Amazing Spider-Man 1: Discussion

By Drew Baumgartner and Patrick Ehlers

Amazing Spider-Man 1

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

Drew: If you only had one word to describe Spider-Man, what would it be? Strength? Responsibility? Verbosity? These are all great answers, each with plenty of classic Spidey stories that emphasize those characteristics, but they aren’t quite perfect. Plenty of heroes are as strong and/or responsible, and a few even talk as much as Spider-Man, but there’s something else that makes him unique. With Amazing Spider-Man 1, Nick Spencer and Ryan Ottley offer up their own answer — one I had never considered, but feels obvious on reflection: Karma. Beyond his powers and the responsibilities that come with them, Spider-Man is a person plagued by the consequences of his past mistakes. Continue reading

Amazing Spider-Man 801: Discussion

By Spencer Irwin and Patrick Ehlers

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

Spencer: Dan Slott has written more issues of The Amazing Spider-Man than any other creator ever. That’s not something one achieves if they merely “like” a character — Slott clearly loves Spider-Man in a way even the most die-hard of fans can only dream of. Writing his adventures has certainly changed Slott’s world for the better, and that’s a sentiment he expresses beautifully in The Amazing Spider-Man 801, his final issue on the title. It’s a love letter to the power of Spider-Man told in the only way that kind of story really can be told — through the perspective of a fan. 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

Spider-Verse 1

Alternating Currents: Spider-Verse 1, Drew and SpencerToday, Drew and Spencer are discussing Spider-Verse 1, originally released November 12th, 2014.

Drew: I tend to jump to conclusions about media before I’ve ever consumed it. I know that seems problematic for someone who reviews media, but with so many movies, shows, and comic books out there, it’s impossible to try them all, so I tend to gravitate towards the ones I think I’ll like. Of course, it’s an imperfect system, meaning I sometimes bet on a dud, or miss something truly great, but without any other way to pre-filter content, I continue to defer to my gut. After weeks and weeks of buildup to Spider-Verse, which seemed to pimp the event as a high-stakes affirmation of Spider-Man’s necessity in not just our universe, but ALL universes, my gut was telling me that this event was not for me, but I decided to give it a fair shot. Fortunately, my gut turned out to be wrong, with Spider-Verse 1 serving not as a herald of doom and gloom, but as a celebration of what makes the idea of Spider-Man so fun in the first place. Continue reading

The Superior Spider-Man 2

Alternating Currents: The Superior Spider-Man 2, Drew and Shelby

Today, Drew and Shelby are discussing The Superior Spider-Man 2, originally released January 30th 2013.

Drew: Comics are about big conflicts — right vs. wrong, good vs. evil — but it’s rare to see them tackle the more complex subject of nature vs. nurture. Part of that may simply be that it would muddle the simple, primary color notion of good guys fighting bad guys, but I think the larger reason is that it’s a difficult conflict to dramatize. For adults, the root cause of their evil behavior generally isn’t as bad as stopping it, but even when writers take pains to explore the forces of nurture through flashbacks, there’s no real way to demonstrate nature. It’s a microcosm of the debate as a whole — how can you ever eliminate either as a variable? — but can lead to fascinating questions. With issue 2, Dan Slott has poised The Superior Spider-Man as the perfect place to explore those questions further. Continue reading

The Superior Spider-Man 1

Alternating Currents: The Superior Spider-Man, Drew and Patrick

Today, Drew and Patrick are discussing The Superior Spider-Man 1, originally released January 9th 2013.

Drew: What does it mean to be good? Is it about thought or action? That is, does a good person have only good thoughts, or are they simply keeping their bad thoughts from influencing their actions. The popular notion of a conscience as a little angel on your shoulder (or well-dressed cricket, depending on who you ask) suggests that we expect even the best people to consider less-than-savory options, even if they don’t ultimately act on them, but it’s ultimately one that we don’t see dramatized very often. Peter may want to stick around for his date with Mary Jane while a bank heist goes on up the street, but there’s never really any doubt that he’ll be jumping out the window in the next page or so. Otto Octavius doesn’t have that sense of duty, so when he battles with his conscience in Superior Spider-Man, we’re not exactly sure who is going to win. Continue reading

The Amazing Spider-Man 700

Alternating Currents: Amazing Spider-Man 700, Mikyzpltk and Drew

Today, Mikyzptlk and Drew are discussing The Amazing Spider-Man 700, originally released December 26th 2012.

Mikyzptlk: I’ve always heard that, for writers, endings are the hardest part of a story to write. Most of the time, comic book writers who are helming flagship characters like Wonder Woman or Spider-Man don’t have to worry too much about coming up with an actual ending for their characters. Sure, they definitely have to come up with an ending to their story arcs, but that’s a far different thing than coming up with an ending for the characters themselves. This week, Dan Slott finds himself in the unique position of writing the ending (yeah right) of not only The Amazing Spider-Man but of Peter Parker himself. Continue reading