kaine-karn

Fans of The Amazing Spider-Man have had a rough couple of years. Peter Parker was “killed” for an extended amount of time and replaced with Doctor Octopus as Superior Spider-Man. The book was relaunched, but multiple issues seemed to focus on the arrival of a new character, Silk. Spider-Verse lumped Peter Parker in with an army of spider-powered heroes. Then the title was relaunched again with Peter Parker as a poor man’s Tony Stark. Lately, Prowler and Doctor Octopus essentially monopolized entire issues, and Dead No More: The Clone Conspiracy, for all intents and purposes, renders ASM the supplementary reading for a Spider-Man tale.

ASM #21 continues Dan Slott’s frustrating habit of sidelining Peter Parker in his own book, this time in favor of Scartlet Spider, aka Kaine.

Here is what you need to know for ASM #21:

  • Kaine did not die during the events of Spider-Verse, but “The Other” that kept him healthy did.
  • Karn (now Master Weaver), shows Kaine the “dreaded fate” of multiple words as seen through the Web of Life and Destiny.
  • Through Kaine’s investigations into the zombie-plagued worlds he finds out that Parker Industries is tied to every outbreak.
  • Kaine eventually teams up with Gwen Stacy, Spider-Woman of Earth-65.
  • Gwen and Kaine figure out that Peter Parker has teamed up with Jackal in multiple worlds, which inevitably triggers a zombie apocalypse.
  • Karn tells Kaine that the Web of Destiny tells him there is a secret being kept from him. Kaine admits that his cellular degeneration is far advanced and that he will likely die soon. He hopes to save his home world before that happens. Karn agrees not to tell Gwen.

Reviewing an issue like ASM #21 is a tricky task, because Marvel wants readers to look at it within the broader context of DNM, but at the same time readers demand to know how it ranks as a standaline issue of The Amazing Spider-Man. The company has needlessly created a kind of psychological tension in fans who want compelling stories, but at the same time expect (logically) an issue of ASM to highlight Peter Parker.

kaine-gwen

If one were to review ASM #21 solely within the framework of Dan Slott’s ongoing Clone Conspiracy tale, then there is nothing particularly wrong with the book. In fact, Kaine is a cool character and would probably be a much easier sell than Prowler for an ongoing series (and that is not a knock on Sean Ryan, who seems to be doing the best he can in a bad situation).

gwen-kaine

If, however, one reviews ASM #21 in terms of its ability to showcase Peter Parker, then the book is once again off the mark. The title regularly feels like writer Dan Slott gets bored with his Peter Parker “toy,” and then attempts to alleviate that condition by rummaging through his “toy box.” The result is that Peter Parker is nominally the hero of his own book.

My suggestion for Peter Parker fans who are tired of him getting the shaft in his own book would be to pick up Gerry Conway’s and Ryan Stegman’s Renew Your Vows. There is nothing inherently wrong with DNM, but at this point it just feels like another instance where the team’s starting quarterback is weirdly relegated to a shared role with back-up players.

Related:

Dan Slott’s Spider-Verse: Peter Parker sadly gives off ‘Where’s Waldo?’ vibe in his own book

Dan Slott’s feckless Peter Parker needs Doctor Octopus to inspire Uncle Ben: Spider-Verse Part 5

Dan Slott’s excitement, focus return in Amazing Spider-Man #18 with Doctor Octopus in limelight

Dan Slott’s emasculated Spider-Man: Peter Parker is an embarrassment in his own book

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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.

11 comments

    1. “Seems like that’s Slott’s MO: write a Spider-Man comic, but barely feature the title character at all.”

      It still is quite strange to think about one of Marvel’s retreats that went something like this: “Hey, let’s have this huge Spider-Man event in the fall of 2016 and then have it not take place in ASM. Wouldn’t that be cool? What do you think, guys?! Should we do it? Who’s with me? Yeah!”

  1. It’s sort of a “careful what you wish for” thing. You want more Peter Parker, but when Slott writes him he makes you wish he’d stop. When he does stop and writes a decent story, you want Peter again. Whichever way it goes, Spider-Man fans lose.

    1. “It’s sort of a ‘careful what you wish for’ thing. You want more Peter Parker, but when Slott writes him he makes you wish he’d stop. When he does stop and writes a decent story, you want Peter again. Whichever way it goes, Spider-Man fans lose.”

      Correct, but my job is to let people know that Marvel has needlessly created a Catch 22 situation for fans. The man who pens The Amazing Spider-Man should not be turning the main character into a supporting character on a regular basis.

      If Dan Slott wants to write a series called The Amazing Spider-Verse, then fine. Do that. But if he’s going to write ASM, then Peter Parker should not be sidelined.

  2. Yeah, I actually enjoyed this issue, because Kane is a very strong character who, knows how to juggle personal guilt and personal responsibility with even larger priorities,. and he gets to use his deduction skills to pinpoint a problem, traits we wish Peter could use more often than not. Spider-Gwen is also filling in the role of the upbeat and supporting female very well, while the Gwen we’re supposed to care about in this story is routinely humiliated and made to look foolish, just like every 616 female supporting cast member Slott has ever wasted his pen on.

    Yes, as usual Slott brings his A-game and advances his story more, but it’s at the expense of Peter Parker. Is it any surprising that I looked up Bleeding Cool’s report on what is leading in the advance reorders chart today and found the “life-changing, status quo” altering third issue of Clone Conspiracy was’nt remotley on the minds of any retailers, but Renew Your Vows#2 WAS?

    1. “Is it any surprising that I looked up Bleeding Cool’s report on what is leading in the advance reorders chart today and found the ‘life-changing, status quo’ altering third issue of Clone Conspiracy wasn’t remotely on the minds of any retailers, but Renew Your Vows#2 WAS?

      What is the life-changer? That Peter Parker kills Jackal? That he turns to the dark side and sides with Jackal? That seems to be our two main options, although people can feel free to add to the list.

      Anyway, I’m really looking forward to where RYVs goes. I’m hoping they can keep the momentum going.

  3. “Is it any surprising that I looked up Bleeding Cool’s report on what is leading in the advance reorders chart today and found the “life-changing, status quo” altering third issue of Clone Conspiracy wasn’t remotely on the minds of any retailers, but Renew Your Vows#2 WAS?”

    This does not surprise me at all, Dan likes to spin things and try to push up sales. I can’t fault him except for when he blatantly lies about the facts. Let’s be real, the sales for the Clone Conspiracy is lower than they had wanted, now the promotion machine is in effect with Dan trying to push retailers to falsely inflate sales by ordering books that they will be stuck with and still enabling him to brag about printings. The Spider-man sales boosts over the last few years has been due to alternate covers and complete manipulation. The book has a almost guaranteed readership and it would take a lot to push them away because collectors do not like gaps in their collections. Ask many collectors how many times they have considered dropping the book but only held on hoping it would change for the better.
    With great hope we may get to see Renew Your Vows sales to stay high, but that will be a hard sale since books that are not the main title tend to sell much less.

    1. “With great hope we may get to see Renew Your Vows sales to stay high, but that will be a hard sale since books that are not the main title tend to sell much less.”

      Well, the good thing about the internet is that word-of-mouth can spread fast. If there was anyone who was on the fence for the first issue, my guess is that they’ll be jumping on board next month. 🙂

    2. News broke today that both the first issues of Clone Conspiracy AND Renew Your Vows will go to second printings sometime in late December, so that’s very encouraging news. I was a bit worried when I saw it only reached 18th place last week in the sales charts, but strong word of mouth and continuous sales since then are definitely helping it.

    1. So Dan Slott comes back to Twitter and he spends it making stupid comments about Donald Trump instead of the Ohio State University attack by Abdul Razak Ali Artan. Dan’s lack of self-awareness will never cease to amaze me.

      Yes, Dan, the nation witnessed a Somali refugee ram his car into a slew of people and then attack them with a machete, bet for some reason you wanted to focus on dumb jokes about Donald Trump and birth certificates.

      The guy comes across as a pathetic clown.

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