Hobie Brown death

Your friendly neighborhood blogger said less than one month ago that Marvel writer Dan Slott’s setup for “Dead No More” was worth buying, but that all the warning signs were there “for another round of character assassination.” In lightening-fast speed that would make Olympic sprinter Usain Bolt blush, Mr. Slott managed to stab Peter Parker in the back and twist the knife in 21 days.

Years from now, The Amazing Spider-Man #17 will hopefully be used in a documentary titled The People vs. Dan Slott. The issue includes the moment in time when Peter Parker — the guy who took on corporate saboteur Ghost on multiple occasions — became the very same kind of criminal. Worse, he guilted a good friend with a criminal past into doing the dirty work for him — and the result was deadly. 

For all those social-justice activists out there, let me put it to you in a way that you can understand: “White Privilege” is having Peter Parker resort to corporate espionage and convincing a black friend to die for his sins. Thanks, Dan Slott!

Here is what you need to know about ASM #17:

  • Peter Parker tells Hobie Brown that he needs him to break into New U and steal their intellectual property. He wants to use the company’s nascent technology on Jay Jameson, but requires access to its private data. (Yes Dan Slott, “taking pictures” of a company’s private research after breaking and entering is stealing.)
  • Hobie Brown tells Peter he can’t do that because “industrial espionage” is out of bounds. “I don’t do that anymore,” he says, which is met with a guilt trip about “FAMILY.”
  • Hobie reluctantly agrees and puts on his Prowler uniform. The once-reformed criminal, thanks to Dan Slott’s Peter Parker, becomes a recidivist offender. (The whole scene is more disgusting, given Spider-Man’s lecture to Clayton Cash in Civil War II: Amazing Spider-Man #3.)
  • Miles Warren, aka The Jackal, tries to give Electro his powers back but the process does not work. Francine (the woman he killed with a kiss before she was resurrected) is nearby, which causes her “genetic mix” to attract Max Dillion’s latent powers. She kisses him to absorb his energy and ironically kills him.
  • Hobie gives up his position to stop Francine. He tries to flee after it is obvious that Dillion is dead, but the new Electro tracks him down and chars him to a crisp. “Told Parker I wasn’t cut out for this. I work best in the shadows…and I stay out…of the light,” he thinks before death overcomes him.
  • The Jackal revives Hobie and shows him secrets that prove his team consists of the real “good guys.” Hobie agrees. When Peter calls from Oklahoma to say New U scientists are going to perform a procedure on Jerry Salteres, he gives no indication that anything is wrong.
  • Miles Warren shows Hobie a pill and says he needs to take it on a daily basis.

Yes, you read that right, Peter Parker asked Hobie Brown to break the law, and then before his partner in crime got back to him with a full report he admits that he was going to approve New U’s procedure anyway (i.e., Thank for dying for nothing, sucker. Mr. Salteres is the perfect guinea pig to see if the surgery would be right for Jay Jameson).

Prowler

If you’re wondering how on earth Spider-Man fans got to the point where their hero is no better than the goons who tried to steal Tony Stark’s technology over the years, then look no further than the flashback scene Dan Slott writes on the first page of the issue.

Bad guys are just like the good guys…except they don’t hold back. They don’t follow any rules,” Francine says before kissing Electro.

This is the kind of moral relativism that has been on display since The Superior Spider-Man. Doctor Octopus is a megalomanic who nearly succeeded in exterminating 6 billion people, but to Dan Slott the two men are not all that different. (Heck, the writer even said that Doc Ock was better than Peter at appreciating those who are “truly beautiful”…)

Mr. Slott told Newsarama on April 5, 2013:

Slott: [Otto is] trying his best to be a hero, but he’s doing it in a very Doc Ock way. And Doc Ock’s an egotistical, annoying sh*t. It makes him an interesting character. At his core, he’s someone we don’t really think of heroic. But is he any more annoying than [former villain] Hawkeye used to be? …

Also, when you look at Doc Ock, he was so much like Peter Parker. Peter Parker, if he didn’t know the lessons of power and responsibility, that teenage nerd would have grown up to be an Otto Octavius nerd, with the same kind of, “I’m going to make them pay.” This is the flip of that. …

Do you see Punisher as a hero? Do you see Wolverine as a hero? If these guys can be heroes, why can’t Doc Ock?

Dan Slott admits that he thinks Peter Parker is, for all intents and purposes, one step away from becoming Doctor Octopus.

That is why his Peter is so obsessed with death.

That is why his Peter is willing to exploit the trust of a reformed criminal for his own selfish purposes.

That is why his Peter’s moral compass aimlessly spins in circles — and that is why readers can expect more embarrassing behavior from their “hero” in the months to come.

Hobie Electro

ASM #17 is officially the issue where Hobie Brown died, but many Spider-Man fans should consider it the issue where Dan Slott assassinated Peter Parker.

Prowler Hobie Brown death

Related:

Amazing Spider-Man #16: Dan Slott sets the stage for ‘Dead No More’

Amazing Spider-Man #15: Dan Slott’s Regent took down a god, then falls to … Mary Jane

Advertisements

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. Good review Doug, but I feel like Slott character-assassinated Peter a long time ago (Big Time had him “borrowing” ideas from his fellow scientists, while “Ends of the Earth” had him pouring acid on Sandman in some ill-conceived torture scene).

    Really, Slott put the stake in Parker awhile back with his lousy writing more than anything.

    1. Good review Doug, but I feel like Slott character-assassinated Peter a long time ago (Big Time had him “borrowing” ideas from his fellow scientists, while “Ends of the Earth” had him pouring acid on Sandman in some ill-conceived torture scene).

      Oddly enough, I was more annoyed with the attempt to shove political commentary into the Sandman scene than I was with what happened. I was always under the impression that Sandman essentially had the power to reconstitute himself as long as there was a single grain of sand. Given that, pouring acid on him is essentially useless. The “waterboarding” metaphor breaks down. He can take energy blasts from superheroes to the face, but a little vial of acid makes him cry? Eh. There were also 6 billion lives that were literally on the line with a “24”-ish clock ticking. That’s what happens when you team up with Doc Ock. I won’t hold Silver Sable’s actions against her.

      But I digress. 🙂 I get your point.

      “Really, Slott put the stake in Parker awhile back with his lousy writing more than anything.”

      I’m really looking forward to Stillanerd’s review of this one. I’ll make sure to link to it once it’s published.

    2. “Well, allow me to help satisfy your curiosity, Doug😉”

      Nice! I was literally just checking into the blog to add a link. Good stuff, man. I’ll give them a taste:

      “If Prowler is cancelled after less than twelve issues, and if Marvel starts blaming their customers for not giving this new series a chance, they may want to examine this comic first once they start conducting Prowler‘s inevitable autopsy.”

      Very true.

  2. Is it just me or does Slott not seem to get the moral implications of the things he writes? Hobie’s death scene was horrific — the flippant way it was handled, the villain joking and insulting him moments before killing him in an agonizing way, the typical “villain defeats the hero!” cover that you come to find out is actually depicting the brutal murder of the hero by the villain. No somber tone, nothing that shows respect for a heroic death of a villain trying to do the right thing. He does his best, fails, and is killed offhandedly, by accident, by a novice villain. His final mission and death accomplishes nothing. That’s some dark stuff.

    It seems like Slott thinks it’s okay because Hobie’s back in a scene or two…except he’s not. Prowler is dead. Now there’s a clone, with basically the same memories and filling a role in the story, but the original is gone. (I assume it’s a clone; it’s the Jackal, and Francine is obviously a clone since she was dead a long time; there’s no reason to think they salvaged his brain or anything.) Does Slott not get that? Is he such a postmodern person that he doesn’t understand that Hobie is dead for good, even though there’s another one now?

    What a weird thing to repeat. He didn’t seem to grasp the implications of Peter’s being erased by Dock Ock and then returning (Is Peter dead and this is a new Peter? Was Peter, soul and all, stored on a backup hard drive somewhere? If you make a copy of a man, is that the same man?) That was pretty bad, but I wouldn’t have thought he’d be likely to shoot himself in the foot in the exact same, very specific place again.

    1. There’s a possible future story that could retcon Slott’s mess: it’s a new Peter and that’s why he’s been acting out of character. I’d do something similar for X-23 and Black Cat, too.

    2. “There’s a possible future story that could retcon Slott’s mess: it’s a new Peter and that’s why he’s been acting out of character. I’d do something similar for X-23 and Black Cat, too.”

      A good writer can certainly get things where they need to be, but it’s going to be a heavy lift. I’m going to have to do something special on the blog when someone new takes over ASM. 🙂

    3. “Is it just me or does Slott not seem to get the moral implications of the things he writes?”

      Dan Slott is a victim of his own moral relativism. He is so steeped in it that he cannot see the moral implications of his writing. That is why he sees Doctor Octopus as a slightly more annoying version than Hawkeye, and that is why we get issues like ASM #17.

      “Hobie’s death scene was horrific — the flippant way it was handled, the villain joking and insulting him moments before killing him in an agonizing way, the typical ‘villain defeats the hero!’ cover that you come to find out is actually depicting the brutal murder of the hero by the villain. No somber tone, nothing that shows respect for a heroic death of a villain trying to do the right thing. He does his best, fails, and is killed offhandedly, by accident, by a novice villain. His final mission and death accomplishes nothing. That’s some dark stuff.”

      Am I allowed to give you comment 10,000 thumbs up? That’s what it deserves. You just rattled off the perfect takedown of this issue. ASM #17 was a monstrosity.

      “It seems like Slott thinks it’s okay because Hobie’s back in a scene or two…except he’s not. Prowler is dead. Now there’s a clone, with basically the same memories and filling a role in the story, but the original is gone. (I assume it’s a clone; it’s the Jackal, and Francine is obviously a clone since she was dead a long time; there’s no reason to think they salvaged his brain or anything.) Does Slott not get that? Is he such a postmodern person that he doesn’t understand that Hobie is dead for good, even though there’s another one now?”

      If I were giving out cash prizes for intelligent comments, you would be pocketing $100 right now. Again, you are spot-on.

      “What a weird thing to repeat. He didn’t seem to grasp the implications of Peter’s being erased by Dock Ock and then returning (Is Peter dead and this is a new Peter? Was Peter, soul and all, stored on a backup hard drive somewhere? If you make a copy of a man, is that the same man?) That was pretty bad, but I wouldn’t have thought he’d be likely to shoot himself in the foot in the exact same, very specific place again.”

      Dan Slott has said before in his Twitter feed that he is not a religious man. I really want someone to ask him and get a good answer: “Are you, Dan Slott, an atheist?” It would explain so much if he just flat-out said “Yes.” Normal people read #ASM 17 and realize that once a character dies, something very profound has happened. The author cannot just pretend as if a clone is the same thing, and if it isn’t a clone then there needs to be a serious accounting for what happened. What we have here is an insult to anyone who is capable of thinking beyond Stage 1.

  3. I wonder if Prowler’s fate was Slott’s decision or someone else’s. As I understand it, Prowler (or a Prowler) is starring in his own comic series this fall, not written by Slott. That could mean that Prowler’s story is being pieced together by different authors.

    If Slott is being deliberate in the moral ambiguity that he’s taking the series, I wonder what the reason is. It’s not exactly in theme with the character. If anything, the Spider-Man approach to morality has been more along the lines of it being very clear cut, the hard part being in making the hard choice to follow it. I mean, the thesis statement of the whole story is the old “with great power comes great responsibility” line. (Is the series even following that, anymore?)

    1. “I wonder if Prowler’s fate was Slott’s decision or someone else’s. As I understand it, Prowler (or a Prowler) is starring in his own comic series this fall, not written by Slott. That could mean that Prowler’s story is being pieced together by different authors.”

      Dan was the one who came up with “Dead No More,” and this is happening in “Before Dead No More,” so I would say the blame is on him. Marvel is all about diversity — as long as Bendis can unceremoniously kill James Rhodes for Civil War and Slott can kill Hobie Brown.

      “If Slott is being deliberate in the moral ambiguity that he’s taking the series, I wonder what the reason is.”

      The reason is exactly what I said it is: Dan Slott is a moral relativist. His public statements, as well as the text of his projects, make it clear. Moral ambiguity keeps turning up because he subscribes to a worldview that creates it.

      “It’s not exactly in theme with the character. If anything, the Spider-Man approach to morality has been more along the lines of it being very clear cut, the hard part being in making the hard choice to follow it. I mean, the thesis statement of the whole story is the old ‘with great power comes great responsibility’ line. (Is the series even following that, anymore?)

      The writing at this point is not in concert with the character it all. Peter Parker gives lip service to the themes that have run throughout the book, and there are occasional scenes that are meant to give readers a sense of nostalgia, but the book no longer celebrates the themes and principles that made it great.

      Speaking of clones, Dan Slott’s Peter Parker is like the last Xerox copy in a stack of papers…just as the printer was running out of ink. The picture is kind of faded and it looks like what you need, but it’s not right. Do you really need that piece or do you throw it out? How important is it to you? Perhaps you hang on to it, but you hope someone calls Business Support Services soon. The team needs a new ink cartridge as soon as possible.

  4. Not just Slott’s amorality has been on display, but also his half-baked notions about human personhood. As soon as Peter became a mogul, Peter has become worse and worse. Why? Because people are products of their economics. I don’t think Slott believes there is such a thing as a virtuous wealthy person. I believe Slott is a Marxist, though probably he couldn’t describe, define, or defend it coherently.

    The idea that Peter would sustain ethics even if he was wealthy, is beyond Slott’s ken. Writers who accepted Peter’s character would have put him into dramatic conflict with corporate crime. Instead, Slott makes Peter the perpetrator of corporate crime. The real Peter also wouldn’t ask a friend to do his dirty work for him, or do it unaided. The real Peter wouldn’t ask anyone to do dirty work for him at all. The only justification might be that Peter saw evidence of human experimentation, and asked Hobie to prowl around for hard evidence. Instead, Peter wants the intel because he wants to use it himself.

    Secondary note: here we go on more of Marvel’s brainless PC replacing of classic male characters with textually-colorless females. Because that is always Innately Great, right? RiRi Williams is Innately Great, despite the absence of any evidence of that. Let’s kill Max Dillon and replace him with a cypher, as long as the cypher is a female. P.S. The only way Francine could possess a “genetic mix” from Dillon is if she was carrying his baby. Can someone mail Dan Slott a seventh grade science textbook so he can learn that intercourse doesn’t change a person’s DNA?

    1. “Not just Slott’s amorality has been on display, but also his half-baked notions about human personhood. As soon as Peter became a mogul, Peter has become worse and worse. Why? Because people are products of their economics. I don’t think Slott believes there is such a thing as a virtuous wealthy person. I believe Slott is a Marxist, though probably he couldn’t describe, define, or defend it coherently.”

      His Twitter feed goes a long way towards corroborating your reading of his politics. Dan seems to think CEOs all just have mountains of gold in a vault like Scrooge McDuck that they can just give to charity if only they were nice guys.

      “The idea that Peter would sustain ethics even if he was wealthy, is beyond Slott’s ken. Writers who accepted Peter’s character would have put him into dramatic conflict with corporate crime. Instead, Slott makes Peter the perpetrator of corporate crime.

      Exactly.

      “The real Peter also wouldn’t ask a friend to do his dirty work for him, or do it unaided. The real Peter wouldn’t ask anyone to do dirty work for him at all. The only justification might be that Peter saw evidence of human experimentation, and asked Hobie to prowl around for hard evidence. Instead, Peter wants the intel because he wants to use it himself.”

      That’s the thing: None of the details in the previous issues warranted Peter’s decision! It’s just this company with emerging technology that Peter wants his hands on. It was such an easy fix, but Dan made the conscious decision to have Peter turn to corporate espionage. Unreal.

      “The only way Francine could possess a ‘genetic mix’ from Dillon is if she was carrying his baby. Can someone mail Dan Slott a seventh grade science textbook so he can learn that intercourse doesn’t change a person’s DNA?”

      They didn’t even go that far. The “genetic mix” was all from the kiss that killed her. Haha.

  5. Slott’s personality aside, Superior Spider-Man worked because Doc got all of Peter’s memories when he did the mind switch. It was a nature vs nurture story where the kid who was always unloved and bullied saw a life of love and compassion and it changed him.

    1. “It was a nature vs nurture story where the kid who was always unloved and bullied saw a life of love and compassion and it changed him.”

      But how did it change him? It didn’t. He blew a guy’s face off at point-blank range without any remorse. He created an army of superior-goons. He unleashed surveillance technology on the city that would have civil rights organizations going ballistic. He was just as much of a liar and a deceiver than ever before.

      I agree that “Superior” would have been a decent story if Doc Ock actually had some sort of epiphany, but that didn’t happen in any meaningful way.

  6. The Prowler ongoing seems to be doomed right out the gate. People want to be invested in the Hobie Brown that they know and love, not his clone. I get the whole theme of the story is to dictate “what is and what is’nt real in the life of a clone”, but does that have to spiel over into long-term plans for the character? Prowler had nothing to “fix” to get readers hooked, now he has something sensationalist attached to him. Every Spidey-Character has to be somehow turned against Peter and left with a “cursed mark” and it’s getting predictable.

    1. “I heard that Electro is a girl now, is that true? Francine took over the mantle or something like that?”

      That is correct. Both Electro and Hobie Brown died in this issue.

    2. Lol, that’s some character development right down the drain. “He’s cured! Let’s kill him!”

      Honestly having Max be replaced by Francine as Electro doesn’t even make me mad. It’s just hilariously non-sensical to me. Granted I actually haven’t been following ASM since SSM but still.

  7. No, his powers were dangerously erratic. Max unintentionally killed that girl Francine in a past issue, when she kissed him and he involuntarily electrocuted her. He blamed it all on Spider-Man (Doc Ock, actually, bjut Max didn’t know that) and him scientifically messing with him (during Superior Spider-Man).

  8. If the comic book/super hero genre isn’t a good vs evil, one that is clearly and cogently defined, then what is the point? Ugh, I think I’m done with comics…. and yesterday I donated my collection to Goodwill. I’ll go back to reading epic space battles.

    1. “Ugh, I think I’m done with comics…. and yesterday I donated my collection to Goodwill.”

      One day I’ll have to let mine go as well. I hope they end up in a good home…with a kid who enjoys them as much as I did growing up. 🙂

    2. “Hopefully said kid won’t be polluted by the consumption of the bunk liberal dogma that ruined things in the first place.”

      Given that they’re older comics, his mom or dad might be “triggered” by something Spider-Man says and throw them all out. Nooooooo!

      My parents were really cool about comics. Years later I was talking to my mom about stuff like that and she’s just like, “We just wanted you to read as much as possible. We were glad that you enjoyed them.”

    3. That reminds me that I have a lot of Slott’s Spider-Man run before I realized it wasn’t all that great. I could donate them, because I doubt I’d get much for them if I sold them.

  9. “Lol, that’s some character development right down the drain. “He’s cured! Let’s kill him!””

    That’s a Slott specialty. His arcs don’t actually arc, they sort of bend but don’t go anywhere. Some examples:

    1. Peter himself dies in ASM600 without really ending any sort of arc. This one I like, but there hadn’t been any sort of closure for him. Even ultimate Peter Parker had more of an arc to his death, abrupt as that was.

    2. SpOck essentially erases himself (maybe he stored himself in the robot, but it seems like that was an earlier backup) for no good reason. It’s not at all clear what Peter can do that he can’t. He doesn’t have a redemption and dies a jerk.

    3. The characters that betray Peter all seem to betray him and then Peter forgives them, but they haven’t really repented of what they did. They don’t really change, he just goes back to trusting them even though they’re still basically traitors.

    4. Prowler dies without accomplishing anything, because Peter asked him to do something stupid that he should’ve done himself (or not done at all). Was that supposed to be a redemption arc? I don’t even know when he reformed, he was suddenly helping Peter at the start of the latest ASM volume, and then he died pointlessly.

    5. Curt Connors’ family died in a terrible way. I still find it horrifying how Billy Connors sees his mutated father coming to tear him apart and says “I always knew this would happen,” then no one comes to save him and he dies. This was sickening, and while it did at least serve some sort of purpose in the story, the Lizard’s trajectory since then really hasn’t been interesting or worthwhile enough to justify this horrifically dark moment which kills off these two characters without them ever really mattering as individuals, just what effect their deaths had on Curt.

    6. SpOck just offs Massacre. This one at least could’ve provided an opportunity for introspection for SpOck, but didn’t. Massacre starts to try to have character development, then he’s killed.

    7. JJJ’s wife dies for no obvious reason. She didn’t have an arc and her death didn’t matter much. We’re supposed to care, even though she hasn’t really been established much and JJJ doesn’t seem much different with her around or not.

    8. A bunch of Spider-people die in Spider-Verse, including some we cared about, without any sort of arc, as cannon fodder. Particularly infuriating was the apparent death of Mayday Parker’s version of Peter and Mary Jane. Apparently every instance of Peter and MJ being happily married must be destroyed. In order to get something we would want, seeing Mayday Parker again, Slott felt the need to ruin her life and destroy her happy ending. Not a good trade, especially since she doesn’t do much, isn’t important in the event, and the event wasn’t very good anyway.

    These are just some examples I could think of, I’m sure there are others (I may be a little off on some details, but I think the gist is there). I’m not even including the bastardization of Peter’s character that’s ongoing.

    It does tick me off that he’d kill Electro in such a stupid way. I always liked Electro, even though they never managed to find any sort of interesting personality for him. More recently he got powered up and that was pretty cool, just having be a large-scale threat, even if he didn’t really have much to his character. Randomly replacing him with a groupie is pretty lame, and his death deserved to be given a lot more space if it had to happen for some reason. (At any rate, he’ll be back. They tried this with Lady Doc Ock. It doesn’t work that well.)

    1. “These are just some examples I could think of, I’m sure there are others (I may be a little off on some details, but I think the gist is there). I’m not even including the bastardization of Peter’s character that’s ongoing.”

      You are the recipient of the next “Doug Prize” if you want it. Let me know and I’ll contact you at the email address on the back end of WordPress. I’m not sure when I’ll figure out what it is, but you earned it. Your comments in this thread have been outstanding. I may have to use them in a video one of these days (I’ll take a screenshot of this blog post to include in the commentary).

      This is what is so frustrating: Guys like you get it — it’s crystal clear to you — but then I’ll go on other websites to read reviews and the authors are completely oblivious.

      Stillanerd has consistently spotted problematic elements of Dan Slott’s writing over the years. You are very perceptive. Jack and Chuck a few others who read this blog are very sharp. But there are people whose job it is to review comics who consistently drop the ball. It’s so weird.

  10. I wonder, having seen this, does Slott actually look at the art that results from his directions? His villains look ridiculous, and you can’t take them seriously. Zodiac looked like a reject from a Vegas casino, and this look for the Jackal is far sillier even than the old “Joker crossed with Beast, but green” look from the 90’s. Even this version of the Lizard looks doofy and non-threatening compared to the upright-walking alligator original.

    And Francine looks lame in the Electro getup, which went back to the original I guess even after all that effort went into having Electro look different over the years because of how over-the-top the costume was. On top of that it doesn’t even make sense anymore since the electricity is drawn blue, but the costume comes from a time when they drew the electricity yellow.

    1. “Zodiac looked like a reject from a Vegas casino, and this look for the Jackal is far sillier even than the old ‘Joker crossed with Beast,’ but green” look from the 90’s. Even this version of the Lizard looks doofy and non-threatening compared to the upright-walking alligator original.”

      Thank you! These villains look like something that would wind up in the old Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon towards the very end of its run — when the writers were like, “Dude…I’m fresh out of ideas. Just make something wacky and let’s squeeze as much juice of this orange as possible. I have a family to feed.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s