Amazing Spider-Man #2: Dan Slott’s Peter Parker jumps the ‘holographic whale’

ASM2 Zodiac

Older readers will remember the episode of “Happy Days” where Fonzi “jumped the shark” in his famous leather jacket while waterskiing. Years from now, perhaps some fans of The Amazing Spider-Man will trace back Peter Parker’s character derailment to the time he started using “holographic whales” on missions to take on global terrorist organizations.

ASM2 whale

The current relaunch of ASM will likely be as divisive for Spider-Man fans as other aspects of writer Dan Slott’s extended run because, as mentioned before, the character is being used as some sort of James Bond/Bruce Wayne/Tony Stark/Steve Jobs/Peter Parker chimera.

Is it fun to see Spider-Man and The Prowler sneaking around one of The Zodiac’s underwater bases? Yes. Of course. The inner child of any man loves the thought of taking a submarine into the depths of the ocean, finding an evil terrorist organization’s base, and then infiltrating it to save the free world.

The problem in this instance, however, isn’t the dilemma Parker must overcome but changes made to the character to propel him there. Last issue it was revealed that Peter Parker became fluent in Mandarin and mastered secret-agent driving skills within months — as CEO of a rapidly-expanding tech company. Now he is employing holographic whales while selling spider-tracer technology in the global marketplace.

At what point in time do fans of The Amazing Spider-Man say the integrity of the character has been compromised?

At what point has the character been taken so far from his roots that he ceases to be the same man?

At what point does the treatment of Peter Parker, like his holographic whales, become an illusion that hides what is right and what is true?

With that said, the issue did have its strengths — most notably Parker’s reflection upon the time he was forced to leave Silver Sable to (seemingly) die at the hands of Rhino in order to save the world. I have always said that placing heroes in such difficult situations provides opportunities for character development. The “No one dies!” era of ASM was an embarrassment for the book, but it appears as though Mr. Slott was able to turn a few lemons into lemonade. Kudos.

ASM2 Rino

As is the case with the last issue, the decision to buy or pass on this book all depends on your fidelity to the character of Peter Parker.

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).

The Amazing Spider-Man re-launches (again): Dan Slott’s Peter Parker is sweet and really sour in Shanghai

Lian Tang SpiderMan

The Amazing Spider-Man has relaunched yet again, and this time around Peter Parker is a CEO of his own worldwide company. He apparently took driving lessons to handle a car like a young Mario Andretti. He apparently took Mandarin and became fluent in a matter of months. He is “very” close to his Asian business partner, and he’s fortunate to have new technology on hand for almost any dilemma. At the end of the day, a review of this relaunch boils down to whether or not Peter Parker fans should embrace The Amazing “poor man’s Tony Stark.”

Like much of Dan Slott’s work, he offers a mixed bag of interesting ideas with the downright bizarre and embarrassing.

Take, for instance, Parker’s refusal to fire the woman he knows has a.) pro-actively worked to undermine his core vision, and b.) actually attempted to ally with a super-villain who destroyed his New York offices and almost killed everyone inside.

Peter Parker Sajani

For those don’t remember, here is a flashback to The Amazing Spider-Man #17:

Sajani Jaffrey: I think we can be allies. I’ve heard of you. The Ghost – corporate saboteur, right? Which means someone hired you, probably to torpedo our super-prison. Well, guess what? Nothing would make me happier. It’s all my partner’s idea. I think it’s a stinker. I’ll make you a deal: Don’t hurt anyone, leave the rest of our projects alone…and I’ll show you the best, fastest way to wreck the prison stuff beyond repair. What do you say?

The Ghost: You’re a shrewd negotiator, young lady.

To CEO Peter Parker, working with corporate saboteurs to destroy his company is only worth a “talk.”

As was the case with The Superior Spider-Man, Mr. Slott must dumb down his characters in order to get from Point A to Point B. Characters during SSM needed to not realize Doctor Octopus was inside Peter’s mind to keep Slott’s story going, and so their intelligence dropped 20 points.

Mr. Slott now needs Sajani to move his plot along, so Peter Parker blithely overlooks a betrayal that any normal person would fire – and sue – her over.

One of the more interesting aspects of the book comes when it is revealed Peter has hired Hobie Brown (aka: The Prowler) to be his “decoy” Spider-Man. While the decision offers the potential for a very fun relationship to form, one cannot help but wonder if Brown is a “poor man’s James Rhodes.”

Hobie Brown Prowler

Is The Amazing Spider-Man #1 worth buying? That’s a good question. If you like Guiseppe Camuncoli’s work, then sure. If you want to read about Peter Parker-Stark, then sure. If you can put up with Dan Slott’s “sweet” ideas being drowned out by others that are seriously “sour,” then sure.

If, however, you read Renew Your Vows and felt as though Marvel finally captured the essence — no matter how fleeting — of the “real” Peter Parker, then you will probably want to withhold your cash.

Editor’s Note: Regular readers know that I am in the process of learning Mandarin. Let me just say that one does not simply begin taking Mandarin lessons and become fluent in a matter of months. This is the kind of writing that drives fans mad. Dan Slott could put Peter in Saudi Arabia tomorrow, have him speak fluent Arabic, and then make the character say, “Yeah, so…in addition to expanding this global tech-empire, fighting super-villains, inventing new technology, and learning Mandarin over the last couple of months, I just-so-happened to take a few Arabic classes as well.”

If you think that is jarring and lazy writing, then it is likely Dan Slott will call your criticism invalid.

SpiderMan speaks Mandarin

Dan Slott: Hypocrite begs for links and full context, then denies it to others after Oregon shooting

Dan Slott Oregon Shooting

Dan Slott, the Marvel writer who regularly whines about people taking him out of context, has no qualms taking others out of context when his personal politics are at play. The same guy who had his “Superior” Spider-Man blow a guy’s face off with a handgun from point-blank range had no problem chopping up a lengthy conversation by Jeb Bush on the Umpqua Community College shootings into Tweets devoid of any context.

Before we move on, let us examine a Dan Slott quote from Aug. 1, 2015:

“Jesus. Could you at least link to the exchange instead of paraphrasing and misinterpreting?” – Dan Slott.

Dan Slott’s standard of fairness when it involves his reputation or things he cares about is at least a link to a full conversation. The rules he applies to others do not apply to himself. And then he wonders why it’s impossible for people to have mature, honest discussions on complex issues…

Dan Slott double standard

Back to Mr. Bush. Regular readers know I have little love for his campaign, but I will now provide context:

Jeb Bush: “The tendency when we have these tragedies that took place yesterday, it’s just heartbreaking to see these things, but this is the broader question of rule-making I think is an important point to make. That whenever you see a tragedy take place, the impulse in the political system, most, more often than at the federal level, but also at the state level, is to ‘do something,’ right? And what we end up doing lots of times is we create rules on the 99.999 percent of human activity that had nothing to do with the tragedy that forced the conversation about doing something. And we’re taking people’s rights away each time we do that, and we’re not necessarily focusing on the real challenge. …

We’re in a difficult time in our country and I don’t think more government is necessarily the answer to this. I think we need to reconnect ourselves with everybody else. It’s very sad to see. I had this challenge as governor. We have, look, stuff happens. There’s always a crisis. And the impulse is always to ‘do something,’ and that’s not necessarily the right thing to do.”

Unlike Dan Slott, Jeb Bush had to deal with the aftermath of hurricanes, budgets that affected millions of people, etc. Jeb Bush actually had to make gut-wrenching decisions as the governor of Florida. He understands that with a stroke of the pen, politicians can turn the lives of entire communities upside down.

When Dan Slott doesn’t go to a comic convention or misses a deadline, civil rights are not eroded.

Here is the full context for Bush’s “things” quote. Politico reported:

“‘Things’ happen all the time. ‘Things,’ is that better? … A child drowns in a pool and the impulse is to pass a law that puts fencing around pools. Well it may not change it or you have a car accident and the impulse is to pass a law that deals with that unique event and the cumulative effect of this is in some cases, you don’t solve the problem by passing the law, and you’re imposing on large numbers of people, burdens that make it harder for our economy to grow, make it harder for people to protect liberty, and that is, the whole conversation today was exactly about that.”

Mr. Bush was trying to have a serious public policy debate when he made those comments. He acknowledged that what happened in Roseburg, Oregon, was a “heartbreaking” tragedy, and then talked about the broader public policy question at hand.

Unfortunately, Mr. Slott couldn’t resist acting like a political vulture to exploit the situation.

Superior Spider Man Gun

For those who want a better idea of what Dan Slott does, I will now provide a clear example.

Last Thursday, 26-year-old Christopher Harper-Mercer specifically targeted Christians in a massacre that killed nine and injured seven. He took his own life during an exchange of gunfire with cops.  Imagine if I shared that information and then juxtaposed it with Dan Slott’s infamous “Christ-Land” tweet – without any context. Do you think Mr. Slott would be upset? I do.

Dan Slott Christians

Here is the full context to Mr. Slott’s “Christ-Land” tweet, for those who are interested.

Ask yourself this question before reading it: If there was another Boston Marathon-type bombing and a politician Dan Slott didn’t like said, “Scared by the number of Muslims who are silent on domestic terrorism. This is America. Go to Muslim-Land,” do you think he would call that person a bigot? I do.

Renew Your Vows No. 3: Dan Slott’s tale of darker Spider-Man hamstrung by lame villain Regent

Doctor Octopus Renew Your VowsIssue 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.
SpiderMan Renew Your Vows Doc OckThere 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.

Renew Your Vows Doctor OctopusWould 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.”

Hobgoblin Renew Your Vows 3It 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.

SpiderMan Renew Your Vows Parker FamilyIn 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.

Dan Slott stalks online critics he blocks on Twitter — while telling fans that said critics are ‘crazy’

Marvel writer Dan Slott has a reputation for weird behavior online. There was the time he stalked The Main Event. There was the time he searched out a random woman to troll on Twitter and made jokes about the quality of her life. He has now taken it to the next level. Dan Slott is simultaneously stalking Twitter accounts he has blocked while telling his fans that the people he is stalking are “crazy.” The Amazing Spider-Man writer cannot get me out of his head, which is why this tweet went up yesterday after my review of Renew Your Vows was posted. Dan Slott RYV TweetHere is what Mr. Slott did: Even though he has blocked my account and the account of Twitter user “Doctor Bizarre,” he obviously found Bizarre’s link to my review and concluded that we are, in fact, the same person. The implication is that I am so “crazy” that I start dummy accounts for the sole purpose of “hating” Dan Slott — even though my ASM reviews stick almost exclusively to his fundamental misunderstanding of Peter Parker as a character.

Where are the Dan Slott fat jokes? Where are the Dan Slott Danny Devito jokes? That’s right — they don’t exist in my writing because I don’t “hate” anyone. And if I were inclined to create dummy accounts, then it would be because Twitter recently blocked me after I complained it did nothing (yes, nothing) to the Islamic radical apologist who threatened to kill me.

Sadly, Dan Slott can not separate in his mind the difference between criticizing a man’s creative work and criticism of the man.

Here is the truth: Years ago I was struggling to make ends meet while trying to get my career started in Washington, D.C. I was contacted, in many ways out of the blue, by a man who runs a website called “Molotov Softball: Weird News for Weirder Times.” This man said he liked my work and offered to pay me just for allowing him to link to my blog. I jokingly asked him if he was Rumpelstiltskin or a guardian angel. (I never got a straight answer, so he may come knocking for a child one day.)

Long story short, this man eventually asked me if I had any creative friends who would be willing to write “weird” pieces under the pen name “Doctor Bizarre.” Those pieces would supplement another writer, whose pen name is Penny Franklin. Molotov Softball got a new contributor soon afterward.

Is Doctor Bizarre an old Army buddy or relative of mine? Am I Doctor Bizarre? Is he really my mysterious benefactor (who I still haven’t met in person and have no idea what he looks like — although his checks always clear)? I wish I could tell you, but the bottom line is that it doesn’t matter because Dan Slott is the one acting like a crazy person. Again: he blocks people on Twitter, stalks them, and then makes things up to his Twitter followers to gain praise and sympathy.

“Hate”? Where is the hate? Look through Doctor Bizarre’s Twitter feed or read his blog and find any posts that are personally directed at Dan Slott. You will not find them because they do not exist. The blog contains zero references to Dan Slott — again, zero — and the Twitter feed randomly shares links my work here — never personal opinions or “hate.” Dan Slott acts like a troubled man and makes up “hate” out of thin air to receive retweets and “favorites” on his Twitter account.

Molotov SoftballI have seen Dan Slott use the same tactic on different comic websites. If a user is banned and he suspects someone else of being that banned individual, he will relentlessly harp on the point. Why? Because all he has are personal attacks. He will call people like me “crazy” from afar so his minions lick his ego-wounds, but he won’t come here and actually debate my work on the merits. The few times he did engage me on different websites, he intellectually got his clock cleaned and had to beg the moderator to shut everything down. Ask him about the time he deleted an epic YouTube conversation because he looked like a raving lunatic.

Now, since I’m tired of Dan Slott acting like anyone who goes by a pseudonym online needs to be “exposed” by thin-skinned Marvel writers, I will explain why this is an utterly moronic move on his part. I will use my own life as an example. I encourage regular readers who go by an alias to add their two cents in the comments section.

I currently work for a newspaper.

Air Force national defense TWTMy writing is seen by many people. People associate me, for the most part, with work on national security matters. If there is a breaking story on the Islamic State group, Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong-un, or cool military technology, then there is a good chance that I am writing on it. Do I want to mix tweets on Dan Slott’s Renew Your Vows in with my work on Sunni radical terrorist groups? No. I do not. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that sometimes there needs to be a line of demarcation between an individual’s personal and professional life.

Since I’m assuming that makes sense to the vast majority of readers, I will now move on to exposing Dan Slott’s utter hypocrisy for all the world to see. Dan Slott Twitter BlockHow interesting is it that Dan Slott likens Twitter to “talking outside,” but yet he seeks to keep his own conversations private from anyone who is inclined to call him out on his “BS”? Again, I cannot stress this enough: Dan Slott blocks accounts and then weirdly reads the accounts that he has blocked. Dan Slott Twitter stalking excuseThis is the man who puts words in Peter Parker’s mouth. This is the man who actually holds creative clout at Marvel.

Congratulations, Marvel — you employ a man who blocks accounts, stalks said accounts, and then calls the owners of those accounts “crazy.”

If there is a colleague who cares about Dan Slott, then that person will pull him off to the side and tell him that his regular behavior, usually around 1:00 a.m., is not healthy. It is not productive. And it is certainly not professional.

Update: You can’t make this up. At 1:04 a.m., prime Dan Slott weird behavior time, he reads this blog post and then takes to Twitter to say that his previous stalking had nothing — nothing — to do with me, despite his long history of reading this very blog every time a review of his work goes up.

Best case scenario: “Hey guys, I wasn’t stalking Douglas Ernst yesterday — I was stalking another guy. But…reading Douglas Ernst’s blog  just now at 1:00 a.m. (i.e., the guy I blocked on Twitter) means nothing. It’s not stalking. Seriously. Trust me.”

Dan Slott needs Damage Control for his damage control.

Dan Slott Twitter BacktrackUpdate II: In the comments section below, I spoke with Carl about why Dan Slott would continue to read my work even after blocking my Twitter feed. The short answer can be found by tapping into my WordPress stats, which show me where people are coming from. Today, for instance, I had people coming over from Tumblr — “Walloping Web Snappers!” was one such account. Dan Slott knows that this happens often. That is why he will continue to read my reviews as long as he is on ASM. MJ Watson Tumblr

Dan Slott: Spider-Man writer slimes countless Peter Parker fans as racist

Spider-Man scribe Dan Slott took a break from bullying random women on Twitter this week to demonstrate a new an improved way of showing how clownish and immature he could be — he painted anyone who thinks “Peter Parker is a white character who believes ‘With great power comes great responsibility,'” as racist.

Dan Slott Peter ParkerYes, that’s right, in Dan Slott’s world, if you describe the white character you’ve read for decades as “white” when someone asks you, then you “don’t get” him.

This is the man who is Marvel’s ambassador to Spider-Man fans. This is the man who, ideally, would unite Peter Parker fans of all ages. This is the man whose argument (by his own admission) boils down to: “Would you go up to a [non-white child] and say ‘You can’t be Spider-Man’?”

Dan Slott TwitterNotice what Dan Slott has done — he conflates the idea of a “Spider-Man” with the character millions of people around the world recognize as Peter Parker.

When Dan Slott started this weird conversation Feb. 12, I put it this way:

I understand that it is the essence of a man that is important (e.g., “The Phantom” lives forever as different men who embody his noble spirit), but once you essentially start going down the, “Let’s just arbitrarily make Peter Parker black tomorrow and if you get annoyed, then you’re a racist” road, then that’s where you’ve lost me.

Marvel successfully pulled that off with Nick Fury. That makes sense because he was never a figure with national/world-wide recognition. It’s a different thing when basically the entire world has a vision of what “Peter Parker” looks like and guys like Dan Slott start screwing with it.

It would be like if Nintendo suddenly made Mario and Luigi black and said, “What? What? There are black Italians. What are you, racist?” to people who started rolling their eyes.

Well, no. I’m not racist, Nintendo executives, but I think you’re just taking the racial sensitivity thing to an absurd level.

If someone asked me to describe Blade, one of my “thousand” adjectives used to describe him would be “black.” The same goes for James Rhodes. Or “Robbie” Robertson. Or any number of black characters. But perhaps in Dan Slott’s world, Marvel fans are allowed to describe long-established black characters as black and that doesn’t have an effect of their understanding of the character.

As I said Feb. 14 in the comments section of a previous post (I was hoping Mr Slott wouldn’t continue to belabor this conversation and prompt me to expand it into a full-blown blog post):

I’m not sure if Dan Slott is just a giant troll, or a complete doofus. He starts a conversation that he knows is going to annoy people by insinuating that maybe it might be a good decision to arbitrarily make Peter Parker black or Hispanic or Asian — when generations of people associate Peter Parker with a very specific look — and then he acts incredulous when people start talking about doing the exact same thing to other characters.

If Charles M. Schulz were still alive and he randomly changed Snoopy from a beagle to a golden retriever, would it matter? A dog is a dog, right? Yes, it would matter for many Peanuts fans because the world fell in love with a very specific Snoopy.

I wouldn’t want Marvel randomly making Blade a white guy, and I wouldn’t want Marvel randomly making Peter Parker a black guy. In both instances, it would be a weird editorial move.

Sounds reasonable, right? Not to Dan Slott. Here is how he responds to other reasonable Spider-Man fans (great customer relations, Marvel): “My grandma knew Jim Crow laws. Didn’t make ’em right.”

Dan Slott SpiderMan raceSome random Peter Parker fan essentially says, “Even my grandma would be able to describe Peter Parker to forensic sketch artist, and he’d be white. That’s pretty iconic. I think it would probably be odd to randomly make Peter Parker black.”

Dan Slott’s reaction is to start talking about Jim Crow laws. Seriously. You, dear reader, are apparently the type of person who would tell a little black child he couldn’t be Spider-Man and you would probably admit to supporting Jim Crow laws if it was just you and Dan Slott drinking alone at the bar one night.

In his never-ending quest to fish for compliments in his Twitter feed while also putting himself up on a gigantic moral pedestal, Dan Slott is now resorting to needless race-baiting conversations with Peter Parker fans. Does it get any worse than this? Why does Marvel let him get away with acting like a petulant man-boy with a penchant for burning bridges? Since when did Marvel decide that its business model for attracting attention to Spider-Man comic books was to hire a writer who invents ways to slime customers?

The ironic thing about all of this is that if Dan Slott were to magically make Peter Parker black tomorrow, then he could very well be fending off racial conspiracy theory charges soon afterward — Peter Parker is a shell of the character he once was thanks to Dan Slott, so making him black at this stage in the game would actually be an insult to race-goggle wearing comic book readers everywhere.

One day a writer will take on Spider-Man who will bring together fans from a variety different backgrounds, ages, and political persuasions. He or she will do it without all the unnecessary antics, and when that happens Dan Slott’s legacy will sink even lower than it already has up to now.

Update: No amount of race-baiting would be complete without Dan Slott referring to “white history months.” This is the man who writes The Amazing Spider-Man, ladies and gentlemen. Pathetic.

Dan Slott race baiterRelated: Check out Hube’s take over at Colossus of Rhodey.

Dan Slott’s Spider-Gump: Peter Parker is like a box of chocolates — you never know what you’re going to get

Amazing SpiderMan 11Spider-Verse Part 3 has arrived, and the showdown everyone has been waiting for has finally happened: Peter Parker vs. Doctor Octopus (aka: The Superior Spider-Man). With Olivier Copiel vivifying Dan Slott’s words, Amazing Spider-Man #11 is injected with energy and vibrancy it otherwise doesn’t quite deserve. The reason being is because its writer seems to have drawn inspiration for his version of Peter Parker by watching Forrest Gump on repeat in his bedroom. Dan Slott’s Peter Parker is like a box of chocolates — you never know what you’re going to get.

After 10 issues of Peter fumbling and bumbling around as a sideshow character in his own book, a switch has seemingly been flipped and he suddenly takes charge. It’s jarring, and the result is a sort of cognitive dissonance for readers who haven’t been happy with the status quo for some time. If you’re like me, then you’re left scratching your head at the inconsistency. If you’re like Andrew Roebuck from Spider-Man Crawlspace, then you have a more curious take.

Mr. Roebuck says of Spider-Verse Part 3:

“It seems to me that we finally have a reason for Slott writing our Peter Parker so incompetently these last few months. He needed it to feel important for him to step into his big boy pants and take charge of the situation. We needed to see Peter at his worst to appreciate him when he is finally back doing the things that we all knew the character capable of.”

If one were to hold tight to this premise, then he or she would have to believe Dan Slott wanted Peter Parker fans to drop roughly $50 over the past year on a lackluster to embarrassing version of their favorite character for the so-called payoff of issue #11. That is certainly one way to deal with the cognitive dissonance the book has generated, but one I don’t think will be of much comfort to the vast majority of Peter Parker fans.

What is more likely: that Dan Slott views Peter Parker as a kind of Andy Dufresne from The Shawshank Redemption, who he had to drag through a mile of human waste to attain glory, or that he’s writing a character that he doesn’t quite know how to handle?

Perhaps the most bizarre moment of Peter’s momentary return to form is his assertion: “Ock can’t imagine a world where he loses. One where I come back, reclaim that body, and win!”

Given that there are plenty of instances in Spider-Man history where Peter Parker handily defeats Otto, it seems a bit odd to say that the villain can’t imagine a world where he loses. He’s lost. Multiple times. Regardless, any one who read The Superior Spider-Man knows that Peter didn’t come back and “win” per se — Otto basically stepped aside.

All of this again raises the question: What happened to Peter? Was he dead? If so, then where was his soul? Did Otto just take control of Peter’s mind for a year, which would mean that Peter was the one doing all sorts of dastardly deeds while brainwashed? Is there a “downloaded” Otto somewhere in the recesses of Peter’s brain just waiting to get out? There never was any clear answer, which may be why Peter hasn’t really grappled with the enormity of the situation. The personalities of individuals who survive near-death experiences often undergo profound changes. The Superficial Spider-Man just swings around and occasionally mentions that he maybe-sorta-kinda-died.

SSM Otto Anna Peter ParkerThe one diamond in the rough from The Amazing Spider-Man #11 comes when Peter and “Spider-Gwen” share a moment that could lead to some interesting stories down the road. As much as it pains me to say it, the smart move by Marvel would be to use each character’s shared experience as a spring board for a more serious relationship between the two of them. This particular Gwen knows exactly what Peter went through when he lost his first true love. Instead of having Peter Parker engage in stupid make-out sessions with Dan Slott’s creation Silk, it would be worth Marvel’s time to kick start something more serious between Peter and Gwen. Doing so would also open the possibility of a love triangle between Peter, the new Gwen, and Mary Jane. The Superficial Spider-Man could become The Substantive Spider-Man once again.

Amazing SpiderMan 11 SpiderGwenIn short, Spider-Verse Part 3 was one of the few issues of The Amazing Spider-Man since its relaunch that was actually worth the $4.00 cover price. Unfortunately, Dan Slott’s Spider-Gump is still like a box of chocolates — you never know what you’re going to get.

Update:

Shortly after this blog post went live, Dan Slott blocked me on Twitter. This is my second time with such an honor. I'm assuming the first time he unblocked me so he could once again see my Twitter feed. I promise I'll continue blogging on The Amazing Spider-Man, Dan Slott. I know you'll keep reading.
Shortly after this blog post went live, Dan Slott blocked me on Twitter (even though I never followed him to begin with). This is my second time with such an honor. I’m assuming the first time he unblocked me so he could once again see my Twitter feed. I promise I’ll continue blogging on The Amazing Spider-Man, Dan Slott. I know you’ll keep reading.

Update II:

I have also been blocked by Tom Brevoort. Marvel's reaction to intelligent criticism it can't shoot down with petty name-calling is to do the equivalent of sticking their fingers in their ears while screaming, "I can't hear you!"
I have also been blocked by Tom Brevoort. Marvel’s reaction to intelligent criticism it can’t shoot down with petty name-calling is to do the equivalent of sticking their fingers in their ears while screaming, “I can’t hear you!”

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

There’s a line from 2004’s “The Incredibles” where the villain Syndrome says, “When everyone’s super, no one will be.” Dan Slott’s “Spider-Verse” tale operates on many of the same levels — when the Marvel Universe is filled within an infinite amount of “Spider-Men,” it becomes much harder to distinguish why Peter Parker is special.

Spiderverse 1Those who have read The Amazing Spider-Man since its relaunch have seen Peter Parker take a back seat in his own title for much of the lead-up to Spider-Verse, and now that it’s here the trend continues. Readers are told he’s some sort of Harry Potter-ish “Chosen One,” but the evidence as presented — up to this point — doesn’t support the claims. Peter comes across as just one of many heroic “spiders” throughout multiple dimensions, each doing his or her own part to protect the “spider-totem” from falling to “The Inheritors” — a dysfunctional family of beings that like to dine on “spiders.” When Peter Parker gives off a “Where’s Waldo” vibe in his own book, something is wrong.

Spiderverse 3Dan Slott’s “Spider-Verse” generally reads like a convoluted mess from the mind of a man who still goes to fast food restaurants and fills his glass with a little bit of each kind of soda without realizing that the end result isn’t all that special and usually tastes gross.

Spiderverse 4Spider-Verse’s saving grace appears to be the artwork by Olivier Coipel — it really is quite beautiful, and he’s able to organize Dan Slott’s clutter like a mother who picks up after her son when he’s old enough to know better.

To make matters worse, the commanding presence of Doctor Octopus (aka: “The Superior Spider-Man”) provides another example of just how diminished Peter Parker is in his own book. Readers know that as “The Chosen One” Peter will play a crucial role in defeating The Inheritors, but up until this point — ten issues into the relaunch of The Amazing Spider-Man — one has to imagine that many Peter Parker fans are asking: “Why?”

Spiderverse 2Peter Parker should be a shining star in his own book, but these days he is little more than a polished cog in Marvel’s “Spider-Verse” machinery.

Dan Slott’s Spider-Man: World’s Dumbest Super Hero

The ‘Ends of the Earth’ storyline in Marvel’s Amazing Spider-Man has severely damaged the character’s credibility, due almost entirely to writer Dan Slott. I took flak from fans for mentioning that Spider-Man’s dangerously naive “no one dies” mentality is a war zone liability, and that only a fool would jeopardize a time-sensitive mission by worrying about the well-being of North Korean soldiers — when over six billion lives were on the line. Only a few weeks ago I said: “A hero is still a hero, but some of them are meant for city streets, and some of them are meant to determine the fate of the world.” And now, Dan Slott’s Spider-Man proved it through his own dialogue and actions:

“I’m not used to ‘End of the World’ stuff. Gimme a bank robbery or one of my regular bad guys. Now that I can handle,” (Dan Slott’s Spider-Man, Amazing Spider-Man #687).

Sadly, truer words were never spoken. Only pages later, Spider-Man is put in a situation where he must choose between saving Silver Sable’s life as she is held beneath rising water by the immovable Rhino, or stopping a satellite launch that will doom billions. Our hero feebly pulls at his enemy’s forearm like a little boy who yearns for a toy until Sable uses one of her last breaths to berate his idiocy: “If you don’t go — EVERYONE DIES! GO!”

Look at Spider-Man with that blank stare on his face. You can almost see the wheels turning as he realizes what a fool his “no one dies” mantra is. Even in the face of death, Silver Sable has a clear enough head to know the correct course of action to take.

As I said before, Dan Slott’s Spider-Man is so myopic that he only sees the lives right there in front of him. He’s like a baby, tricked by peek-a-boo because his mind isn’t fully developed; if there are lives to be saved right in front of him, there’s a good chance he can be distracted.

With the climax of ‘Ends of the Earth’ at hand, Slott delivers — in the wrong way. The blinded fan will only remember Spider-Man finding an inner reserve of strength to break free from his bonds to save billions — again, thanks to the Silver Sable’s clear thinking at death’s door. What they won’t remember is that Doctor Octopus admitted he is pure evil right before Peter decided to save his life — instead of using the opportunity to return to Silver Sable. Doctor Octopus says: “I shall live on in infamy — a mass murderer worse than Pol Pot, Hitler, and Genghis Khan combined.

Only moments later, as Peter attempts to save the genocidal maniac from the crumbling fortress, he says: “I made a promise. As long as I’m around no one — … Come on. I’m getting you out of here.”

Note the pause. Peter obviously thinks of his teammate possibly drowning a few rooms over. I say ‘possibly’ because Spider-Man doesn’t know what happened after he left the room, and neither does the reader. Perhaps Silver Sable had one last trick up her sleeve. Perhaps another hero found a way to come to her aid. In that moment, wouldn’t the true hero have ditched the man who hoped to transcend Hitler, in an effort to check on his ally? In that situation, would it not have been better to at least recover her dead body over saving the man who was willing to subject billions to a burning death just seconds earlier? Let’s not even get into the many people who have been resuscitated after having been submerged in water for lengths of time conventional wisdom says is impossible…

It’s fitting that ‘Ends of the Earth’ would feature a character who (seemingly) died from drowning, because Dan Slott’s Spider-Man walks around like there isn’t enough oxygen going to his brain. Here’s to hoping that one day Spider-Man will come to his (spider) senses.

The Amazing Spider-Man: Driven by Guilt, but will Garfield Deliver?

What do you do if you vowed to always do what is right, but also to never to take a man's life, when the right thing in a given situation IS to kill? We probably won't find out with The Amazing Spider-Man, but the trailer is still good.

The new Amazing Spider-Man trailer is out, and I must say that it’s better than expected. In November 2010, I blogged about liberal Hollywood activist Martin Sheen playing the role of Uncle Ben, and whether or not that would change his famous motto to “With great power comes other people’s money.” The message of the movie is still ultimately up for grabs, but at least the cinematography looks slick. While the franchise as a whole probably should have sat on the shelf for a few more years before an attempt at a reboot was made, it looks as if Andrew Garfield might turn out a respectable film after all.

Comic legend Stan Lee always said that Spider-Man was, “the superhero who could be you!” Peter Parker was picked on in high school. He had girl problems. He was skinny. That’s true, but what what was always so powerful about the character was the guilt Peter had to deal with for having let his uncle’s murderer get away when he had a chance to stop him. The message that one should always do the right thing is one that isn’t heard too often these days, in part because moral relativists have convinced large segments of the population that there isn’t a right thing. Because this new movie appears to concentrate on how the disappearance of Peter’s parents affected his life, more so than his culpability in Uncle Ben’s death, your Spider-Sense should be tingling.

Peter Parker has historically been driven by guilt, rightfully manifested when he refuses to so much as lift a finger (with his new super powers) to stop the man that would wind up killing his Uncle. Based solely on the trailer, The Amazing Spider-Man may be driven by guilt of a different kind, when he literally and figuratively gives Doctor Curt Conners a hand and it all goes wrong. It’s tough to say how these changes will impact the film, but the emotional weight of the character might suffer because of it. In one instance Peter must endure sleepless nights ridding the world of evil because he once let evil get away. In the other instance he must rid the world of evil because perhaps he was just too darned nice of guy. Or will he suffer both? It all depends on how much the writers decided to stay faithful to the canon at this point.

Finally, the one weakness Spider-Man stories have always had, and will continue to have for the foreseeable future, is that the character refuses to kill anyone. Anyone. That includes psychopathic nuts with superpowers. He makes a point to always use the minimum amount of force necessary to subdue an opponent, but has always ruled out ending their life (no matter how many times that villain returns to kill innocent victims). Sometimes the responsible thing to do is to take a life—something cops have to deal with every day. I’ve never understood why the writers of Spider-Man didn’t get that.

Regardless, on July 7th, 2012, check out The Amazing Spider-Man and let me know what you think.

Update: Head on over to Hotair to get Allahpundit’s take.