ASM 16 SpiderMan lift

Marvel has big plans for The Amazing Spider-Man in the months ahead, and it appears as though the executive decision was made to make its 16th issue — Before Dead No More — a must-read. Writer Dan Slott packs the issue with important plot points and, in general, does a decent job organizing it all on the page.

As has been established many times before, Mr. Slott is a good stage-setter. Whether he can follow it through over the course of “Dead No More,” the obligatory After Dead No More, and Dead No More — No More remains to be seen.

Here is what you need to know for ASM #16:

  • Jay Jameson is surrounded in the hospital by friends and family with a mysterious illness when Dr. Clarkson from New U Technologies offers him a chance to take part in a “cutting edge” procedure. Peter Parker asks the doctor for details after Jonah flies of the handle.
  • An explosion takes place in Edmond, Oklahoma, at a Parker Industries chemical plant. Peter diverts his private jet, which was heading to San Francisco, back to Oklahoma.
  • Spider-Man (now with thermal imaging in his eye pieces) arrives on a spider-cycle and saves five of six people trapped inside in one fell swoop. He then rescues the sixth, Jerry Salteres, but the man is hospitalized after breathing in toxic fumes.
  • Peter Parker tells his suit to go into “Stealth Mode One” (Any guesses on how many stealth modes it’s capable of entering?), and contacts Dr. Clarkson. He requests New U come to Oklahoma and perform a life-saving procedure on Mr. Salteres.
  •  Miles Warren, aka The Jackal, privately says the explosion at Parker Industries wasn’t part of his plans but tells the doctor to give Peter “a taste of how the magic works.”
  • Peter’s spider-sense goes off after Mr. Salteres’ life is saved the New U operation.
  • Living Brain, aka Doctor Octopus, catches wind of how New U’s ability to grow healthy organs from a patient’s DNA and calls the technology “very promising.”
  • Electro agrees to Warren’s procedure after “Francine” is brought back from the dead.
  • Jonah secretly meets with New U and asks about its technology. His deceased wife Marla then walks through a doorway.

In short, ASM #16 is stuffed like a Thanksgiving turkey, which is not necessarily a bad thing.

ASM16 stealth

Before Dead No More is probably the best issue of ASM in many months because its function only requires Dan Slott to whet the reader’s appetite. Any one of the plot threads are likely to intrigue potential customers, which is great for Marvel, but Mr. Slott’s track record in terms of delivering a fully fleshed-out story is much more problematic.

Miles Warren

Take, for instance, the way Mr. Slott portrays Peter Parker. Years ago the hero was weirdly obsessed with the idea that “no one dies.” That mantra led him to behave in strange and irrational ways when he had to balance immediate threats to his front with global crises.

In this issue, Peter again seems monomaniacally focused on death — so much so that he embraces an experimental procedure that he knows will come with a heavy “price.” Dr. Clarkson even told him “some find the cost can be…too high.”

Does Peter Parker even ask Dr. Clarkson what that non-monetary “price” is before approving the operation on his employee? Answer: No. He just screams, “We have to move NOW!”

ASM16 Spider Sense

Long-time readers can debate whether or not Peter would dive right in to a dangerous and nascent technology over an accident at one of his power plants, but this blogger thinks his behavior is unstable and rash — the kind of thing Doctor Octopus would do as the Superior Spider-Man.

The good news is that ASM#16 is worth its $3.99 cover price. The bad news is that there are warning signs that Dan Slott is already setting up Peter Parker for another round of character assassination.

Agree? Disagree? Let me know what you think in the comments section below. I’d love to hear what you have to say.

Editor’s Note: Anime Hunter mentioned to me earlier today that editor Nick Lowe took part in a “secret meeting” on Spider-Man, as referenced in the Letters to the Editor section of the book. That might be another tidbit worth discussing. 

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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.

14 comments

    1. “Can I just read “Dead No More” or do I need to read the 16 issues before that story line? I read issue one and just stopped.”

      I think you can just jump onto “Dead No More.” Just skim a few of my reviews and you’ll be good to go. 😉 If you have any questions then I can easily get you up to speed — for free. Bonus!

  1. There’s a rumour from BleedingCool where Renew Your Vows is being turned into an ongoing series with Gerry Conway as the lead writer. Maybe that is what Nick Lowe is talking about?

    1. That’s no rumor, it was confirmed in the Marvel-exclusive fall previews Magazine. Ryan Stegman is the artist on that, and he’s been posting in-progress previews of the book on his twitter page.

      And the top secret thing is’nt RYV, because Lowe specifically mentions RYV in the letters pages when addressing a fan’s concerns about when to expect Mary Jane in a Spider-Man book. Bottom line is she is’nt going to appear in the regular ASM book for a while, but will remain a fixture of Iron Man (and of course, she and the Spider-Marriage are a permanent fixture of the ASM newspaper strip, which can be read on comic kingdom)

    1. “I don’t know, I’d already dropped this book awhile ago. I’m not sure if I want to give Marvel or Slott my money, what little of it I do have.”

      While this particular issue is somewhat decent, I would not jump onto the book if you have already dropped it. I would wait it out and then circle back for any issues you’ve missed if Slott actually delivers. There are a lot of balls that he has to juggle over the next couple of months. His track record does not indicate that he will complete the routine without dropping most of them. I wish that weren’t the case, but it’s true.

  2. 1. I’m going to say that what Ock sees as promising is the possibility of getting a physical body back for himself.

    2. Peter says and does weird things just to move the plot-wheel forward. For Slott to write a story in which Peter’s aberrant personality is explained would require him acknowledging that the way he’s written Peter has been aberrant.

    3. Electro calls Anubis-head “Miles” and “Warren”, and Anubis accepted the name. However, this Miles Warren seems young-ish, fit, and quite sane. I’m going to guess that a parallel Miles Warren, along with a parallel (evil) Gwen Stacey — who’s maybe his wife or GF in a parallel world — came over to 616, either as an accident of Spider-Verse or the post-Secret Wars world-restoration.

  3. I don’t think I’ve picked up ASM since Straczynski was writing it, but I’ve seen the new, tricked-out suit in Spider-man/Deadpool, and I kinda love it. I also love that he’s an industrialist now. Marvel (and comics in general, really) have a habit of vilifying business owners, so it’s nice to see a character that shows that using your talents and skills to support yourself isn’t inherently evil.

    1. “I don’t think I’ve picked up ASM since Straczynski was writing it, but I’ve seen the new, tricked-out suit in Spider-man/Deadpool, and I kinda love it.”

      I think “tricked out” is a bit of an understatement. 😉 I don’t mind having Peter Parker putting a few new tricks up his sleeve, but in almost every issue there is a surprise gadget or technology. At some point in time we should just start calling Spider-Man by another name: Inspector Gadget.

      “I also love that he’s an industrialist now. Marvel (and comics in general, really) have a habit of vilifying business owners, so it’s nice to see a character that shows that using your talents and skills to support yourself isn’t inherently evil.”

      I agree with you that comic books usually turn CEOs into villains, but think about Dan Slott’s version of a CEO: Is it remotely based in reality? I’d say the answer is “no.”

      Parker Industries apparently has an unlimited amount of funds for Peter’s philanthropic flavor-of-the month, and his business is ever-expanding. It sells iPhone-like products, but it also builds rockets. It creates vaccines and seemingly has its eye on gene therapy, but it also specializes in cybersecurity. It makes automobiles, spider-jets, spider-submarines, spider-cycles, and who knows what else.

      This is Dan Slott’s imaginary CEO that only exists in his mind. His standards for what essentially constitutes a “good” businessman are completely divorced from reality.

  4. Unrelated, but did you hear Marvel will be changing Captain Marvel’s origins because they think people will confuse her with Green Lantern? Which sadly means I think we can count on not seeing Mar-Vell.

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