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).
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.
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.