Amazing Spider-Man #700 (or how I learned to stop worrying and trust Dan Slott)

Posted: December 28, 2012 in Marvel, Reviews
Tags: , , ,


Amazing Spider-Man #700Property of Marvel Comics

Amazing Spider-Man #700
Property of Marvel Comics

I rarely have crazy fanboy reactions to things that happen in comics. As discussed in our podcast, I generally don’t like it when people get negative about events or developments just to get negative.

That said, when I found out that Dan Slott was killing Peter Parker, and further, replacing Peter with Doc Ock in Peter’s body while poor Peter died in Doc Ocks rotting corpse, I got angry. It just didn’t feel right to me that a character who has suffered constantly as a hero, all the while continuing to do the right thing, should go out in such tragic fashion. There was no justice to it in my head. Sure, Slott was saying that we should read the actual issue before making a decision, but I was convinced that there was no way any amount of context could actually change my mind.

Then I actually read issue #700… I was pleasantly surprised. It is still terrible that “Peter” died like he did, but Slott is doing some very interesting things to set up Superior Spider-Man, and it might just be interesting enough to satiate my fanboy rage.

My impression was that the new “Peter Parker with Doc Ock’s mind” is really a brand new character. Throughout the issue we see that the mind swap wasn’t all that clean, as aspects of both personalities show up in both bodies. To me, it was a lot like Alia Atreides’ situation in Children of Dune – she possessed genetic memories of her ancestors, who would constantly compete to be the dominant personality in her consciousness. Likewise, the new Peter-Ock possesses pieces of both character’s personalities, and the full life experiences of both as well. This is really important, because it calls into question what makes a person who they are. If we believe a person is the product of their life experiences and their memories, then the new Peter is most certainly still Peter. However, if we believe there is more to a person, that they have a “soul”, for lack of a better term, then Peter is dead and departed, as Slott insinuates with the heaven sequence.

Another question is this – does Doc Ock still exist? With his new memories and sensibilities, has his core personality changed enough that we can say that the old Otto Octavius is gone as well? I’d like to think that Peter “won” in the end by figuring out a way to deprive Otto of his selfish goals, instead dooming the evil personality to oblivion and replacing it with the best parts of both personalities. This new Peter-Ock may possess Otto’s intelligence and ambition, but he has Peter’s unwavering sense of right and wrong, which has always been the part of Peter that made him who he was.

Dan Slott has made a lot of fans angry, but he has also given himself a brand new character with tons of potential for character development. I think that was his goal to begin with. Spider-Man has struggled to deal adequately with a grown up Peter who doesn’t have the same problems he had as a teenager, and my feeling is that Slott came to the conclusion that Peter’s story has been at a natural end for some time now. Was his ride into the sunset handled as well as I think it should have been? Not really, but it was far better than I thought it would be. I would have liked to see Peter die while saving the whole world, which could have been done in AvX, but Slott chose to make things much murkier, and in the end, his vision for Spider-Man going forward may be more interesting than the demands of my fanboy sensibilities.

  1. raheadley says:

    Sorry, they should have let Peter just die. Something noble would have been nice but not necessary.

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