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?
The Amazing Spider-Man #20 has arrived, which means readers get the return of Doctor Octopus in his original body and the “death” of Peter Parker — again. Yes, you read that right, Dan Slott has essentially “killed” Peter Parker for a third time.
Here is what you need to know for ASM#20:
Otto (inside his Octobot form the future) and AI Anna Maria Marconi visit his grave and find it empty.
An investigation reveals that someone has stolen Otto’s corpse from a cemetery that serves as a resting place for many super villains. There is a black market for dead super villains.
Otto and AI Anna go into the internet and use their digital “minds” to deceive New U into placing a bid for Otto’s corpse.
Otto heads to New U and realizes that his corpse contains the brain waves of none other than…Peter Parker!
A fight ensues (again), and Otto makes short work of everyone’s favorite hero. It turns out (and readers should assume this will change at least one more time) that the original Peter Parker died while only a memory “fragment” made it into the ASM #700 Peter Parker body. Jackal even applauds Otto while saying, “You killed the heck out of it.”
A spy for Kingpin monitors everything that happens in New U.
Otto and the Jackal team up to try and figure out a way to keep “reanimated” bodies from decomposing without a pill.
The issue ends right where Dead No More: Clone Conspiracy #1 finished.
Just to make sure that everyone understands what is going on, Peter Parker “died” in ASM #700, he was “killed” again for all intents and purposes during Superior Spider-Man #9, and now “executed” in ASM #20. But — and this is a big but — it could very well turn out that this “real” Peter Parker was in fact a “memory fragment” left behind by the “real” Peter Parker as he returned to his body in ASM #700.
Confused? Don’t feel bad about it.
The problem with the original Clone Saga was that it broke one of the most common sense rules for storytellers — don’t break your readers’ trust. That doesn’t mean that authors can’t have twists and turns; it means that readers should never feel duped or misled.
No one wants to believe that the Peter Parker (i.e., hero) they’ve been reading about for days, weeks, months, or years is just a “memory fragment” or a “clone” or a “reanimation.” People sink a lot of money and time into a character, so it becomes bothersome if a writer does the equivalent of, “And then I woke up” on his audience. That is something that high school creative writing classes teach, so it is bizarre that Marvel writer Dan Slott would mine that “reanimation” well throughout Clone Conspiracy.
So who is the “real” Peter Parker? Who is the fake? Are any of them real? Readers are supposed to be thrilled with the prospect that the last couple of years have really just been one big fake-out, but human nature does not work that way.
People do not like to be lied to. It’s one thing to play games with supporting characters, but it is a whole different “can of clones” when the protagonist is disrespectfully jerked around.
There is much more to say, but in this instance I think I’ll cut it short and ask you to share your thoughts in the comments section below. And please make sure to watch my latest YouTube video on ASM #20 and subscribe for regular comic book reviews.
Marvel’s big Spider-Man event of the year has finally arrived with Dead No More: The Clone Conspiracy #1. Readers who lived through the 90s wondered why writer Dan Slott would dig up the still-rotting corpse of The Clone Saga, and DNM #1 seems to confirm their worst fears. Recycled plastic usually has a weird quality to it that fails to match the original, and recycled stories are the same way.
Here is what you need to know for DNM #1:
Peter attends the funeral of Jay Jameson and Jonah explodes on him, which is odd because he knows New U has the power to bring people back from the dead. Jonah’s first wife Marla, after all, has returned.
Peter says “this is all my fault” to himself after everyone leaves, even though it clearly was not.
Anna Maria Marconi finds out that Peter’s spider-sense went off when he used Jerry Salteres as a guinea pig for New U’s experimental treatment. The two decide to visit the employee’s house to investigate.
Jerry’s wife reveals that her husband failed to take his medicine and had something “terrifying” happen to him. New U told her not to talk about it and scrubbed her webware, which contained video of the incident.
Peter inexplicably vows to bring Jerry home after retrieving lost data from the webware. Anna privately scolds him for the promise and he heads off to New U as Spider-Man.
It turns out Peter used a “microscopic, sub-dermal tracer” on Jerry when they saw each other in the hospital, so he tracks down the man’s “reanimating” body inside a lab.
Miles Warren walks in on Peter and within moments Rhino and female Electro are headed for battle.
Spider-Man goes into a room marked “Do Not Enter” and finds Gwen Stacy. He is surprised when she doesn’t set off his spider-sense.
A reanimated Doctor Octopus punches Peter in the face with a tentacle and the issue ends.
DNM #1 also features a story by Dan Slott titled The Night I Died, which tweaks elements of 1973’s The Amazing Spider-Man #122 to include a semi-conscious Gwen finding out that Peter Parker was Spider-Man just before her death. She cries while thinking of Peter as “the man who helped kill dad.”
Gwen is then “reanimated” by Miles Warren, aka The Jackal, and introduced to her father as a means of convincing her to become a “business partner.”
The problem with mixing clone stories and The Amazing Spider-Man, besides the fact that they have been done to death (no pun intended) — and badly done — is that a writer is tasked with covering the very nature of existence, consciousness, and the soul. Even unintelligent readers seem to inherently understand that the writer is entering into serious territory, so if the tale isn’t handled right it crumbles under its own weight.
Let’s put it another way: Even clones in real life would know that they are clones (i.e., see the panel of Gwen Stacy realizing what has happened before grabbing a knife to slit her own throat). Readers are the same way. Why should they care about Gwen Clone?
They shouldn’t — unless it is done well.
And there’s the rub. On Dan Slott’s watch, Peter Parker “died” and came back to life. The character has not had a single moment of honest reflection on his own death (or whatever it was, since it was never clear) since the series relaunched. Human beings — flesh and blood with thoughts and emotions and hopes and dreams — would be shaken to their core if they died and were brought back to life. Not Dan Slott’s Peter Parker.
Therefore, it stands to reason that if Mr. Slott does not even apply basic human reactions to the protagonist of the series then he will not do so in a meaningful way with clones.
DNM #1 appears to set up all sorts of twists and turns for Peter Parker in the next couple of months. That is the good news.
The bad news is this: Like most conspiracies, the people who weave them usually lose their audience in an incoherent mess that unravels with the least bit of scrutiny. Before you plunk down $4.99 for this book, consider Mr. Slott’s track record and then ask yourself if he seems up to the task.
Regular readers of this blog remember the time when I accurately predicted Dan Slott’s “Arachno-Rockets.” It appears as though your friendly neighborhood blogger has another notch on the belt after having asked in February when “single-cell Spider-tracers” would arrive. DNM #1 does not quite give us a single-celled tracer, but it is “microscopic, sub-dermal.” Given that the function is essentially the same, we’ll consider that a win.
The Amazing Spider-Man #18 is an issue that has been building since the end of Spider-Verse in February 2015, so it stands to reason that writer Dan Slott would put extra care into the product. Still, it seems undeniable that this Doctor Octopus-centric tale possesses the most energy the creator has brought to the title in months. Fans of The Superior Spider-Man will be thrilled with the flashbacks and the loose ends that are tied up, while others will be left wondering, “Why can’t the book have this much life on a regular basis?”
Here is what you need to know about ASM #18:
Doctor Octopus explains how he was able to transfer his consciousness into the gauntlet of his Superior Spider-Man costume during Spider-Verse. The technology became a “fully functional octobot” and then downloaded his consciousness into Living Brain.
Readers are informed how Otto dispatched with Ann Maria Marconi’s new boyfriend, Blain, after he was unable to download his consciousness into the man’s brain. In short, Otto was able to get headhunters in Australia to offer him a job “too good to pass up.” (Blain decided to not even talk to Peter Parker about the situation, apparently…)
Doc Ock, still secretly inside Living Brain, demands Anna “explain” when she says she would not date Otto if he were standing before her. She mentions the fact that he tried to kill six billion people. “I could never love someone like that. Ever,” she says while kissing the robot on its cheek.
Peter contacts Anna on his way to New York and tells her to “double” her efforts on figuring out the cloning process used by New U Technologies.
Otto devises a plan to have Anna fly back to New York because he believes Anna wants Ott’s mind in Peter’s body. When they land in New York she tells Peter that Living Brain has “been acting up a lot lately.”
Peter decides to work on Living Brain, aka Doc Ock, who demands Peter “explain” how Otto’s mind was erased from the real Spider-Man’s brain. Peter explains how Otto killed himself so that Peter could save Anna from the Green Goblin, at which point the downloaded consciousness of Otto from Spider-Verse goes ballistic. “Lies! Lies! Lies!” he says while smashing equipment.
Living Brain destroys himself as Spider-Man tries to shut him down, but not before Otto’s consciousness again returns to gauntlet from Spider-Verse. Peter and Anna both act as if they only faced a “Doc Ock revenge program from beyond the grave,” as opposed to the real deal (for some inexplicable reason).
Does that sound like a mouthful? If so, that’s because it is — there was a lot going on in ASM #18. To Mr. Slott’s credit, he organized his thoughts about as well as could be expected with the plot threads at hand.
As was said earlier, fans of SSM will enjoy this issue. There really isn’t too much to ding it on aside from the fact that once again people must act like morons to move the plot forward.
“Please, he won’t hurt me. He never would. Don’t ask me how I know. I just do. Trust me!” Anna says while trying to convince Peter to get closer to a rampaging Living Brain — but it might as well have been Dan Slott speaking to the readers.
Translation:“Don’t ask too many questions. I don’t. Trust me!”
And Dan is right: If you just want a “wacky” adventure and don’t have a desire to think too hard, then this issue is a fun read. Don’t ask why Anna and Peter give the equivalent of, “Huh. That was weird,” after Living Brain’s meltdown. Don’t ask questions about the nature of life and if humans have a soul, and don’t ask how Otto literally had Peter’s entire life beamed into his mind and didn’t change one bit.
Answer: No, because readers were given no reason to believe Otto had changed in the previous 29 issues. It just happened.
Regardless, as already mentioned, ASM #18 is worth buying for anyone who has been eager to see the series once again focus on Doctor Octopus. It is rather intriguing to think about a man who cannot have the woman he loves because he is trapped inside an “inferior” body, and the villain’s plans to resurrect himself are a good tie-in to Dead No More.
If you plan on buying Dead No More, then ASM #18 is worth picking up this weekend. If not, then you still might want to give it a read. The author seldom is capable of packing pathos, organized thought, enthusiasm, and action into a single issue of ASM, and it might be months before such a feat is witnessed again.
Imagine you are a superhero. You have tracked an international terrorist for months as he feverishly looked for an inter-dimensional field of pure “power” and “information.” In short, your suspect wanted to locate a “door into the future.” You catch up to him at the very moment he finds his target. Would you decide to push the terrorist into a quantum field of infinite possibility and lock the door, or would you try to pull him out?
Dan Slott’s Spider-Man chooses the former and says, “I bet you didn’t see THAT coming.”
Fans of The Amazing Spider-Man do not typically expect their hero to aid villains in their evil machinations, so it is true that most of them probably would not have anticipated such a move. Touché, Dan Slott. Touché, indeed.
Here is an easy experiment: Glance at your front door. If you were standing under the threshold and a man pushed you inside, locked it from the outside and exclaimed, “Well, we don’t need to worry about that guy anymore,” then how would you react?
My guess is that you would laugh at the man’s stupidity before opening the door and demanding your key back. In a worst-case scenario you would go out your garage, a back door, or possibly one of many windows.
The Amazing Spider-Man #11 is technically the culmination of many months of stories surrounding the Zodiac terrorist group, its mastermind Vernon Jacobs, and his plan to usher in the “age of Scorpio.” The issue was supposed to serve as this story’s climax, but in the end Peter Parker “saves” the world by kicking the can down the road — one year to be precise.
Note: Superheroes are not supposed to treat villains like the U.S. treats its $19 trillion debt and then declare victory. It doesn’t work that way. Regardless, here is the abridged version of how ASM #11 unfolds:
Nick Fury turns the International Space Station into a giant beacon for Morse code and sends Scorpio’s location to Spider-Man since most of earth’s satellites are inoperable.
Spider-Man, Anna Maria, and Living Brian (aka: Doctor Octopus), and Mockingbird arrive at Greenwich, London, to stop Scorpio but are quickly dispatched by a giant energy pulse from the Zodiac Key.
A doorway to the future is opened and Jacobs reveals that he is the grandson of the original Scorpio, Jacob Fury.
Spider-Man decides the best way to defeat Scorpio — as the portal telepathically gives him immense power and precognition — is to push him through and shout, “Take a closer look!”
Peter Parker tells Mockingbird he “smacked [Scorpio] into next year,” and she jokes that he did it so they have an excuse to spend more time together.
Anna Maria tells Peter that Mockingbird likes him, and then tries to make her “jealous” by clinging to his arm.
Doctor Octopus witnesses the “intolerable” act and vows to make his “superior return!”
Regular readers who are disappointed with how the Zodiac tale wrapped up should look at the bullet points above and notice an ongoing trend: Dan Slott, fittingly, often expends more care setting up future events than he does with the task at hand (i.e., telling a tight and compelling story in the here and now).
Just as Batman v Superman faltered because the writers spent too much time trying to set up a Justice League movie, Slott’s ASM regularly falls flat because he focuses too far into the future. No one except Mr. Slott and his good friends will care if 10,000 plot points over the course of ten years can be amusingly traced on a Saturday night if the stories connecting them are mediocre.
It is unfortunate, but once again ASM’s creative team over-promised and under-delivered. Giuseppe Camuncoli should take a bow for consistently stellar art, but he may want to ask to work on a title where his efforts are not a metaphorical life raft.
The International Space Station orbits the earth at over 17,000 miles per hour. Someone can correct me if I am wrong, but ASM appears to have been written like it is a fixed object in space. My guess is that Morse code would not have been a possibility for an object orbiting that fast at 155 miles above the earth.
The Amazing Spider-Man may be the first Marvel comic to actually acknowledge the existence of the Islamic State group. The first person who can confirm this one way or the other will win a “Doug Prize.”
Readers of The Amazing Spider-Man know that a recurring theme under writer Dan Slott’s watch has been Peter Parker’s Sudden Onset Idiocy (we’ll call it SOI), such as forgiving multiple women in his inner circle who allied with corporate saboteurs or terrorists groups to destroy his company. ASM #4 featured the time a child had to clue him in on how to stop a terrorist attack. Years from now, however, it appears at though ASM #10 will cited more often as the quintessential Slottian Spidey.
The latest issue of ASM takes place moments after the hero’s “nuke the fridge” moment — Spider-Man has fallen to earth like a meteor and survived. The terrorist leader Scorpio stands over Spider-Man ready to administer a death blow when his Gemini minions earn their deus ex machina badge. They tell Scorpio that he will miss “The Ascension” if he uses an extra second to blast through Frenchmen acting as a human shield for the hero.
Luckily for Peter, Anna Maria Marconi and Living Brain (i.e., Doctor Octopus) arrive in a flying car to help him locate the villain once he escapes. They eventually track him down to the Chunnel, where SOI rears its ugly head — Parker tries to spray his web-shooters forward on a train going 186 miles per hour and then somehow comes to the conclusion that Scorpio — who would be firing an energy weapon backwards — can’t get “a good shot either.”
Scorpio inexplicably decides to target Anna and Living Brain instead of Spider-Man, who can barely keep his footing on the fast-moving train and is rendered highly immobile. The terrorist escapes again.
With time running out before The Zodiac take control of the future, Peter needs to find clues as to where Scorpio might be. He’s stumped. SOI returns, but Doctor Octopus hidden within Living Brain jogs his memory regarding ways to track Scorpio’s movements.
“Brain. I’m an idiot. And YOU, are one smart robot!” Peter says for the intellectual assist.
The trio eventually wind up in the home of Vernon Jacobs, Parker Industries’ “biggest shareholder and investor.” After admitting that Jacobs (aka: terrorist Scorpio) was his “Secret Santa” for Christmas, Peter’s SOI kicks in and he asks Anna for help figuring out how Parker Industries’ technology was exploited.
Anna (who does not suffer from SOI) tells Peter to utilize his employees, calls them in for a hologram meeting, and harnesses their collective genius to quickly figure out what Scorpio has been up to for months.
The issue comes to a close with Scorpio appearing via a hologram and threatening to use his inside knowledge of Parker Industries to bring it all crashing down.
Spider-Man responds by saying Peter would still have “responsibility” if his company tanked, and that “losing it all” would be worth it if the end result were Scorpion’s defeat. Fans are asked to come back next month for a showdown that should have happened seven issues ago.
If readers are looking for a graphic analogy for ASM’s Zodiac story line, I will liken it to a bout of diarrhea I recently suffered while on vacation: It was funny at first for all the wrong reasons, annoying and embarrassing, repetitive, it went on for far too long, and in the end it was downright exhausting.
The stars are speaking, and this story needs to come to a close as soon as possible. Scorpio is a dud as a villain, which is always unfortunate, but he is now a failed foil who will have consumed at least eleven issues of ASM during its latest relaunch.
Do not buy this book unless you enjoy seeing Peter Parker repeatedly bailed out after outbreaks of Sudden Onset Idiocy.
Editor’s Note: Did anyone else find it odd that Peter Parker could run calculations in his head that would allow him to enter Earth’s atmosphere as a human meteor, but he doesn’t know how to convert kilometers to miles? There’s that SOI again…
Dan Slott has admitted in his Twitter feed that he isn’t a religious guy, but he and Christos Gage stuffed the latest issue of The Amazing Spider-Man with “plot-presents” like a Christmas stocking. But did Santa Slott give fans what they wanted? As usual, it’s a mixed bag.
In many ways ASM5 seems to be the “beginning of the end” issue for Parker Industries. Peter figures out a somewhat-convoluted plan hatched by the terrorist network Zodiac, which demands “all” of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s and Parker Industries’ surveillance assets be brought to bear on London. Before he and the other heroes are able to confront the group as it raids a museum, the young CEO realizes he has lost control of his company (Sajani announces that nanobots infiltrated the UK’s closed-circuit surveillance cameras), that he’s stretched himself too thin, and that being the head of a major company brings with it different responsibilities than being a superhero.
As usual, Giuseppe Camuncoli lifts the book up a few notches — his work is consistently gorgeous — but at the end of the day the payoff isn’t quite what it should be because of strange editorial decisions in the past.
For example, Sajani is pinned with the nanobot security breach and fired, even though she had nothing to do with it. Readers have no sympathy for her because the infraction she did commit not long ago was much worse: In Situation A she actively tried to make a deal with someone who was in the process of destroying the company and putting lives at risk; in Situation B — even if she were guilty — she would have been acting to save lives during a terror attack when every second counted.
Besides, if Peter were being intellectually honest, then he would admit that surveillance technology and tactics he and S.H.I.E.L.D. use under “normal” circumstances probably break countless local, state, federal and international laws.
In reality, the British government would not want to publicly rake Parker Industries over the coals for breaching its security apparatus because doing so would make the U.K. look inept. It would have been handled behind the scenes, and officials would have begged him to help identify their systems’ worst vulnerabilities.
The whole security debate brings readers to the book’s climax, where Spider-Man must act quickly to save the lives of Zodiac “pawns” before poison pills inside their bodies kill them all. The group’s mastermind, Scorpio, escapes. He does this despite extensive S.H.I.E.L.D. agents in the area, other superheroes on site, and Parker Industries’ access to the U.K.’s CCTV cameras. Readers are left thinking, “Ummm, okay.”
In short, ASM5 is probably a book to have for those who are already invested in the series. It has plenty of action, the plot is moved forward on many fronts, and Doctor Octopus’ plans as The Living Brain appear to be rolling along. Not everything in the ASM stocking will thrill fans, but there are still plenty of “presents” for them to enjoy.
Exit Question: Dan Slott’s big lump of coal inside ASM5
During the Zodiac’s attack on the British museum families run for cover (see top image). One cop lies on the ground in a puddle of blood, which seems to have leaked out his ears. Another officer has been slammed so hard against the concrete by Taurus that it cracked. Others are clearly under some kind of mind-control. And yet, for some odd reason, Dan Slott chose to insert a British cop drolly making an anti-American crack.
“Americans. Lovely,” he says as carnage breaks out around him. Would any policeman react that way in the midst of a deadly terror attack?
It’s just one more instance of Slott needlessly pandering to progressive readers. He shoehorns the sentiment into the issue to weirdly win political points, which annoys those just looking for a good story.
My coverage of the writer’s response to the San Bernardino, California, terror attack on Dec. 2 can be found here.
One of the common complaints about Marvel writer Dan Slott is that he fundamentally misunderstands the character Peter Parker. While there is plenty of evidence from his run on The Amazing Spider-Man to make such a case, I have found the best way to illustrate this is to simply quote the man.
An incredibly telling moment from Florida Supercon went under the radar roughly eight months ago. Mr. Slott said Dr. Octopus is actually better at appreciating real beauty than Peter Parker — and that Parker’s love for Mary Jane is “anti-Marvel.”
“Ann is beautiful. When you think of Peter Parker, I wanted to have this big change in the life of what makes Otto different from Peter. And when you read all the Otto Octavius stories of his background, of his growing up, of who he was — and even as Dock Ock — all the women he falls in love with, he sees them for who they are inside.
Look at Stunner. Look at all these, like, nerdy girls he was dating as Otto. I think that’s something Otto does something better than Peter. He sees people who are truly beautiful and loves them for that.
And you look at everyone Peter has fallen in love with, and every single one of them is superficially beautiful on the outside. And the reason for that is they’re all created by John Romita Sr., who drew everyone woman beautiful.
What guy wouldn’t fall for Gwen Stacy or Mary Jane? Or even if he falls in love with like a Deb Whitman, yeah, she’s the girl with glasses, but she’s the girl with glasses who can suddenly take off her glasses and whip out the hair.
Everyone Peter falls in love with is so classically beautiful, and to me that is anti-Marvel.
To me, the Marvel Universe is not about perfect people. To me the Marvel Universe — the thing that makes it so much better than any other superhero universe — is the Marvel Universe is the book about people with feet of clay.
When I read DC Comics, my favorite DC characters that I love the most are the most f***ed-up ones.
In Dan Slott’s world, there is something unacceptable with Peter Parker falling in love with a beautiful woman — but it’s perfectly okay if he falls into lust with Silk (Cindy Moon), due to Slott-created spider-pheromones.
Why is Anna Maria Marconi considered “truly” beautiful by Dan Slott, but Mary Jane is not? It has been established that MJ’s beauty is not just skin-deep, so what is the problem?
Only if Peter Parker was a shallow man who married an equally-shallow party-girl would there be an issue — but that is not the case.
Here is Mr. Slott’s problem with Peter Parker:
When I read DC Comics, my favorite DC characters that I love the most are the most f***ed-up ones.
Peter Parker is a well-adjusted character, despite all of his trials and tribulations. He has guilt issues due to Uncle Ben’s and Gwen Stacy’s death, but in general he has always handled the challenges life throws at him with grace and dignity. He is not “f***ed-up,” which Mr. Slott indicates is a prerequisite for becoming one of his favorites. As a result, he must make up weird personality deficits for Peter Parker like Doctor Octopus being better at appreciating “true” beauty.
Dan Slott’s Peter Parker is now “very close” to Lian Tang. Is she not beautiful? Or is Peter just falling in lust again with a new Asian flavor-of-the-month?
Is it “anti-Marvel” for the character to fall in love with Gwen Stacy and MJ, but Marvel-certified to fall in lust with women of Japanese and Chinese heritage? We thought we were getting diversity, but perhaps we’re just getting the objectification of Asian women… Sad.
If you feel like Mr. Slott does not understand Peter Parker, then I suggest watching the Dan Slott Q&A Spotlight from Florida Supercon. The whole thing runs for an hour, but it will take less than five minutes to understand why The Amazing Spider-Man has been creatively spotty for years.
Dan Slott is playing the old “I was taken out of context” card. Classic. Ask yourself how he is taken out of context. He isn’t. Should I have transcribed the entire hour’s worth of dialogue — in addition to posting and linking to the YouTube video?
Mr. Slott’s definition of “out of context” is, “Someone accurately highlighted my words and now I look bad.”
The frustration of being in the public eye (even in a small pond) is everything you do or say gets scrutinized, pulled out of context, and twisted by those with an agenda. Oy.
In a video from a convention in January I talked about two or three different characters from the Spider-Man supporting cast being designed/drawn as being “superficially beautiful on the outside”. That was talking about the characters’ external appearance ONLY — and NOT about them being superficial on the inside as well.
Thanks for reading, Dan. If by “agenda” you mean, “honoring Peter Parker’s integrity,” then guilty as charged. Even if you were only talking about external features, what proof is there that Peter Parker could not appreciate Anna’s beauty?
Issue No. 3 of The Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows is out, and fans get another dose of Peter Parker doing anything to protect his family. Writer Dan Slott’s “No one dies” philosophy for Mr. Parker has been replaced with “No one dies — unless you threaten my wife and kid,” which gives readers plenty to talk about. Just like issue number two, the writer does a decent job exploring the Parker family’s attempt to survive in an Orwellian nightmare. It’s a shame that its lame main villain, Regent, continues to drag down the quality of the tale. There is something incredibly satisfying about seeing a part of the enforcement arm (no pun intended) of a totalitarian police state getting ripped to shreds by a true hero. Unfortunately, the reaction by characters like Doctor Octopus to Spider-Man’s no-joking demeanor — only moments after telling the hero that he and his family would die a gruesome death — comes across as too comical.
If a man’s stock-in-trade is to hunt down and murder entire families, then he can’t be surprised when the head of the household — yes, even Spider-Man — counters deadly force with commensurate power.
Would it be logical for Doctor Octopus to be taken aback by Spider-Man’s sudden willingness to use deadly force? In a world where state-run televisions turn off and on like something out of George Orwell’s “1984,” no. In a world where superheroes (and their children) are summarily hunted down and executed, no. In a world where Spider-Man lived after the entire Avengers team, Professor X, and The Hulk fell to Regent with seemingly little effort, no. Regardless, in this instance Dan Slott can be forgiven if his handling of Doc Ock’s response to “dark” Peter was a bit clumsy.
For those who didn’t get the message earlier in the book, Mr. Slott hammers it home in the final pages when Spider-Man webs an activated pumpkin bomb to Hobgoblin’s hand. “BWHOO” translated into writer-speak for this issue of Renew Your Vows is “If you mess with Peter Parker’s family, then there is a good chance that you will die.”
It is unfortunate that Regent is such a generic villain. Readers are left in a weird state of cognitive dissonance because on one hand the character is tied to a story that shows Peter and MJ at their best, but on the other he is a creative millstone around the neck of writer Dan Slott.
If Regent is another man’s creation that Mr. Slott has been forced to use, then I feel bad for him. If Regent is Dan Slott’s creation, then he shouldn’t complain when digital tomatoes are thrown his way for months to come.
In short, Renew Your Vows continues to be a story worth reading if you are a fan of Peter Parker. It has its flaws, but it’s better than 95 percent of what Dan Slott churned out for the entire relaunch of The Amazing Spider-Man in 2014.
Part 5 of Spider-Verse is out, and Dan Slott has reminded Peter Parker fans once again just how much he must truly despise the character.
Only in a Spider-Man comic written by Dan Slott will you see Peter Parker intellectually flail about as he attempts to inspire an alternate universe Uncle Ben into battle. Only in a Spider-Man comic written by Dan Slott will Uncle Ben receive the shot in the arm he needs to realize greatness — from Doctor Octopus. And only in a Spider-Man comic written by Dan Slott will his feckless Peter Parker then have the temerity to say “I’m running the show.”
Long story short, thanks to Dan Slott’s deus ex machina from Spider-Verse Part 4 (i.e., Master Weaver’s scrolls) and the sheer coincidence that a member of the team can read spider-totem hieroglyphics (Anya Corazon says it’s a “long story” — probably the kind that you can find out if you shell out another $4.00 for one of the ancillary books), the stage is set for everyone to head to Loomworld for a final showdown with The Inheritors. The entire cast is ready to go except Uncle Spider-Ben, who gave up the webs when “The Emerald Elf” killed his wife and nephew.
Peter’s response is to plead with Ben to put the suit on “one more time” — and he is rejected. Uncle Ben says, “No. A man with great power is still just a man. And men…men have feet of clay. They make mistakes. Great mistakes at great costs. I…I can’t fail again.”
Otto then steps up to the plate, and his response is to call Ben out for acting, ironically, like a mealy-mouthed Peter Parker written by Dan Slott.
“You’re pathetic, old man! … You’re afraid to fail again? Tough! I’ve lost more times than I’ve ever won, and every damn time I got back up. That’s all that matters! When victory is easy, it’s cheap. Every fight that’s ever been worth fighting has been against adversity! Against a so-called ‘unbeatable foe!’ But there is no such thing! Every enemy has a weakness! You just have to find it! Once! You just have to win one time! Say it!”
Ben is moved, agrees to say “One time,” and before long he is ready and willing to fight. Inexplicably, he thanks both Otto and Peter for the help, even though it was clearly Otto who roused him from his cowardly stupor.
Peter’s response to Doctor Octopus’ speech: “I don’t believe it.”
Fans of Peter Parker don’t believe it, either. That’s because any other writer of The Amazing Spider-Man would not have allowed Doctor Octopus to steal Peter Parker’s one chance to inspire Uncle Ben — even an alternate universe version of the man — to greatness.
Even worse, the whole ordeal only reminds fans that Doctor Octopus is performing an inverse-Winston Churchill; Doc Ock’s many failures weren’t rooted in a desire to save humanity, but to commit world-wide genocide on levels that surpassed “Pol Pot, Hitler, and Genghis Khan combined.”
Yes, Doctor Octopus failed many times — at killing Peter Parker for good. Unfortunately, writers like Dan Slott are doing more damage to Peter Parker than any super villain ever could.
At this point, if you’re a Peter Parker fan, you can only sit back and wonder what Dan Slott’s coup de grace will be in terms of castrating your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man in his own book.