker feel sympathy for the monster who must atone for his sins.
4. And so, it appears as though Dan Slott took the intellectually lazy way out, having the Superior Spider-Man then play judge, jury and executioner with a suddenly defenseless man.
If Slott wanted readers to wrestle with a moral conundrum, wouldn’t it have been better to have placed the hero in a position where the only way to save a life was to take a life? That’s what law enforcement agencies and military men have to deal with on a daily basis. They are put into situations where they have a split second to act, and the only way to save innocents is to end the life of the men who threaten them.
5. Dan Slott doesn’t get that, and it shows when he fills Wolverine’s mouth with nonsensical, morally-relativistic pap.
Wrong, Wolverine (aka: Dan Slott). Combatants on the battlefield do not have the same rights granted to civilians. That is another complex issue that Marvel readers don’t get to explore because to my knowledge there has never been a run where Captain America’s black ops against the Taliban were told. He was more interested in taking down the Tea Party than the Taliban over the past few years, which should tell you something about the intellectual courage of the writers and editors currently taking up residence at the “House of Ideas.”
Readers could have had an instance where Doc Ock killed while in Peter’s body in a way that left even Peter haunted by the fact that the right thing was done in an impossible situation. Pete would have forever asked himself: “What would I have done?” Instead, everything is clearly spelled out: Doctor Octopus did the wrong thing because he executed a defenseless man without a trial by jury.
6. Fast Forward to the end of Superior Spider-Man #6, and Ghost-like Peter is losing his mind that Doc Ock has beaten a couple of hack villains to a bloody pulp, which begs the question: Shouldn’t Ghost-like Peter have been in total meltdown mode the entire issue since Massacre apparently was executed on live television hours earlier? I guess technically it wasn’t shown, but it would be a rather cheap “out” if Massacre was spared.
Note: For those who take issue with the “live television” phrasing, the issue heavily implied that everyone knew what happened. Jonah knew. The Avengers knew. News reports mentioned that Spider-Man “neutralized” the situation . Massacre went to a place where he would get maximum media coverage. There would have been security cameras everywhere. These little things call “cell phones” exist. There were witnesses. Check out the Spider-Man Crawlspace review of issue #11 for more details.
The bottom line is this: After six issues of the Superior Spider-Man, it is more apparent than ever that the decision to kill off The Amazing Spider-Man in the manner Mr. Slott did was not worth the cost in good will towards Marvel. For every interesting morsel readers are given to chew on, there are mouthfuls of spoiled stale ideas that remind them why “Superior” is vastly inferior to its predecessor.
Although, truthfully, why does Marvel care? These days, the guys in charge know that their Chinese censorship cop overlords will help bring in the cash, provided the artistic integrity is left at the door. I doubt that will be a problem for the guys who are asking you to root for the Superior Spider-wannabe-rapist.
Update: Newsrama has seemingly blocked me from commenting on a blog about … me. I guess when you tactfully defend yourself you’re a troll. Or perhaps if you make Dan Slott look bad the powers that be cut you off. That happens when you’re friends with the writer.
Related: Dan Slott goes nuts over sales because he knows Spider-Man fans don’t respect him
Related: Dan Slott’s moral relativism killed Spider-Man: One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter
Related: Dan Slott and Marvel’s Orwellian message boards can’t hide the truth: Fans want Peter Parker
Wow. I knew this story sounded bad, but this just confirms it! Great review! And I went to a local Barnes and Noble a few weeks ago as well and saw a whole bunch of Superior Spider-Man issues sitting on a shelf. No one was buying them, according to an employee I talked to.
I bet if we went through Slott’s Twitter feed we’d find him saying it’s flying off the shelves everywhere, wildly popular, etc.
If you would check your facts, you would see that it was a top 10 selling book every month since its release.
And if you were being intellectually honest, you’d state that there’s a difference between what a comic book shop orders and what they actually move off the shelves. Both stats are important. I haven’t looked at the numbers in depth, but I’m sure they tell an interesting tale.
Would the first few issues of SSM sell well? Of course. Out of sheer morbid curiosity a ton of people would buy it. I’d love to see the trend line over the course of its entire run.
Really? Judging comic book sales by how fast it’s moving at B&N? Please…My LCS has sold out every issue of SSM while increasing the number they order each month.
Since you have a hard time deciphering the difference between a definitive statement of fact and an observation that makes a deeper point to anyone who is paying attention to context, I’ll clarify for you:
I just got done talking about how I flipped through the books, put them down and bought frozen yogurt instead. If Marvel (and Dan Slott) did not create such ill will through bad editorial decisions and personal attacks, I would have purchased the books — in Lynchburg, Va. I’m sure there are others like me in that town.
Now, apply my actions in that sparsely populated area by the tens-of-thousands of disenchanted Spider-Man fans across the U.S. In the aggregate, if we buy those books, sales jump dramatically. It’s a completely different ball game.
Here’s some more, just for you:
Have you ever taken a class in statistics? Polling? Look into it. Here’s an example: Every single person who blogs on Marvel comics represents “x” number of fans. If you were so inclined you could look at comic sales and regular bloggers and say every Hube and every Carl and every Avi represents a section of potential customers, and when we see “x” multiplied by some number are all upset we know we’re losing tens-of-thousands of fans.
It doesn’t take a genius to figure it out. It just takes someone who isn’t drinking Marvel’s Kool Aid. And since we’re talking “ballpark” numbers instead of exact figures, it’s depressing that I even have to explain this.
If, instead of carrying Dan Slott’s water, you thought about this objectively, you’d realize that Marvel’s business model (i.e., needlessly pissing off thousands of potential customers) is costing you money. A lot of money.
Hilarously wrong! Liberal writers like Slott need to sell shoes instead. That way
they would actually be useful.
Can you imagine Dan Slott getting down on one knee to help old women buy shoes? 🙂 That’s actually pretty funny…
What percentage of Barnes and Nobles consumers buy comics from the store compared to the total of people who buy anything from Barnes and Noble? And does this reflect digital sales cause I buy my comics digitally?
I’m not sure, but Dan Slott lost it when it was casually mentioned that the comic shops in Philly aren’t seeing “superior” sales either.
I know you don’t read comics but.. “Wrong, Wolverine (aka: Dan Slott). Combatants on the battlefield do not have the same rights granted to civilians.” There are several different volumes of Uncanny X-Force that deal with X-Men / Avengers going covert and killing people who aren’t necessarily deemed “combatants” on the open field of battle. Uncanny X-Force by Rick Remender issues 1-4 deal with Wolverine and his crew deciding whether they should murder a child who has the potential to grow up and commit genocide.
Also: “Would the first few issues of SSM sell well? Of course. Out of sheer morbid curiosity a ton of people would buy it. I’d love to see the trend line over the course of its entire run.”
Once again, I know you don’t read comics but pretty much every series from The Big Two (Marvel / DC) trend down over the course of an entire run. It’s just how the comics industry operates on big titles which is why you often see renumbering / renaming of series.
You “know” I don’t read comics? If my bank account could talk, it would be rolling on the floor right now.
Perhaps you should have said “I know you’re not obsessed with comics”…
It’s been said many times now but it is indeed true: Disney and Warner allow the physical comicbooks to exist purely as storyboards, pitchbooks and market research for the tv shows / toons and movies.
It’s the logical explanation for why they simply don’t care what sort of morbid, perverted or politically immature pablum is cranked out for the rump of the comic market.
That’s a really good point, flyingtigercomics. When ‘The Avengers’ makes over half a billion dollars I guess they don’t give a rip what happens in the comics… It’s sad.
Anyway, thanks for taking the time to read and comment. I appreciate it.
Douglas check out Avenging Spider-Man 16 and see how Wolverine reacts there. this was his reaction before Dan Slott wrote the bullshit he did for Wolverine in the above comic.
Thanks for the read and the comment, Kyle. Will do. I’ll be out of DC this weekend, but I should be able to get to a comic shop the weekend Iron Man 3 hits theaters. I guess it will be a Marvel weekend. 😉
I definitely plan on dong a review for SSM #9. That will probably be my next comic-related post aside from an Iron Man 3 movie review.
Reblogged this on The Orange Mask.
I’m really happy i stumbled upon your blog. I was starting to lose hope about whether there were people like me who still dislike the Superior Series.
I can’t deny that some of the stories that have been taking place in the series sound interesting… But it’s not happening to Spider-Man. It’s all happening to some asshole wearing his body. I just don’t get it… Like… Why? Did they just want to show an edgier Spider-Man without using the actual Spider-Man because it seemed to illogical for Peter? So they had to go through the trouble of killing him, in the most pathetic manner possible, and replace him with someone more ruthless so that they could do these stores?
I have no damn clue, of course. But if that were the case then WHYYYYY freakin’ bother doing it in the first place?! If it doesn’t fit a Spider-Man story then don’t make it a Spider-Man story!! Leve it to someone else, someone with whom it would make sense!! Grrrraaawwww!!!
I was not NEARLY as bothered by Ultimate Peters’s death as I still am with the 616 universe. Because he died in a bit of glory as the hero he always had been, and because I think Miles is an awesome character in his own right. This has had me so upset, I’m embarrassed to say, that I have actually cried over it. Marvel really must hate Peter Parker to give him the saddest, most pathetic blips out if existence that comics have ever seen.
But yeah, thanks again for your blog. I feel a bit better now.
Keep up the good work!
1. Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment! I really appreciate it. Hopefully this blog will serve as a reminder that you should never lose hope, whether it’s with the small stuff or the big stuff because there are always people out there who feel the same way you do. And they’re always willing to talk about it.
2. Indeed, some of the stories are interesting, but as you point out — at what price? They killed Peter in a fashion that was completely insulting for a hero of his stature. Perhaps worse yet, Dan Slott and Steve Wacker and the rest of them did it without seeming to really care how fans like yourself took it. Read their reactions to fans who disagree with them online and you’ll see immature selfish man-boys who think they have all the answers. For everything. There’s a condescension they project onto the fans that is utterly astonishing coming from so-called “professionals.”
3. Do not be embarrassed over crying at the death of a beloved character. We’ve all done it. I would argue that there are moments in video games like Final Fantasy VII that are just as heart wrenching as certain parts of Jane Eyre. Likewise, a comic book can be more than a comic book. Sadly, the current writers in charge of Spider-Man don’t seem to realize it. I suspect your tears are falling because of many different aspects of the book that are being mistreated by the writers and editors. They are real, and should be taken seriously. Why Dan Slott doesn’t realize that baffles me.
Again, thanks for reading. Any time you want to vent about Spider-Man or Peter Parker, you have a place to go. Like I said: You’re never alone. 🙂
“I was not NEARLY as bothered by Ultimate Peters’s death as I still am with the 616 universe. Because he died in a bit of glory as the hero he always had been, and because I think Miles is an awesome character in his own right.”
You have a point. I wasn’t at all upset over Peter’s death in Ultimate. It made sense and though I haven’t really read the story yet, it’s not like I’m refusing to read the story. Plus Miles is growing on me and I do like his outfit as well as his powers.