It’s Power vs Responsibility in The Amazing Spider-Man 5

by Drew Baumgartner

Amazing Spider-Man 5

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

O, it is excellent
To have a giant’s strength, but it is tyrannous
To use it like a giant.

William Shakespeare, Measure for Measure

We tend to define power optimistically — we might list the duties of say, the President of the United States, for example, with the expectation that they’ll wield their power responsibly. But there’s another (perhaps more timely) way to define power, not by the amount of good it allows someone to do, but by the amount of harm it allows someone to inflict. Try as we (or Uncle Ben) might to link the two, power and responsibility are independent variables. That is, “With great power must also come great responsibility” isn’t a statement of some inviolable rule of the world, but a goal to strive towards. That’s why the “must also” part is so essential (and so missed from Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man) — it makes it clear Uncle Ben isn’t just stating a fact. Indeed, that power can be separated from responsibility is precisely what this first arc of Nick Spencer and Ryan Ottley’s Amazing Spider-Man has focused on, demonstrating the inefficacy of either without the other. Continue reading

The Separation Anxiety of The Amazing Spider-Man 4

by Michael DeLaney

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

Say it with me now: “With great power comes great responsibility.” The phrase that the house of Spider-Man was built on has taken literal form as “Back to Basics” continues in The Amazing Spider-Man 4. Only in the wacky world of comic bookdom could we have two separate Spider-Men: Great Power & Great Responsibility (Superman Red & Superman Blue?) created as the byproduct of science.

Nick Spencer and Ryan Ottley continue to explore what these essential qualities of Spider-Man/Peter Parker look like when put under separate microscopes. For brevity’s sake I will refer to “Great Power” as Spider-Man and “Great Responsibility” as Peter. Without his responsibility, Spider-Man is actually more successful than he’s ever been – depending on how you measure success. Continue reading

Invincible 103

invincible 103

Today, Patrick and (guest writer) Zach are discussing Invincible 103, originally released June 19th, 2013.

Patrick: Invincible is a series that resits being discussed on any terms but its own. Robert Kirkman has built up such an extensive cast of characters, and such a rich history, that nearly every new thing that happens can find its origin in previous issues of this series. There are three different editors’ notes in this issue, the first refers me back to to the Death of Everyone story (which I actually read), but the next note refers to issue 37 which came out seven years ago, and the other to the spin-off series Guarding the Globe. I always used to get the feeling that an editor’s note was in place to be helpful, assure you that there was some precedent for the thing that was happening. Failing that, the editor’s note was just trying to sell me some related material – a slightly-less-altruistic kind of helpful. Invincible editor Sean Mackiewicz uses them for another reason altogether – to identify moments of fan-service. It’s like Kirkman writes in all these winks and nudges to his long-time readers, only to have Mackiewicz let us newbies know how clever he’s being. Continue reading

Invincible 102

Alternating Currents: Invincible 102, Drew and PatrickToday, Drew and Patrick are discussing Invincible 101, originally released April 24th, 2013.

Drew: Big reveals can be a lot of fun, but they often have the effect of retroactively making everything leading up to them seem patently absurd. The very notion of “spoilers” bears this out — sure, knowing Bruce Willis was dead all along removes the impact of the reveal, but the more lasting effect of knowing is that it draws your attention to how hard the movie works to never explicitly show that he’s alive, ruining what would have otherwise seemed totally innocuous. Once you know he’s dead, he can’t credibly be seen as not dead, which makes the whole movie kind of dumb. As a newcomer to Invincible, the big reveal in issue 102 feels a lot like that spoiler, shifting our perspective on a character so drastically that I find it hard to believe we could have ever thought anything else. Continue reading

Invincible 100

invincible 100

Today, Mikyzptlk and Patrick are discussing Invincible 100, originally released January 30th, 2013.

Mikyzptlk: Well, here we are at issue 100 of Invincible AND the 1st Alternating Current about Invincible. Wait, what do you mean we’ve never covered this book before? Oh boy, we’ve got our work cut out for us this time. In all seriousness, this is actually the first time that Retcon Punch is tackling Robert Kirkman’s Invincible, and it was my bright idea to start covering it at issue 100. I was hoping that the issue would begin with some kind of summary of events leading up to what was happening in the current issue to give potential new readers a chance to catch up. Instead, we jumped right in where the previous issue left off. I shouldn’t have been surprised as this is simply Robert Kirkman’s style. His comics don’t have previously pages, nor does he have his characters awkwardly dole out exposition in order to catch readers up. You’ve either read the previous issues or you haven’t. While this might make it difficult for new readers to jump aboard his series, it makes for the most seamless transitions between issues, and an overall story that feels more real. That said, it seems that Kirkman is, in fact, attempting to restore the main character to his roots somewhat, which might just make it a bit easier for new readers to jump aboard after all.

Continue reading