spiderman-asm19

The last two issues of The Amazing Spider-Man have seen the strongest writing on the book in months, which is odd given that its main character — Peter Parker — was relegated to the sidelines. He is back in ASM #19 and, seemingly like clockwork, the book has taken an embarrassing turn. Ham-fisted attempts to prove that he’s a snake-bitten loser abound, and tears flow because the guy with 10,000 specialized web cartridges couldn’t remember that Cartridge Seven contained “quick-drying web-cement” (as seen in ASM #6).

ASM6 web cement
When Peter Parker is in China, “quick-drying web-cement” is on hand for a nearly abandoned construction site. When he’s in New York and his family needs him, he doesn’t think to use it. What does editor Nick Lowe actually do in the office, anyway?

Here is what you need to know for ASM #19:

  • Aunt May tells Peter to hurry to the hospital because her husband, Jay Jameson Sr., is getting worse with some disease that Marvel has not elaborated on. It’s just bad…and deadly…because illness.
  • Peter is on his way when he hears someone scream, “Stop! Thief! That’s all my money!” Our hero turns the corner and sees two men running down the street. He webs both of them up and a shop owner yells at Spider-Man for webbing up his son (even though it was perfectly understandable to make such a mistake and the hero literally secured the guy’s entire life savings).
  • Peter then inexplicably says he doesn’t blame New Yorkers for hating him.
  • Everyone wants to know why Peter used New U’s technology on an employee, but he doesn’t want it applied to Jay Jameson Sr. They don’t believe him when he says that further Parker Industries research has shown that conventional methods are probably safer as long as time permits. (Again, what is the disease? Can’t Dan Slott call a doctor and do a little research for something plausible?)
  • Jay privately asks Peter to go to his apartment and get a clock that was brought to America from Ireland. Jay wants to give it to his son before he dies. Peter agrees to get the heirloom.
  • Peter webs the clock to his back and heads for the hospital, but a greedy industrialist’s decision to ignore safety regulations (but of course!) causes an accident. A crane comes unmoored from a building and Peter, in a Christ-like pose, must hold it in place from falling while rescue workers arrive. Aunt May calls him and berates him for taking his time. She wants to see him face-to-face on his phone, but he tells her it’s impossible at the moment.
  • J. Jonah Jameson talks to the “reanimated” Marla and asks her what to do.  She tells him to convince Peter to use New U’s technology on his father.
  • Peter’s webbing dissolves after an hour and the clock falls from his back. He finds it later and it’s broken.
  • Aunt May and J. Jonah Jameson cry as perpetually tardy Peter arrives to the hospital with the shattered clock.

Perhaps the two best ways to describe ASM #19 is “forced” and “convoluted.” Characters behave in ways that are downright weird to advance the plot, and Peter is shoe-horned into situations show the tension that his secret identity imposes upon his personal life.

asm19-spiderman

What makes this issues climax fall flat is the fact that for well over a year Dan Slott has pulled out numerous inventions out of Peter Parker’s butt, but for no apparent his reason his technological butt-magic disappears in ASM #19. He literally held up an entire building with web fluid in ASM #6, but now — when he really needs it — the proven technology is not even mentioned.

Heck, Spider-Man even had “web-foam” literally spin off his back on voice command in ASM #9, which protected him as he entered earth’s atmosphere. Are readers supposed to believe he wouldn’t wrap a precious family heirloom in it? Thanks for making Peter look like a total doofus, Dan Slott.

j-jonah-jameson-asm19
Marvel’s message to readers translated: “Did you think J. Jonah Jameson was praying to God in the first panel? Gotcha! Who would do such a crazy thing? Haha. He was talking to Marla the whole time.”

In short, you may enjoy ASM #19 if you watch bad soap operas. Readers have hospital death scenes, people coming back from the dead, a lot of tears and hackneyed writing. Tune in next month for more Mighty Marvel Mayhem, true believers, when Peter Parker needs his “acid-webbing” to save the day, but then decides not to use it!

peterparker

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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.

30 comments

    1. “That JJJ church scene and your description made me crack up! So silly.”

      For some reason your “silly” remark made me think of Spider-Man’s “web foam” in ASM #9. Thanks! I added that to the post. The guy has webbing that literally comes off his back and can protect him as he enters earth’s atmosphere, but he doesn’t think to use it with the Jameson clock. Sigh…

  1. There was very little commotion about this issue when it came out yesterday, I don’t think there was a thread about it on CBR for ages, and comicvine users care way more about Renew Your Vows and the future scheduling of the books than what is subjected to us for the forseeable present.

    In a better written issue, the ending with the broken clock may have been a nice way to write out a character, but the context of the issue kind of makes it an inevitability of this Peter’s constant slip ups. I think it would have more impactful if we don’t reveal the clock is broken until the closing panels..wouldn’t have made Peter look any better, but it’d give the ending more a gut punch.

    I took note of how decrepit Aunt May looks in the art for this issue…it’s not Aftermath with Amazing lads. Creepy.

    So with Jay passed on, another element of the wretched BND era comes to an undignified end…I can only really smile at that. With RYV imminent, the rebirth of Spider-Man etches even closer, leading us to really ask how bothered we are with Clown Conspiracy?

    1. “I took note of how decrepit Aunt May looks in the art for this issue…it’s not Aftermath with Amazing lads. Creepy.”

      I’m glad you brought up that point. I debated putting that in my review. Aunt May often looked like she was the one who should be in a hospital bed.

  2. Okay, so I don’t know if this is still a thing in Slott’s run but don’t Peter’s wall sticking powers work on his entire body, meaning his back as well?

    1. “Okay, so I don’t know if this is still a thing in Slott’s run but don’t Peter’s wall sticking powers work on his entire body, meaning his back as well?”

      I’m not sure, Tamms. If that was the case, then I think it would have helped Peter out in ASM #10. That was the issue where he was on a fast-moving train while facing off against Scorpio.

      Perhaps zariusii or one of the others has a definitive answer to your question.

    2. I’m about 90% sure that you’re right. That’s what I remember. Wikipedia says: “Originally, Spider-Man is able to stick to surfaces using only his hands and feet,[8] but later he is shown to be able to cling with his back” and references Amazing Spider-Man #528 (so not that far from Slott’s run).

      If you wanted to be pedantic, depending on when the last time he used that power was, there could be a reset after The Other when he was “reborn,” or maybe you could make a Secret Wars-related excuse. But yes, I specifically remember that he could stick with any part of his body.

      Dan Slott: his knowledge of Spider-Man is below the level of Wikipedia.

    3. “I’m about 90% sure that you’re right. That’s what I remember. Wikipedia says: “Originally, Spider-Man is able to stick to surfaces using only his hands and feet,[8] but later he is shown to be able to cling with his back” and references Amazing Spider-Man #528 (so not that far from Slott’s run).”

      Thanks for checking up on that, Eidolon. I didn’t have a chance to early today. I appreciate it.

    4. Actually the issue where he used that power last (according to Wikipedia) was during the conclusion of The Other. So no excuse there.

      But hey, cheap drama, right? You need cheap drama that doesn’t make sense. It really helps build up the character when he repeatedly forgets to use abilities he clearly demonstrated that he has when it’s most important for his close family members.

      Between his sudden Chinese girlfriend while ignoring Mary Jane and the “concrete webbing”/sticking with his back thing, is “Peter gives his best to Chinese people while ignoring those he knows and loves best” some kind of weird theme? Slott’s writing is so haphazard that it’s probably just his lazy tendencies falling into the same ruts multiple times, but again it’s a weirdly specific fault to repeat.

    5. “Between his sudden Chinese girlfriend while ignoring Mary Jane and the ‘concrete webbing’/sticking with his back thing, is ‘Peter gives his best to Chinese people while ignoring those he knows and loves best’ some kind of weird theme?”

      Don’t forget Silk’s “spider-pheromones” as well. Dan certainly opens himself up to the question, “Dude, do you have a weird asian fetish or something?” Heh. 🙂

      “Slott’s writing is so haphazard that it’s probably just his lazy tendencies falling into the same ruts multiple times, but again it’s a weirdly specific fault to repeat.”

      This again begs the question: What is Nick Lowe doing during the workday? It’s almost as if he just signs off on whatever Dan writes so he can goof around online.

  3. It sounds as if there is a “What, clones again?” reaction happening.

    Instead of the alleged mystery of New U, they could have gone with, “Hey, who is the new Jackal, and what is he up to?” It seems obvious now this isn’t “our” 616 Miles Warren, unless he was radically healed. If Slott created a new Jackal who does new things in new ways for new reasons, interest would be piqued. Instead, people think it’s clone stuff again.

    Characters make stories interesting. Murder mystery plots are a dime a dozen, but people like Holmes & Watson, or Raymond Chandler in the stories. Adventure plots tend to repeat, but we like Doc Savage or Indiana Jones, or the Black Widow. So far, this is a man wearing a mask who can (apparently) reanimate or regenerate dead people. That’s not a bad premise to start with, but it hasn’t gotten very far. So far, the adverts have focused on “Dead loved ones coming back to life!” (i.e., mimicking a mini-trend in short-lived TV shows like “Resurrection”.) But it’s who is doing it and why that’s interesting, not that it’s happening. The dead come back to life in the MU every other Thursday,

    1. “But it’s who is doing it and why that’s interesting, not that it’s happening. The dead come back to life in the MU every other Thursday.”

      I find it interesting when I peruse the Twitter feeds of some of these guys that they don’t really ever discuss the craft of writing. Take Dan, for example. He spends his days bashing Donald Trump and spewing whatever MSNBC talking point is making the rounds that morning. Is that really what a writer’s writer would be doing? I don’t think so.

    2. The craft of writing??? There is no such (craft of writing) where Dan Slott is concerned, just haphazard fan-fiction.

    3. “The craft of writing??? There is no such (craft of writing) where Dan Slott is concerned, just haphazard fan-fiction.”

      Well, hopefully the new Renew Your Vows series can hold us over until things get back on track…

    4. “I find it interesting when I peruse the Twitter feeds of some of these guys that they don’t really ever discuss the craft of writing. Take Dan, for example. He spends his days bashing Donald Trump and spewing whatever MSNBC talking point is making the rounds that morning. Is that really what a writer’s writer would be doing? I don’t think so.”

      I’ve noticed that as well, Doug. You never see Slott or any other comic book writer talk about their technique or anything like that. I mean, there’s nothing about whether or not they outline, if they’re discovery writers (that is, people who don’t outline and let the story take them wherever; that’s my style of writing since I don’t outline and find them to be cumbersome at best), etc. They’re too busy bashing Trump, marking snarky remarks about people they don’t like (usually conservatives) and regurgitating left-wing talking points to actually take the time to do that.

    5. Come to think of it, the only time Slott ever talked about writing- and admittedly, this is a stretch- was when he Tweeted this a couple of years ago: “If you write serialized stories, it’s not your job to make the reader happy. Your job is to captivate & entertain them. You’re Scheherazade.”

      There’s so much wrong with that kind of a mindset. I understand that you’re not going to make everyone happy, but at the same time, you shouldn’t become a writer just so you can piss readers off and treat them like crap. You should at least make the effort to entertain them and leave them at least somewhat satisfied at the end. Not everyone likes doom and gloom all the time. People do like to smile and be happy.

    1. “Apparently, PAD snapped. Here’s the only coverage my friend could find on it.”

      See, I would love to be at a panel like that. I wouldn’t want to watch most panels where everyone just makes political statements and then gives the guy next to him a rhetorical back massage. 😉

      Fan: “You’re so awesome.”

      Writer: “No, YOU’RE so awesome.”

      Fan: “No, seriously, YOU’RE AWESOME!”

      Writer: “We’re ALL awesome because we all think alike. Haha! Yay! Go, Borg!”

    2. The writer that disagrees finds that he is suddenly off of a book and is then blacklisted.

    3. That’s good stuff.

      I mean good liberals like him always blast that in other people’s faces: You can’t discriminate against people because of the actions of a few! …PAD remembers a horrible incident and proves he’s the monster he rails against, he hates these Romani in general over an incident, and his hate is so strong, he can’t even be open and reflective about it, he goes off the rails and blows up.

      Purgatory…should it await any of these guys…is going to be a fun place for them.

  4. Stillanerd’s review is up. Woohoo! As usual, he nails it.

    “None of this matters if this story, no matter how well-crafted, fails to incite the desired emotions. None of this matters if a reader feel nothing for a dying character because the writer didn’t do an adequate job in getting readers to care about that character beforehand. None of this matters if that same writer, instead of retooling their story, blatantly violates and chooses to ignore their very own established [reason] and logic of that same story, and all for sole purpose of obtaining the desired resolution and outcome they want. All of which the first story of this comic does.”

    Boom. Make sure to read the whole thing. That last paragraph is like an uppercut that ends the fight in a knockout.

  5. Yeah, saw that, too (here’s a link to one article about it: “http://fandom.wikia.com/articles/nycc-marvels-spider-man-animated-series-announced”).

    We’ll have to wait and see what effect Slott’s involvement will and will not have (although he’s only consulting, not driving the ship, so we may be worrying over nothing). The premise sounds interesting enough I’m willing to give it a chance.

  6. Some of the details are interesting…Horizon Labs will be repurposed as “Horizon High”, is this the first time Peter has attended a fictional school in an interpretation of Spidey?

  7. It was always a fictional high school. Originally it was Midtown High School. And I’ll pass on the new Spider-Man cartoon if Slott’s involved with it. I read an article that said it was going to adapt his stories. Ugh. My prediction is that it’ll flop and be cancelled pretty quickly.

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