Peter Parker’s origin has been told numerous times over the course of decades, but one thing that has remained consistent is that he primarily blames himself for Uncle Ben’s death. Writer Jose Molina, however, used the publication of The Amazing Spider-Man 1.4 to give Peter an easy way to avoid responsibility for his behavior on that day. Who does Peter blame for his uncle’s death? Answer: Jesus.
Yes, that’s right, Molina’s Amazing Spider-Atheist had his beliefs solidified on the day he infamously told a cop that looking after “number one” was all that mattered — right before the fugitive he let escape killed his uncle. It was all God’s fault, which is why years later the character is obsessed with proving that Julio Rodriguez did not return from the dead and miracles are all lies. (Note: At no point in this story does Peter bother to think about that time he died and came back to life…or the times he interacted with dead loved ones.)
Sadly, this tale requires Anna Maria Marconi to be the voice of reason by mentioning that man’s purpose in time is, as Whittaker Chambers put it, not God’s purpose in eternity.
It seems safe to say that God would not be God if his totality were transparent to self-centered teenagers and cocksure adults, but that never dawns on Molina’s Peter Parker; acting out of character can do that to a superhero.
Perhaps the only bright spot in this story is that it will soon be over. Spider-Man goes full-Batman, dangles Julio’s murderer over a balcony, and finds out that dying was always Rodriguez’s intention. He apparently needed to sacrifice himself — just as he had to sacrifice his father in the previous issue.
Spider-Man finally tracks Julio down and he admits that his resurrection was all part of a plan to restore faith in mankind. The two are separated when a police helicopter unleashes a hail of bullets, and the next time readers see Julio he is in church allegedly talking with Jesus. This “Jesus” (we’ll just assume Julio has been possessed by a demon and give Molina the benefit of the doubt) promises that superheroes will come to Rodriguez like “lambs to the slaughter.”
The final page of ASM 1.4 asks, “You want to know what happens next? Don’t miss The Amazing Spider-Man 1.5.”
Well, yes, I do want to know what happens next, but for all the wrong reasons.
- Will Suddenly Spider-Atheist be vindicated?
- Will Jesus be a new Marvel villain? (I wouldn’t put it past Marvel these days.)
- Will Julio actually be possessed by a demon, or will he be a cyborg that will allow Spider-Atheist to rest easy at night?
Julio Rodriguez may have returned from the grave in this story, but copies of this book certainly deserve to be buried six-feet under.