The Amazing Spider-Man 14

amazing spider-man 14

Today, Patrick and Drew are discussing The Amazing Spider-Man 14, originally released February 11th, 2015.

Patrick: Were any of you paying attention to Twitter when they announced that Spider-Man would be appearing in the Disney Marvel movies? It was surreal: like a piece of super-fan-fantasy mutated into a news item and enthusiastically expressed itself in the middle of the night. On my feed, no one more more elated by this news than Amazing Spider-Man writer Dan Slott. He filled twitter with all-caps celebrations — not because he had anything to do with negotiating this deal (nor will he have any role in developing Peter Parker’s role in the MCU), but because he’s a goddamn super-fan. As the impresario and master weaver of Spider-Verse, Slott has had the opportunity to shout his love for all the Spiders from the heavens, and in issue 14, he goes out swinging, symbolically ceding his own control over the Spiders back to the characters themselves. Continue reading

The Amazing Spider-Man 12

Alternating Currents: Amazing Spider-Man 12, Drew and Patrick

Today, Drew and Patrick are discussing The Amazing Spider-Man 12, originally released January 7th, 2015.

Drew: Last week, Patrick and I spent a good ten minutes laughing about The Comic Archive’s “Marvel Movie Omnibus” — that is, all of the Marvel Studios films leading up to and through the end of The Avengers compiled into one mega-movie. Never mind that the thing weighs in at an ungainly 12-hour play-time, what really amused us was the steamrolling of narrative cohesion in favor of what the video description calls “correct story order.” I’ve always been a bit peeved when fans are more concerned with how stories fit together than whether they’re emotionally satisfying, and this struck me as the ultimate manifestation of those priorities. Indeed, flashbacks from Thor: The Dark World and Guardians of the Galaxy are included, even though Malekith and Peter Quill don’t otherwise appear in the movie (remember, this only carries through the end of The Avengers), passing over Chekhov’s gun in favor of boneheaded reportage. The result is a work that is so focused on its whole (however unwatchably long it may be) that it fails to offer satisfying servings, such that any movie-sized chunk of it wouldn’t be a satisfying chapter so much as an arbitrary slice of an indivisible monolith. Unfortunately, that’s exactly how I feel about Amazing Spider-Man 12, a slice of “Spider-Verse” that ends up being mostly connective tissue. Continue reading

The Amazing Spider-Man 11

amazing spiderman 11Today, Spencer and Drew are discussing The Amazing Spider-Man 11, originally released December 10th, 2014.
Spencer: My biggest pet-peeve with Geoff Johns’ run on Green Lantern was all the business about Hal Jordan being “the greatest Green Lantern ever.” Maybe it’s just me, but it never felt like Hal earned the title or like Johns was providing much evidence to back up his claim — it always came across like a “he’s the greatest because I say so” moment from Johns. I initially feared a repeat of this situation when, at the end of The Amazing Spider-Man 9, writer Dan Slott claimed that “our” Peter Parker from Earth-616 was the most important Spider-Man of them all, but fortunately, this week’s The Amazing Spider-Man 11 convincingly demonstrates why our Peter is worthy of leading the assembled hoards of “Spider-Verse”. Continue reading

The Amazing Spider-Man 10

amazing spiderman 10Today, Spencer and Drew are discussing The Amazing Spider-Man 10, originally released November 19th, 2014.

Spencer: Obviously, the major draw of Spider-Verse is getting to see so many Spider-Men together in one place. It’s easy to think of them all as one homogenous whole — they’re all Spiders, after all — but this group is actually quite diverse, with each alternate Spider holding their own opinions and viewpoints. The readers no doubt want to see these heroes all work together, but what happens when their ideals begin to clash? This is the bread-and-butter of Dan Slott and Olivier Coipel’s Amazing Spider-Man 10; from Silk chafing at her strict handlers to the science vs. magic debates of Otto and Old Man Spider, this issue is all about the conflicts that threaten to tear the spiders apart when they need to join together the most. Continue reading

The Amazing Spider-Man 9

amazing spiderman 9Today, Spencer and Patrick are discussing The Amazing Spider-Man 9, originally released November 5th, 2014.

Spencer: I started reading comics regularly right at the beginning of DC’s Infinite Crisis crossover event back in 2005 or 2006; the story scattered just about every DC character across the universe, and I must’ve spent hours obsessively charting out which heroes were where. This gave me a big soft spot for massive crossover epics, the kind of stories that can really only be done in superhero comics, which have decades of stories across hundreds of titles to mine. When done right these epics are extraordinarily fun, a testament to the grand histories the DC and Marvel universes have built, but when done wrong they can just feel excessive, too caught up in their own impenetrable histories to tell a coherent story. What strikes me the most about The Amazing Spider-Man 9the first “official” chapter of Spider-Verse — is how aware of this danger writer Dan Slott seems to be. Spider-Verse is a story built around history and cameos, but Slott seems to be going out of his way to make the story — and the stakes — as clear as possible. So far, so good. 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 19

superior spider-man 19Today, Shelby and Ethan are discussing The Superior Spider-Man 19, originally released October 16th, 2013.

Shelby:  Self-awareness is a very important strength to have. You need to know yourself, your strengths and weaknesses, to exist in the world with other people. Sometimes you need to put your head down and push through a situation, and sometimes (more importantly, I think) you need to know when you can’t do something and ask for the help you need. The problem comes in when the help you need is in the form of erased memories of a man who used to be in the body you currently occupy.

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The Superior Spider-Man 18

superior spider-man 18

Today, Shelby and Ethan are discussing The Superior Spider-Man 18, originally released September 11th, 2013.

Shelby: I think Otto Octavius would be a terrible scientist. I know he’s brilliant, but he’s so arrogant he thinks he’s always right. He’s got no curiosity about anything because he believes he already has the right answer. He doesn’t ask questions or believe he can learn anything from anyone else. It’s a classic villain’s trait, really: the inability to think of the myriad of ways your latest scheme will fail because you are so convinced that you have all the answers. It looks like Otto is finally going to pay the price for his hubris, as his actions today could both kill him and all his friends (or, Peter’s friends, anyway), as well as destroy the future.

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The Superior Spider-Man 17

superior spider-man 17

Today, Spencer and Drew are discussing The Superior Spider-Man 17, originally released September 4th, 2013.

Spencer: So how many of you noticed the name of the mall in Back to the Future? At the beginning of the movie it’s “Twin Pines Mall”, but then Marty travels back in time, runs over one of the former owner’s beloved pine trees, and when he returns to the present it’s now called “Lone Pine Mall.” It’s a clever joke, and part of why I love it is because it’s never pointed out or explained in the movie; it’s up to the viewer to catch it and put 2 and 2 together. Dan Slott takes a similar route in this week’s Superior Spider-Man, using time travel to tell the story of the Stone family, but allowing us to piece together the clues and figure out the story for ourselves. It brings some fun to an issue that could otherwise be viewed as a lot of set-up; the rest of the fun comes from the hints of things to come.

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