Dan Slott exposed by Tom Brevoort in ‘Marvel 616’ episode: ‘We use the term ‘work’ loosely when it comes to Dan’

Regular readers of this blog know that for years I have said Marvel’s Dan Slott is more of an “idea man” than a writer’s writer. I’ve said that he spends far too much time ranting and raving on social media — or opining on plans that aren’t scheduled to take place for another 100 issues — instead of buckling down and focusing on what needs to be done in the here and now.

Regular readers also know that Mr. Slott has not taken kindly to my critiques of his writing and unprofessional behavior.

Imagine my surprise, then, when Disney+ decided to do a 44-minute Marvel 616 special on Mr. Slott titled “The Marvel Method,” which confirms everything yours truly said about the man’s work ethic over the past decade.

Tom Brevoort, Senior Vice President & Executive Editor for Marvel Comics (who blocked me on Twitter long ago after I asked if it was appropriate for Mr. Slott to tell Christians to move to “Christ-Land”), discusses the problem roughly five minutes into the episode.

An exchange with the writer goes as follows:

Dan Slott: “We’ve been planning this for ages. We’ve been seeding this for a very long time.”

Tom Brevoort: “So I know you’ve got a lot of ideas and very little actually put together. And you need more time to get it done.”

Dan Slott: “I think I could make it better.”

Tom Brevoort: “We use the term ‘work’ loosely when it comes to Dan. Dan’s terrible with his deadlines. You’ll be the famous writer of Iron Man 2022. I’ve worked with Dan for a quarter of a century. And fortunately, he’s good enough at this that those strengths help to counterbalance the fact that he is his own worst enemy when it comes to being able to produce things on the schedule that they need to be done.”

The crux of the episode is that Mr. Slott is the last of a dying breed at Marvel — writers who send a general plot to artists and then fill in the dialogue after seeing the artist’s interpretation of said plot.

Mr. Brevoort’s problem with Dan is that writer’s block, time spent on social media, and other factors habitually cause scheduling headaches and require extra help (e.g., Christos Gage) to get books completed in a timely manner.

“Chris Gage is half of my brain,” Mr. Slott says at one point. “I love plotting stories, but Chris likes scripting. If deadlines are crunching, Chris is gonna get me across.”

Why would deadlines be “crunching” on Mr. Slott? The answer, covered here for years, is because the man has spent inordinate amounts of time going on political rants against [insert Republican politician or policy here].

The lack of self-awareness on Mr. Slott’s part reaches stunning levels when he talks about readers who “lost their minds” over a storyline in 2012 because social media offers “an instantaneous way for you to be mad about anything.”

The writer says:

“One of the things that we have now today, which kinda hurts, is social media. Back in December of 2012, I killed Peter Parker. I was the guy who killed Spider-Man. When that story came out, fans lost their minds. It got scary fast. Social media went insane. That’s what social media is now. It’s an instantaneous way for you to be mad about anything.” — Dan Slott, Disney+, “The Marvel Method,” 2020.

What Mr. Slott doesn’t mention is that Marvel used outrage marketing to sell the books while its writers and editors simultaneously complained about readers who honored their request for anger.

“Dan is behind where I need him to be on his various assignments,” Mr. Brevoort continues as the printing clock for the first issue of Iron Man 2020 closes in. “I can’t really start on issue 2 until issue 1 is solid enough. I needed another writer to do the dialoguing on the book. So we made the choice to bring Christos Gage in.”

The episode rightly notes that using The Marvel Method in many ways makes the artist a de-facto ghost writer, but it fails to stress how strange it is that Mr. Slott, for all intents and purposes, becomes a book’s “Head Plotter” when someone like Mr. Gage is asked to do the heavy lifting on dialogue.

Letterer Joe Caramagna sums up what happens when a book essentially has three writers instead of one:

“Because Dan works in The Marvel Method, I’m usually waiting longer than I am from everyone else. If I have no script, I’m just looking at art and there’s nothing I can do. By the time I get the script from Dan, it’s usually about two days before the book has to go to press. I’m always sending a text or e-mailing, begging and pleading, ‘Someone please send me some script.’ … If my deadline is 6:30 p.m. to deliver a book to the printer, I could still be getting notes at 6:15. Like, that’s how close we cut it.” — Joe Caramagna, Disney+, “The Marvel Method,” 2020.

The question at the heart of the episode seems to be: “Is it worth it? Should ‘The Marvel Method’ go extinct with the eventual departure of Dan Slott?'”

Mr. Brevoort and everyone involved put a happy face on the collaborative efforts. They try their best to act as if the flavor of Slott’s creative sauce is worth the delays and frustration, but it clearly is a sore subject.

The Marvel Method makes it clear that industry icons like Stan Lee, Steve Ditko, and Jack Kirby were statistical outliers who in many ways acted out of necessity. Few people could walk the tightrope of chaos demanded by the process, and writers in 2020 who are obsessed with politics on social media should embrace a more structured working environment.

Anyone who wants some definitive reasons as to why modern Marvel Comics has gone off the rails over the past decade should watch The Marvel 616 Disney+ episode on “The Marvel Method.” It is extremely telling when an executive editor chuckles and laughs at the consequences of running a “good old boy” network: activist-writers emerge who know they can goof off on social media for days on end because the boss will always bring in an extra person to get the job done.

I don’t expect Mr. Brevoort to unblock your friendly neighborhood blogger anytime soon and apologize for acting as if my observations about Mr. Slott’s unprofessional procrastination were unfounded, but I do appreciate Disney+ vindicating my message. Check it out if you get a chance.

Joe Quesada exploits Wahlbergian ‘Fear’ clones in blind hatred of Comicsgate

Joe Quesada Fear Screenshot

It was only a few short years ago — 2015 to be exact — that your friendly neighborhood blogger tried to warn Marvel’s Joe Quesada that seeds of unprofessionalism planted at the company were going to bear bad fruit. He liked to play dumb when readers confronted him on the partisan bile spewed by Dan Slott, Mark Waid, and others within the industry, and in time my predictions came to pass.

Fact: Alienated but social-media savvy readers connected in 2017 on YouTube after years of sounding the alarm bells in small pockets across the internet. Our collective efforts to discuss the need for professionalism, strong storytelling, and honest journalism became known as Comicsgate.

Cut to Mr. Quesada, the company’s chief creative officer. He’s flummoxed. He’s angry. He doesn’t know what to do because guys like Richard C. Meyer, aka Diversity & Comics, have over 90,000 subscribers who are regularly learning just how corrupt the comics industry has become.

What does Mr. Quesada do in response to the new status quo, you ask? Does he admit to dropping the ball in 2015 when he was warned of the coming backlash?

Answer: Of course not. Instead, he looks for the most unstable people on Twitter and tries to exploit their condition. He cozies up to anonymous individuals who spend all day (and many nights) obsessing over Comicsgate and ways to destroy the personal and professional reputations of those associated with it.

In short, Mr. Quesada has tried to weaponize troubled individuals — those who come across like Mark Wahlberg’s character in the 1996 movie ‘Fear’ — against the industry’s critics in an embarrassing display of “ends justify the means” vindictiveness. He literally follows and interacts with what amounts to full-time Twitter trolls because he has no answers for guys like myself, Just Some Guy, That Umbrella Guy, artist Ethan Van Sciver and others.

Yes, telling the truth is always an option, but Mr. Quesada decided at some point in time that honesty and transparency regarding the industry’s problems was off the table.

Joe Quesada dunk

What Mr. Quesada fails to realize is that it’s no longer 2015. A tipping point was reached with the creation of Comicsgate, and for every underhanded and unprofessional move he (and his ideologue peers) make, tens-of-thousands of people soon hear about it.

Joe Quesada hypocrite

Those alienated customers talk. They tell one, two, three, four or more friends about what’s going on. There is a cascading effect — and not in a positive way for Marvel Comics.

That, dear reader, is why more and more people every month are speaking out about the industry.

YouTube, Twitter and other social media platforms have freed consumers from shill websites with Orwellian moderators.

Consumers are better organized, better informed, and unafraid to shine giant spotlights on the immature behavior of men like Mr. Quesada.

Joe Quesada taken to task

There is much more to say, but for a better picture of what’s going on I invite you to watch my latest YouTube video: Joe Quesada exploits Wahlbergian ‘Fear’ clones in blind hatred of Comicsgate.

As always, make sure to hit the “like” and “subscribe” buttons if the format is up your alley.

Also, let me know what you think of Mr. Quesada’s behavior in the comments section below.

Amazing Spider-Man and the craft of writing: A YouTube hangout with Mike McNulty (Stillanerd)

It’s been years in the making, but the stars have finally aligned for your friendly neighborhood blogger and Mike McNulty (Stillanerd) to team up for a discussion on comic books.  If you’ve enjoyed Mike’s reviews over the years — both at Spider-Man Crawlspace and now with Whatever a Spider Can — then you’ll want to check out this YouTube chat. It’s one hour of the two of us talking about craft or writing, The Amazing Spider-Man, and a few other topics of interest to those who tuned in during the live stream.

Mike, as always, was the consummate professional. I hope to have him back again for another YouTube hangout sooner rather than later.

Spider-Man PS4: Insomniac’s Bryan Intihar gets Peter Parker better than ASM team

SpiderMan PS4

Spider-Man video games have a dubious track record. Your friendly neighborhood blogger doesn’t play many video games these days, but over the years I have made time for the web slinger’s adventures. Playstation 4 will soon bring fans a new installment, courtesy of Insomniac Games. The trailer was released at Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles, California, and it looks awesome.

More impressive, however, was the way Insomniac’s Bryan Intihar — the title’s creative director — presented himself during an interview with Sony Interactive America Entertainment’s Sid Shuman on June 13. The guy’s enthusiasm and excitement for Peter Parker bursts out of him at 100 mph, but in a professional way. He is smart. He is articulate. Most importantly, he demonstrates a level of reverence for the character that has been missing within the comics division for years.

Mr. Intihar said:

“We understand how important this character is to a lot of people. It’s important to us. Everybody at Insomniac at least want to do it justice. That’s the thing: We just want to make sure that people walk away unbelievably happy, and this is kind of the first taste of that journey that we’re going on.”

Insomniac’s Bryan Intihar, unlike the guys running Marvel’s comics division, had no desire to use anger to drive sales (e.g., Superior Spider-Man; Nick Spencer’s Hyrda-Captain America).

Dan Slott Twitter Scheherazade

Superior Spider-Man 9 promo
Dan Slott and Marvel decided they would fuel sales by tapping into fan anger, which is rather sad.

On Team ASM, the job isn’t to make readers happy. They instead use anger to drives sales while treating Peter Parker like a “meat puppet.”  Let that sink in for awhile.

Mr. Intihar continued:

“For me it’s about respecting the traditions of the franchise, but mixing things up. It’s that blending… I mean, honestly, that the thing that I’ve been so surprised with, but also so excited that […] we have a lot of freedom. […] We ask the question ‘Why?’ a lot.  ‘Well, why are we doing this? How does it tie into the universe? How does that tie into our main character? What’s the ramifications?’ Like, cause and effect. We’re always talking about that because we want everything to be buttoned up. We talk a lot bout being cohesive, everything being a cohesive package. I feel like that’s what makes a great video game — a great story. […] We talk a lot about Peter Parker. For us, Peter is as integral as Spider-Man. We talk a lot about telling the story of the man behind the mask. For us, Peter is as important as the Spider-Man character.

Ask yourself the following questions:

The answer to most, if not all, of those questions is likely “No.” Meanwhile, Mr. Intihar talks about respecting Peter Parker with a look in his eyes like he’s five years old again on Christmas morning — and he just got a puppy.

Bryan Intihar

The guys at Insomniac were even kind enough to throw in Mr. Slott’s admittedly cool villain, Mr. Negative, given that his goons show up in the trailer.

SpiderMan PS4 trailer

The only thing that fans may have an issue with at this point is the new costume and its giant white spider. When I first saw it I said, “What the heck is this?” and then the more I thought about it the more I liked it.

Besides Captain America, Spider-Man is a character whose essence screams “I’m an American.”

  • He is the “ordinary” man who regularly shows the world that there is something extraordinary in all of us.
  • He is fiercely independent. He can work on a team, but working alone allows his unique abilities and knack for improvisation to shine.
  • He can be annoying, but all that wise-guy talk is just his way of hiding real fears. Underneath the mask, it’s obvious that he is a good and decent man who believes “with great power comes great responsibility.”

One can go on and on, but the point is this: This is a superhero who deserves to wear red, white, and blue.

The white spider, in its own weird way, also looks a bit like a star. It’s a very “spidery” star, but still a good fit for America’s favorite wall-crawler.

I seldom make predictions on this blog, but I will do so now in light of the performance by Insomniac Games’ Bryan Intihar: Spider-Man for PS4 is going to blow fans away.

Perhaps it will even prompt Peter Parker fans to ask Marvel why so many of its writers shun Mr. Intihar’s “we just want to make sure that people walk away unbelievably happy” approach.

Editor’s Note: Our good friend Stillanerd did not like the white spider on the new suit. Yes, it’s true, even Stillanerd can be wrong on occasion. (Zing!) But seriously, what are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments section below. 

Kudos to Mr. Intihar for a top-notch interview.

Dan Slott’s Spider-Meteor: Peter Parker ‘Nukes the Fridge’

ArachnoRocket ASM

Your friendly neighborhood blogger correctly predicted months ago that Dan Slott was on a stupid-trajectory to write”Spider-Rockets” into The Amazing Spider-Man. “Arachno-Rockets” are officially part of Spider-Man history with the ninth issue of ASM. Sadly, it also includes Peter Parker’s “Nuke the Fridge” moment, which anyone remotely familiar with Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull will understand.

Here is the set-up: Peter Parker and S.H.I.E.L.D. are desperately looking for an international terrorist organization known as Zodiac, more specifically its leader Scorpio. The group hijacked all of S.H.I.E.L.D.S. satellites to locate an artifact known as The Orrery. Peter thinks he can manually take back control of the satellites and use them to pick up the energy signature of the artifact, a plan that coincidentally eluded Zodiac’s soothsayers because he came up with the idea exactly “one second after midnight.” (Seriously.)

The issue begins with Spider-Man giving Nick Fury a spacesuit he happened to have on hand (it also makes digital logos “on the fly”), and the two literally take off from a launching dock connected to Parker Industries. After successfully locating The Orrey and fending off satellites doubling as battering rams (the “Arachno-Rocket” was destroyed in the process) Spider-Man tells Fury to “space walk” to the international space station while he turns himself into a human meteor and heads for Paris, France.

ASM web foam

It is hard not to read ASM #9 and wonder if Marvel has instructed Dan Slott to destroy all of Peter Parker’s credibility at any cost. Besides the jaw-dropping recklessness of turning himself into a meteor over Paris — without knowing if his plan would even work, where he would land, or how populated the area might be — one then needs to deal with the absurdity of “Spider-Suit Emergency Beacons, Spider-Back Spinnerets, and Emergency Web-Foam.

ASM Spider-Meteor

One must assume that it is only by the grace of God that Spider-Man only destroyed multiple vehicles (hopefully no-one was inside), instead of the nearby crowd of stunned citizens.

Spider-Man eventually pulls himself out of the wreckage like Indiana Jones from a refrigerator after a nuclear test, and the terrorist Scorpio appears. The villain says there is no way the Spider-Man will “make it to tomorrow,” but readers know that in many ways their hero is already dead.

Indiana Jones refrigerator

It is an absolute shame that the quality of Brian Michael Bendis’ “Spider-Man” towers over The Amazing Spider-Man. There is certainly room in the Marvel universe for fans of both Miles Morales and Peter Parker, but there is no excuse for allowing Dan Slott to “Nuke the Fridge” in the pages of ASM. At this point Nick Lowe is only nominally ASM’s editor because it appears there is little, if any, push-back against Dan Slott’s worst ideas.

The ninth issue of The Amazing Spider-Man should have been renamed The Atrocious Spider-Man. Do not buy it unless you plan on using it for toilet paper.

Molina’s Amazing Spider-Atheist makes mockery of Peter Parker’s history

ASM Uncle Ben

Writer Jose Molina’s take on The Amazing Spider-Man is like beef stew, if all the carrots, potatoes, and onions were fresh and well-prepared, while the star of the show — the beef — were rotten. Issue 1.3 of Amazing Grace features The Amazing Spider-Atheist, which makes zero sense given the character’s history. Worse, he is not a tactful skeptic, but a condescending jerk.

For those who are not up to speed, Peter Parker: the Spectacular Atheist is investigating the death and resurrection of a man named Jose Rodriguez. While a mystical group of heroes called the Santerians attempt to get DNA samples from Rodriguez, Peter goes down to Cuba to find out what happened when the terminally ill man was there.

What makes Amazing Grace doubly disappointing is that scenes deserving of kudos for their ambition are spoiled by Molina’s betrayal of the character. Conversations happen with the spirit of Uncle Ben and Beast that intellectually tower over anything Dan Slott has dished out in years, but yet the scenes fall flat because a worldview that Peter Parker has never held has been shoved into his word balloons.

ASM Beast SpiderMan

Mike McNulty over at Whatever a Spider Can described the situation perfectly in his review of the issue:

Spider-Man lives a universe (albeit a comic book one) where real magic, gods, ghosts and demons do exist. He’s talked with Uncle Ben’s ghost before, courtesy of Doctor Strange, in Amazing Spider-Man #500. He’s knows people who have come back from the dead, himself included. He’s teamed-up with the likes of Ghost Rider and Thor, the later whom Beast even mentions in his theological debate with Spider-Man. He even had a lengthy conversation with God Himself in Sensational Spider-Man #40. And don’t even get me started again on his run-ins with Mephisto, who is the Marvel Universe’s version of the devil. Spider-Man has always been a scientific rationalist and his own religious upbringing is rather generic if not ambiguous; but the notion he would reject any supernatural explanation, or that he’d be so dismissive of those who subscribe to religion, faith or mysticism, is outright laughable and disingenuous given the character’s own history.

Boom. McNulty rightly drops a Truth Bomb on Molina’s head, and potential customers are better off for it.

Marvel has an enormous problem when it comes to Spider-Man. In the ongoing ASM series, Dan Slott has turned the character into Peter Parker-Wayne-Stark-Zuckerberg-Jobs-Musk. Now, with the “point” issues, readers are also subjected to a writer who dismisses core components of the character to suit his storytelling desires. There is almost zero fidelity to the “soul” of the character (no pun intended). The writers seem to treat ASM like the family van, with themselves in the role of the angry parents shuttling everyone on a vacation.

Slott or Molina: “I’m in charge, kids! We go where I want to go. Don’t make me turn this van around!”

Meanwhile, the passengers are wondering why their driver wants to take the van off a cliff.

If Peter Parker had always been a hard-charging skeptic, then none of this would be an issue. He has never been weirdly preachy or begged his friends to read the Bible, but it is abundantly clear that he has a quiet spirituality to him. To blatantly dismiss that fact and have him sneer at men of faith is an insult to anyone who cares about continuity.

Do not buy this book unless you want to watch a car crash play out for the next couple of months.

 

 

Embarrassing ‘Spider-Rockets’ predicted by Douglas Ernst in October, Dan Slott ahead of schedule

Spider Rocket

The Amazing Spider-Man #9 does not come out until March 9, but regular readers of this blog will be happy (or is that sad?) to know that epic levels of stupidity that were predicted by yours truly in October 2015 are included in the issue. Dan Slott’s “Spider-Rockets” will finally arrive, as revealed in Marvel’s “free previews” handout. Spider-Man is eventually seen crashing and burning into earth’s atmosphere like a piece of space junk, and at this point it is hard not to apply the analogy to the actual product.

As I wrote for my review of ASM #2 on Oct. 21, 2015:

“At this point it doesn’t seem far-fetched to predict Dan Slott turning him into Marvel’s Elon Musk. Instead of Space-X, perhaps Peter Parker will launch “Spider-X.” If readers criticize the “Spider-Rockets” that are introduced in ASM #25, then they will be mocked and ridiculed by those who “know better” (i.e., Marvel’s writers and editors).”

It turns out writer Dan Slott is 16 issues ahead of schedule. Unfortunately, that is a bad thing.

ernst blog ASM review

Question for fans of The Amazing Spider-Man: What does it say about a book where a blogger can come up with an absurd prediction to highlight the book’s decline, and then have it come true in less than six months?

Stay tuned to douglasernstblog for a review of ASM #9. The stars are aligning for a review that has been five months in the making.

ASM 9

Dan Slott’s Spider-Man: Bailed out by kid after ignorance risked lives

ASM4 Goblins

Years ago this blog mentioned that some comic book superheroes are meant for war zones, and some are meant for city streets. Dan Slott’s writing proved that observation yet again in the fourth issue of The Amazing Spider-Man. 

ASM4 aircraft

Imagine you’re in a crowd of people when bombs start falling all around you. Terrorists with high-powered rifles and explosives fly through the air on military-grade gliders. A friendly aircraft swoops in and you think you’re saved, but it turns out the “hero” only armed it with web shooters that must be fired perfectly at multiple targets to stop the carnage.

Predictably, the “hero” is shot down, but by the grace of God the aircraft does not careen into the crowd of people he was supposed to be saving.

That, my friends, is Dan Slott’s Spider-Man.

ASM4 crash

Now imagine that said “hero” pulls himself from the twisted wreckage of his multi-million-dollar airborne web-shooter to return to the fight. Outnumbered and armed only with his wits, his response is to ask if his bloated bank account might convince them to “switch sides” (Spider-Justice does not require them to be held liable for dropping bombs on innocent civilians moments earlier.)

When that doesn’t work, the hero is stumped. Luckily, a small child from a third-world country happens to be on hand to indirectly suggest he use surrounding technology (his own, no less) to create an electromagnetic device.

That, my friends, is Dan Slott’s Spider-Man.

ASM4 SpiderMan

The Amazing Spider-Man #4 is a great read …if you enjoy seeing a hero escape a daunting situation created solely because of his own ignorance.

The Amazing Spider-Man #4 is a great read … if you enjoy the hero written as less quick-witted than usual so that a more socially conscious message can take center stage: There are really smart children in third-world countries who could thrive if only we could find a way to give them “free” access to western technology.

ASM4 kids

To recap:

  • A quixotic superhero needlessly risks the lives of the people he is supposed to save.
  • The superhero attempts to pay off terrorists because he believes he can out-bid their current employer.
  • A child tells the superhero the best course of action for saving the day.

Readers who have been following the story know that this comes as S.H.I.E.L.D. was planning to mount a world-wide assault on a terrorist network known as Zodiac. Peter, who was supposed to take part in the mission, bails when he realizes Aunt May and her fellow volunteers in the nation of Nadua are under attack at a charity event.

Who was behind the terror attack in Nadua? What consequences will there be for Peter Parker due to neglecting his commitments to S.H.I.E.L.D? Find out in two weeks if Dan Slott’s Spider-Man doesn’t get himself and those under his watch all killed.

Invincible Iron Man #3: Stark shows growth, but so does mystery around Madame Masque, Doom

Iron Man Madam Masque

Regular readers of this blog know that I have been following the relaunches of Invincible Iron Man and The Amazing Spider-Man. Since one features Tony Stark and the other features “Tony Stark light,” it is interesting to see how each writer handles his respective superhero. One thing readers will get from writer Brian Michael Bendis’ Tony Stark that they will not from Dan Slott’s Peter Parker is a clear understanding of the character’s inner being.

Take Stark’s conversation with his new love interest, Amara Perera, for instance:

Perera: Don’t you have superhero friends that you can commiserate with when things like this happen?

Stark: In my line of work…there’s always somebody with a much worse story. ‘Oh, man. I almost died tonight.’ ‘Yeah? I was almost eaten by Galactus.’ ‘Oh Yeah? I died and was resurrected as my own child.”

Perera: And you found yourself thinking about me?

Stark: I might not actually have a lot of friends.

Perera: You do.

Stark: I know a lot of people. But…people don’t want to hear me talk about any of my problems because, well —

Perera: You’re rich.

Stark: I can see their eyes glaze over. I can hear the ‘Aw, poor baby.’ Like my problems aren’t problems.

Perera: Money can’t buy happiness? That is disappointing to hear.

Stark: Sorry to be the one to break it to you.

Perera: Maybe you don’t know a lot of people that challenge you intellectually.

Stark: A few. But they are very, I want to say…

Perera: Cocky?

Stark: Insane.

Bendis’ Stark is a character who has psychological meat on him. Slott’s Peter Parker literally died and was resurrected, yet he treats the experience like a bad trip to the dentist.

Bendis’ Stark is surrounded people, but lonely. He is rich, but not happy. He wants to become a better person (as demonstrated in another conversation later in the book), but he never can find the right mentor to help him begin the journey.

Anyone can fill a comic book with fights and gadgets and zingy one-liners, but none of that matters if the characters are one dimensional. Bendis’ heroes and villains have depth and breadth. They have gravitas, which makes the magic and the mystery and the fight scenes exponentially more satisfying than anything you will find in The Amazing Spider-Man #3.

Iron Man Doctor Strange

For those who are not up to speed, the story breaks down as follows:

  • Madam Masque is on a mission to collect rare magical artifacts that have essentially slipped through “dimensional cracks” and found their way to earth. Tony does not know why she is doing this, since it does not fit her psychological profile.
  • Doctor Doom wants to help Tony on his mission, but won’t explain why.
  • Tony wants to become the kind of man who “deserves” to be with famous biochemical engineer Amara Perera.

Invincible Iron Man3

It is comforting to read a mystery where the writer methodically lays out a bread trail for readers to follow. Each crumb Bendis places before his audience is there for a specific reason. Whereas Dan Slott lets his imagination toss him around like young bull rider, Bendis controls his imagination like a seasoned rancher overseeing the herd.

If you get a chance, then check out Invincible Iron Man. It’s shaping up to be one of the few books worth a $4.00 cover price.