We love to wax nostalgic at PoP!, but sometimes it’s what’s yet to come that most quickens our nerd pulses. For better or for worse, let’s start the speculation over what’s making us Future Tense.
Needless to say, there are serious spoilers ahead for Amazing Spider-Man 700
The final arc of Amazing Spider-Man, especially the last issue, put me in an unusual mindset. I honestly can’t think of a better way writer Dan Slott could have told that story. It worked. The art was magnificent and the conclusion fit the tone of not only that story, but it honored the crumbs left from the stories before it. Doc Ock had been a recurring threat for more than a year. Obviously there was a big payoff coming. The problem is that for as well as this story was told, I didn’t care for it.
News hit a few months ago that there would be a new Spider-Man under the mask in the new Superior Spider-Man title. The internet lost its collective mind. Some disgruntled fans went so far as to send Slott death threats via twitter… over comics. That is crazy town. I was down for the change because since it is comics, it’s far from permanent. In retrospect, it was obvious that it would be Otto taking over given what was going on in the story, but I guess I was hoping for an 11th hour save. Doc Ock under Peter’s mask was too weird to even consider. Now that we’re on the precipice of this new era for Spider-Man, I’m trying to keep an open mind, but I’m not sold on the idea.
For starters, it’s creepy. Otto promised Peter he’d not be a villain but Avenging Spider-Man 15.1 painted a picture of anything but a true hero. Otto is a creep and having him wearing Peter’s skin is ooky. I’m sure that’s the whole point, but I don’t know how I’m not going to be turned off by the quasi-rapey dynamic they’re setting up for not-Peter and Mary Jane. She thinks she’s talking to Peter. Every kind word she spends on him is gross.
What’s more, we already have an amoral Spider-Man book in the form of the excellent Scarlet Spider series. “All of the Power, None of the Responsibility” is right there on the cover. Having a similar vibe in the flagship Spidey book seems a little redundant (not “five Avengers books” redundant, but redundant nonetheless). The shared continuity in the Marvel books is an absolute mess right now, so there’s no telling when Peter will stop being Peter in the Avengers titles. Once Otto seeps in there, the vibe there will undoubtedly change a little. The stage is already set for a Superior/Daredevil showdown next month.
Slott has told some really great Spider-Man stories. While I may not care for this one at face value, I have every confidence that it will be well-written and putting Ryan Stegman on art guarantees it will be gorgeous to look at. This Superior Spider-Man has a lot to live up to, especially considering that in recent years Peter has become an Avenger, gotten on J. Jonah Jameson’s good side and now has a high-paying successful career at Horizon Labs. How exactly is the new fake Spider-Man going to improve on the old model?
The creep factor, un-Spidey vibe and the back doors built into the story all but assure the return of the one true Parker sometime sooner rather than later. In the meantime, I’ll try to stay positive. I have faith in Slott and Stegman. If anyone can do it, it’s them. I just hope I want to keep reading it. If Doc Ock can be Care Bear Stared into being a semi-good guy, there’s enough Peter in there for a real comeback. I hope it happens soon, though, because at the end of the day, I really don’t want to read a story about Doctor Octopus in Spider-Man’s body. I don’t like Ock enough to be even a little interested in that. I’m willing to give Superior Spider-Man a chance to change my mind, though, so here’s to the new year.