Dan Slott belly flops in ‘Dead No More: The Clone Conspiracy’ finale

The finale to Marvel’s Dead No More: The Clone Conspiracy is now in stores — or is it? Yes, the event that began with Before Dead No More has technically ended, but there are so many questions left unanswered that readers will now be forced to buy Clone Conspiracy Omega #1 for some semblance of closure.

Months ago I jokingly predicted that Marvel would come up with After Dead No More and Dead No More — No More, and it looks like readers will essentially get just that because “Omega” sounds edgy and cool…but I digress.

Anyway, the one question that fans of The Amazing Spider-Man should ask themselves right now is this: Was it worth it?

Was DNM: CC worth turning ASM proper into supplementary reading material? Was it worth creatively monopolizing the tie-in books? Was it worth digging up the memories of the original Clone Saga? Was it worth the sheer amount of effort expended by Marvel to try and convince people to care about “reanimates” as much as the original characters?

I would definitively say the answer is “no.”

Check out my latest review, and then make sure to head on over to Whatever A Spider Can to read Mike McNulty’s take. He always does great work, and this time it provided me with a much needed assist for a YouTube review of DNM: CC #5.

As always, I look forward to your thoughts in the comments sections below.

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Comics and Politics YouTube chat: ‘Identity Chaos of Marvel’

The upcoming week here at douglasernst.blog is likely to feature reviews of John Wick 2, the conclusion to Marvel’s The Clone Conspiracy, and the fourth issue of Invincible Iron Man. While those are baking in the oven, those of you who are interested in hearing me ruminate on comics and politics can check out Capn. Cummings’ latest YouTube video: “Revolution Comics Podcast: The Identity Chaos of Marvel #3.”

Our old friend Captain Frugal completes the trio, as always.

Dan Slott’s Clone Conspiracy #4 goes full Ben Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

Your friendly neighborhood blogger wrote on Oct. 12, 2016, that one problem with writing stories about conspiracies is that they sometimes get so big and convoluted that they collapse under their own weight. Dan Slott’s fourth installment of The Clone Conspiracy (along with The Amazing Spider-Man #23), are clear-cut examples to study for any aspiring writing to study.

The problem with The Clone Conspiracy, as is often the case with Mr. Slott’s work, is that he creatively bites off more than he can chew before realizing that he must somehow finish the whole meal on a tight timeline.

Check out my latest YouTube video for the more detailed explanation of why the Marvel event is imploding, and then let me know what you think in the comments below. As always, if you like what you see in the video format, then make sure to subscribe for regular updates.

Marvel’s zero-sum politics needlessly damage the comics industry

The partisan politics of modern Marvel Comics creators is a mainstay of this blog, but for the most part it is usually discussed within the context of whatever “red state vs. blue state” argument makes headlines each week. Today, however, I’d like to dig a little deeper into the zero-sum politics of these writers and artists. In short, they act as if any positive development for “Character A” means that “Character B” is negatively affected.

For instance, Tony Stark’s existence as Iron Man was problematic for writer Brian Michael Bendis’ to introduce Ironheart — Riri Williams. Normal people have no problem with a young girl named Riri flying around the Marvel Universe while Mr. Stark does his thing. That is not the case for Marvel writers these days. In the mind of the modern Marvel creator, Mr. Stark needed to be hurt or sidelined or have his reputation sullied in some way so that a minority female character could succeed.

This line of thinking has poisoned Marvel’s decision-making from the top down in recent years, and as long as it continues the industry as a whole will needlessly suffer. For more details on this, be sure to check out my latest YouTube video on the subject. Then, if you like what you’ve seen, be sure subscribe for regular updates.

As always, make sure to let me know what you think in the comments section below.

Amazing Spider-Man #22: Dan Slott’s Clone story tries to be ‘Lazarus Conspiracy,’ fails

Do humans have souls, or are we deluding ourselves into thinking free will exists thanks to a complex series of chemical reactions that take place in our body every moment of every day?

Are humans somewhat like a computer, where the “you” that defines your being can be boiled down to biological code that began running (how fortunate!) with the Big Bang?

These are questions you should ask yourself as you read Marvel’s latest event, The Clone Conspiracy, and its tie-ins to Dan Slott’s run on The Amazing Spider-Man. If you haven’t pondered these questions up until now, then take a few moments to watch my latest YouTube review of ASM #22.

As always, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below. I’d like to hear what you have to say.

Mark Waid and Dan Slott: How hyper-partisan writers hurt Marvel

The modern American comic book industry is a shadow of its former self. There are numerous reasons for this, but one contributing factor is the emergence of activist-writers. Companies like Marvel claim to want to reach a “diverse” audience, but these days its employees spend an inordinate amount of time demonizing nearly half of its potential customers.

Two writers who perfectly encapsulate the “activist-writer” problem for the industry are Mark Waid and Dan Slott.

If you have been wondering why Marvel’s sales are lagging these days, then check out my newest YouTube video below. Then, let me know what you think in the comments section below.

Also, make sure to subscribe if YouTube videos on the comic industry are up your alley. I try to get out at least one per week.

Dan Slott’s Amazing Kaine: Peter Parker sidelined in ASM#21 — just like ASM #18, ASM #17, Spider-Verse, Silk intro, Superior Spider-Man, etc.

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

Dan Slott deactivates Twitter over ‘pro-Trump’ rhetoric, joins Humberto Ramos in self-imposed safe space

dan-slott-facebook

If there were stocks in safe spaces, then Donald Trump’s presidential election would send them through the roof. The Nov. 8 election forced artist Humberto Ramos to run for the “blue” hills last week, and now Marvel writer Dan Slott has deactivated his account due to “pro-Trump” rhetoric (i.e., there are more people standing up to Dan’s obsessive political tweets — even after endless rounds of blocking people — than his mind can handle).

Marvel’s lead scribe for The Amazing Spider-Man informed his Facebook followers on Monday that he has so little self control that his best option for Twitter right now is to “remove the temptation.”

Mr. Slott claims Donald Trump’s adviser, Steve Bannon, is a “white nationalist,” but as usual he provides no credible evidence to back his claims.

dan-slott-on-trump

To make such inflammatory charges would be like this blog discussing Dan Slott’s own history of bigoted statements towards Christians without linking to the evidence. But since this blog is concerned with backing up its claims there will always be links, videos and screenshots for readers to consider.

Dan Slott Christians

Dan Slott telling Christians who just won a case at the U.S. Supreme Court to go to “Christ-Land” is just as bad as CNN contributor Van Jones saying Donald Trump was elected president by a “whitelash,” but activist-writers are master practitioners of selective moral outrage.

Question: What would Dan Slott’s reaction be if two years from now Democrats perform well during midterm elections and Steve Bannon refers to their “blacklash” performance?

Question: What would Dan Slott’s reaction be if two years from now a Jewish group wins a case at the U.S. Supreme Court and Steve Bannan tells them to go to “Jew-ville”?

The answer in both cases is that Dan Slott would lose his mind on social media and cite the man’s words as proof-positive that he is a monster.

The reason why activist-creators in the comic industry and Hollywood are melting down before your eyes is not necessarily because Donald Trump will be the 45th commander in chief.

What really upsets these people is that Mr. Trump’s commanding victory has emboldened millions of Americans to finally — finally — push back against the endless charges of racism and bigotry leveled their way over mere differences in opinion.

My suggestion to readers for the day Dan Slott inevitably returns to Twitter is to continue defending your position, no matter how many different ways he tries to impugn your character. He will either block you (take it as a badge of honor), or retreat once again into a safe-space of like-minded peers.

Maybe Dan Slott and Joss Whedon can plot a coup together, even though we both know they would never be on the front lines…

joss-whedon-twitter-trump

Humberto Ramos goes full safe-space baby after Trump win, won’t travel to ‘red’ states

humberto-ramos-youtube

The 2016 U.S. presidential election of Donald Trump is not even one week old and it is already paying cultural dividends. The very same people who for months worried about the sanity of the Mr. Trump’s supporters are melting down. Hollywood activists like Joss Whedon are using coup-like rhetoric, protesters are destroying private property, and Safe Space America advocates are terrified because voters would not allow them to turn the nation into a giant college campus.

And then we have artist Humberto Ramos, a man who so desperately wants a safe space that he is refusing to attend conventions in “red states.”

His Nov. 11 Facebook post is one for the ages, but for all the wrong reasons.

Continue on, dear reader, as I break it down into its many embarrassing elements.

“I remember my first trip to the USA as a life changing event, it was 1992 and for the first time I arrived to the land of opportunity, where dreams come true. I felt I got to the place where everything was possible if you work hard for it, so I did and that hard work paid off as a wonderful career filled with success and personal pride for the achievements accomplished but no professional goal could even get close to what it is to me the thing I thank the most about my job, the amazing chance to meet people from a different country, a different culture and background a different language who became my friends, people both colleagues and fans who honored me with their sincere friendship and love, their care and warmth. Every single time I’ve step into the USA I felt at home some of people I get to see at every show I am invited to have slowly but strongly turn into my second family, some of them I even get to see them more frequently than my blood family, I always felt welcome to the USA until last Wednesday, November 9.”

Humberto Ramos came to the U.S. decades ago with the idea that The American Dream was attainable — and within a short amount of time his theory was verified through hard work and determination. He felt nothing but “care and warmth” from the vast majority Americans.

“I, as well as the rest of the world witnessed with more sadness than horror how that map in the TV screen turned red a color that means stop, danger or beware I couldn’t believe my eyes. I understand politics and also understand that every single person is entitled to a political orientation which I can agree with or not, I have dear close friends whose political orientation is the total opposite to mine, I’ve always respected that and will keep respecting because I strongly believe this is the only way this insane world can heal…. through respect.”

The artist acknowledges that he has met many “red state” friends, who have done nothing but wish him the best in his personal and professional endeavors.

 “I understand the needs and the urge for a change in a way that make us hope for a better future to our families, believe me, we in Mexico sadly know that better than no one else. I respect when you choice for a fresh new approach, I respect the right for this country I admire to vote different from what us outside the USA wish. but when the new elected president’s very first campaign speech address me, a Mexican who constantly visit your country I can’t but take his sayings as a personal offense, when he said Mexicans where …. well, all the things he said I thought: nobody will take this guy for real, I thought he will say he crossed the line an apologize, I thought he as a candidate for a respectful party will moderate ….. never happened.”

Yes, Donald Trump’s Republican primary speech certainly addressed Mexicans. What Mr. Ramos leaves out is that the future president-elect was talking about people who are entering the country illegally.

The Washington Post reported June 16, 2015:

When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.

But I speak to border guards and they tell us what we’re getting. And it only makes common sense. It only makes common sense. They’re sending us not the right people.

It’s coming from more than Mexico. It’s coming from all over South and Latin America, and it’s coming probably — probably — from the Middle East. But we don’t know. Because we have no protection and we have no competence, we don’t know what’s happening. And it’s got to stop and it’s got to stop fast.

Reasonable people have concluded that Mr. Trump did a horrible job articulating his point, but he was clearly talking about illegal immigration and the problems that come from having no control over the southern border. Humberto Ramos apparently cannot make a distinction between legal and illegal entry into the United States, but at least 60 million Americans (many of them Hispanic) had no trouble doing so on Nov. 8.

Mr. Ramos continued:

 “After witnessing the USA election I will be respectful of the decision taken and I will keep respecting your country, your people and your laws, but also and above all I respect myself and my country and I don’t take for granted Mr. Trump’s speech and the people to hear it and embrace it, I know when I’m not welcome and I won’t expose myself to be offended or mistreated, there is no need.

So I want to communicate that four at least the next 4 years I decide NOT to attend to any conventions that take place in the red states, those states who voted for Mr. Trump, those states where I am clearly not welcome.

For the fans. I ask your understanding and support. Hey, we can meet in many shows across your beautiful country but please understand I can’t go to a house I’m not being invited, the vote clearly says that.”

Your friendly neighborhood blogger lives in a “blue” state and has “blue”-favoring relatives, but I am not actively looking for a new home or avoiding family members.

Unlike Mr. Ramos, I am mature enough to understand that just because someone favors a different public policy than me, it does not mean I am “not welcome” in their presence.

“One last thing, I love the USA and I love your people, those who share love and care, to all you we from the world beg you, don’t let the bullying an hatred win, we stand with you … make America great. Yes, you can.”

That is great advice, but it seems as though it should be applied to left-wing activists like Joss Whedon.

“This is simple: Trump cannot CANNOT be allowed a term in office,” the Save The Day Super PAC creator tweeted Monday. “It’s not about 2018. It’s about RIGHT NOW.”

joss-whedon-twitter-trump

Question: Who should Humberto Ramos fear more — Donald Trump, who only wants to deport people who entered the country illegally while millions of others respect our immigration laws, or guys like Joss Whedon?

All sovereign nations have immigration laws (do a little homework on how Mexico treats immigrants from Latin America), but not all of them have millionaire Hollywood activists who use coup rhetoric when elections don’t go their way. One would think Mr. Whedon would be a bit more responsible with his words now that dozens of arrests have been made in Portland, Oregon, due to destruction wrought by left-wing protesters.

Finally, this post would not be complete without mentioning Dan Slott (who seemingly deactivated his Twitter account Monday because he too needs a temporary safe space from all the Donald Trump news out there).

dan-slott-twitter

Ask yourself this question: Is it more likely that upon hearing news that Donald Trump would be the 45th commander in chief that racist white people got into their Dukes of Hazzard cars and attacked Muslims, or that most reports were stupid college kids exaggerating the facts, political fights that got out of hand, and outright hoaxes?

uiuc-tweet-hoax

The reason why the Dan Slotts of the world cannot take this new political reality has little to do with anything truly scary about Donald Trump. A political earthquake happened that makes normal people reexamine their existing assumptions about the world, but Dan Slott and his friends are ideologues. Therefore, they have decided to double down on the “Trump is Hitler … Trump is Darth Vader” theory that has been peddled for months.

If I see Mr. Ramos sometimes in the near future within my “blue” state, then I will have two words for him: “Grow up.”

Dan Slott’s Clone Conspiracy #2: ‘Peter Parker is the man who destroys the world’

scarlet-spider-peter-parker

Marvel’s big Spider-Man event for the fall has dropped a doozy on Peter Parker fans with Dead No More: The Clone Conspiracy #2. It appears as though Peter Parker is responsible for causing a zombie apocalypse in at least one dozen universes. Fans of the character should rightfully be annoyed if — I repeat, “if” — it turns out that it truly is the hero who is seduced by The Jackal’s New U technology and he unleashes hell on earth.

Here is what you need to know for DNM #2:

  • Kaine scrambles for his life in an alternate-universe version of San Francisco that is overrun with zombies. A portal opens for him just as one latches onto his ankle and he wakes up in Marvel Universe 616.
  • Doctor Octopus fights with Spider-Man in The Jackal’s lab and explains how he was able to survive the events of Spider-Verse and essentially return from the dead.
  • Jackal appears and commands Peter to follow him as he explains the so-called truth behind New U’s cloning procedure. These days he uploads “psychic residue from human remains to make reanimates.
  • Miles Warren, aka Jackal, introduces Peter to all of his formerly deceased foes — alive and kicking as renanimates. The villain says that everything was done to fully realize Peter’s “no one dies” philosophy.
  • Jonah Jameson is on another floor within New U with his reanimated with Marla. They talk about how happy they are together.
  • Spider-Man confronts Prowler about his alliance with Jackal. Hobie Brown tells Peter that what Jackal is doing is a “good thing.”
  • Captain Stacy pulls a gun on “Gwen” when he realizes that she is not his daughter. It turns out she is Spider-Gwen in disguise. The cloned Gwen is holed up with Kaine in his apartment and needs New U’s medicine ASAP.
  • Spider-Man and Spider-Gwen take off through an air vent and Lizard is dispatched after them.
  • Kaine goes to Horizon University at the behest of Spider-Man to retrieve medicine, which was given to him by Jerry Saltares’ wife. He then admits to Anna Maria Marconi that he and Gwen are on a secret mission because “Peter Parker is the man who destroys the world.”

From a pure storytelling perspective, there is nothing wrong with what Dan Slott is doing. In fact, this latest twist actually elevates DNM’s quality above and beyond what I was expecting early on. The problem, however, will come if it turns out that “the” Peter Parker is responsible for countless zombie wastelands instead of Jackal.

scarlet-spider

Here is the bottom line:

  • Peter Parker fans should accept a story that involves alternate universes where Jackal (i.e., a Peter clone) kills the hero and assumes control of Parker Industries as an imposter.
  • They should not accept the idea that infinite universes of terror and fear are traced back to a single moment in time where “the” Peter Parker succumbs to another Mephisto-like proposal, this time with Jackal.

Given Dan Slott’s history with The Amazing Spider-Man, I am not confident that his final “twist” for DNM will be one that honors the legacy of Peter Parker. I hope I am wrong.

Anyway, did you read DNM #2? If so, then let me know what you think in the comments section below. Don’t forget to check my latest YouTube review and subscribe if that format is up your alley.