Peter Gets a New Set of Great Responsibilities in The Amazing Spider-Man 791

by Drew Baumgartner

Amazing Spider-Man 791

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

“With great power must also come great responsibility.” Every Spider-Man fan knows these words as well as Peter Parker himself, so you’d think we’d have a good handle on what it means. And we do, to some degree — Peter’s superhuman powers demand that he take on superhuman responsibilities — but much of the tension comes from how all that superheroing clashes with the other responsibilities in his life. Writer Dan Slott has always kept that aspect of Spider-Man in mind, giving Peter more personal and professional responsibilities than he can really keep track of. It’s a juggling act we’re all familiar with in our own lives, and Amazing Spider-Man 791 finds Slott adding one more that clearly means a lot to him: publishing deadlines. Continue reading

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Peter Parker Sacrifices Action in Spectacular Spider-Man 297

by Patrick Ehlers

Peter Parker The Spectacular Spider-Man 297

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

Peter spends the majority of Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man 297 out-smarting, out-punching, and out-maneuvering both the NYPD and S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Mintz. And he does it all while being underpowered and trying to keep his identity a secret. It’s the kind of Spider-Man story that wordlessly plays in the fantasies of Spider-Man fans — scrape after scrape, close-call after close-call, until he finally escapes. It’s thrilling, wonderful stuff. Writer Chip Zdarsky and artist Adam Kubert use this issue to set up these thrilling heroics as the stakes of this arc, rather than the actual substance thereof. Continue reading

Epistolary Irreverence in The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl 26

by Drew Baumgartner

Unbeatable Squirrel Girl 26

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

The provenance of epistolary texts are always weird. Actually, it’s probably less weird than traditional narratives, where we might somehow be privy to the private thoughts of the protagonist or even the perspective of an omniscient narrator, but epistolary texts necessarily draw our attention to the weirdness in a way that more traditional narratives don’t. Because we’re reading documents composed within the diegesis of the epistolary narrative, the ostensible writer of those documents are a character, even as the actual writer attempts to become invisible. That tension, between our hyperawareness of the fictional author, and purported obliviousness of the actual author, puts epistolary narratives in this weird netherworld of headspace, embracing the self-awareness of postmodernism in an attempt to produce an entirely un-self-aware story. It’s a concept that already folds in on itself, but writer Ryan North adds a few more wrinkles, confusing the notion of self-awareness enough that the confusion starts to be to point. Continue reading

Big Changes Come Naturally in Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man 6

by Spencer Irwin

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

Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man 6‘s big twist was spoiled for me before I could read the issue, but even in isolation it was a fascinating choice that legitimately surprised me. The fact that Chip Zdarsky was allowed to make such a move showed me that Marvel has quite a bit of faith both in Zdarsky as a writer and in Peter Parker as a title where big important things can happen, rather than just a humor-focused alternative to the flagship Amazing Spider-Man. The moment works even better in context, where it comes at the climax of an issue-long debate and argument between Spider-Man and J. Jonah Jameson. Continue reading

Peter Continues to Grow, Even as He Regresses, in The Amazing Spider-Man 790

by Spencer Irwin

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

If internet reaction is to be believed (spoiler alert: it’s often not), making Peter Parker the CEO of his own company was not a popular direction for the character. I’ve seen complaints that the stories just “didn’t feel like Spider-Man,” but I’ve never agreed with that — those adventures were writer Dan Slott pulling off what so many creators try and fail to do, respecting the core of a character (“with great power must also come great responsibility”) while finding new ways to express and progress those intrinsic traits. My biggest fear about “Legacy” and the death of Parker Industries has been that Peter would regress, and while he does seem to be taking a few steps backwards as he deals with the loss of his company, in Amazing Spider-Man 790 Slott and Stuart Immonen show that they’re still interested in moving Peter’s story forward and finding ways for him to grow as a person. Continue reading

Deadpool vs. Old Man Logan 1: Discussion

by Michael DeLaney and Spencer Irwin

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

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Michael: A common criticism of a piece of fiction is “nothing really happened.” The meaning of that blanket statement can vary depending on who the critic is and more specifically what they’re expecting. A great example of this is the Season 3 Breaking Bad episode “The Fly.” Critics praised the bottle episode as a brilliant character study while it left many audiences unimpressed with the fact that “nothing really happened.” While I try to appreciate the deeper meaning of a piece of work, I must say that in Deadpool vs. Old Man Logan 1…nothing really happens. Continue reading

Parker Luck Returns in The Amazing Spider-Man 789

by Drew Baumgartner

Amazing Spider-Man 789

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

Here’s a question: What would you say is the platonic public perception of Spider-Man in the Marvel Universe? Never mind the exceptional circumstances of specific story arcs, do we imagine in general that the public sees Spider-Man as a hero, or do we think J. Jonah Jameson’s one-man crusade against him has influenced public opinion? I suppose I’ve always seen him as misunderstood by the general public, but his interactions with individual New Yorkers always seemed positive — there’s not a whole lot of ambiguity when you see him rescuing babies from burning buildings. Maybe it speaks to just how street-level Spider-Man has traditionally been that his sphere of personal influence would be small, but it sure seems like the citizens of Spider-Man’s New York are on the whole easily swayed by the media they consume. That’s probably an evergreen theme, but it’s one that feels particularly relevant in our modern political climate, and one that comes back in a decidedly unexpected way in Amazing Spider-Man 789. Continue reading

Worlds Collide and Teams Clash in Avengers 672

by Spencer Irwin

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

Avengers 672 opens with both the Avengers and the Champions having the same fight in two different places. A new satellite is about to reveal images either confirming or denying proof of the High Evolutionary’s Counter Earth, a planet sharing our orbit on the far side of the sun. Nova and Peter Parker have both been to the planet, but Amadeus and Wasp insist that it cannot exist because it would defy all laws of physics and throw off the balance of the entire solar system. Mark Waid and Jesus Saiz use this scenario — of two planets that cannot share the same orbit without causing destruction — to illustrate the problem facing both of these teams: they can’t be in the same place without tearing each other down. Continue reading

Generations Sam Wilson Captain America & Steve Rogers Captain America 1: Discussion

by Patrick Ehlers and Ryan Mogge

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

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Patrick: One of the harsher truths of Secret Empire is that America was always run on an engine of hatred and fear. Racism, sexism, classism, fascism — neither Hydra Cap nor Donald Trump invented these things. They didn’t even popularize or legitimize them, they’re simply high profile embodiments thereof. It is increasingly easy to read the totality of American history as ugly and hateful, filled with crass opportunists, liars, and mass murderers. That can make the USA a hard hero to root for. With Generations Sam Wilson Captain America & Steve Rogers Captain America 1, writer Nick Spencer goes back in time, giving both Sam Wilson and his readers a lifetime to reconsider the value in fighting for what may, at times, appear to be a lost cause. Continue reading

There’s Pain in Generations: Miles Morales Spider-Man and Peter Parker Spider-Man 1

By Taylor Anderson

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

Spider-Man is an oddly political figure these days. When news leaked a couple years back that Sony required Spider-Man to always be white and straight, people were furious. Similarly, a different group of people were infuriated when it was learned that there would be an afro-latino Spider-Man represented by Miles Morales. Bearing this in mind, the meet up of old and new in Generations could be a chance to address these timely issues head-on, but sadly, it’s not. Continue reading