Monday, December 31, 2012

The Week of Dec 26 in Review Part 4 of 5 of December 19 – The Amazing Superior Spider-Man and Identity Crisis

SPOILER ALERT – I reveal what happens in ASM #700

The Ditko Variant - He is still "THE" Spider-Man Artist
I know I was going to continue to review some books from the week of December 19 and I have a couple more that I will get around to, but the bru-ha-ha surrounding the reveal of Amazing Spider-Man and the subsequent weighing in of opinions made me want to add one more grain of sand into the beach of opinions.
I have not read the book, but I have read some of the coverage and spoken to people who read the book. It follows in a straight line from what has already been revealed in ASM #699. Doctor Octopus has taken over Peter Parker’s body, but has all of Peter’s memories. Peter is stuck in Doctor Octopus’ body and has died in ASM #700. The new iteration of Spider-Man is going to be the short lived (IMO) series Superior Spider-Man. I give the book about a year or so.

I have been a Spider-Man fan on and off for many, many years. I finally fell off the series with One More Day. The magical re-set for me was a bridge too far .The character was now not who I had invested in. Heck, over the years, they have killed Aunt May, revived her, had MJ and Peter almost divorced and then the magic reset. Peter Parker is a classic example of why the reset button needs to be hit hard and either do a total restart or the character needs to age and move forward. Even James Bond has been reset over the years. The baggage, especially a solo character, generates over 50 plus years is enormous as is the impetus from an ownership standpoint to keep him the same character. The reason One More Day ended it for me was the dissolution of the marriage of Peter Parker and MJ done in a such a magical way that it invalidated what I thought was a core element of the character. At that point I left the title for awhile.

I checked back in for Big Time and hung out here and there until Spider Island drove me away from the book again. With the advent of the 700th issue I jumped back in and was enjoying the book. It was straight up Spider-Man adventure and since I’m no longer invested in the character it was some light entertainment.
The last issue I read was the whole Doc Ock had taken over Peter Parker. The Superior Spider-Man thing is a nice illusion of change, but in “reality” this is temporary. As for how to get out of the trap of Peter dying there is no trap, Peter Parker is still Peter Parker; he just has Doc Ock imprinted over his mind.
I have watched the movies based on Philip K. Dick and read some of his work. Dick was heavily into what makes a person who they are and he was also heavily into drugs. The idea of identity is a fascinating subject. Total Recall is an examination of the role memory plays in identity. At the end of the picture the main character decides that the memories he has as the hero is who he is at this time. He remains the hero regardless that he was in fact the villain. His implanted memories have given him a new identity. It is an interesting subject as to how much does memory play into our identity. It is especially fascinating given we often don’t even remember everything we have done or misremember events. Blade Runner was always an issue about the Harrison Ford character, was he a replicant? If he was a replicant did that make him less of a person? His identity was possibly just a program. Are our genes just a program for us?

What makes us who we are? Genetics plays a role in how we turn out. It impacts body type, size, longevity, personality, look and many other elements. Are we just genetic predestination playing out our lives as though we have control? Many people who are religious believe that God may have written our destiny already. Do we have free will or not? Nurture versus nature is always a debate. Is how we are raised more important that our genetics? Brain chemistry is a fascinating subject. We now give chemicals to people that impact their brain chemistry and some people do it to themselves. Is someone on medication really who they are? Is the hyperactive child given Ritalin the same person? Is Peter Parker still Peter Parker?

The answer is yes, Peter is still Peter. After exploring what makes a hero and having Peter act in odd ways we will see that after a point in time Doctor Octopus imprinting will start to fade and Peter will become Peter Parker again. He will have to deal with how his life was screwed up by Doc Ock taking him over. This is classic comic book stuff that we have seen a million times before. The hero is possessed and does horrible things, but it is okay because he was not himself. This will be more subtle and Peter may have to live with the repercussion unless he can cut a deal with the devil.

Superior has the difference that they are letting the story run its course longer and are going to show that Peter is the hero as Doc Ock will not be able to be his villainous self. Superior is an amalgamation of the two and could be interesting as an examination of what makes someone who they are. Still we just saw this with Cyclops and of course since the story demanded it, we had to let Cyclops be more responsible for his possession then most (see DD in Shadowland and a million other bad guy takes over body of good guy stories).

The end point will be Doc Ock / Peter Parker are an amalgamation with the good Parker portion winning the day and ultimately as the Doc Ock imprinting disappears you can have Peter Parker is just Peter Parker and ASM #701 coming out in a year or so. It is Marvel giving us a new Spider-Man but he is still Peter Parker. From a marketing stunt standpoint it was too intriguing to not give it a try, ultimately it is a temporary thing and we just have to guess how long the temporary will be. When does the next Spider-Man movie open? That will be the longest possible time this could last.


  1. Thank You. I had no idea what this latest stunt was and appreciate the spoiler. It reaffirms my not reading the book of one of my favorite characters on emotional levels. I can't afford Marvel's prices and would hate to spend money on something like this concept.

  2. Thanks for reading and glad to be of service. One More Day cut all emotional investment I had in the character.