There’s a line from 2004’s “The Incredibles” where the villain Syndrome says, “When everyone’s super, no one will be.” Dan Slott’s “Spider-Verse” tale operates on many of the same levels — when the Marvel Universe is filled within an infinite amount of “Spider-Men,” it becomes much harder to distinguish why Peter Parker is special.

Spiderverse 1Those who have read The Amazing Spider-Man since its relaunch have seen Peter Parker take a back seat in his own title for much of the lead-up to Spider-Verse, and now that it’s here the trend continues. Readers are told he’s some sort of Harry Potter-ish “Chosen One,” but the evidence as presented — up to this point — doesn’t support the claims. Peter comes across as just one of many heroic “spiders” throughout multiple dimensions, each doing his or her own part to protect the “spider-totem” from falling to “The Inheritors” — a dysfunctional family of beings that like to dine on “spiders.” When Peter Parker gives off a “Where’s Waldo” vibe in his own book, something is wrong.

Spiderverse 3Dan Slott’s “Spider-Verse” generally reads like a convoluted mess from the mind of a man who still goes to fast food restaurants and fills his glass with a little bit of each kind of soda without realizing that the end result isn’t all that special and usually tastes gross.

Spiderverse 4Spider-Verse’s saving grace appears to be the artwork by Olivier Coipel — it really is quite beautiful, and he’s able to organize Dan Slott’s clutter like a mother who picks up after her son when he’s old enough to know better.

To make matters worse, the commanding presence of Doctor Octopus (aka: “The Superior Spider-Man”) provides another example of just how diminished Peter Parker is in his own book. Readers know that as “The Chosen One” Peter will play a crucial role in defeating The Inheritors, but up until this point — ten issues into the relaunch of The Amazing Spider-Man — one has to imagine that many Peter Parker fans are asking: “Why?”

Spiderverse 2Peter Parker should be a shining star in his own book, but these days he is little more than a polished cog in Marvel’s “Spider-Verse” machinery.

Advertisements

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.

40 comments

  1. “Spider-Verse’s saving grace appears to be the artwork by Olivier Coipel”

    I agree. I think the whole concept of Spider-Verse is rather lame and silly. I couldn’t care less about all the multi-dimensional Spider-Men. I find the story bland and neither significant or intriguing.

    But like most of the abundant crossovers and events by Marvel these days, nothing much happens in terms of substantial story telling.

    Most of it is junk food for the masses who aren’t really being fed at all.

    1. If you include the entire run on Superior Spider-Man and the first 10 issues of ASM’s relaunch, it’s fascinating to see the lengths Dan Slott has gone to in order to create reasons to shift focus away from Peter Parker.

  2. Hmm, interesting. Hierarchies are kind of important in stories, in the world, in life. Without them, nobody’s special so you can never really have a hero. You wind up with this convoluted mess of collectivism, a bit like a PTA meeting.

    LOL, we call those sodas you mix yourself, graveyards, and they really are yucky 😉

    1. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment, rawlenyanzi. I appreciate it.

      In regards to your link, I think the author is spot-on when it comes to comic book pricing and … variant covers. Don’t get me started on variants! 😉

      How the heck are young kids supposed to start collecting comics when they’re $4.00 a pop? I have a decent paycheck these days and I still think $4.00 is way too much for the quality readers are getting. You could spend a small fortune each year if you had a 3-4 superheroes you really enjoyed, in addition to whatever big “event” was going on that year.

    2. I agree that the quality doesn’t really warrant the cost price and for me it has become the determining factor in keeping a smaller pull list.

      I earn a pretty good paycheck as well and had a ball buying up comics at Midtown Comics NYC earlier this year. The same books in Australia are $5.00 for a $2.99 book and $6.00 for a $3.99 book.

      I would love to buy more books the way I used to, but it’s too much of a gamble when the quality is low and the prices are high.

    3. I would love to buy more books the way I used to, but it’s too much of a gamble when the quality is low and the prices are high.

      Exactly. And if I go into a comic shop I generally don’t want to be thumbing through stuff and then not buy it if I can avoid that situation. Years ago there was a comic shop I went to regularly and I was a familiar face. I spent a ton of cash, so I didn’t feel as bad being picky at times. These days I don’t spend nearly as much and I live in a new area. If I see a book where I can go either way, I almost always wind up not buying it.

    4. How the heck are young kids supposed to start collecting comics when they’re $4.00 a pop? I have a decent paycheck these days and I still think $4.00 is way too much for the quality readers are getting. You could spend a small fortune each year if you had a 3-4 superheroes you really enjoyed, in addition to whatever big “event” was going on that year.

      Japanese comic books (“manga”) prove an attractive alternative, as many of them have easier-to-follow continuity, stories focusing more on excitement and drama than political correctness, and they offer a much better value for your money — a $4.00 comic book with only 22 pages is roughly $0.18/page, while a 200-page manga that costs $9.99 is roughly $0.05/page. Even at their most expensive — $10.99 for 192 pages — manga only costs $0.06/page. While the trendy buzz and hubbub they had in the 2000s has died down, they’re still quite good.

      As an added bonus, not all stories are about superheroes (though a lot of the popular ones are, and I’m definitely not knocking superheroes.)

    5. Japanese comic books (“manga”) prove an attractive alternative, as many of them have easier-to-follow continuity, stories focusing more on excitement and drama than political correctness, and they offer a much better value for your money…

      Boom. That says it all right there.

  3. the kick in the nuts? ALL of the satellite books (save for SSM) and the buildup to Spider-Verse, are fucking AMAZING! Seeing all these new incarnations of the idea of Spider-Man? The notion that “anybody can be under that mask, but there is only ONE Peter Parker.” All of these ideas are fascinating. And Spider-Woman? I can’t say enough good things about what happened when they left in the main story to go to their book:

    1. Silk got swiftly and SHARPLY demoted from her Mary Sue pedestal and made out to be the dumbest idiot in the history of newbie superheroes. GOOD! She needed a kick in the tits!

    2. Peter is treated as the reluctant leader because when he DOES show up, Jess gives him an EARFUL, but she goes along with it anyways because she, what is that? TRUSTS IN PETER PARKER! You can tell throughout the issue she HATES Spider-Man: Noir (even though it is A Peter Parker) and is the one who is clearly in charge. So she leaves Gwen and Anya in charge to watch over Spider-Man: Noir and Silk, only for SIlk to ONCE MORE prove why she is pathetic and why in ANY OTHER HANDS OF ANY OTHER WRITER, she is interesting because she is so PATHETIC!

    WHY ARE WE AT THIS POINT IN STORYTELLING!? Where the SATELLITE BOOKS, THE FUCKING SATELLITE BOOKS, are BETTER, and can BETTER HANDLE a neat idea than the writer fucking writing it? It’s Civil War all over again, and MAKE NO MISTAKE: Civil War was a CLUSTERFUCK and a clash of ideas: The main story paints Iron Man as the hero and Cap as the villain; EVERY OTHER BOOK paints Iron Man’s team as the villains, and Cap’s team as the true heroes, EVEN IRON MAN’S OWN BOOK! That is a case of EPIC FAIL! When one writer goes in a direction nobody wants to with the story, a direction they continued to not do when they wrote that very bad novelization, and yet everybody else is doing something on the fringe that is much better with the same content!

    1. I almost wrote a review for Edge of Spider-Verse #5. I thought Gerard Way did an amazing job. I really liked that issue a lot. I was asking my wife, “Why can’t he write Spider-Man?! Seriously.”

      ALL of the satellite books (save for SSM) and the buildup to Spider-Verse, are fucking AMAZING! Seeing all these new incarnations of the idea of Spider-Man? The notion that “anybody can be under that mask, but there is only ONE Peter Parker.” All of these ideas are fascinating.

      I hesitated while I was looking at Spider-Woman #1. I almost bought it, but then I was like, “No. I can’t be going nuts spending money on Spider-Verse. I’m going to just stick to The Amazing Spider-Man and evaluate it based on that since that where the core of the story lies.”

      I think you make a very valid point about there being only one Peter Parker. It is certainly a great idea to explore. Unfortunately, the execution of that idea in The Amazing Spider-Man, for me, has been incredibly lacking.

      Wasn’t Spider-Verse originally supposed to happen without Peter Parker back from the dead (or wherever he was), but Marvel basically said to Dan Slott, “Hey, Peter needs to be back by [insert date for relaunch here]”? I thought I remember reading that somewhere.

    2. half right. Slott wanted it to be an SSM story and, in his words, be “about what the idea that Spider-Man is much bigger than JUST Peter Parker.” Except Marvel put the screws to him and went “Are you fucking stupid!? A story with EVERY SINGLE FUCKING SPIDER-MAN IN EXISTENCE, and you plan on NOT using the ORIGINAL wall-crawler? Fack off!” So he backpedaled VERY hard and put Peter in there, but from reading the recent issue? Oh fuck, you know he is fighting with his soul to make Ock the main character. Again. And he WANTS to put Peter in the background, despite what he claims at conventions about “I ❤ Peter!" yeah, and I love a swift kick in the nuts too, Dan…

      But Spider-Woman was VERY good. It's a shame that the main plot has a terrible writer because every other writer and his dog actually makes this idea a really cool one, like it was SUPPOSED to be!

    3. Slott wanted it to be an SSM story and, in his words, be “about what the idea that Spider-Man is much bigger than JUST Peter Parker.” Except Marvel put the screws to him and went “Are you fucking stupid!? A story with EVERY SINGLE FUCKING SPIDER-MAN IN EXISTENCE, and you plan on NOT using the ORIGINAL wall-crawler? Fack off!”

      See, that’s the sort of thing that makes it difficult, if not impossible, to believe he actually loves the character Peter Parker. How anyone could pitch a story like Spider-Verse without Peter Parker is beyond me.

      So he backpedaled VERY hard and put Peter in there, but from reading the recent issue? Oh fuck, you know he is fighting with his soul to make Ock the main character. Again. And he WANTS to put Peter in the background, despite what he claims at conventions about “I ❤ Peter!" yeah, and I love a swift kick in the nuts too, Dan…

      That’s how it reads to me. I have read every single issue since ASM relaunched, and it honestly comes across to me like the guy charged with writing Peter Parker likes writing almost every other character who shows up in the book more than the star of the show. To me, that seems like a problem. My guess is that in the minds of certain people at Marvel it doesn’t matter how much Peter gets sidelined in his own book, provided that the sales are where they need to be, and that the company can use the title as a springboard for Silk, Spider-Gwen, and future installments of The Superior Spider-Man.

  4. Did the Inheritor try to kill Peter only to be prevented from doing so because of magic love powers??? It doesn’t seem like the Potter analogy works

    “And from this point on – I’M IN CHARGE!”
    There really was no point in ending SSM, was there?

  5. He wants to be the protagonist, Slott is Doc.

    I have not read Spider-Man for some time now (since the Slott impact), it looks like I made a good choice.

    1. I have not read Spider-Man for some time now (since the Slott impact), it looks like I made a good choice.

      When the relaunch hit I sort of made the decision, “Okay, I’m going to read this thing and give it no-nonsense reviews. That way, when Dan Slott screws over Peter Parker I’ll essentially be reading the book so others don’t have to.”

      As I said in the past, my WordPress stats tell me that there is an audience for the kind of reviews I’m providing. People are definitely reading and sharing them with friends, even if they don’t reply in the comments section.

      I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: Stillanerd over at Spider-Man Crawlspace has probably been the most honest reviewer I’ve seen on Dan Slott’s work. He really does do a good job. Even when I have minor disagreements with his grading, etc. … it’s hard not to be impressed by the work he’s putting into his reviews.

    2. Thanks again for your kind endorsement, Douglas. And I must say, your describing “Spider-Verse” as akin to “Where’s Waldo” in regards to Slott’s treatment of Peter Parker is such an apt and fitting metaphor that I’m a bit envious that I didn’t think of it myself. 😉

      And I would say it’s not just Slott who appears, based on his own writing, was has become bored with the present-day Peter Parker–ironically thanks to the way he’s developed him, or lack thereof, during his own run–but I also get the impression the higher ups at Marvel themselves feel the same way. Case in point: Marvel’s panel at this year’s New York Comic Con on Spider-Verse. There was all kinds of talk about Spider-Woman, Spider-Gwen, Silk (ugh!), Superior Spider-Man, the return of Ben Reilly, Miles Morales, etc. But when it came to Peter Parker, the guy who is supposed to be the “leading man” as it were? There was barely a mention of him. Granted, they probably didn’t want to spoil anything about Peter post “Spider-Verse,” but even so, the lack of talk about Peter Parker during a Spider-Man panel was very telling.

      I also find it telling that, in comparison to Spider-Verse, there appears to be a lot more buzz about the Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows teaser showing a slightly older Peter and MJ with a kid,

    3. Thanks again for your kind endorsement, Douglas. And I must say, your describing “Spider-Verse” as akin to “Where’s Waldo” in regards to Slott’s treatment of Peter Parker is such an apt and fitting metaphor that I’m a bit envious that I didn’t think of it myself. 😉

      You put in a ton of thought and effort into your reviews, and it shows. I’m happy to point a few people in your direction! Over the years I’ve seen reviews on other sites for ASM that seemed like they came from the Dan Slott rubber stamp factory, but yours ring true. They’re authentic, and I think the industry would be in a better place right now if we had more voices like yours speaking out.

      I also get the impression the higher ups at Marvel themselves feel the same way. Case in point: Marvel’s panel at this year’s New York Comic Con on Spider-Verse. There was all kinds of talk about Spider-Woman, Spider-Gwen, Silk (ugh!), Superior Spider-Man, the return of Ben Reilly, Miles Morales, etc. But when it came to Peter Parker, the guy who is supposed to be the “leading man” as it were? There was barely a mention of him.

      I’m totally in agreement with you on that one. Absence is supposed to make the heart grow fonder, but it doesn’t seem to have worked that way with Peter Parker for certain creators. He was gone for over a year…replaced by Doc Ock…and now he’s technically “back” but as one guy in an army of “spiders.” I’m not sure how Dan Slott or the rest of the brass at Marvel can say with a straight face that they haven’t short-changed Peter Parker.

      I also find it telling that, in comparison to Spider-Verse, there appears to be a lot more buzz about the Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows teaser showing a slightly older Peter and MJ with a kid.

      Perhaps you know more about this than I do, but with the Secret War event, House of M, and all the stuff going on with the different dimensions of Spider-Verse, is this going to be just some sort of glorified “What If” that lasts for the summer, or something more? In the last House of M, wasn’t Peter married to Gwen? If they just do something similar and he’s with MJ for a few months, then I’m just going to be more annoyed with Marvel. I would feel like the creators looked at an old scar the fans had and said, “Hey, it looks like that thing is healing up — how about if I rip into it one more time?” I’d be pretty heated if they did that.

  6. I love how Slott is still trying to force the idea that SpOck is some awesome badass. New flash: if you can’t handle controlling a section of NYC and when your plans fall apart, you jump ship like the self serving coward that you are, maybe you’re not the best person to lead an army of far more competent Spider-People.

  7. Has anyone else noticed that this is Dan Slott’s umpteenth attempt to make Spider-Man into Doctor Who? I mean he’s admitted this as being the “inspiration” (*cough*cockloadoffuckingbullshit*cough*) for Superior Spider Man, but really think about it; different versions of the same man (the multi-doctor stories), time travel (involving Spider-Ock [I will NOT call him spock because he is definitely as hell NOT worthy of the title],) and the clashing personalities. Dan Slott…do you just really hate Doctor Who? Is this a desperate masturbation session you do to try and make yourself feel better because Doctor Who can be so batshit fucking insane and yet still work regardless of how much it bends the laws of physics? Might I offer some constructive criticism? STOP WITH YOUR FUCKING DOCTOR WHO-INSERT FANFICTION AND WRITE A FUCKING SPIDER-MAN STORY YOU NON-BRIT-TWAT!!!

    1. The good news is that Dan Slott reads this blog (and Hube’s), so there is a very high probability that he will see your comment. The bad news is that he doesn’t take criticism really well, no matter how it’s delivered.

      I really just wish he would come out and say, “You know what, you’re right. I really like Peter Parker’s spider-powers, but I don’t particularly care for his character. I don’t have much fun writing him. I’m not all that interested in seeing him mature and grow,” because then his editorial decisions will be seen within their proper context. As it stands, he gives the proper lip service to loving the character, but his actions contradict his words.

  8. I just find it highly amusing that Slott spends all this time saying “no spider is safe” and trying to invest people in this all boom and no byte body-count…and in no time at all he spares the newspaper strip Spidey universe from Inheritor attacks due to “chronal distortion” or some baloney, which, if he were smart, could have been harnessed by the Spiders using their collective geniuses and utilized against the Inheritors (and might even prevent a few incursions going on in other Marvel books too). As it stands, it’s just an excuse to keep the newspaper comics going on attending to it’s own infinitely more entertaining storylines (and the latest one has even more focus on Peter and MJ, hooray), that’s fine by me, since this year we had a great Doc Ock story that poked fun at Superior a bit, and the current storyline is giving plenty of fresh focus to Peter and MJ and includes Mysterio

    Also, it seems Bendis has been trolling Slott’s plans this year by bringing back the Ultimate Universe Peter and implying the “Oz formula” that gave him his powers made him, Osborn, and Miles immortal (possibly MJ too since she was once injected with it), so that makes 616/Mephistoverse Parker even less unique and someone the Spiders really should’nt be bothering with

    1. Also, it seems Bendis has been trolling Slott’s plans this year by bringing back the Ultimate Universe Peter and implying the “Oz formula” that gave him his powers made him, Osborn, and Miles immortal (possibly MJ too since she was once injected with it), so that makes 616/Mephistoverse Parker even less unique and someone the Spiders really should’nt be bothering with.

      I never really got into the Ultimate Universe, primarily due to funds when it first started…but then as time went on I just stuck with the 616 Universe. Has there been any public beef between Bendis and Slott? I’m not up on that sort of thing.

    2. I don’t know if there is any real beef between them or not (though there’s been plenty of instances of writers in the company trolling one another), that said, I don’t think Bendis has ever been on board with what editorial have done with Spidey over the years and has enough pull considering his success to get away with little things here and there that please the fans. Like I said, the fact Slott has had to either politely ignore or be forced to acknowledge the universes where Peter has got happy endings knowing he can’t tamper with ’em has been joyous, anything that undermines his drivel is a plus

    3. Like I said, the fact Slott has had to either politely ignore or be forced to acknowledge the universes where Peter has got happy endings knowing he can’t tamper with ‘em has been joyous, anything that undermines his drivel is a plus.

      Hear, hear!

  9. I’ve mentioned this before, but the Spider-Verse plot itself is basically a ripoff of both the series finale of the 1990s Spider-Man cartoon and the 2010 video game “Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions” as well. Real “original” there, Slott.

  10. Slott wrote the plot of “Shattered Dimensions” so he’s just expanding on something from earlier, but you’re right on the 90s animated series doing this way earlier. You’d think Slott would seize a golden opportunity to team the two Spiders up (90s Spidey did save all of reality with Uncle Ben and got to meet Stan Lee), but no, Slott decided to kill him off very early on in the story in a short cameo (well, “his head”, the Spidey of the 90s and rare and short-lived Unlimited cartoon show were the same character)

    1. I didn’t know that. I had assumed that Bendis (who I’m no fan of, but admittedly he writes a better Peter Parker than anyone else at Marvel these days) had written it.

      I watched the 1990s series frequently when I was younger, so its finale was what came to mind when I heard of Spider-Verse. And I’m not surprised that Slott killed a character with potential off.

  11. Cannon fodder so far. The story is about killing spider men, women and children and having them be cannon fodder. Some of the deaths are quite graphic in nature but the shock value is starting to lessen. Not a good thing. Assassin Spider, who actually had a bit of good characterization meets his end by being eaten alive by Daemos… the same character that just killed Peter / MJ from the alternate MC2 timeline, which in and of itself makes sense since some of these more prominent characters (Superior Spider-Man, Spider-Uk) have the ability to travel across time and space and could simply just show up 5 minutes earlier to save them. Dr. Who is a heavy influence on Slott’s writing and it shows, but really is there every possible timeline in which every possible Spidey can exist? So somewhere, there’s a timeline, where Peter decided to “KEEP THE BOMBASTIC BAGMAN costume”?? Is that the only difference between THAT Peter and “our” Peter? Spider Verse I think works in theory, but I worry about in Practice. I almost feel he should have went the Bendis route (e.g. Spider-Men 2) and have a story where say Miles Morales and Spider-Man Noir have to team up. But here, so many of the spiders in this story were created to be collateral damage that as vocal as I was against Superior Spider Man, Otto is one of the saving graces of the book and keeps me interested…completely proving your point that Peter has felt lost, and without purpose. Marvel really wants you to like Silk, but so far she’s very 1 dimensional. Spider Verse is becoming as such since we can expect at least a few people to die every issue. If that’s the case, then there’s no point in emotionally investing in any character since part of the fun for Dan is “guess who I’m killing next”. I’ll stick with it, as I love Spidey. But I hope something substantial comes out of all of this.

    1. Otto is one of the saving graces of the book and keeps me interested…completely proving your point that Peter has felt lost, and without purpose.

      So the question becomes: Is Dan Slott purposefully knee-capping Peter Parker from a creative standpoint to get you in a place where you actually call Otto a “saving grace” in a Spider-Man book, or is it simply that he likes writing Otto more and what you’re experiencing is the practical effect of a creator clearly having more fun with one character than another?

      I’ll stick with it, as I love Spidey. But I hope something substantial comes out of all of this.

      And that is the power of Spider-Man right there. When Marvel touts Dan Slott’s numbers, they never have to mention the thousands of fans just like you who simply love Peter Parker and want to see something worthwhile emerge from the wreckage. As I’ve said before: sales do not equal respect. Years from now critics will see how Dan Slott treated Peter Parker during his tenure, and they will not be kind to him.

  12. I recall when one of the finest Spider writers of all, Tom DeFalco, was on Fantastic Four title and the hardcore fans despised his run for some of the choices made (breaking up Johnny Storm’s marriage to Alicia by revealing she was Lyja the Skull, Reed and Doom seemingly killed off and replaced on the team or with a new version) and even he excused the criticism with “sales were great, so I was’nt fired”. Nowadays a lot of critics and fans don’t look back fondly on DeFalco’s run on FF at all, it’s a mere curiosity and a footnote, and just another nail in the coffin for the World’s Greatest Comic Magazine as it continued to sharply decline over the years to the point where it may be a while before it ever comes back

    Interestingly, during DeFalco’s run, there was a story involving a character called the Dark Raider who scouted multiple universes killing off every Reed Richards he could find…coincidence?

    1. Interestingly, during DeFalco’s run, there was a story involving a character called the Dark Raider who scouted multiple universes killing off every Reed Richards he could find…coincidence?

      Haha! That’s hilarious. Zariusii, you need to start a blog. That would make a great post: “Dan Slott cribs DeFalco for Spider-Verse just like he sadly he cribs Dr. Who” 😉

  13. I’ve set up a blog for my fan video editing projects, but it could evolve into something more down the line. I’ll be sure to give you a shout-out if I ever inspired to comment on these situations on it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s