Brian (Smitty) here, I wanted to wait first and foremost for Tim to release his latest episode of Crisis in Infinite Comics before sharing my opinion on this book and what it sets forth for (at least) the next year in the world of Spider-Man. Tim IS our comic guy, he has a longer standing with the genre than I ever will and to jump ahead of him would be wrong. Now that his episode is out (and you can watch that HERE) I want to give my insight onto the 700th and final issue of Amazing Spider-Man.
I may not know comics like Tim, but I sure as hell know Spider-Man. It was the first comic I ever picked up, I grew up on the Spider-Man cartoon that aired on FOX alongside X-Men, and the web-head has been my favorite comic character since I can remember. I’ve followed the films since development, seen the live action US and Japanese show, etc. etc. I have been hardcore reading the Amazing Spider-Man series for the past few years and have also been a fan of Dan Slott’s work. I enjoy his take on the wall crawler and can get the sense he is also a huge fan of the character. Some comic fans don’t enjoy his work and have had problems with his writing, as well as Humberto Ramos’ art. I’ve enjoyed Big Time, Ends of the Earth, and was excited to read these final titles to see what is going to be set forth in Superior Spider-Man. I knew for a while from the hype that something was going to happen that took Peter Parker out of the Spider-Man suit, whether it be death, a personal decision, going to hell, or some other dimension. I am OK with change and putting someone else in the costume as I have been a huge fan of Ultimate Spider-Man and the new character Miles Morales. He brings a new style to the series and it’s fun to watch him train under shield and first meet and interact with fellow heroes Iron Man and Captain America. He is going to be a huge part of the Ultimate Universe and one I plan to keep track of.
The developments of Superior Spider-Man however.. not so much. Before I get into any sort of rant or anger let me give a brief opinion on the issue itself (# 700). There are plenty of things that transpire that I truly enjoy, seeing Peter in Ock’s body enlist the aid of several other villains so he can put together a plan to get his body back felt epic and on a huge scale. All scenes panels involving Peter and the loved ones he lost (especially Uncle Ben) were emotional and pulled at your heart strings. There are a lot about this issue that feel almost like a Summer movie and like I needed to pop a bag of popcorn before reading further. Pacing does get wonky and at times feels like it either blazes by interesting developments, or stops too long on unimportant things. It’s also mind boggling how no one questions Ock in Pete’s body as he does NOTHING! to hide the fact that he is Otto Octavius. Parker has never talked in the manner Ock does, doesn’t use some of his wording, and never speaks down to people. It just felt like someone should of looked at him and said “hhheeeyyyyy wait a minute” yet everyone just treated him like the same old Peter Parker.
The battle both physically and verbally between Ock and Peter was great and as I turned the pages it was becoming clear the path they were going to take. This path that sets forth the journey readers will take into Superior Spider-Man is one I am not at all happy with. In Ultimate Spider-man, Peter Parker died from injuries sustained from the Sinister Six as well as a gun shot wound from the Punisher, but despite all this he took on the responsibility that he had to defeat these villains… and he did, and when he died, he died knowing he won and that the people he loved were alive. Peter Parker is now dead in the main Marvel Universe.. and no one knows. All the trials and tribulations that Peter Parker endures and he will never be remembered for it. Parker never gets that big win, that final act that earns him the respect he so deserves. He only gets to wake up in a dying man’s body and within hours pass away while someone else parades around as him. So because he made Doctor Octopus feel everything he has gone through and tells him he has to be a good Spider-Man that makes his end worth it? Peter Parker is redeemed because Ock says he’ll be good? Ridiculous.
Yes, I know you all (as well as Tim) will tell me “this is just the next chapter, the next plot point, no one really dies in Comics, Parker will be back” I know all this, I know that one day Peter comes back because it’s either how Slott intended it from the start, or sales tank on Superior, or Amazing Spider-Man 2 calls for Parker to return, or however they spin it. Regardless of your drivel about how comics have gone in the history of existence if you are going to take a chance, if you are going to tell me “we are killing Peter Parker, we are replacing him with someone else, and we are taking this new character and telling another story” DO A BETTER JOB! Is a better job Miguel O’Hara? The long rumored Superior Spider-Man? No, I was never on that band wagon, but it would of been a more intriguing twist. I don’t appreciate having one of the biggest plot twists in Spider-Man’s history revealed to me 2 issues before the series ends. I don’t like that there isn’t really any effort to make Ock even the least bit likable so that you can say “OK, it’s interesting enough for me to keep reading” because for me it is not. This isn’t “waaaahhhh bring Peter Parker back!” this is “if you’re gonna change make it interesting” which this just hasn’t.
To me the twist falls flat, Ock doesn’t have the charisma to carry an ongoing series, his dialogue comes off as boring, Saturday Morning Cartoon level villainy, and just never does anything to make me laugh or gain a level of interest. I even bought Avenging Spider-Man 15.1, an issue based solely around Ock Spidey and the development of his new costume to see if maybe there was something to show me that would convince me that this was the right move and I needed to see how it all pans out. It just didn’t do a thing for me, it only make Ock even more of a prick, even more unlikable, and built up even more desire to see him stripped of this new body and life. I have Superior Spider-Man #1 on order, placed way back before any of this came to light and I will still keep the order. Slott states he has one more trick up his sleeve in this issue, and due to my pledged obligation to review Marvel Now #1’s with Tim I will read this, but it is going to take an unforeseeable development for me to suddenly jump on board. For now I will be bidding farewell to the Spider-Man main series as I stick solely to Ultimate Spider-Man.
Regardless of these feelings, Amazing Spider-Man #700 is a must read, it’s the end of an era and no matter how long that end lasts it’s a milestone no comic fan should neglect. While it led me to drop support, I still respect Dan Slott’s work and feel that leading up to this his writing was top notch, but for previously stated reasons no amount of respect for the writing will get me to support a new character that I just can’t stand. Be sure to leave comments below of your opinions on ASM #700, tell me how much of a baby I am or if you share the same opinion, or hell a different opinion all together.