Exploring Thematic Connections to Secret Empire in Amazing Spider-Man 30

by Spencer Irwin

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

The current arc of Amazing Spider-Man is a direct tie-in to Secret Empire, with its opening scene even taking place during the Free Comic Book Day issue and with Otto’s newfound might largely coming from Hydra resources. This story is ultimately more concerned with Peter and Otto’s battle for Parker Industries, but even there Dan Slott and Stuart Immonen are able to create spiritual and thematic connections to Secret Empire.

HydraCap’s goal in Empire was to take over America, something he thinks he’s owed and that was stripped from him by forces beyond his control (the Cosmic Cube/The Great Lie). Likewise, Otto’s eyes are on Parker Industries, an industrial empire in its own right which Otto also feels like he’s owed (since he did technically found the company, even if he did so via identity theft) but that was stripped from him by forces beyond his control (the return of Peter Parker).

Steve took over America by using its own laws and its own trust in Captain America against it. Otto is likewise able to turn Parker Industries’ own intellectual property — the very things they think will protect them, which, in the case of Amazing Spider-Man 30, consists of their fleet of Spider-Vehicles — against it. Parker and his employees certainly don’t trust Otto, but like Steve Rogers, he’s been hiding in plain sight amongst their ranks since the company’s founding (first as Peter Parker and later as the Living Brain), subtly pushing events in his favor. Hell, nothing says “hiding in plain sight” better than Otto hiding his true name within the Parker Industries logo!

All these parallels make Peter and Otto’s fight for Parker Industries feel relevant to the current Marvel Universe and consistent with the tone of Secret Empire, even while Slott brings to a head ideas and plot points he’s been seeding for up to four years now. Slott certainly knows how to use an event tie-in to his advantage.

The conversation doesn’t stop there. What do you wanna talk about from this issue?

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3 comments on “Exploring Thematic Connections to Secret Empire in Amazing Spider-Man 30

  1. “Slott certainly knows how to use an event tie-in to his advantage.”

    Yup. I’m not sure if in the Secret Empire meeting rooms Slott was pushing to get Doc Ock on HydraCap’s team (he had to have been, right? Otto doesn’t rank up there with the other villains), but this is just a fantastic tie in. I’m going to reread last arc and this arc, but I think this has a chance to go down as a truly classic Spider-Man story. It feels right. Rallying the troops, finding out that he is supported for doing the right thing even though sometimes it feels like he’s not, getting it all together, to only be outmaneuvered and have everything look grim in a terribly ominous final page!

    Damn. I liked this a lot. It’s my favorite part of Secret Empires (which I still think is ok, but just that.)

    • I believe a lot of these events get workshopped by the Marvel writers together at their retreats. Ultimately, the final product is Spencer’s, but he takes ideas from everyone, and they use those workshoping sessions to come up with tie in ideas. So I assume Slott had the idea of how to tie in his Doc Ock story to Secret Empire, and so Spencer adjusted his plans. Same with Deadpool. It is not like either of those characters are important to Spencer’s story. Unlike the other ‘Avengers’, whose place on the team are either important storypoints (Vision, Wanda and Odinson) or the result of events in SPencer’s Steve ROgers book (Taskmaster, Black ANt), those two are literally wallpaper padding out the ranks, while their true stories are beign written by their writers.

      It is honestly a great way to do a tie in, honestly. THe characters, by their very placement, suggest a story that deserves a tie in. But they aren’t important enough to require the tie in to work around events in the main book, allowing Sloto and DUggan the ability to tell their own story

  2. So I probably could have devoted an entire write-up just to Immonen’s art on this. He does so much fun stuff with perspective throughout this issue, from the battle on the side of Parker Industries tower to the shot of Otto’s back in the foreground and Parker Industries in the background, as if they’re staring each other down on equal ground.

    One small panel I loved was when some of Peter’s workers abandoned the company. Immonen focuses only on their feet — the rest of the panel has no background or borders, just background. The workers exit to the panel to the left, with even their word balloon on the left side of the page. The entire right side of the panel is blank, leaving nothing to direct the reader to the next page. It creates an amazing sense of aimlessness and loss, perfectly echoing what Peter must be feeling in that moment. How does Peter move forward from something like that? We’re at as much of a loss as he is.

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