Old Habits Die Hard in Amazing Spider-Man 796

by Drew Baumgartner

Amazing Spider-Man 796

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

There’s a concept in psychology of the “repetition compulsion,” which essentially lays out a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy for our neuroses. A straightforward (and non-pathological) example would be an introvert avoiding big crowds, which in turn prevents them from developing comfort around (or at least strategies to cope with) big crowds, which in turn encourages them to avoid big crowds, but this phenomenon can be seen operating at everything from our smallest habits to our biggest problems. Lest this sound too fatalistic, those cycles of repetition can be broken, but my actual point in bringing them up is just to emphasize how cyclical our lives can be — even when embarking on a new adventure, our old habits may force them to resemble our old adventures. Such has long been the case of superheroes, whose new adventures are in part only marketable because people liked the old adventures, so leaning into those repetition compulsions (even the destructive ones) is a logical choice.

Writer Dan Slott has always managed to keep a remarkable balance between the old and the new, repeating enough to keep his characters recognizable, but changing enough to keep the stories exciting, largely by changing the big patterns (Pete’s job, relationship status, identity, etc) but holding onto the small ones (Pete’s talkativeness, bad luck, sense of responsibility, etc). But with issue 796, Slott and co-writer Christos Gage begin folding some of those larger repetitions back into the mix, suggesting that Slott might just be putting the toys back in place as he hands over the reigns of the series he’s been writing for over a decade. Continue reading

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Mulligans Are Good in Golf, Not in Amazing Spider-Man 795

By Taylor Anderson

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

Anyone who knows anything about magic and time travel knows there’s always cost for either of them. Use magic to help yourself out, and you better bet your ass that some ironic malady will strike you later. Use time travel and you better be prepared for the consequences caused by your mucking up the time-space continuum. But if you’re Loki, these rules may not apply to you, and in that case, why not mess with both? He does just this with Peter Parker, but with there being no consequences to these actions, it seems like a pointless gesture in more ways than one.

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Amazing Spider-Man 794: Discussion

By Drew Baumgartner and Taylor Anderson

Amazing Spider-Man 794

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

I never get enough sleep. I stay up late at night, cause I’m Night Guy. Night Guy wants to stay up late. “What about getting up after five hours sleep?” Oh that’s Morning Guy’s problem. That’s not my problem, I’m Night Guy.

Jerry Seinfeld

Drew: I’ve never heard anyone defend procrastination. We know it’s stupid and lazy, passing off the problem on our future selves, but we still do it, anyway. Charitably, we might describe this as some kind of prioritization or planning maneuver, but more often than not, it’s just putting off whatever work needs to actually be done. But here’s the thing: there are rarely any consequences for procrastination. I mean, sure, you might put writing your term paper (or government budget) off so long that you completely blow your deadline, but so long as you don’t fall into that trap, procrastination is more of a recipe for annoyance than it is failure. Case in point: Spidey’s delayed showdown with Scorpio in Amazing Spider-Man 794. Continue reading

The Amazing Spider-Man 25

Today, Spencer and Patrick are discussing The Amazing Spider-Man 25, originally released March 15th, 2017. As always, this article containers SPOILERS.

Spencer: As Aunt May herself points out this week, Peter Parker’s always been a busy guy. Add running a major international company to his already impressive pile of responsibilities and it’s almost guaranteed that something will start to give. The massive Amazing Spider-Man 25 digs into that dilemma from all angles, reminding readers of every task Peter’s got on his plate and what’s at risk if he fails at any one of them. It’s an almost overwhelming issue, a trait that effectively puts readers in Peter’s overstressed shoes. Continue reading

Spider-Verse Team Up 3

spider-verse team-up 3
Today, Patrick and Spencer are discussing Spider-Verse Team-Up 3, originally released January 21st, 2015.

Patrick: We’ve gotten to understand the rhythms of Spider-Verse pretty well at this point. Meet some Spiders; have some fun with them; there’s some meta-commentary; maybe someone dies; repeat until you’re no longer having fun. Spider-Verse Team-Up 3 subverts that trend, turning thematic patterns on their head and insisting that Spider-Verse is more nuanced and interesting than it ever let on. But is what we sacrifice in fun worth the extra depth? Continue reading

The Amazing Spider-Man 1

amazing spider-man 1Today, Patrick and Spencer are discussing The Amazing Spider-Man 1, originally released April 30th, 2014.

Patrick: If The Superior Spider-Man had us all asking what it means to be a hero (and, by extension, what it means to be a villain), then The Amazing Spider-Man seems poised to ask the question of what it means to be Spider-Man. It is a surprisingly wide question, with seemingly hundreds of discrete answers. What’s it mean to be Spider-Man? Kaine will tell you one thing, Miguel O’Hara will tell you another thing, Peter Parker will tell you something else, and Doc Ock (may he rest in peace) probably wouldn’t dignify the question with a response. Y’see, there are a lot of Spiders out there, and even more Spider-fans; what we want and what we expect from Spider-Man is so varied that even an issue designed to celebrate the hero can’t pick a tone and stick to it. It’s a fascinating, if uneven (and possibly even fascinatingly uneven), exploration of Spider-Man. Continue reading

The Superior Spider-Man 31

superior spider-man 31

Today, Shelby and Patrick are discussing The Superior Spider-Man 31, originally released April 16th, 2014.

Shelby: If I learned anything from watching countless episodes of M*A*S*H* as a child, it’s that the first step of dealing with any disaster is triage. You need to assess the situation and make some quick decisions to prioritize your next steps. Usually this means letting some people in pain suffer a little while longer so you can tend to the immediately life-threatening issues. It’s only after you’ve stopped the bleeding and patched up the worse off can you step back and consider the situation as a whole; that’s the point you can begin to make some decisions about long-term fixes and really start cleaning up your mess.

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The Superior Spider-Man 25

superior spider-man 25Today, Spencer and Drew are discussing The Superior Spider-Man 25, originally released January 15th, 2014.

Spencer: SPOILER ALERT: Peter Parker’s coming back.

Of course, anybody who has been keeping up with comic news in even the slightest already knows this. With news of Peter’s upcoming return in mind, it’s hard to look at The Superior Spider-Man 25 without focusing on just how exactly his return will play out and what it will mean for Otto. Fortunately, writer Dan Slott (assisted on this issue by Christos Gage) is ramping up the intrigue as this book nears its end. I have no idea how this series will resolve itself, but I do know one of the things I’m going to miss most about it: the expansive world and cast of supporting characters Slott has built up around Otto. Continue reading

The Flash 26

flash 26

Today, Scott and Shelby are discussing The Flash 26, originally released December 31st, 2013.

Scott: I recently watched the first episode of BBC’s Sherlock. After just a few minutes it was clear that the show is awesome- compelling characters, great acting, cool editing, etc. Then, something strange happened: halfway through the episode, I lost interest. I couldn’t figure it out; I had enjoyed everything about the show so far, but I couldn’t keep my head in it. It dawned on me that the show wasn’t following a typical format. The 90-minute episode is the length of a feature film, but with the slowly developing characters and relationships you’d expect from a new TV series. There’s nothing bad about the episode, it just doesn’t fit with what I’ve been trained to expect from a TV show. The beats were coming in the wrong places. I had the same feeling about The Flash 26. A stand alone issue of Flash? Something doesn’t seem right.
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The Superior Spider-Man 13

superior spider-man 13

Today, Spencer and Patrick are discussing The Superior Spider-Man 13, originally released July 10th, 2013.

“What we leave behind is something we each determine, through the way we live our lives. Whether we achieve something we can be proud of, or fall short, we have only ourselves to blame.”

—The Superior Spider-Man, Otto Octavius

Spencer: From Ghost-Peter’s laments about how Otto was tarnishing his good name to Otto’s annoyance over his future inventions all being credited to Peter, legacy has been a reoccurring concern in the Superior Spider-Man since its very beginning. After the events of this issue Otto is ready to create a new legacy, free from the influence of Peter Parker, but without Peter’s guidance and memories, can he truly live up to the high moral standards of Spider-Man? Otto said it himself: if he leaves behind a legacy of failure or terror, he’s only got himself to blame.

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