Amazing Spider-man #700: Why it Disappoints

My thoughts on how this finale dropped the ball.

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By BIGBMH - 12/27/2012
SPOILER WARNING! I will be discussing this story in great detail, so don't read any further if you don't want to be spoiled.



I realize many of you prefer to read your articles instead of watching videos, so I've written it up so you have the choice of which version you prefer. There are two major elements of this story to look at: Peter's death and the transition to Doc Ock as the new Spider-man. In my opinion, both were pretty poorly executed.

Peter's death

Doc Ock is a better Spider-man
It really felt like out of place to imply that Doc Ock is a better Spider-man than Peter in his final issue. First there is the moment when they're falling and Peter sees that Doc Ock was able to make a better web cushion than he ever did. Doc Ock has only been in Peter's body for about a day and already he's using his webs in a way Peter never thought of in all the years he was Spider-man. There's also the ending which I'll touch on later.

Peter fails
When Peter talked to Uncle Ben, he was told that he no longer had to carry the responsibility of being Spider-man to make up for his mistake. However, Uncle Ben told him that he needed to do this one last thing as Spider-man before he could rest: get his body back from Doc Ock. When it comes down to it, Peter Parker fails in the very last thing he tried to accomplish. He was defeated. Arguably, the larger mission was to save his loved ones from Doc Ock, and he did that by turning Ock good, but he was still bested and had to go for the consolation prize.

No one knows Peter died
Peter dies in Doc Ock's withered, sickly body. He never had a chance to say goodbye to his loved ones. They won't mourn his loss. The world won't honor his sacrifice. The combination of all this felt like a pretty terrible send-off for this character.

Doc Ock as the successor

The transition to being a good guy was too quick
All of this happened in one issue, mostly in the last few pages. During the fight with Scorpion, Doc Ock knocks Scorpion's jaw off and realizes that Peter must have been holding back all these years. At that point, he gains a some respect for how Spider-man has handled himself but not enough to really change him. Then, in Peter's dying moment, he reached out through a mental connection and makes Doc Ock feel all of the emotions that Peter felt through the years as he went through the trials of being Spider-man. All of a sudden Doc Ock is a good guy because he respects and sympathizes with Spider-man. If this had been more gradual it would have made more sense, but it all happened so quickly and felt rather cheap.

His conflict with spider-man wasn't personal enough
Doc Ock has had a long lasting rivalry with Spider-man, but his conflict with Peter wasn't quite personal enough for this reconciliation to carry the intended emotional weight. Norman Osborn is definitely Peter's arch nemesis and with the history they have and the great hatred Peter has for him, it would have been more meaningful to see him reform. Eddie Brock started out with a great hatred for Peter Parker, so to see the two of them find an understanding before Peter's death would have also been a good option. The basic concept of a villain becoming Spider-man isn't terrible, but they could have made a better choice.

As for heroes, my top choice would have been Flash Thompson. He has been around since issue one and has a long history with Peter Parker. He idolizes Spider-man and as the central character of the new Venom series, has proven he can carry a story. It would have been difficult to write a good way for him to transition from Venom to Spider-man, but it could have worked and I definitely would have been satisfied to see him finally uncover the truth about his longtime friend and step into his shoes.

"Superior Spider-man" just feels like an insult to Peter
When a character dies, he's usually given a lot of respect by those who knew him. In the case of character's who had other's take up their mantle, you normally see the successor trying to live up to that legacy and honor the life of the person who came before them. (Dick Grayson becoming Batman, Bucky Barnes becoming Captain America, Miles Morales becoming Ult. Spider-man etc.) This makes the transition easier because the audience sees that the successor respects the character as much as they do. In the case of Doc Ock, moments after Peter has died and Ock has gained this new respect for him, he starts talking about how he's going to be better. Who on Earth honors someone by saying that they're going to be a better version of them? Superior Spider-man as a title really is an insult to Peter Parker, which is a terrible way to try to transition. The fan base is attached and loyal to Peter, so for many of us there's going to be a natural resistance to getting behind a character who calls himself better than the hero we loved. Supporting a "Superior" Spider-man almost feels like a betrayal of Peter Parker. It's really just a terrible idea for a title and a premise.

Can you really transition after 50 years?
Spider-man is one of the most iconic superheroes in existence. In the past 50 years, he has not only had his comic book series, but he's been featured in many cartoons, movies, video games, etc. The fact that Peter Parker is Spider-man is ingrained in the public consciousness. At this point, I doubt you can ever really pass the torch to another character. It's like when Dick Grayson became Batman. Even throughout that time, if you went to the Wikipedia page it would tell you Bruce Wayne was Batman. Same with Captain America. There are some identities you can pass down (Robin, Green Lantern, The Flash) and there are some you can't. As the animated series Ultimate Spider-man (unfortunately) continues, kids will see Peter as Spider-man. When the sequel to The Amazing Spider-man comes out, the world will see Peter as Spider-man. Peter Parker fans aren't going anywhere. We'll be patiently (of impatiently) waiting until Marvel undoes this crap and gives us back the amazing, superior, and ONLY Spider-man, Peter Parker.

(Sorry, Miles. Maybe you should be Ultimate Scarlet Spider.)
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23 Comments
BIGBMH - 12/27/2012, 9:46 AM
Thanks for reading!
Asterisk - 12/27/2012, 10:19 AM
I just like variety sometimes. I think it'll just be a fun read. Doesn't really seem like something to get upset about to me. It's all about having fun, right?

VIRILEMAN - 12/27/2012, 10:50 AM
I love how you took the long drawn out approach to simply say "Dan Slott is a bad writer, and this story is a great example of how bad he is."
BIGBMH - 12/27/2012, 10:54 AM
@Asterisk, I'm not really upset. Disappointed, but I've got other series that I'm enjoying reading right now.

@VIRILEMAN, I'm not familiar with much of his other work beyond this series, but it has been pretty meh for a while now.
MrDonut - 12/27/2012, 11:15 AM
Great article 100% agree with everything you said
The unfortunate aspect of all this is that I have a feeling a fair amount of people will buy 'Superior Spider-Man'... I just hope it is critically panned because as much as I am one for change and shaking things up, giving a hero a sub-par death instantly demotes a story (no matter how good/bad it is) in my eyes... Ultimate Marvel took the right approach with Peter and let him go out like a champ, Slott should've taken a cue from that if anything or at least had one person (maybe Carlie Cooper or the Lizard) figure it out...
TheManWithBigEars - 12/27/2012, 11:23 AM
Gotta agree with u n 'MrDonut'
Just a very poorly rushed story; if it had been a gradual change in Ock over a couple of issues I'd have found it more acceptable; maybe some instances were he saves people as Peter and likes doing good or something... I dunno... Long story short I really hope it doesn't do well, I didn't enjoy it at all and unfortunately wasted money on it...
connor110693 - 12/27/2012, 11:46 AM
im curious as to how many people read the avenging spiderman 15.1 because this article screams of that exact fact, no he isnt a proper hero yet avenging shows you this hes is still learning, am i happy with the death no for i like so many others love peter and spiderman, but really avenging is a must read before you can bitch about developments
BIGBMH - 12/27/2012, 1:01 PM
@connor110693, I can't see how 15.1 could change any point I've made aside from "The transition to being a good guy was too quick." It may ease the transition somewhat, but several issues still exist.

connor110693 - 12/27/2012, 1:09 PM
@BIGBMH- yes i understand there may be other issues but i am just bringing up the fact that it has been heavily emphasised that you have to read avenging to get the full story and it doesnt ease the transition somewhat, it does ease the transition, making it feel very much like the beginning of his story, i agree with alot of your points but i think you should pick avenging up, they told you too and i did and i found it easier so i fail to see why anyone else wouldnt pick it up to see at least more of the story that was laid out at the end of 700 you dont need to continue after that its just there is a reason there telling you too pick it up
connor110693 - 12/27/2012, 1:13 PM
@splenda

and thats the point.... everyones saying he grew into a good guy too quick, thats whats 15.1 proved he didnt hes still learning he come to the realisation of himself in that issue that is the point and you have just proven my point
Parker2017 - 12/27/2012, 1:33 PM
agree with you man. So if he didn;t learn his lesosn why should he be cnsidered to be spider-man? What gives OCk the right thsi terrible villian who cause so much destuction? I knwo they want to build him Up in Superior on this road to redeption but hoenstly I would have to say its been doen and better its called Kaine Parker as the Scarelett Spider-man.

@BIGBHM That's the main unique thing about Parker, he has no Real Arch nemesis if anything "The world" is his main nemisis, but agree with you on everything.
Parker2017 - 12/27/2012, 1:33 PM
oh and thanks for comparing dick as batman and bucky as Cap. beucase THEY EARN IT!! they worekd with it, it added and could have happen.
BIGBMH - 12/27/2012, 2:26 PM
@connor110693, I understand. I don't mean to dismiss that. At some point I will probably read 15.1.

@Parker2017, I agree. What I've read of Scarlett Spider has been very enjoyable. And you're welcome. I really like Bucky and Dick. I didn't read much of Dick's time as Batman, but Bucky's time as Cap was very well-done.
JM4Superman - 12/27/2012, 6:46 PM
I agree, it is an insult to Peter. Killing him off in Ultimate Spider-man is one thing but to do this to guy? [frick] atleast in the ultimate universe, everyone mourn his death. [frick] you Dan Slott
VIRILEMAN - 12/27/2012, 7:07 PM
What really pisses me off is Slott is totally convinced people are loving this crap.
Parker2017 - 12/27/2012, 11:26 PM
@BIGBMH Thank you ^^ yeah and as much as I loathe USm (theh roginal I really am enjoying Miles) That Parkers death was handle with care, nd with a lot more diginity and grace.

@VIRILEMAN I agreew ithy uo 1000%.
bgharcourt - 12/27/2012, 11:29 PM
Did any read the tweet Stan Lee shot at Slott.
“early happy birthday” from Superior Spider-Man writer Dan Slott on Twitter, Spider-Man creator Stan Lee responded, “@DanSlott what a gift, some guys give a nice cigar, a watch, but no not you, I get a dead #PeterParker Thanks for the bday wishes my friend!”
BIGBMH - 12/28/2012, 7:17 AM
@BattlinMurdock, You make a good point. It's not that he necessarily needs to have some big elaborate, heroic death. I was satisfied with Captain America's death. At least people knew he died. Having a character's loved ones remember him and mourn his loss is very basic, but Peter doesn't get that. The circumstances of his death were crappier than the average person. After he has had such a rough life dedicated to service, it would have been nice to see him have something better in the end.
sikwon - 12/28/2012, 7:56 AM
Thats part of the point though, Peter fought and suffered and saved the world with barely anyone knowing who he really was. Its fitting that Spiderman/Peters death came without fanfare. That Peter isnt mourned because he wasnt honored in life as peter. That was part of his greatness and for me, characters whos identity is secrete, tgat live and die with know fan fare, theres an appeal in it. Peter didnt have Stark tower. How much of peters struggles and trubles revolved around keeping his identuty secrete for so many years. Its fitting.
Spideyguy94 - 12/28/2012, 8:07 AM
@Battlinmurdock see the Karen page comparison doesn't work because she's not the character who's name is on the cover and you pick up the book for daredevil is. Peter Parker isn't just going to all of a sudden be forgotten about 2 years down the line, for the simple fact he's marvels biggest character and always will be. In fact he's proberbly tied with batman for the most popular comic book character in the world. I think you really underestimate the popularity of spider-man.
BIGBMH - 12/28/2012, 8:58 AM
@sikwon, I'll agree to disagree. I found the aftermath of Peter's death in USM to be very moving. It's not that I necessarily wanted a memorial like that or what happened with Cap, but I would have liked to see him have at least the sort of farewell that an average person gets with friends and family. He may not have be "honored in life as peter" but he was loved. It kind of disgusts me that Mary Jane is going to be in the arms of the man who killed the person she loved.
BIGBMH - 12/28/2012, 5:42 PM
@Murdock, I understand. Even though it wouldn't be my preferred ending, I might have been able to get on board with it, if it weren't for Peter's murderer running around and enjoying the life that Peter built for himself. That element of it really taints the whole thing.

xcrementus - 12/29/2012, 3:53 AM
Peter's murderer running around enjoying Peter's life is exactly what's gonna be sweet when Peter gets back.
Can nobody imagine the epic showdown when Pete finally gets his groove back?
Doc Ock Spiderman is not supposed to be a genuine article Spiderman. It's a novelty, a typical Freaky Friday setting, which will eventually run its course. People shouldn't talk like Peter is dead and gone permanently. Everything Ock does between now, and Peter's comeback, will add to the drama.
And the point of this new book is really to shove in our face that Ock DOESN'T deserve it. He can play at being a hero, but its still just playing in the end, he's a great big jerk who will get what's coming to him in the end.
Im sure towards the end Ock might be be a tad sympathetic...but it doesn't take away what he did to get there. Cue Peter pounding his face in.

I have a feeling MJ and Carlie are gonna be the key to bringing this all crashing down for him. Kaine too.

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