Marvel Comics prides itself on the fact that its stories matter and always will – no major reset or reboots to maintain a set status quo.
If there’s one Marvel hero that doesn’t quite apply to it would seem to be Spider-Man. There’s a feeling among both fans and creators that Peter Parker works the best when he’s a young underdog whose life is full of mistakes and missed changes. Spider-Man is no fun as a perfect guy with a great life that’s protected by thick plot armor. It’s more fun to root for him because things go wrong so often in his life.
That feeling is why so many of Spidey’s cross-media appearances focus on him in high school and college. It’s why Marvel launched an Ultimate Spider-Man that replayed Parker’s origin in the context of the 2000s, and surely a part of him being eventually shuffled to the side for a younger model with Miles Morales.
Back in the main universe, that feeling eventually caused one of Marvel’s biggest retcons ever: erasing Parker’s longstanding marriage to Mary Jane to restore him as a romantic lead and youthen him as a character. Spider-Man definitely surged in popularity in the ensuing years, but many long-term fans never returned as readers.
I don’t really have a dog in that fight, but reading Dan Slott’s recent Spider-Man run has me thinking about Peter Parker the underdog, because Slott seems so intent on giving him his due. He’s the CEO of his own company! He’s approaching Tony Stark levels of outwardly expressed genius, and Stark is rarely an underdog.
How does that play out in the final Spider-Man collection before Secret Wars?
Collects The Amazing Spider-Man (2014) #16-18 & Annual 1
#140char review: Spidey is tired in ASM Vol. 4: Graveyard Shift; it’s all reiterations & wheel-spinning with dodgy art as the pre-Secret Wars clock runs down
CK Says: Skip it!
Dan Slott is amazing at sticking the landing of the crazy concepts he puts Peter Parker through. Everyone turns to spiders! Doc Ock takes over! Every Spider-character ever is hunted down! Yet, here he’s not great at running down the clock on the verge of Secret Wars interrupting his run, even with the assistance of frequent co-writer Cristos Gage. [Read more…] about Review: Amazing Spider-Man, Vol. 4 – Graveyard Shift, by Slott, Gage, & Ramos