Parker Industries ASM 18

The 18th issue of The Amazing Spider-Man features Parker Industries collapsing into a smouldering pile of rubble. This is fitting because the character’s credibility now exists as sad and twisted wreckage under Dan Slott’s direction. Leading into Spider-Verse, the most memorable moment was the time Peter had to be saved by Silk and nursed back to health by Anna Maria. During Spider-Verse he became a Where’s Waldo-ish character in his own book. Now, as Renew Your Vows closes in, he becomes a spineless whipping boy for Anna and Sajani.

SpiderMan Anna ASM 18

Perhaps other Spider-Man fans can chime in, but when did Anna Maria become Peter Parker’s mom, who is often written as if she should have a halo around her head? “Anna’s covering my butt…literally. She thought of everything. Again,” Peter says to himself after the supporting cast member saves him from Ghost. Not only is Ms. Marconi saintly and wise, but she has the inner strength to save the suddenly-hapless Spider-Man from his own incompetence — during battle.

Amazing SpiderMan 18Perhaps worst of all is the way the book’s hero — and company CEO — just sits there and takes the bizarre rantings of the horribly-written Sajani. At what point do fans corner Dan Slott and force him to admit that he’s turned Peter Parker into an impotent clown in order to highlight Anna Maria’s awesomeness? When do they ask him why he feels the need to shoehorn “girl power” messages into The Amazing Spider-Man instead of just telling solid stories?

  • Silk, although locked away for most of her life, is Peter’s equal or a better when it comes to the superhero business.
  • Anna Maria Marconi is the voice of reason, a source of strength, and an anchor that keeps Peter grounded.
  • Sajani pushes CEO-Parker around like he’s some low-level employee who is on thin ice for constantly screwing up.
  • Black Cat is a megalomaniac super-villain who can orchestrate a Spider-Man beat-down and near-unmasking for a national television audience.

Over and over and over again throughout Dan Slott’s run, Peter Parker is marginalized in his own title — and yet Marvel wants fans to believe that he loves the character. The reboot should have been called The Sensational Silk, Spider-Verse gave fans the inspirational Uncle Ben speech delivered by Doctor Octopus, and now ASM #18 presents the hero more like an immature kid who could barely tie his own shoes, let alone stop a super-villain or run a business.

If you are short on cash this month, then do not buy this book. It is so bad that you may find yourself wishing Marvel uses Secret Wars to erase most of Peter Parker’s history.

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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.

34 comments

  1. A year on and we have had no real resolution or progression with Black Cat’s turn to villainy nor a truly inspired Peter Parker putting their past behind them to try and bring her to justice. Even after she nearly burns his Aunt to death, he’s constantly giving her second chances and pinning the blame on her powers. And yes, Anna Maria and the guy from the otherwise rather entertaining “Learning to Crawl” are the real heroes of this story, hauling Peter’s ass out of the fire. In a way, Slott is again making Superior the star, as Anna is to Doc Ock what MJ was/is to Peter, so by keeping the primary headstrong love interest in the spotlight, Slott makes sure you don’t forget the legacy of Octavius’ stranglehold on Peter’s life and the book for a year.

    As we speak, Renew Your Vows is coming up, an event that will forever define and shape Spider-Man for the future…yet it is very telling that it is with an alternative universe Peter Parker that this is happening, just as Spider-Verse was all about Silk, Superior, Peter and MJ’s baby boy, Uncle Ben, and Kane rather than insist on anything special about Peter. It is a married father, a more advanced and older Peter that gets the most important story of the year, I just pray that, as well as older, he and MJ are a lot more sharper, and that Dan brings his A-game

    An interview with Lowe yesterday indicated that several series coming out of Secret Wars could continue past the event if sales are high, so I hope people invest in Renew Your Vows to the point it can have more of a life once Slott has told his story. His ideas thrive more in the hands of more capable people.

    1. “I just pray that […] that Dan brings his A-game. An interview with Lowe yesterday indicated that several series coming out of Secret Wars could continue past the event if sales are high, so I hope people invest in Renew Your Vows to the point it can have more of a life once Slott has told his story.”

      What Marvel is doing rubs me the wrong way. They’ll green light “Renew Your Vows,” but then attach Slott to it and essentially say that sales will determine whether or not fans get more married Peter.

  2. What I didn’t like about #18 was that it was all setup despite being the last issue in a major storyline and potentially the last issue of 616 Peter (if he gets rebooted in Secret Wars). It makes me wonder what Dan was trying to setup in this issue. Another spin-off title? If so that is poor form.

    The problem with the way Dan Slott’s writing is that he focuses too much on setting up future plot threads to the extent that he never resolves anything (or no longer knows how). As a result, when you read a Dan Slott comic you’re sort of waiting for the good part to happen (i.e. the payoff) only for it to never occur.

    Doug: What would be interesting is if you did a review on Spiral (written by Gerry Conway) and compare it with Dan Slott’s works.

    1. I’ve had a “Who cares?” feeling on Marvel as of late precisely because of Secret Wars. As you point out, if everything is just going to be erased completely or altered, then none of it really matters.

      Doug: What would be interesting is if you did a review on Spiral (written by Gerry Conway) and compare it with Dan Slott’s works.

      Thanks for bringing this up, Riablo. I was actually debating whether or not I should do that very thing. 🙂 Now that you’ve brought it up, I may give it a shot. We’ll see. I initially held off because I was trying to limit how much I spent on Marvel products, but now I’m thinking that it may be worth a few extra bucks.

  3. I’m sure it didn’t get past you that Slott said “elements of” Renew Your Vows would make their way into Spider-Man stuff moving forward, and that this is almost insultingly evasive language.

    What do you think the odds are that Marvel is looking to just swap out Peter Parker for Miles Morales as “the” Spider-Man, at least for a while, after Secret Wars? You can just see the publicity stuff, just like “female Thor — this is the real Thor!” and “black Captain America.”

    Also I notice you’ve never talked about Ultimate Spider-Man. Do you dislike that title, dislike the ultimate universe in general, only have loyalty to the original, or some other reason?

    Personally I’ve always felt that while there were a few things that were better about the ultimate universe, it’s both very derivative and unnecessarily dark, which constant major character deaths and a really bleak overall tone that just makes it feel like “this whole universe doesn’t really count.” I hate the idea of messing with overall continuity; if I was interested in a universe that rebooted all the time I’d read DC.

    1. Judging from what Nick said on CBR on Wednesday, Renew Your Vows starts pretty much how Brand New Day begins, only with Peter still married. It’s also said what Slott has done currently will “resonate” throughout the event. All these irritating buzzwords are incredibly vauge, and very patronizing, and inform us of absolutely nothing, essentially making us buy a “mystery meal” using the same chef that leaves in all the tackier ingredients

    2. I think “Mystery Meal” is a good way of putting it, zariusii. We used to call it “Mystery Meat” when served at the school cafeteria. 🙂

      Another analogy might be the famous Dum Dum Lollipops with the question mark wrapping paper. That may work for little kids who get a piece of candy for behaving while their mother gets a haircut at the salon, but I don’t think it’s a good idea for major comic book events.

    3. Astute observation, Eidolon. When the Ultimate line started years ago I was already collecting a lot of comics and simply didn’t have the cash to get involved. Also, at the time, the taste of “Heroes Reborn” was still lingering and I figured that it would probably end the same way. I guess on some level I was right…although it just took them a bit longer.

      Like you, I don’t particularly like messing with continuity. I don’t think Spider-Man or Iron Man or any other character needs to be rebooted. I think Marvel just needs to tell better tales. There are ways to keep a universe in tact while also changing characters to fit the times. I never bought into the idea that kids won’t relate to [insert hero x here] because he or she has a long history. That’s weird to me. I picked up ASM in the early 80s and Peter Parker had already been around for decades.

      I’ll go into certain book stories and see kids reading anime like I used to read Marvel comics. That tells me that Marvel needs to put out a product that resonates with younger readers instead of trying to tinker with continuity. I’m sure there is a business model that would allow the company to keep its older audience while also bringing in new readers. As has been discussed before, Marvel’s current creative team seems to think insulting the fans is a winning strategy. I disagree.

    4. It’s really hard to see how RYV isn’t just going to end up being infuriating or insulting to the fans. If I understand correctly, what they’re doing is:

      1. Getting rid of the version of Spider-Man the fans allegedly want
      2. Replacing him with a version that a significant number of fans really do want, and have said they want loudly and publicly
      3. But doing so in a way that’s obviously temporary, without any statement that they’ve changed their minds about what they think the fans want

      So if you like the current version, too bad. They’re replacing him with a version you may not be interested in for an unspecified amount of time. If you like the married version, too bad. They’re just messing with you and it definitely won’t be permanent, because if it was going to be permanent they’d have said something about changing their minds. And that’s without considering the fact that they put Slott on the project for some reason.

      Also, is it just me or is it bizarre that they’re specifically putting a version of Spider-Man out there that they’ve said over and over people don’t want? Does that make any sense?

    5. You pretty much hit a home run with this one, Eidolon. That’s the kind of comment that would have been deleted on the old school Marvel message boards because you succinctly expose the haphazard way the editors are running things. There’s no rhyme or reason — it’s just what they want at any given moment. They’ll defend whatever the heck they do, even if it totally contradicts something they said a day, a week, a month or a year prior.

      It wouldn’t be so bad if they didn’t openly mock fans who disagree with them. In the end they usually come to decisions that annoy everyone. Sigh.

  4. Each issue I see only helps me know that I made the right choice walking away from this book. When will Spider-Man be written like a hero again?

    1. That’s what I’ve heard as well, Zac. There are books that feel like a Spider-Man book, and then there are books that feel like … Spider-Man written by Dan Slott. There’s a difference between a writer who does his job so well that the character is always associated with him, and then a writer who just treats the character like it was a toy in his toy box.

  5. I wonder if Peter Parker is being deliberately written as an imbecile because they’re trying to turn Spider-Man into a legacy character. Disenchant enough people with the Parker character so that they can put someone else in the webs and people would be OK about it. This is what Marvel tried to do in the 90s with the Clone Saga — let Peter and MJ have their (sort-of) happy ending and sent them off to Seattle. So Peter in RYV (in the black costume) will kill somebody (Eddie Brock) in the process of protecting MJ and their daughter, because of that he decides he is a terrible person, and retires, turning everything over to Miles.

    1. It’s hard not to think that sometimes, isn’t it? 🙂 I personally just think that Dan Slott fundamentally misreads the character and that he isn’t suited for the title (I heard he does a decent job with Silver Surfer). Regardless, I would never laugh at someone who says Marvel is trying to find a way to strip Peter of a little bit of the limelight and shift it over to Miles. There is certainly enough circumstantial evidence to make such a case.

    2. The best criticism anyone can make with Silver Surfer is it’s “Dan Slott is trying to write Doctor Who,” which is perfectly fine if you watch and enjoy that show

    3. In the past, Mr. Slott insinuated that I have a weird thing against him personally, which leads me to give ASM bad reviews. Not so. If I had some sort of vendetta, then I’d definitely be buying Silver Surfer and writing negative reviews. I’ve heard the “it’s okay if you like Dr. Who” analysis before, and so I leave it be. If guys like you like it, then I have no reason to pick it up for further examination.

      Looking back on it, I wish I took a picture of my bedroom when I was a kid. I had really cool posters of Spider-Man, Silver Surfer, and Captain America on my wall. I’d probably write up a blog post on that time in my life and how comics helped shape me into the person I am today.

    4. Yeah, Dan unfortunately has that weird thing about me as well. I don’t hate him, I just don’t think too highly of how he conducts himself or how he writes one particular set of characters, but ask him and all I post is “bile” and focuses too much on my disliking that one specific thing he does.

  6. Sometimes people can’t handle honest views and they spin it as hate. Make you out as a bad person so that people will not listen to your legitimate views. Marvel needs to hire a person in charge of PR and have them put a tight grip on the writers.

  7. I still want to hold out hope that Marvel will start writing Spider-Man a little more seriously if/when they release their MCU version of him in Phase 3. It’s wishful thinking, but I’d love it if they did a sort of resurgence of the character in the style of Fraction and Aja’s Hawkeye after he made his MCU debut in Avengers.

    Also, just came across this article. Marvel has two (possible) conservative voices in it’s entire creative staff and that’s still too much for some people.
    http://www.bleedingcool.com/2015/04/23/fanboy-rampage-ales-kot-vs-mitch-gerads-and-nathan-edmondson-over-chris-kyle-american-sniper/

    1. Wow. Ales Kot just came across like a loon. Just stay silent and let him ramble on like a crazy person… Yeesh.

      The thing is, simply doing a project for something associated with Chris Kyle doesn’t (or shouldn’t) say anything about a man’s personal politics. The dude was a Navy SEAL. He was sent to war and did his best to protect other soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines. It’s a pretty sad day when acknowledging a man’s selfless service to his country is somehow a political message.

    2. Ales came off as a crazy nut in that rant. Maybe the reason people quit responding is because they knew he was to nutty to understand better. He will be added to the list of do not buy products from…to be fair it would not make a difference his work was never good enough to buy anyway.

    3. I just started laughing as I was scrolling through the story. It reads like some guy alone in a cave … just screaming weird political screeds to himself.

  8. You know it’s funny. A short time ago, Slott was on yet another tirade on Twitter, this time about the fact that Brian Michael Bendis was more popular than he was, and somehow gets less criticism then he does.

    Now Bendis is not exactly innocent of messing with characters histories (Ice Man anyone?), but after recently re-reading “Spider-Men”, I will say this much for him that he at least understands Peter as a character. Whereas as Slander-Slime Slott writes him up like some thoughtless dolt. Even Elliott Kalan writes a better Peter Parker in “Spider-Man and the X-Men”. Which by the by is a pretty decent 6 issue series.

    It’s hard for me to garner any further disdain I have for Slott’s attitude towards the fans, though in recent weeks I’ve learned he’s not the only bad egg in the proverbial comicbook carton. But I will say this for the record, I would rather have to endure One More Day for the next month, then sit through another round of Spider-Man and his Amazing Cast: Guest Starring Spider-Man.

    And you can quote me on that.

    1. The thing with Bendis is, while I may disagree with the direction he takes a book in, I respect his writing.

      He is a professional at his craft. There is a seriousness about him and his work that Dan Slott lacks. Dan Slott’s work is often sloppy, and then he gets upset when fans point out the slop. He’ll have a decent idea, but then the execution of the idea is a complete mess. He acts as if the idea alone should be enough to keep the fans placated. Sorry, Dan. It doesn’t work that way.

      I’ve talked about this before, but often times when corned Dan will say it’s “just” a comic book. That to me is incredibly telling. Yes, it’s a comic book — but every writer should try to elevate the craft to a higher level. The best Spider-Man tales over the years can be read and enjoyed by young readers, yet simultaneously speak to our souls on a deeper level. I don’t want my the guy in charge of Peter Parker treating the comic like it’s little more than a Bazooka Joe bubblegum wrapper.

  9. I’ve been a man of my word. I dropped ASM right at the conclusion of Spider-Verse and haven’t looked back. I do wonder though, if there’s more behind Spider-Verse, the close of this current volume of ASM and Secret Wars. What I mean is, what if there’s a 4th volume of ASM on the way, but it focuses on Miles Morales? In solicits, and interviews there’s been no mention of Peter post SW outside of Slott saying in an interview that Marvel had no intention of restoring the marriage post SW due to everything they had to endure to get rid of it. We STILL have the dropped storyline of what ever became of Superior Spider-Man after the Anna Marconi hologram came out of sleep mode 100 days later. Maybe Peter has been written as such so that this volume of ASM builds up his supporting cast for Miles moving forward. Given the huge diversity push I wouldn’t put it past Marvel to be setting Miles up to take over, especially since SW rewrites the history of the Multiverse. At any rate, Renew Your Vows will be the last ASM related comic I’m getting for a while. But given Slotts propensity to write MJ as less than lovable or caring I kinda feel like I’m dialing it in— buying a marvel book out of retrospect and nostalgia for a time long passed by: a married Peter and MJ. Given the mess that was Secret Wars #1 (literally 14 Billion people…7 billion people on 616 Earth, 7 billion on Ultimate Earth 1610) just died I’m still thinking Secret Wars #8 will be my last Marvel purchase.

  10. I think that when the time comes for Slott to leave ASM, he will leave it as one GIANT mess. It’s clear that the reason why he signed on as full time writer was to see Superior Spider-Man come to form. I do not think that he was ever a fan of Peter Parker or any of his supporting cast, like Mary Jane. The fact that he made Felicia Hardy into a villain is Slott giving the middle finger to the Black Cat fans. If he didn’t like either MJ an Felicia, why couldn’t he had used Betty Brant and Jennifer Walters as alternates. Even Jessica Drew and The Black Widow might have been a fun alternate.

    If Slott wanted to give Spider-Man a female villain, why couldn’t he imported Madam Viper, Lady Deathstrike, or even Typhoid Mary as those characters might have made for an interesting crime boss than the Black Cat. Ever since he took over ASM, we have seen more character creations than at any other time. In contrast, we have seen LESS involvement with Spider-Man and his other superhero friends, aside from Johnny Storm. It might had been cool if we saw Peter dating Jessica Drew, Jennifer Walters(Human form), or even Greer Grant(Tigra)…

    But it seems as if Slott is burned out from writing ASM. But he can’t leave due to his contract clause, which means that he has to finish his obligations. This might be why the quality of he recent ASM run wasn’t good because it was intended to be a continuation of Superior Spider-Man. In an interview, Slott mentioned that he had planned to bring Peter Parker back after the Secret Wars had Superior Spider-Man continued. So far, his run has been very painful to read because it is so bad. I do not have much hope on RYV due to Slott’s past treatment on Peter and Mary Jane. As for Black Cat, I want to see her memories of Peter as Spider-Man restored. Her best character development stems from her interaction with Peter, not Spider-Man.

    I hope that 2016 will be the last year of Slott’s run because he would have achieve his goal as being the greatest Spider-Man writer of all time(he said that on his formsprings account in 2012) in terms of sale volume issues, in terms of character creation, etc. I think that Slott’s been on the book for too long.

  11. Doug, great news, the first Renew Your Vows issue and its variants has several placements on the re-order charts, including the number one spot, eclipsing Secret Wars#3 and Star Wars. Encouraging signs even if what we get is the charlie brown football, it could spell out good things in a short amount of time for the regular continuity.

    Oh, and the newspaper comics have a really fun thing going on at the moment, focusing on some bonding between Mary Jane and Black Widow, with Widow volunteering to be her stunt-double while she films her movie. Plenty of things to be happy about regarding that character.

    1. I always felt that the Black Widow should have been a reoccurring guest in Spider-Man’s world in the 1970’s after she made her appearance in ASM #86. The tension between them is really mutual. In retrospect, I think that the Black Widow could have been Spider-Man’s first costumed love interest. Afterall, she did kiss Spider-Man during the Marvel Team Up story arc issues #82 thru #85, and really had no regrets about it at all.

  12. SSM is the only lengthy Spider-Man storyline Slott has done well, probably because he was enthusiastic about it. That’s what he’s remembered for on Spider-Man — SSM, with six years of story-bubbles and plot-froth either leading up to it, or trailing off after it.

    1. Jack, I think every time you post I en up with a smile on my face. 🙂 I agree with you — there was certainly a verve to Dan Slott’s writing during SSM that simply isn’t there anymore. I don’t know how anyone can deny that.

  13. I wished that Marvel would have just let Slott do his Spider-Man stories the way he wanted instead of getting into his way. Perhaps we might not have seen the Black Cat in SSM #20 as that was to have been the start of the Spider-Verse storyline. If the Editors had allowed Slott to have finished SSM from start to finish, he would have let the series on a high note. It seems to me that he’s done with Peter Parker and only wants to focus on Spock, which was his personal creation. It makes no sense to force someone to work on a comic series if his passion for the protagonist and his supporting cast is not there anymore. And what he’s done to the Black Cat is an example that he doesn’t care about the characters that he writes about other than his own creations like Silk, Clash, and Anna Maria…I think that Slott has transferred Spock onto the Black Cat.

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