This time around we have a guest blogger, Avery Mathews. Who is he? He’s an interesting young man who’s come to my attention only recently. When asked to tell us a little about himself he gave this response:
Avery Mathews was doomed from birth to be a geek as he descended from geek parents. He hopes to continue to fight the fandom power from the dark recesses of his dorm room as a freshman in college this fall. You can follow his adventures through newly minted adult life on twitter
Now we all know I’m not exactly a fan of the title in question but this young man makes some interesting points. Be sure to weigh in with your opinions in the comments. Now without further ado I turn you over to Avery.
I’ve always been a fan of redemption tales. Of heroes who may have been bad guys before, but who become part of the good side because they have a crisis of morals or what have you. It traces back to TV shows I would watch like Yu-Gi-Oh, where Seto Kaiba was one of the main antagonists of the first season, but ended up being a part of their friend group (albeit grudgingly) in later seasons. It also showed up in Howl’s Moving Castle, with Howl, who was this dangerous wizard, falling in love with this girl who wanders into his home and changing radically into someone a lot less self-centered.
So I may be a little biased when it comes to Dan Slott’s new Superior Spider-Man; it’s another redemption story, except where it’s one of Spider-Man’s first enemies turning into Spider-Man himself because he was afraid to die. That’s what it boils down to; yes, he wanted to try to continue wreaking havoc, but his actions match what a dying man still stuck in the denial part of the grief cycle would do if he had the chance to get out of it. In fact, wouldn’t we all if we had the chance to break free from death in those final moments? His fear of death propelled Otto Octavius to create a machine to switch their consciousness — and then Peter Parker is unable to switch it back in time.
Instead, Peter does something more astounding in his final moments. Rather than fighting against Otto, he subjects Otto Octavius to his memories throughout all of these years, throughout 700 issues of Amazing Spider-Man and who knows how many issues of other comics. And it works. It was understanding what Peter had gone through that convinced Otto that perhaps the side of good needs the help.
This received a lot of criticism from a lot of people. Sometimes, I can’t go onto my Twitter account without seeing Dan Slott retweeting some particularly harsh comments that people had tweeted at him about how much they hated what he did. And, in fact, the letter page of the first few issues of Superior Spider-Man was filled with people writing in to complain about what Dan Slott had done. Because Dan Slott took a character that has been around for fifty-odd years and killed him, and had one of his biggest enemies take his place as Spider-Man.
In my opinion, this was one of the best things that Slott could have done. Coinciding it with the new “Marvel Now” initiative (which other comics didn’t really work with too well), he ended Amazing Spider-Man with its 700th issue, which is a pretty amazing number to end off with, and started Superior Spider-Man by taking a big risk and killing off Peter Parker. The second time Marvel has done that.
Now, I didn’t read Spider-Man before these last few issues of Amazing. I mean, I read some of Ultimate Spider-Man, but it wasn’t too many issues of it, and a bunch of the issues were with Miles Morales as Spider-Man. I was raised on the movies, which may not be a consolation for some of you. But when I heard someone else was taking over the role as Spider-Man by the end of the 700th issue, I was suddenly really interested in reading it — because change is okay. Peter Parker has been Spider-Man for fifty years or so — in multiple universes, in so very many plot arcs, and so many spin-off titles and whatnot. It was time for Peter Parker to exit stage left.
By bringing Otto Octavius in as the new Spider-Man, rather than introducing a 616-Miles Morales or even just bringing in a new person to take over as Spider-Man, Slott started a redemption story line that rivaled what the Thunderbolts ended up going through after the first dozen issues. It was a change that not many accepted, but should have been welcomed. Reading through the first dozen issues of Superior Spider-Man, I can’t help but be invested in Octavius’s journey to be an even better Spider-Man than…well, Spider-Man himself.
And I end up rooting for him, because I want him to have a chance to prove that he can be an amazing superhero too. He’s spent this long being a bad guy, and now he has the chance to be something amazing. Something…superior.