Fans of The Amazing Spider-Man plopped down $10 this week to read the start of The Osborn Identity, which was jam-packed with extra stories (some of them not so good). While your friendly neighborhood blogger is happy to talk about the issue as a whole, one exchange in the main story stuck out for the anti-faith claptrap that writer Dan Slott shoved into Peter Parker’s mouth.
Since this issue takes place after The Clone Conspiracy, Peter Parker goes to check on reporter Betty Brant to see how she’s doing. She mentions seeing a spiritual advisor and possibly bringing Aunt May along since her second husband just passed away, to which the hero replies:
“You’re a reporter. You live for facts. When did you start looking to the spirit world?“
Note that at this point Peter knew nothing about Betty receiving phone calls from the clone of her deceased husband. All he knew as that she wanted to see a spiritual advisor. And his response? A condescending remark that people who deal in “facts” should not be turning to spiritual advisors.
Spider-Man fans who subjected themselves to Jose Molina’s atrocious Amazing Grace will note how he also infused Peter with anti-faith smugness. In 2016, however, the message was that faith in God and science are somehow at odds, which is not true at all (my guess is that Dan Slott and Jose Molina have never even heard of Georges Lemaître, for example, but I digress).
What makes Dan Slott’s decision so weird, as has been stated before, is that it makes even more sense in the Marvel Universe for people to believe in the supernatural because citizens witness it on a regular basis. Peter has literally been to the astral plane, dealt with demons, and knows first-hand that they exist, and yet Dan Slott makes him act like a callous jerk towards a friend who is spiritual.
The absurdity of Peter’s statement is made even more bizarre when, moments earlier, he is seen talking to “Uncle Ben” — a dead man — at his grave. Why would scientists and reporters and superheroes talk to long-dead relatives unless they believed that on a spiritual level their words were being heard?
And why would Peter behave like such a jerk towards Ms. Brant when Amazing Grace ended with a meeting between he and a priest — “Hey, Father. You got a minute?”
Here are some historical “facts” for Dan Slott.
- There was once a man named Jesus who made some pretty “bold” claims (Understatement of All Time Award material, I know.)
- Jesus was crucified — just as he foretold — for those claims.
- Jesus’ enemies were so terrified of Him that they literally entombed his corpse behind a giant rock and used an armed guard to watch over it. (Yes, an armed guard for a dead body.)
- Christ’s own disciples, from a historical perspective, had every reason in the world to say, “Well, I guess it’s over,” after he was executed. False prophets came before him, and all their movements soon died with the individual. But these apostles didn’t turn in the towel. They too were eventually executed for telling all the world that Jesus rose from the dead. They traveled far and wide to tell everyone who would listen that they saw him, that they literally put their hands in his wounds, and that He is exactly who He claimed to be.
I can go on and on (What came before the Big Bang, Dan Slott?), but the point is this: Peter Parker would never behave the way he did in that scene with Ms. Brant because it was a total jerk thing to say. If you think that he would say that — despite hanging on occasion with Doctor Strange … traveling throughout the multi-verse … and generally dealing with the supernatural on a regular basis, then good luck making that case.
If Dan Slott is not a religious man, then that is his prerogative, but he should not turn Peter Parker into a condescending jerk when a story delves into spiritual matters.
With that said, I highly suggest checking out Stillanerd’s review of ASM #25 over at Whatever A Spider Can.
I should also mention that the two of us will be discussing the craft of writing (through an ASM prism) on my YouTube channel on Saturday, March 25. As of now we plan on starting at 3 p.m. EST. Make sure to subscribe and hit YouTube’s little bell icon to receive a notification when we go live.