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.
RELATED: Dan Slott uses terror attack to mock Christians, play partisan politics
Good review, Doug. I haven’t got a chance to finish my own review yet (still working on it) but here’s a sneak peak: that flashback of Peter blaming God for Uncle Ben’s death, as you suggest, not only makes Peter look self-centered and cocksure, but it’s flawed on a fundamental and conceptual level with regards to Spider-Man in two specific ways. First, it contradicts how Uncle Ben actually died (the cop outright tells Peter his Uncle is already dead). And second, it completely undermines why Peter became a superhero at all–because he blames HIMSELF for his Uncle’s murder and wants to make amends. And it’s not as if Stan Lee and Steve Ditko’s original Spider-Man origin story is that hard to find as it’s reprinted all the time, or there isn’t plenty of comics in Marvel’s own library showing thousands of examples that Spider-Man is driven by personal guilt. So one can only conclude Molina either doesn’t get who Spider-Man is, or just chose to rewrite Peter Parker as he saw fit in order to fit the “science vs. faith” themes of “Amazing Grace.” And when someone has to go to this much length to rewrite a character’s well-established past and motivation just to make their story “work,” then they’re doing something wrong.
“First, it contradicts how Uncle Ben actually died (the cop outright tells Peter his Uncle is already dead). And second, it completely undermines why Peter became a superhero at all–because he blames HIMSELF for his Uncle’s murder and wants to make amends. And it’s not as if Stan Lee and Steve Ditko’s original Spider-Man origin story is that hard to find as it’s reprinted all the time, or there isn’t plenty of comics in Marvel’s own library showing thousands of examples that Spider-Man is driven by personal guilt.”
Where is editor Nick Lowe? Seriously. Is he totally asleep at the wheel or does he really just not care? You make a good point about Ben already being dead by the time the cop finds him, and thus having no need for a hospital scene. Haha! I had such tunnel vision on responding to the ridiculous notion that Peter would blame God more than himself that I didn’t think to double check when Ben’s death is first mentioned.
“When someone has to go to this much length to rewrite a character’s well-established past and motivation just to make their story ‘work,’ then they’re doing something wrong.”
Bingo. I’m really looking forward to your review. Feel free to share a link when it’s ready. If not, then I’ll make sure to add it in the near future.
Well, at long last, I FINALLY got the review finished. And yeah, the graceless retcon of Uncle Ben dying in the hospital instead of at home isn’t the only example of Nick Lowe being asleep at the wheel. For instance, check out the second item in the “Stillanerd’s Nerdy Nitpicks” section.
Thanks for sharing Mike. I’m not sure how many regular readers have clicked for a read, but I highly suggest people check out your review. It’s spot-on awesome.
“Folks can debate Spider-Man’s religious affiliation or lack thereof all they want, but the one thing I think they can all agree on is that he never blames someone else for his own mistakes. For him to blame God for Uncle’s Ben death is not only a cop-out, it’s a fundamental misunderstanding of just who Spider-Man is. Don’t forget: there was a scene where Uncle Ben’s ghost tells Peter how he needs to ‘forgive himself for what happened’ in Amazing Spider-Man (2015) #1.3–which is just one mere issue ago. So not only is this Spider-Man inconsistent with his own history, he’s inconsistent within Molina’s own story.”
Also, I want regular readers to know someone at Marvel is interested in these posts. I always know something is up when a visitor starts clicking every single profile of the readers who comment here. They just go clicking down the line. Some of these comic reviews, stats-wise in WordPress, behave unlike any of my political posts or even many of the movie reviews.
Ha! Sometimes there just isn’t a face palm big enough…
“Ha! Sometimes there just isn’t a face palm big enough…”
Sometimes it seems like the creative team on ASM gets together in a room and says, “Okay guys, how can we take the level of embarrassment readers feel when they open this book and raise it to another level? Ideas. Now. I know you have them. Let’s hear it!”
Huh, and here I thought it can’t get any worse. Completely contradicting the character’s origin as well as make him completely out of character, is beyond terrible writing. I don’t know if the 1.1 series is canon, but I sure hope it’s not.
“I don’t know if the 1.1 series is canon, but I sure hope it’s not.”
Well, the good thing about this story is I don’t think too many people have even read it…and those who did will either a.) forget about it in short order, or b.) just outright reject some of the ideas it’s putting out there.
Have you noticed that Marvel released this right at Easter?
“Have you noticed that Marvel released this right at Easter?”
The story also takes place during Christmas.
I can just see Nick Lowe in one of his meetings: “You know, I think this would be the perfect story to drag out during Lent. Remember: If anyone complains about the coincidental timing, the rule is to deny, deny, deny — and then shift into attack mode. Got it? Ready? Break!”
My LCS added these to my pull list. They automatically assumed I would want them since I purchased previous point 1 issues and RYV. So glad I didn’t waste my money.
“So glad I didn’t waste my money.”
I went to the comic shop with my wife over the weekend before we went out to lunch and said, “I really do not want to buy this. It’s so bad! But I’ve been reviewing the others so I guess I sort of have to see it through.” As I’ve said before, if I spent $4 and I can prevent a small handful of people from buying a bad book, then I’ve done my job.
At this point people can’t really pull the Marvel “hater” card on me given that I regularly give Bendis’ “Iron Man” and “Spider-Man” good reviews. I also started reviewing Charles Soule’s “Daredevil,” and I can’t see that going downhill anytime soon.
Seriously, when was the last time Spider-Man was written in character?
This character should be exploding in popularity and sales due to movies and merchandise, yet it is consistently sliding and be prepped up by shock value gimmicks.
The current group in charge with the mentality that they will change the world to their views by changing the fundamentals of characters is completely ignorant. If you disagree you are thrown under the bus of hatred when in truth all we look for is a good story with respect to characterization. Instead we get characters that are unrecognizable in order to create a narrative that makes little sense in the first place.
“Seriously, when was the last time Spider-Man was written in character?”
There was some semblance of the Peter Parker we know in Renew Your Vows, but even that was an alternate-universe version of the character. I think that we will continue to get rare glimpses of a decent Peter until Slott leaves the book. Oddly enough, I would much rather read Slott’s work than Molina’s Spider-Atheist. When did Peter become Peter Gegrasse Tyson-Parker? Oh, wait…he didn’t. That’s just Jose going off the reservation and Nick Lowe letting him get away with it.
I’m oddly glad the fourth issue messes with and contradicts Peter’s origin it makes it all the easier to dismiss the entire storyline as non-cannon. Molina’s ignorance of Spider-Man’s character and history is astonishing it’s like he’s lived in a bunker his whole life and just came out a week ago. I rarely am bothered by Lowe but if Marvel were a sane corporation nowadays Lowe would be fired for this alone a 12 year old could edit better his absolute refusal to do anything resembling his job has been tolerated for two year now they may as well pay him to sleep.
“I rarely am bothered by Lowe but if Marvel were a sane corporation nowadays Lowe would be fired for this alone a 12 year old could edit better his absolute refusal to do anything resembling his job has been tolerated for two year now they may as well pay him to sleep.”
That’s really saying something considering he was the one who said you had “permission to leave” the book after you wrote into the ASM offices about your grievances with Slott’s writing. I’d give him a 10 out of 10 for sticking the landing on that Olympic-level smarmy routine.
But seriously, you are right about his editing job. I’m not sure how this “point” series got published as is given it’s multitude of flaws — unless Lowe is editor in name only. I guess having the title “editor” is easy when you let writers do whatever the heck they want…
Reading this crap just makes me believe more and more that the plan by Marvel is to show the deal made with the devil in OMD is not entire out-of-character for THIS Peter Parker. That might be a conspiracy theory gone a little far, but I proudly wear my tinfoil hat in regards to it.
“Reading this crap just makes me believe more and more that the plan by Marvel is to show the deal made with the devil in OMD is not entire out-of-character for THIS Peter Parker.”
Thats the sad thing about OMD — once you make a deal with the devil, then all bets are off. If Peter will cut deals with Mephisto, then he really is capable of just about any horrible act you can imagine. Everyone sins. Everyone falls short of what they know God expects of them. But the vast majority of people would never stand before the devil — literally stand before him — and strike a deal.
That was one of the worst moments in comic book history. What a horrible, horrible decision on Marvel’s part. It doesn’t matter how much time goes by, it still stinks up a room.
I just saw a trackback to this blog from another website and the person said to compare Molina’s Amazing Spider-Atheist to Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa’s Peter Parker in The Sensational Spider-Man #40. Interesting…
In this POS mini-series, Peter has been acting like a serious misotheist rather than just being and atheist who thinks science is the answer, “greatest” idea ever coming from Molina’s cancerous writing skills.
I did wish that this Spider-Man would soon change his mind and ask God for forgiveness for his poor misunderstanding about faith and God’s ideas, and look back as that scienti is just rather ignorant. Even though that Uncle Ben told him to stop this, and tell him that tragedy/death can lead better things to themselves, and understand about Job. But still I have not read Amazing Grace Part 6 or seen much reviews of it, so I can’t tell if Spider-Man has restored his faith in God, or still be atheist for the most stupid, retarded reasons.
Isn’t there any chance that Amazing Grace series should be literally decanonized like the letdown “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”, and yes keep that Sensational Spider-Man is still of course canon like it obviously deserves it so? Making Spider-Man an atheist/misotheist is much as bad as (Death of Spider-Man, thanks to Slott) Captain America coming out as a Hydra agent (which sadly, both should be considered canon; Death of Spider-Man and Hydra Afent Captain America).
Thanks for taking the time to read and comment, Victor. I appreciate it!
“But still I have not read Amazing Grace Part 6 or seen much reviews of it, so I can’t tell if Spider-Man has restored his faith in God, or still be atheist for the most stupid, retarded reasons.”
I’ll be writing a review of the last part this weekend. Last week I had a bit of traveling to do for a wedding, so I’m behind on that. I should have it done soon.
“Isn’t there any chance that Amazing Grace series should be literally decanonized like the letdown ‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine’…”
My guess is that this story will be forgotten and ignored in 3…2…1 — now! 😉 I cannot imagine any future writers honoring what was established in “Amazing Grace.” It’s just a sloppy mess.