ASM 8

Dan Slott’s version of The Amazing Spider-Man has reached a peculiar point in history — Peter Parker’s “spider-sense” allows him to know that a car falling off a skyscraper will be okay because teleporting “friends” are nearby, but yet there were no warnings to be had with his “very close” girlfriend who a.) worked with a terrorist organization to destroy his company, and b.) was plotting to kill him.

ASM 8 Lian

The absurdity of the issue is summed up when the wall-crawler says, “My girlfriend. In a spider-mobile. Trying to murder me. Okay, gotta admit, did not see that coming.”

Lian Tang, the woman who hand-feeds Peter Parker pork dumplings on the roof of Parker Industries, never mentioned to her “very close” boyfriend that her mother was sick with cancer. She never thought to ask the guy with a multi-billion dollar tech company if he could help or put her in contact with someone who could. Nope. Instead, she decided to work for an international terrorist group and then make a deal for experimental drugs in exchange for Spider-Man’s life.

ASM Lian

When it all went sour, writer Dan Slott wrote the following exchange with the expectation that fans would take it seriously:

Lian Tang: What happens now? I’m fired? Going to jail? What? Just tell me my mother will be —”

Spider-Man: Lian, stop.

Lian Tang: I gave Zodiac our security codes. I tried to KILL you.”

Spider-Man: I understand. I know what it means to risk everything to help family. So does Peter. We’d be hypocrites if we didn’t give you a chance to work with us.

Writer Dan Slott’s idea of personal responsibility (in a Spider-Man book, no less), is just saying “sorry” for attempted murder, or promising not to try and destroy Parker Industries a second time.

Question for long-time Spider-Man fans: Did Peter Parker ever try to kill an innocent man in his attempts to save Aunt May or Mary Jane over the years? I can recall a really embarrassing deal with the devil (for all intents and purposes), but I don’t remember him, say, cooking up a scheme to kill “Robbie” Robertson. Perhaps I’m wrong.

Peter Parker Sajani

Long story short, Lian’s actions came at the most inopportune of times. Peter was going to bestow a humanitarian award on “China’s favorite son,” Shen Quinghao, while simultaneously setting a trap for Mr. Negative. Instead of drugging the award recipient on live television as Mr. Negative instructed Peter to do, Quinghao was left alone. Enraged, the villain teleported himself right into an ambush by Spider-Man and law enforcement personnel. It was Lian’s actions, however, that allowed Mr. Negative to escape.

Writer Dan Slott, speaking through our hero, wants readers to know Peter would somehow be a “hypocrite” if the woman who tried to murder him, gave away his company’s most important secrets, and put countless lives in jeopardy were to be held responsible for her actions.

Welcome to The Amazing Spider-Man in 2016.

Exit Question:

How many issues in a row can Dan Slott introduce the perfect technology needed to get Peter out of a jam? This issue it’s “homing” darts that can track teleporters, providing they have been tagged with the “micro-tracers” revealed in ASM #7.

Side note: Dan Slott gave Spider-Man “Quick-drying web-cement” in ASM #6 and it was used to temporarily hold up an entire building, but yet that same webbing could not be used to attach the Spider-mobile to the side of skyscaper. Interesting.

Also, what is the point of having a Spider-mobile that can go up the side of the building if any accident would result in it falling 50 stories onto the population below? I thought Lian was a better engineer than that…

ASM Cloak

 

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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.

57 comments

    1. “Hmmm. Mom has cancer. Do the Yellow Pages still exist? Maybe I can look up international terrorist organizations that will trade experimental drugs for corporate espionage and murder…”

      Parker Industries is the first company where an employee can literally try and kill her boss and get away with it. 🙂 Peter thinks it’s a perk that will draw the best talent from the industry into his camp.

    2. “Parker Industries is the first company where an employee can literally try and kill her boss and get away with it.”

      Well if that’s the case, I guess I better call ACME and go all Wile E Coyote on Ol’ Petey. Hey, maybe I’ll get to be head of PI’s demolitions division. 😀

    1. I want as many people to share their opinions as possible, but you will have rein in the language. I tried to gently convey that message in a previous post. Now, with my moderator hat on, I’m explicitly saying to follow the language guidelines I set by my own example in the comments section.

      Dan Slott does read this blog, so I don’t want him going around saying I condone people calling him a “s***stain.” I don’t.

      I will critique his writing. I will call him out when he lies about me to his Twitter followers. I will pushback on his partisan political attacks. But I won’t needlessly start swearing at the man.

    1. “I wonder how Sajani and Anna Maria will react to Peter giving Lian another chance.”

      I’m looking forward to the incredibly awkward conversation Lian has with Peter.

      Peter: “Don’t beat yourself over this, Lian. We all go through rough patches.”

      Lian: “But…I literally tried to kill Spider-Man. And I gave Parker Industries’ most closely-guarded secrets to terrorists.”

      Peter:Shhhhhh. Just have another pork dumpling, my darling. Never mind, that. Never mind that at all. It’s over. It’s done. Let’s move on.”

    1. It seems as if Dan Slott, more and more, is losing all sense of normal human behavior.

      It’s so strange because you want to give him credit for latching onto the idea of redemption, but his execution of the idea is always so bizarre.

      He went quiet in terms of politics for awhile. Now he’s right back at it with run-of-the-mill partisan attacks, which only serve to alienate potential customers.

  1. Perhaps his Spider-Man stories are a metaphor (or loose interpretation) for what’s going on at Marvel.

    Employees do everything possible to ruin the company and get fired yet the company mysteriously continues employing them.

    Just a theory.

    1. “Perhaps his Spider-Man stories are a metaphor (or loose interpretation) for what’s going on at Marvel. Employees do everything possible to ruin the company and get fired yet the company mysteriously continues employing them.”

      Zing! That one did make me laugh.

  2. I was at the comic book store today, and I heard that even the comic book owner stopped reading this crap. Even saying that it’s one of those comics you know suck but you keep reading anyway. He said that Spidey is way better. So what’s your opinion on Spidey anyway?

    1. “I was at the comic book store today, and I heard that even the comic book owner stopped reading this crap. Even saying that it’s one of those comics you know suck but you keep reading anyway.”

      That is a testament to just how strong of a character Spider-Man is that people will continue to buy it even though it’s like trying to eat whatever kind of food gives you a gag reflex. Long-time fans have a deep desire for the book to survive, and they will buy it hoping to live to see the day when it is legitimately awesome.

      “He said that Spidey is way better. So what’s your opinion on Spidey anyway?”

      I haven’t read the new Spidey book yet, so I can’t give you an opinion on that one. I read Bendis’ Spider-Man and will continue to give it a read until it goes off the rails.

    2. Just got through reading Bendis’ Spider-Man. I love it. When he picked up the shield it was a kick-a** moment for some reason.

    3. “Just got through reading Bendis’ Spider-Man. I love it. When he picked up the shield it was a kick-a** moment for some reason.”

      I thought that was a pretty cool moment as well, K55boy. I can imagine myself as a teenager who is new to the superhero scene, and suddenly the opportunity arises to pick up Cap’s shield in a fight. Do you do it? Do you dare? Are you worthy enough to do that? Answer: YES! Sure, on some level you do it because your life depends on it, but it also signifies who Miles aspires to be like — and that in itself is a powerful statement.

      Once you pick up Cap’s shield and use it in battle, you have a lot to live up to going forward. In many ways, it would be one of those life-defining moments.

      Yes, I too was very happy with that scene. Good writing there by Bendis. I tip my hat to him on that one. 🙂

  3. Seriously, what is the appeal supposed to be for ASM readers at this point? I don’t see a lot of excitement for this current direction from any corner.

    I suppose we have the .1 issues, but there really seems to be the need for an ongoing satellite title more than ever now.

    It’s frustrating, because there have to be other creators out there with good ideas for Peter / Spider-Man, but they won’t get a shot at the series and we won’t get their stories.

    1. “It’s frustrating, because there have to be other creators out there with good ideas for Peter / Spider-Man, but they won’t get a shot at the series and we won’t get their stories.”

      At this point in time he seems more motivated to take jabs at Republicans in his Twitter feed each day than churning out inspired Spider-Man stories. Maybe he’ll officially hit the decade benchmark, but what good is that if at the end of the day people are like, “Oh, yeah. You’re the guy who made Peter a CEO who just shrugged off his inner circle literally trying to kill him and destroy Parker Industries.”

      Getting to write ASM is an great gig, but at some point in time a man just sort of becomes incredibly selfish if he refuses to pass the baton. As you said, I’m sure there are very smart writers out there who are chomping at the bit to take on The Amazing Spider-Man.

  4. As expected from Slott his version of Peter (or basically every character that he writes) doesn’t act like a normal human being should be. A part the whole corporation angle in finding that his girlfriend as tried to kill him and betrayed him working with terrorists Spidey reaction should be of anger or delusion, especially if he and Lian are so close, as Slott wrote.

    Being angry when someone close to you uses your relationship in a similar way of treachery is normal and Marvel Characters used to act as normal human beings in the past (but probably Slott believes that is writing another characters).

    P.S, I’m seeing that in a way or another Marvel are using characters or universes from Secret Wars, why they haven’t done a series from Renew your Vows? If it’s not their intention make the wedding canonical at least they can make a comic in some alternate setting for people that want Peter and MJ married. Considering that we are a consistent portion of fandom it’ll make a more sense from an economic point of view than others things that they’ve done.

    1. Thanks for the comment, Fra. I’m not sure if you read Stillanerd’s review, but he hit the nail on the head. I think the ideas of forgiveness and redemption are a noble, but the execution is downright ridiculous. As you point out, Peter’s reaction is not natural. It’s absurd, given her crimes.

      In terms of Renew Your Vows, I agree with you that it Marvel could easily turn that into a series if the wanted. Now that Regent is in the 616 universe, I guess that won’t happen anytime soon.

    2. “In terms of Renew Your Vows, I agree with you that it Marvel could easily turn that into a series if the wanted. Now that Regent is in the 616 universe, I guess that won’t happen anytime soon.”

      I’ll second a RYV series, too. There could be reasons that one wasn’t set-up — it turned out to be a sleeper of sorts, there are plans to do more with it and Marvel wants to be a surprise, no one wants to write it, Marvel wants everyone to just forget that Spider-Man was once a normal married person (despite the fact that the Parker/Watson marriage was and is a fan-favorite element of the mythology) — and some that could make sense.

      However, considering RYV’s success and status as a general favorite of most “Secret Wars” series readers (it got really good reviews, word-of-mouth presented it as must-read for Spider-Man fans, even web reviewers that were advocating to skip series that contributed nothing to the “Secret Wars” story were saying :”Read this”), it’s really strange that it’s been left by the wayside, given that far less popular “Secret Wars” comics (like “A-Force” and “X-Men ’99”) are getting their own series, and that the only RYV element being built on is Regent, who had zero contributions to RYV’s success (RYV succeeded IN SPITE of Regent, not because of him; the comic’s success was in Spider-Man being a husband and a father and how that was depicted, the two things that Marvel would chose to mutate the series into something completely different than build on, despite the fact that both are things that many of their readers want to read about).

      Of course, given that Cindy Moon was given her own series despite being one of the most ill-received characters in the franchise and Spider-Gwen was also slated for one before she made her first appearance, Marvel’s creative decisions seem to have very little rhyme or reason.

      Even so, I think a RYV series could still work. Just continue it as a parallel universe (like “Spider-Girl” or “Ultimate Spider-Man”); the post-“Secret Wars” Marvel comics have them already, so it shouldn’t confuse readers. Or, write it as an alternate universe to the original RYV story; make it one where Regent never came to power and just go from there.

    3. Of course, given that Cindy Moon was given her own series despite being one of the most ill-received characters in the franchise and Spider-Gwen was also slated for one before she made her first appearance, Marvel’s creative decisions seem to have very little rhyme or reason.

      I think you answered your own question, when you consider why something that was legitimately popular like RYV was put on the shelf with an, “Eh, maybe later” mentality, while A-Force, Silk, etc. were fawned over. The company is infested with Social Justice Obsessives. Peter Parker and his beautiful wife and child saving the world would probably be conspiratorially accused of promoting “white privilege” or some other garbage.

      Nuclear (**gasp!** white) family, happy, successful, saving the world, battling evil-doers. We can’t have that being the face of Marvel, can we? (because you know that series would sell, and sell well — Renew Your Vows proves it).

      What sane company looks at a sure-fire money-maker and says, “Thanks, but no thanks. We’ll pass”? Only one filled with what I guess I’ll deem SJOs.

  5. This book is slipping very badly in sales at the moment, to the point StillANerd’s latest article on Whatever A Spider Can looking ahead to May theorizes that some stories coming up from Marvel may be attempts at putting band aids on the wounds to get the bleeding under control. The highest ranked Spider-Man book is the most fun Spider-Man/Deadpool series. I hope you’ve read that Doug, or at the very least I hope my ringing endorsement persuades you to. The last issue featured the best use of the Spider-Mobile in an age…and it sort of writes off Mysterio as a candidate for the man in red at the same time (and ensures he’s in no condition to do much else after this issue)

    Peter being all too forgiving of Lian continues his disturbing pattern of lettting women walk all over him without resorting to anger or frustration. You don’t need to back-hand them obviously, but at least cut off personal ties to her and keep things professional and make an informed decision based on how well her hacking into Zodiac goes.

    This simplified leniency also infected series that were perfectly acceptable, as it happened in Spiral also when he tried talking to Felicia, a woman who had tried killing his Aunt and her husband while reacquiring some of her stuff…that was’nt even Slott but a writer I actually like in Gerry Conway. I don’t know if this air-headed delicate attitude to women is a mandate or not, but it reduces considerable bite and edge in the book. Peter’s been pulled along by enough ladies in his life to make some kind of assertive action, for the best of his company’s public image, and live up to the responsibilities as a man managing many lives. All this will do is get more people in Parker Industries to bad-mouth their boss in their coffee breaks. Some may argue that’s realistic, but these things occur more in a very low end of a business…like your average Glaswegian CALL CENTRE.

    Dan Slott does like a lot of British comedies…could his Peter Parker be the equivalent of David Brent before long?

  6. It would be cool if Jennifer Walters(human form) was Peter’s Partner and Legal Adviser. This way Slott can write a very good banter between those as I feel that if Jennifer got to know Peter, they would become fast friends as Peter is in many ways like her cousin Bruce Banner. Another thing that Jennifer and Peter have in common is that they both love to eat Wheatcakes and have a love for science and a strong belief of Moral Justice.

    1. That’s about 1,000 times better than “sex pheromones” that made Peter and Silk act like fools during Spider-Verse. I’m not sure why it’s so much to ask to have an ASM comic book where Peter Parker has a relationship with someone on his inner circle that actually rings true.

      “Hey, Peter is in a new relationship with this woman, Lian. You don’t know her and we’ve given her no backstory, but you should totally connect with the character. Trust us! And then…make sure you’re like, ‘Noooooo!’ when she betrays Peter. It’s really dramatic. Cool? Good.”

  7. It would also be nice to be able to give a copy of ASM to a kid without worrying that it will morally mess with his mind.

    1. “It would also be nice to be able to give a copy of ASM to a kid without worrying that it will morally mess with his mind.”

      “Dad, what are sex pheromones, and why do Peter and Silk aways start kissing for no reason when they’re next to one another? What is Dan Slott trying to say? What does it mean?”

  8. True is it too much to ask that the first issue of an ASM relaunch doesn’t feature Peter attending a gay wedding that came from nowhere, or needless sexual hijinks, or genocidal maniacs being argued as morally superior to superheroes? Dan if you’re so selfish as to keep writing this crap at least think of the children please.

    1. “Dan if you’re so selfish as to keep writing this crap at least think of the children please.”

      Ryan, you must not have ever been introduced to Dan’s Twitter feed. I vaguely recall him mocking any argument in the past that hinged on trying to find a proper balance between writing for kids in a way that also speaks to adults (e.g., The Incredibles).

      Remember the time Dan Slott wrote Otto in Peter’s body masturbating to thoughts of M.J.? That was a real high point for the book, if by “high point” one means “pathetic and depressing low point.”

  9. I’m coming to a few conclusions.

    – Dan Slott’s “Spider-Man” has nothing to do with the franchise it’s ostensibly a part of, save for borrowing a few terms.
    – Slott can’t or won’t write authentic “Spider-Man” stories (and the existence of “Renew Your Vows” strongly suggests the later). His bosses are also showing little to no interest in preserving the series integrity, given that the only seem to care about the comic turing a profit, not if the comics have quality writing and artwork, much less fit the themes and “rules” of the series they’re in.
    – AMS has reached the point where there’s nothing to be salvaged; all the characters have been completely character-assassinated, there’s no logical way to reset things to “normal,”. At this point, the only viable options are to either end the 616 Spider-Man series and replace it with a new one that skewers closer to the mythology’s source code or completely retcon the series and re-start it pre-“One More Day.” (The irony that this is exactly why OMD was written in the first place isn’t lost on me, but it this case, I think it would be justified.)

    I get that a total scrapping of the 616 version would be painful for readers who identify that version as “their” Spider-Man, but the series has hit the negative verdict of the Theseus Paradox; it’s been changed so much that this Spider-Man is not the real Spider-Man, not the Spider-Man first created in the ’60s, not the Spider-Man that featured in all the subsequent comics, not the Spider-Man that was the basis for the cartoons and movies, not the Spider-Man they were erroneously trying to recreate with OMD (Slott’s work basically shows OMD to be a lie; they didn’t want to recreate the pre-marriage Spider-Man, they just wanted to change the character into something he isn’t), not the Spider-Man that will be appearing in the MCU, and not the Spider-Man that anyone with even a casual knowledge of the character would recognize.

    And the fans were happy that Marvel was stepping in to help Sony with the Spider-Man movies, since they understand their characters? Of the two of them, Sony is the ONLY one that demonstrates that they understood “Spider-Man” (the Webb movies were not good representations of the Spider-Man story and characters, but I don’t think it was for a lack of trying), although, to be fair, the positive opinion that a few MCU creative minds have expressed for the Sam Raimi movies and the director stating that “Ultimate Spider-Man” and “Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane” are going to inspire the MCU Spider-Man movie are encouraging news.

    The Spider-Man franchise has reached the point where the main series is a false version of the characters, and the “What-If?” stories (RYV, USM, etc.) are the real versions and have been discarded. That’s neither acceptable nor justifiable. The fact is, “Spider-Man” is dead. It died nine years ago. Marvel is just leaving the carcass out, putting their fingers in their ears, and insisting that this is the way it’s supposed to be. Maybe it’s time we accepted this and moved on while we can still think of “Spider-Man” with any form of fondness.

    1. I’d say Spider-Man as we’ve known it isn’t exactly dead, just on life support, but unless you like the newspaper strip as much as I do (and I’m in a minority, even it’s regular readership is 99% critical and snarky towards it) it may as well be.

    2. “I’d say Spider-Man as we’ve known it isn’t exactly dead, just on life support, but unless you like the newspaper strip as much as I do (and I’m in a minority, even it’s regular readership is 99% critical and snarky towards it) it may as well be.”

      I haven’t regularly read the newspaper strip in years, but my one critique was that it always moved along at a snail’s pace. An entire week would go by on occasion and it seemed like the story progressed about five seconds. Sometimes I couldn’t resist but laugh out loud at the situation.

    3. Yeah, I’ve had similar hang-ups with it. You’d have been pulling your hair out at the resolution to the recent story with Sub-Mariner. Peter was motionless on that pier for a fricking month

  10. the only thing I found really bad about this volume is the lack of previous interaction with Peter’s “girlfriend”, Slott try to make the reader care about a betrayal but fail for the lack of interaction between the characters, I don’t know if I am more open minded than some people but I think that everything have to change especially comic characters, Comics are not manga, they don’t have an end like mangas have, they go on and on and on, because of that the new writers have to try and be original, put new ideas in to the character, change the status quo, that way the character doesn’t become repetitive, I like the new Spider-Man, the only issue i got is the interactions problems with females characters, and I think that that problem comes from the directives and not Slott himself (Renew Your Vows shows that he can write that kind of interactions and do it well) XD the technology should not surprise anyone, I mean Peter have always try to ease his super-hero problems with some kind of technology, this is nothing new, he create his web launchers, in the 90 series he had mini trackers, the only thing hindering his creative mind was his lack of money and now that is not a problem XD but well to each his own, I respect all your opinions and respect them 🙂

    1. Kite, in many ways I do agree with you.

      For instance, I don’t mind Peter utilizing new technology. However, as was the case with Lian’s betrayal, the execution of an acceptable idea was off (to put it nicely). If Peter magically pulls new technology out of his butt every issue, then it’s weird. It has to be done sparingly, because at this point in time it is interpreted as, “Oh, I see. Dan Slott didn’t know how to get Peter out of this jam in a cool way, so he thought he’d just distract readers with some new shiny toy.” I don’t want Spider-Man to turn into Inspector Gadget.

    2. Hey, Kite,

      Fair enough if you like the new take on the character. For me personally, there are a few elements that I love about the franchise, the stuff that that made me a fan in the first place, and those have been stripped out of the current comics.

      I guess I’d agree that changes are needed, but since Spider-Man has always been about a superhero who otherwise lives a normal life, I think that making changes within that status quo, rather than creating a different status quo like they have, was the way to go. Spider-Man getting married in the ’80s was an example, the attempt to make him a father, too, would’ve fit, too. (That basic premise generated one of the most successful female-centric Marvel comics to date, and I’d argue that “Renew Your Vows” has far more interesting story potential than the current Iron Man clone premise does).

      But, at the end of the day, I think there’s a place for the more off-kilter versions of the Spider-Man world. The problem I have is that when they sacrifice the versions that matter to me to make room for them. Why can’t they coexist? Why can’t we keep the down-to-earth Spider-Man who has a wife and is a member of the 99% in one series, while having another that imagines the character living as a super-spy in the 1%? I, for one, would be willing to give the current Spider-Man comics a chance if there was a version that I could also read that told stories in the setting that matters to me.

      “…I mean Peter have always try to ease his super-hero problems with some kind of technology, this is nothing new…”

      This maybe since I was introduced through the Raimi movies, but I’ve never really seen Spider-Man as a gadget user, the way Batman is. (Confession: while the web shooters can be used for great effect, have their place in the franchise, and I’m glad there are stories where it’s used, I prefer the movies’ organic webbing overall.) Once again, this’s probably more of a story preference for me. I prefer stories where Spider-Man has very few gadgets. The minimal gadgets also tie closer to the blue-collar superhero setting that I prefer.

      Hope you continue to enjoy the comics. I’m hoping that they’ll eventually produce more that align with the Spider-Man setting I like.

  11. “I think you answered your own question, when you consider why something that was legitimately popular like RYV was put on the shelf with an, “Eh, maybe later” mentality, while A-Force, Silk, etc. were fawned over. The company is infested with Social Justice Obsessives. ”

    In all fairness, I’ve understood that Cindy Moon’s solo series (not written by Slott) was actually well-received, so her unpopularity may have more to do with Slott’s writing then with the character herself (or, in the hands of the right author, a bad idea was refined into something good).

    As far as the “Secret Wars” tie-ins, RYV wasn’t alone in popularity. Although I haven’t read any others, I’ve gathered that “Thors,” Marvel Zombies,”and “Civil War” were also very popular. The “X-Men ’92” comic I referred to in the initial comment seemed to be liked, as far as I could tell. I’m not 100% sure about “A-Force,” but I’ve seen positive comments in general (although my check was pretty cursory).

    So, I’m not saying that the “Secret Wars” miniseries that got upgraded into ongoings didn’t deserve them (I would need to read them to be sure), I’m just saying that, like you put it, RYV was “put on the shelf” without any discussion as to whether it could or should be a regular series and that’s strange, since it was more popular then the others and some of the others were upgraded because of their reception. (It’s also interesting that there hasn’t been much fan demand for RYV to be continued. Considering that it was among the most popular of the series, you’d think there would’ve been more.)

    I’m not sure I’d chalk up Marvel’s reluctance to make an RYV ongoing to “Social Justice Obsessives.” Marvel has historically hated the idea of Spider-Man being a husband, much less a father, and has attempted to undo advancement in these fields more than once. “One More Day” was just the time that they had the stupidity to not back off, and everything went downhill from there. So, I could see them shooting down a RYV ongoing series, not because it dealt with a white nuclear family, but because the company officially believes that familial relationships are not what Spider-Man is about. I disagree with that idea and think that Marvel is being about as sane as Deadpool in passing up the chance to make an RYV ongoing, but I don’t see this as a case in which the overhaul is to make it PC or more diverse.

    (Why then, did they write RYV in the first place? “Secret Wars” was partially about revisiting notable stories in Marvel’s past, and married Spider-Man fit the bill. Notice how they also lumped it with really strange settings, almost as if to say that a married Spider-Man is abnormal. If nothing else, they could’ve just wanted to make some one-time sales to the traditionalist fans, and if that’s the case, thank you for giving us a quality product and not a quick cash grab.)

    While we’re on the topic, I don’t think every creative overhaul to make fiction have more diversity is a bad thing in and of itself; it depends on the execution. At the end of the day, if the characters and story are good, then the ethnic backgrounds of the characters are incidental. Case in point, when “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” was advertising its then-upcoming theatrical release, there were people (who hadn’t seen the movie) decrying it for not having white male leads. When the movie actually came out, it turned out that the lead characters were well written and entertaining enough that gender and ethnicity weren’t important factors. While some people were happy that there was more diversity in the cast, at the end of the day, it worked because the characters appealed to everyone.

    I guess I get a little tired of every creative decision being analyzed for some hidden political motive. While understanding why decisions are made can be interesting (and informative about how our current society is operating), can’t we just take art for what it is? Why can’t it be what it needs to be (or what the creators want it to be)? Why do we expect it to fill out checklists of what kind of diversity or lack of diversity it must have? It’s not a one-size-fits-all situation, as both sides seem to think.

    (I do understand that the point of this blog is to factor in politics and world views into discussions of pop culture, but the whole “diversity in fiction” issue seems to be so bipolar; it’s either the greatest good that can be done, or it’s ruining the media. There’s hardly any discussion of whether it’s ever a good idea, when it works, when it doesn’t, and the decent case that can be made about the application of it being a case-by-case discussion.)

    1. “I guess I get a little tired of every creative decision being analyzed for some hidden political motive.”

      Then who is to blame? I would suggest you look at the public comments of the creators, who routinely present themselves as Social Justice Obsessives. Likewise, I don’t think the sole reason why RYV wasn’t turned into something more was because of some sort of “Social Justice Smoking Gun,” but it had to certainly be a strong factor — based on the in-your-face SJO behavior creators demonstrate on pretty much daily basis (if you follow their Twitter feeds).

      “The whole ‘diversity in fiction’ issue seems to be so bipolar; it’s either the greatest good that can be done, or it’s ruining the media.”

      I’m sorry, you must have the wrong blog, because this blog warned about J.J. Abrams using The Force Awakens to push a political agenda based on his political activism, and then when the movie came out I gave it rave reviews.

      This blog was the one that warned about politics in Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and then when the movie came out I said it was an incredibly fun flick.

      This is the blog that hammered Bendis for his separate-but-equal superhero comments regarding Spider-Man, and then I read the book and said it was pretty darn cool.

      You’ll have to forgive me if I laugh off the insinuation that this blog is “bi-polar” when it comes to accurately analyzing what’s going on in the comic book industry, Hollywood, etc.

      I have said in the comments section of this blog that any story can be a good story — with the right writer. That’s because I am a writer. I get it. It’s the writer’s job to find the details that exist in the creative ether and organize them in the a way that makes people laugh or cry or cheer or whatever. That’s why Spider-Verse could have been cool — but was a jumbled mess. That’s why I’m okay with gay Iceman existing — except when it’s shoehorned into a story and then we’re told to just shut up about the execution.

      I can go on and on.

      “There’s hardly any discussion of whether it’s ever a good idea, when it works, when it doesn’t, and the decent case that can be made about the application of it being a case-by-case discussion.

      Again, see the above examples. My blog is a sterling example of the what you say you crave. That isn’t me being egotistical. That is me telling the truth.

      Side note: Being able to identify a political agenda — while also acknowledging solid writing — is an important skill. See my review of The Big Short for the Conservative Book Club:

      “The Big Short is a good movie. Conservatives who are opposed to its one-sided message should see it to understand just how important popular culture is at shaping opinion. It would be great if more Americans read Mark Levin’s Liberty and Tyranny or Niall Ferguson’s The Ascent of Money, but they do not. Until conservatives have skin in the Hollywood game, American culture will continue to be shaped by movies like The Big Short.”

      A good writer can push his political agenda and get it to seep into the cultural consciousness without anyone but other writers knowing what he is doing. I think most good writers put the story before their personal politics…but the underlying point is what’s important: You can’t change the culture until you can speak to your audience’s soul. It would be nice if people listened to logic and reason, but the reality is that we’re also emotional beings. You need both. I think conservatives generally do a bad job speaking to people at an emotional level. They seem to think giving an economics lecture is enough to sway people who have only been led by their emotions their entire lives. That’s a story for another day, though.

    2. “You’ll have to forgive me if I laugh off the insinuation that this blog is “bi-polar” when it comes to accurately analyzing what’s going on in the comic book industry, Hollywood, etc.”

      I wasn’t actually thinking of this blog when I made the bipolar comment. While I don’t agree with everything you say (as a political “moderate, I’m sure I skewer closer to the liberal side of things than you do), I do respect you for explaining why you hold your opinions and discussing them with readers respectfully. Sorry if that wasn’t clear.

    3. “I wasn’t actually thinking of this blog when I made the bipolar comment. … Sorry if that wasn’t clear.”

      No problem. It’s just that any time a feel someone is starting to lump this blog into some sort of weird binary between good and evil, I need to immediately address it. Here’s an example why: Guys like Dan Slott spend their days saying things like, “In 2016, you see someone using ‘SJW’ in an argument you know 2 things: They’re on the wrong side of history and they’re not worth your time.”

      Now tell me, who is the one creating an atmosphere where adult conversations cannot take place? Is it guys like me, or Dan Slott? The Social Justice crowd tried to latch onto the “warrior” term, and then when when they were accurately identified as wannabe authoritarian thugs (especially when they ironically tried to politically cannibalize Joss Whedon) it was suddenly not cool to mention “SJWs.”

      Dan Slott literally says there is a “right side of history.” What the heck does that even mean? It means nothing, other than, “The right side of history is what Dan Slott says it is on any given day of the week.” It’s a license to call people all sorts of mean and nasty names when you disagree with them because they’re on the “wrong” side of history.

      This is the kind of junk that liberal writers spew on a regular basis, and then when guys like me or Hube at Colossus of Rhodey point it out then we’re suddenly “haters.”

      The preponderance of the evidence indicates that it is Social Justice Obsessed writers and editors within the industry that are a.) destroying it, and b.) poisoning the well so that civil discourse cannot take place.

      Did you read the start of this thread where a reader called Dan a “s***stain”? I don’t condone that sort of language, but at the same time I understand how a man would react to Slott’s online behavior in that way. The vast majority of the time I don’t go there, and I’ve never said Dan was on the “wrong side of history.” I guess what I’m asking you to do, as a reader who “skews closer to the liberal side of things,” is to really look at the Marvel guys holding themselves up as models of liberalism and then compare their rhetoric to this blog. Who needlessly divides? Who legitimately tries to build bridges? Whose worldview offers a better recipe for success? I think that over time you will see that Marvel’s activist-writers — and the liberalism they preach — are really only good at fomenting anger and contempt.

    4. I liked “the Big Short” well enough, thought it had some good performances and got its point across well enough, but it had a fairly condescending tone (here’s Margot Robbie in a bubble bath to explain a financial concept, here’s Selena Gomez to explain another–though that was probably a case of trying to appeal to a target audience of 20-30 something aged men, as well as explain some complex subject matter).

      I would argue that Republicans do indeed make political, emotional appeals to their base all the time, though, on topics such as terrorism, abortion and immigration.

    5. “I would argue that Republicans do indeed make political, emotional appeals to their base all the time, though, on topics such as terrorism, abortion and immigration.”

      Yes, but the context of my reply indicated I was not talking about the base of either the left or right, which are almost totally driven by emotion. You only need to look at Trump’s “Make America Great!” refrain, or any Bernie Sanders speech that just blames “Millionaires and Billionaires” for every problem under the sun. If it makes them “feel” right, that’s the only thing that matters. That’s somewhat terrifying.

      I’m talking about intelligent people on both sides of the political spectrum who are generally inclined to try and listen to what the other guy has to say. The “bases” of the right and left are basically immune to sound logic and reason that undercuts their position on any given issue, so this conversation isn’t about them. Heh.

      Trump admitting that he could probably shoot a man for no reason and his voters would still support him is a great example of what I’m talking about in regards to the base.

  12. blackspidey2099 said: “@spideyivydaredevilfan26: I’d agree that Ultimate Spider-Man is horrendous, but Slott’s run is the BEST thing to happen to Spider-Man recently (after OMD), and one of the best runs in Spidey’s history.”

    Not at the expense of making Peter’s close friends like Black Cat and others out of character instead of using existing characters like Black Widow, Betty Brant, Brian Braddock, and Jennifer Walters respectively. I sometimes think that comic book writers, when it comes to ASM should use existing characters from other places of the Marvel Universe and create a story that doesn’t overlap anything else that was done already. I have noticed that some of the writers of Marvel are using the same previously told stories over and over again.

    Ever since Axel Alonzo took over the reins as EiC, it would seem that Marvel is repeating the same mistakes that was last seen in the 1990’s when they tried to copy Image Comics, or in the 1980’s doing way too many large crossover events that confuses the readers, like Jon Hickman’s Avengers run.

    There really hasn’t been a sense of integration of Marvel characters in other places like X-Men’s Colossus in the pages of Captain America and Hank McCoy and Prodigy in the pages of ASM working alongside Peter Parker. Another thing that I’ve notice is why does the Regent look more like Nimrod from The X-Men rather then just using Nimrod himself? It would seem that we’ve seen Slott used characters like Ultimate Jessica Drew and repackaged them into new characters like Silk.

    What would be cool to see is for Deathbird to form a partnership with The Vulture while The Red Queen(Goblin Queen) form a partnership with The New Goblin King. That right there is something different that would make me take notice of ASM because that would be a story that was not done previously. Especially Spider-Man confronting Madam Viper and The Shadow King respectively.

    With all the talk about Spider-Gwen being part of the mainstream MU, I never understood why we couldn’t see and alternate universe of Natasha Romanov as Spider-Woman.

    1. “Ah yes. Reason No. 4354655 to not read the Big Two. They’re confusing, inconsistent, and overly political.”

      Yes, I admit, on some level I am a glutton for punishment. 🙂 I keep believing that someone out there has to make the case for how Marvel should be instead of how it is at the moment. I can’t just throw my hands up and say, “Well, I guess that’s the way it’s going to be.”

    2. I take it you’ve been a lifelong Marvel fan. I was more of a manga man in high school; I have fond memories of Tokyopop and Borders Books. Those were the days.

  13. In other words, an SJW is a Marxist who thinks that **history** has a right or wrong side (as opposed to God defining good vs evil), and someone who decides that a person’s “worth” is determined by whether they agree with Dan Slott.

    I am thrilled to say that no one’s worthiness to have time spent with them is determined by Dan Slott or his atheism.

    1. “I am thrilled to say that no one’s worthiness to have time spent with them is determined by Dan Slott or his atheism.”

      I remember seeing a tweet by Dan that said he was “not a religious man,” and I know he has a history of taking shots at Christians in his Twitter feed, but has anyone ever asked him flat-out if he is an atheist? It seems like that is a safe assumption to make based on his public comments, but it would be nice to know one way or the other.

      As I’ve said before, it is extremely interesting that Peter “died” … but upon his resurrection he never even contemplates his death. Near-death experiences have profound effects on people, but yet the opportunity to add a level of complexity to the character was totally passed up. Dan Slott’s Peter Parker is kind of like a “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure” version of the character. It boils down to, “Whoa. Dude. I died. And I’m back. Radical. Well, time for some pork dumplings with Lian. Score!”

    2. I admit that I am making a guess, but it’s based on the aggregate of things Slott has said over the years, as well as his almost completely amoral worldview. More likely an agnostic, but nearly everybody claims to be an agnostic, and then they live as an atheist.

    3. “More likely an agnostic, but nearly everybody claims to be an agnostic, and then they live as an atheist.”

      It’s kind of like Neil Degrasse Tyson, who hides behind the “agnostic” label even though he regularly attacks men of faith just like any angry atheist would.

      Similarly, it used to irritate me when Kevin Smith would take all sorts needlessly mean shots at religion, and then he would hide behind some variation of, “But…I was raised Catholic!” Okay, that means nothing. Are you a practicing Catholic, or are you just an atheist who thinks he can do more harm to the Church by not officially acknowledging your atheism?

      If Smith’s fans seem to think he’s an atheist, and he’s not, then it’s hard to argue that he is representing his faith well.

    4. Seriously–the lack of introspection or reflection in the current writer’s take on Peter is one thing that really drives me away from the books. I’m not asking for DeMatteis-level naval-gazing, but to not have a window into the character’s thoughts makes the book seem unsophisticated.

      I thought there would be something meaningful uttered about Peter’s journey back, after what Otto did to him during Superior, in ASM Vol. 3, #1, but when I saw it was the usual toilet humor with a slapstick tone, I tuned back out.

    5. “To not have a window into the character’s thoughts makes the book seem unsophisticated. I thought there would be something meaningful uttered about Peter’s journey back, after what Otto did to him during Superior, in ASM Vol. 3, #1, but when I saw it was the usual toilet humor with a slapstick tone, I tuned back out.”

      I think “unsophisticated” is a great way to put it. I’m not asking ASM to be Plato, but as you said…Parker dies, comes back, and fans get “web diapers.” Really? And when you complain, then you just have an “agenda.” Yes, my agenda is not treating readers like they should all be walking around with pacifiers in their mouths. Guilty as charged.

  14. Most of these people seem convinced that if they criticize the institutional Church they have scored points against Christianity itself. I don’t think Slott has a clue about who Jesus was or what he taught.

    1. “Most of these people seem convinced that if they criticize the institutional Church they have scored points against Christianity itself.”

      The weirdest thing to me is that they act as if Christians believe that because they’re Christians they’re somehow infallible. It’s actually just the opposite — it is the Christian who acknowledges that he is incredibly flawed and in need of God’s grace and mercy. The older I get, the more I laugh at guys who lament the “Catholic guilt” they cannot shake. It’s like, “Well, you are a sinner…so you should feel remorseful for your sins. I’m not sure what the problem is here.”

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