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Forget the Superior Spider-Man, How About the Amazing Firestorm?

Let’s discuss Superior Spider-Man #1 for a second (spoilers, of course)…

Chad and Alec had a recent discussion where Chad hoped for eventually a situation where Doctor Octopus and Peter Parker shared Peter’s body, in a sort of Firestorm-like situation, and in Superior Spider-Man #1 (out today. Go buy it!), that’s exactly what happened! Well…sort of. Peter’s mind is still at least a little bit alive in his body and he kept Doctor Octopus from killing a bad guy.

I think it is a very cool set-up going forward (in addition, as Chad notes, it is interesting to see a Spider-Man riff like Firestorm be used in Spider-Man). What do you all think?


I’m on board so far, but it really depends on what Slott is doing with the MJ relationship. It could be… uncomfortable.

Every time I think about Superior Spider-Man, I am reminded of the South Park episode about Indiana Jones & the Crystal Skull. LOL..!

Reading the Avenging Spider-Man .1 issue, it does make Dr. Ock Spider-Man sound interesting. His plans to do everything better sounds great. It would just be better if it was actually Peter that made the choice to do this rather than him being done over yet again by Marvel’s editors. Remembering all the wrongs that have been to Spider-Man by the editors just makes it painful to think about and thus a headache to read because that is always going to in the back of my mind.

I would have preferred that they stuck with the conceit for a little while longer.

Marvel continues to make Spider-Man worse and worse. This is such a hacky, cynical take on the character. NO ONE believes it’s going to last for any significant amount of time (and everyone knows Disney ultimately wouldn’t allow it to go on too long…) and this isn’t even an original idea. Didn’t Tom DeFalco have Mr. Fantastic and Dr. Doom switch bodies for a significant amount of time 10, 15 years ago.
Is there really no one at Marvel who can write Peter Parker well? Are fans so jaded that they won’t respond to anything but the worst betrayal of the characters (which allows the companies to continue to justify those betrayals because the fans respond with “buzz.”)
I’ve been in this hobby for more than 40 years and just a few years ago, I was loving all kinds of stuff. (i.e. I’m not the Grumpy Old Fan who thinks the older stuff was always better.) Now I’ve given up on DC for its line-wide reboot and I expect Marvel will soon follow.

“Didn’t Tom DeFalco have Mr. Fantastic and Dr. Doom switch bodies for a significant amount of time 10, 15 years ago.”

Not that I recall. They were, however, dead.

And of course, with Marvel and DC ruled out, there will be absolutely NO comics for you to read.

One of the most idiotic ideas ever. And that’s saying a lot since this is comics.

I had also thought about a possible Firestorm relationship after reading ASM 700, but didn’t think they would go for it so soon after being so adamant that Peter Parker’s story was over and done in ASM 700. Being a comic book, I knew that Peter Parker’s “death” was only temporary despite them going on and on about how the new status que was permanent, but to have Peter Parker show up the very next issue just seems to negate all they’ve said about it and cheapen the story. I guess the status que they were talking about is the one revealed at the end of SSM 1, but it doesn’t feel like a twist so much as a “ha ha, we fooled you.”

I wasn’t happy with the way Peter “died,” but I thought there were some cool story potential and wanted to see Peter’s story continue from his point of view and thought it would be really interesting to have Peter fighting in the after life to get back to his body in a similar way that he fought to save Aunt May in One More Day (frantically search for all opportunities, not for selfish reason of he wants to live, but because he wants to protect Aunt May and Mj from Doc Ock) and then have him face off with Mephisto who would tease him about their past bargain. All of this would lead up to something like what was revealed in SSM, but instead we have what feels like a real cheap “twist.”

I’m too aggravated with the whole thing to enjoy it right now, but I’ll watch from the sidelines and maybe in a few months, I’ll give it another shot.

Michael P., okay, how about Kraven taking over for Spider-Man?
You’re kind of putting words into my mouth saying that I implied that there were NO comics for me to read. I certainly didn’t say that.
I’m saying that I spent more than 40 years with characters I liked, many of whom changed *radically* at the time but now characters are being cynically changed with no intention of even exploring the ideas that may have won over established readers because we know they won’t last. (Is there anyone who believes that Avengers: Hunger Games was created to be an ongoing? It was created with the cynical idea that you can do a series that could never sustain, say, 100 issues because the company knows that after the next company cross over they’re just going to reboot everything anyway.)
But I’ll also say with absolute certainty that the problem is most likely me. The hobby needs new readers, so if they chase a new mentality, that’s probably for the best for the medium’s long-term health. I just feel like I’m being asked to be satisfied with bells and whistles so maybe I just need more “Saga”s and “Fatale”s in my pull list and fewer books that were never designed to be around 60 years after Kirby and Lee created them.

You mean they left is a really easy way of undoing this story? Wow.

I don’t like being that snarky, but I actually just wanted Peter dead and gone.

Considering the backlash, they pretty much HAD to lay the cards on the table like this. I think they realized they’d loose a lot of readers sooner than later if they didn’t show that Peter’s still in the game.

Now I’m wondering what happens if Doc Ock masterbates using Peter’s body? There are just too many ways for one’s mind to think up creepy scenarios with this new status quo, starting with Pete “remembering” sex with his own aunt.

Chris Claremont, not DeFalco, wrote the Reed/Doom swap which culminated in (as I recall) FF volume 3 issue 25. I really enjoyed that arc when it came out!

To Oz the Malefic,
I kind of agree. After what Slot and Quesada did to the character of Peter parke, he probably is better off dead. This current story arc still sucks though.

I guess I shouldn’t be, but I’m surprised at this level of negativity to this development.

I think there are several aspects of this story that should make Peter Parker fans happy:
1-He’s not completely dead. So the resurrection/re-claiming his body that we all know is coming is even easier than we all thought possible. And since we know that Slott has been plotting things out for the long haul we can assume they’re probably even a date written down somewhere in his or Marvel’s office.

2-He’s still in the book. We’ll still get Peter Parker and Spider-Man, what’s not to love? Peter was there in ASM #700 and two weeks later he’s in SSM #1. We haven’t had time to miss him.

3-There’s potential for character real growth here. Peter is going through a new experience which has the chance to change him, Otto, and everyone around him/them. Isn’t that a major part of why we read?

And it’s fully revealed in a new Issue Number One that explains the situation and ends on a twist ending hook that should make the reader eager to pick up Issue Number Two and see what happens next.

Agree with everything Adam Farrar said (except for his commentary on Superior #1, which I have yet to read). What annoys me most is all the kvetching about how it’s obviously not going to last. No shit, Sherlocks. I’m pretty sure no one with even the slightest familiarity with comics believes this status quo will be permanent, and I’m also pretty sure that, despite any press releases, no one at Marvel, Dan Slott least of all, expects the fans to buy this as a permanent change.

What we have here folks is called a storyline. And just like every storyline at the current big two, it comes with an excess of marketing fanfare and the trappings of an event, after which “nothing will ever be the same.” But when you boil it down, you don’t get much more classically superheroic than a body-swap story (the tenth issue of Fantastic Four comes to mind). And as Adam Farrar says, there’s potential for character growth on both sides, so why don’t we wait out the six months or year it will take for Peter Parker to reclaim his body and complain only if we think the characters have not been enriched? Why don’t we try that, instead of bitching that a change which is obviously intended to be reversed will be?

I’d have liked to see what kind of Spider-Man Otto would have been without Peter’s influence- could he have made a ‘better’ Spidey? Or would everything gradually spin out of control? (Of course it would)

I wonder if the Hulk and Dr. Strange will be able to see Ghost Peter Parker, whenever their paths next cross. By most of the ‘rules’ of the Marvel Universe they should…

@Dean: The point of this issue was basically that Doc spiraled out of control RIGHT OFF THE BAT.

Which is a bit quicker than it appeared was going to happen. I mean, he and Peter shared the whole Spidey story in their heads.

I think it’s been awfully quick (3 books in 2 weeks), but I do like how ASM 700 made it seem that Otto would try REALLY hard, Avenging 15.1 made it seem like he’d try hard to be good but still be arrogant, and here in SSM, he’s just showing as an out and out dick who’s dangerous.

So I would have liked to see Otto trying harder for longer, but it will be interesting to see where we go from here.

I haven’t been interested in Spidey for a bit (more that it’s too many issues to keep up with and not enough interest on my part), but from ASM 698 on, it’s been a damn fun ride so far.

Am I the only one who was going “Fuck yeah!” when ghost Peter showed? C’mon guys, COMICS!!!

Cass: While I agree generally with the idea of it should play out; maybe something good does come out of it. I think the issue with the backlash is that people are just simply sick of listening to “nothing will ever be the same” and “this time, it’s permanent. We mean it. You can trust us THIS time.”

If it is about the storyline, then the marketing should be something like “we’re really excited about how we’re going to radically change the dynamics in Doc Ock’s and Spider-man’s relationship. You won’t believe what Peter’s in for over the next year; they’re going to interact in ways you have to see to believe, including a radical change in how Doc Ock sees the world”.

OK, so it’s rough, but it’s selling a storyline. And if it’s hyped that way and the death kept quiet, the reader enters issue 700 wanting to know more about this change and not totally expecting the death; maybe suspecting it, but not knowing exactly what’s going on going in. Then you build interest for the future.

Instead, we get directly from them: “Peter Parker is going to die and Doc Ock will be the new Spider-man; this is permanent and will, never, ever, in like forever, change.” And it’s addressed in newspapers and on TV for good measure. So it’s not about a story but about a death. Again.

(And we’ve heard forever with Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, Charles Xavier, Phoenix, Captain America, Thor, Green Lantern, Flash, Wonder Woman, and Green Arrow among others all in some carnival barker’s attempt to sell books. It’s almost comical that they can’t come up with better ways to market the stories.)

And then next issue Peter is floating around.

I actually think people would be less upset if they weren’t being told “this is for real” and then he’s there next issue. Even accepting he’ll be back, after a while people get sick of feeling strung along or patronized, and the backlash is just inevitable.

Maybe you’re thinking of Chris Claremont’s Fantastic Four issues, in which Mr. Fantastic was trapped in Dr. Doom’s armor for most of a year (our time)? No actual bodies were switched, but it had a bit of the same effect.

What I’m curious about, since I haven’t read this myself: Is this actually Peter Parker’s personality residing in Doc Ock, or is this a pseudo-Peter Parker personality that Doc Ock’s psyche has created as a result of absorbing all of Peter’s memories? For example in 90s X-Men there was a Rogue subplot where Rogue, as a result of absorbing Carol Danvers powers and memories, created a pseudo-Carol Danvers shadow personality in her head, a split personality, however it wasn’t actually Carol Danvers, who was still alive and well inside her own body still. If this actually is the real Peter, then what happened to the Peter who died in Doc Ock’s body?

Also, I haven’t been following Spider-Man in years, but I know the premise was that Doc Ock’s body was deteriorating after years of physical combat with Peter. However when I saw drawings of Doc Ock, especially as rendered by Humberto Ramos, the dude barely looked human! What kind of beatings turn a human body into a whole different species? Was that ever explained? Seemed a bit over the top.

There are just too many ways for one’s mind to think up creepy scenarios with this new status quo, starting with Pete “remembering” sex with his own aunt.

That was actually used as a gag in ASM #698.

OMG, I can call Omar out on an error! (Shh, this never happens, let me enjoy myself!)

That gag was in ASM 699, not 698.

With love and affection, Omar!

But actually, I’m pretty sure T knew about that gag when he made the comment, Omar.

And T, ghost Peter was only on 1 page, so we really don’t know much yet. The implication is that it really is Peter, but it would be interesting if ghost Peter is just Otto’s consciousness creating a false Peter.

And as to Doc’s look, I got the impression that his body just failed so badly and turned out so dessicated, it started to look that way. Plus, Ramos’s characters all kinda look like another species anyway… :)

It would have to be “real” Peter, because Ock can’t even hear or see Ghost Peter. It’s visualized purely for us, the audience.

It’s silly, but it’s effective.

@Smokescreen: I don’t disagree with what you say, but when fewer people are upset about the comic, unfortunately the effect seems to be that fewer people buy the comic.

As to the eventual backlash to editorial and marketing patronizing and straight-up LYING to the readership, again, unfortunately, I just don’t think it will happen. I think it won’t happen for the simple reason that it hasn’t happened yet, and this shit has gone on since I came back to comics in 2005.

As I’m baffled again and again by the Diamond sales figures, I try to keep in mind that the blogosphere is just a small bubble in the bath of comics readers. For every internet guy who’s fed up with the endlessly shifting status quo, there’s ten Wednesday Warriors who pick up the book because suddenly it’s “important.”

Someone very near to me buys comics in this way. When the new 52 was announced, this person carped bitterly about the changes to the continuity. I remember he particularly despised the nullification of the Super marriage. Yet, come September, he bought EVERY SINGLE new #1, and I believe he also went on to buy the hardcover compilation of these.

I don’t know exactly how prevalent this sort of mentality is (I know few comics readers IRL); however, doing the math, you see that if even a small percentage are like this, dropping boatloads of money on the “important” titles, then it makes sense from a sales point of view to market all titles as important. Bringing this back round to Superior Spider-Man, even though everyone knows it won’t last, somehow, if the company admits it’s impermanent, the change ceases to be “important.”

I just figured most readers would have guessed something like this was going to be revealed. We were told there’d be a twist at the end of SSM #1. What else would it have been? Did people really believe the less than truthful statements made by Marvel?

I still wish Doc Ock wasn’t really in Peter’s head at all. Instead, Doc Ock’s last revenge was to brainwash Peter into believing he was Doc Ock (a true mind switch not being possible for whatever reason). I think Peter would suffer more in that situation. Much more of a mind fuck.

I am also surprised by the negative backlash, both from people who seemed to think Peter Parker would really be dead and from people who are expressing anger at the fact that it’s a marketing push to draw attention to the book.

I like the idea. It’s a good choice of characters to play against each other and see what happens. I like the analyses of Peter’s life by Otto and the idea that Otto would try to be better than Peter but falter and fall back on his anger. Issue 698 was very well written – on second reading, it’s obvious that Peter’s voice is off and he’s not himself, but I was completely fooled on my first reading. I also liked how the “spoiler” on the cover was not the obvious one.

The marketing push is understandable. It’s business, they have to keep people talking about the book. It surprises me that people still take that personally. I don’t care for marketing language and the way marketers try to fool people, but I don’t hate it. It doesn’t make me angry. It doesn’t make me want to kill the writer or editor.

I am uncomfortable with the aspect of the story relating to Mary Jane. If anything happens there, it’s rape, and that would be the only thing about this story that would get a negative reaction from me. I really hope they avoid Mary Jane and Otto-Peter being able to take it any further.

ASM 698 was off to me at first a bit, but I wasn’t reading the book prior to that, so I figured it was just me not knowing what’s what with the book right now. I was suprised at the “day in the life” stuff (given that it was supposed to be a BIG STORY), but come to the end and DAMN, that was cool. I had to go right back and reread it.

I have a feeling that the MJ stuff, and Ock trying to take things further with her will be Slott’s way of putting the nail in the Peter/MJ coffin. Either she’ll have come so close to sexytime with Otto-Peter or (god forbid) she’ll actually have sexytime with him that when Peter (inevitably — c’mon, people, it’s comics, of COURSE he’s coming back!) comes back to his body, she’ll be so revulsed by the idea that Otto was in there, he could have been in there for who knows how long, and could come back in there whenever, that she’ll be unable to even have a relationship with Peter at all.

And you know, because I didn’t think of the Firestorm-esque relationship that is possible now in Spidey, I was confused by this post’s title and thought DC’d actually managed to do something interesting with Firestorm?

I’m convinced that the people who are mad about this are completely new to comics. I mean, they have to be. When I first heard about Peter “dying” I just rolled my eyes and thought, “Okay, but for how long?”. Call me jaded, but I’ve read long enough comics to know that if ain’t the status quo, then it ain’t permanent. And by “long enough” I could easily mean “maybe 1 to 12 issues”, so. . .yeah. Newbies. Newbies making death threats. So ridiculous.

@T: How can anyone tell the difference? Or even know that there is any?

Charlie Ward,
I don’t believe for ONE SECOND there were any death threats or anything interpreted as even slightly legitimate. It’s just a publicity stunt and please don’t be so naive as to think that Marvel wouldn’t do that.
In fact, it played out exactly as they hoped because now that even the mainstream media is bored with Marvel’s hype about this or that popular character dying, it provided a news hook on which to hang a story.
I should point out that while I have no insider’s knowledge this is true, I’m a newspaper reporter IRL so I do have inside knowledge of how it works from the media’s POV.

A few thoughts about it:

1) Mind switches have happened before, but it was never present as the “new status quo”. Maybe the problem is the extreme decompression of modern comics. Lots of the dumber ideas of the last years that get fans rilled up would be okay as storylines lasting 1-3 issues in a regular comic. But since the 1990s they’re stretched out and out, and also spread out across multiple comics.

2) There is something unpleasantly “meta” about all this. I’ve realized lately with Bendis, and even more now with Slott. It’s one thing to do something novel and outrageous in fiction. It’s quite another to do with as intentionally as possible to rile up your dwindling audience. The former shows some bravery, the later appears as cynical manipulation. It’s like a guy that is going out with a new girl not because he likes her, but just to get a reaction of his ex-girlfriend, you know?

3) I think I’m past caring about the “fate” of fictional characters that have been killed, ressurected, replaced by clones, time-line altered, mind-switched, gender-inverted, whatever, and always eventually must return to some status quo that was really set up in the 1960s and early 1970s. Maybe we all should accept that the Spider-Man stories that really “matter” are the ones by Lee and Ditko, and maybe the ones with Lee and Romita. THAT is Spider-Man. The rest is just the flavour of the month that will inevitably be overturned.

4) Anyone that thinks Marvel and DC are doing whatever they do to get “new readers” is living under a delusion. I have the impression that there is a pool of existing fans, some lapsed, some dorment, but all have been comic readers in the past, and it’s that pool that Marvel and DC fight over. So you have Silver Age fans, 1990s fans, whatever, but very, very, very few “fresh” fans that would be interested in reading a new Spider-Man comic.

@T: How can anyone tell the difference? Or even know that there is any?

Well, that’s kind of my point. They are presenting the news as if readers are supposed to be happy that Peter is still in the book. What I’m asking is, why is everyone so willing to accept this is Peter? Even if to Dan Slott this represents the real Peter, how can he “prove” this to fans. If Doc Ock is in Peter’s body and has Peter’s memories, how do we know he’s not using those memories to create a separate personality. How do we know this Peter isn’t a figment of his imagination or some residual “echo” of the Parker consciousness that used to inhabit that body?

I mean, if we’re supposed to buy that this entity in Ock’s mind is the true lion’s share of Peter Parker’s consciousness, then what was in Doc Ock’s body when that body died?

@ Rene: That may very well be the best, most clear-headed, and accurate analysis of this storyline (and others of its type, such as the death of Cap, the Human Torch, etc.) and its relationship to the comics industry in general that I’ve read so far. Well done.

It would have to be “real” Peter, because Ock can’t even hear or see Ghost Peter. It’s visualized purely for us, the audience.

I can’t see or here my unconscious/subconscious, but it arguably has it’s own set or rules and logic and it can subtly affect my day to day actions and decisions in ways I’m not consciously aware of. People can live for years with fully formed split personalities with their own moral codes, rich inner lives, personality tics, etc., yet be completely unaware of them. Sometimes these other personalities that split personalities have want to fight for dominance.

Just because Ock can’t consciously hear or see “Peter” in his brain doesn’t mean “Peter” can’t totally be a a figment of him imagination that his brain constructed. We humans in the real world have plenty of examples where we do similar things in our own minds using our unconscious.

I’m just saying that I can’t understand how Peter could have his mind in Ock’s body, Ock’s body dies with Peter’s mind in it, then this new “Peter” consciousness pops up in Ock-Spidey’s subconscious and we’re just supposed to accept that’s the “real” Peter’s mind and not a facsimile? If so, then what was the mind that died in Ock’s body?

But actually, I’m pretty sure T knew about that gag when he made the comment, Omar.

Yes, I was. I feel like this new status quo lends itself to all types of temptations for people to ponder weird, icky “dilemmas.” For example if Ock has sex with MJ while sharing a body with Peter, it wil essentially be a weird type of menage a trois. And for Peter and Ock to share the same body and memories and cognition while orgasming will create one of the weirdest homoerotic bonds in superhero fiction ever between them.

T – you ask how? One possible explanation that fits with comic book science: after the body died, his “soul” reverted to the body it was supposed to be in (that can be “Heaven knew it wasn’t his time” or just how souls act or whatever, that’s easy).

Here’s an alternate twist, and the only one I think really works with the conundrum I presented of how to explain Peter “dying” in Ock’s body, yet still existing in some form in his own body.

What if their minds never actually switched bodies?

What if the ultimate twist is that Ock planned to do this brain switch, but it failed and all he ended up doing was forcing his memories into Peter’s body and forcing Peter’s memories into his own body? So Peter now thinks he is Doc Ock and Doc Ock now thinks he is Peter, but in reality they are both still themselves operating under the delusion that they are the other person? Does what I’m describing make any sense?

Maybe this is Peter Parker operating under the brainwashed delusion he is Doc Ock’s consciousness in Peter Parker’s body and behaving accordingly. Maybe the “Peter Parker” subconscious showed in Superior Spider-Man is just Peter’s own consciousness fighting to regain control of a body IT NEVER REALLY LEFT.

T – you ask how? One possible explanation that fits with comic book science: after the body died, his “soul” reverted to the body it was supposed to be in (that can be “Heaven knew it wasn’t his time” or just how souls act or whatever, that’s easy).

I’m not saying it’s impossible to ever explain or prove. I thought of your explanation as one possible example. My problem is that in interviews I’m seeing, Slott and Wacker are both acting like what we’ve been shown is proof enough and we’re supposed to just be happy “Pete’s still in the fight.”

I’m saying that absent an explanation along the lines of what you just came up with, I don’t see why fans are just taking his revelation at face value.

Simply put, Ock’s entire plan used SCIENCE. He rewrote brains, not souls. Ock truly is dead, the last vestiges of his mind in peter’s body. Peter’s soul is still in that body and never left.

Simply put, Ock’s entire plan used SCIENCE. He rewrote brains, not souls. Ock truly is dead, the last vestiges of his mind in peter’s body. Peter’s soul is still in that body and never left.

So are you saying that Peter and Ock DID switch brains, but not souls? Okay, fine, but does that mean that Peter’s consciousness DID die in Ock’s body, but his soul lives on in Peter’s? Meaning that the entity we saw in Superior Spider-Man isn’t actually Peter’s mind, which DID die in Ock’s body, but his soul? This raises another question: what makes a self? If Peter’s soul is all that’s left of Peter, but his consciousness and “experiencing” self was terminated, is that soul residing in Pete’s body enough to count as the “real” Peter?

You say “simply put” but I think your theory actually muddies the waters further!

I agree with Bryan L and the praise for Rene.
I also wonder if there could be any unconscious subtext in a story about a character who’s often portrayed as an arrogant, chubby creep thinking he could take over the life of Peter Parker/Spider-Man and do a better job than anything that’s come before. … Nope, I can’t think of any.

Expanding on something Rene said, I read several articles where Slott, promoting this storyline and trying to convince people like me, who spend money on comic books, to spend money on *this* story, say, “The fans are going to hate this.”
Now I get that comic book fans are generally a pretty self-hating bunch but *my* reaction to that is, “Hey, thanks for the heads up. You wrote it so you would know and now I can go spend my money on a comic book I *won’t* hate! Maybe there are even some creators that *aren’t* trying to alienate me. Let me know if you ever decide to write a story that you’re hoping paying customers might enjoy!”
Let me take this even one step further. I got into a BIG argument with my longtime dealer last week about the variant covers DC printed for Justice League of America. He said he thought that DC was taking advantage of the many, many comic books fans who suffer from some kind of “OCD” to force them to buy all these covers. He acknowledged that DC *could* do this and wasn’t breaking any laws, yadda, yadda, yadda, but questioned the ethics of it because he figures they must know what fans are like.
Bringing this back to the topic at hand, *this* is one of the reasons that Marvel’s behavior is so reprehensible. They *know* that there are people, some in the hobby, some who will just read news stories, who will go out and buy these books just because they are either crazy collector completists (NOTE: I was very, VERY much one of them for years and years! For me, what changed things was that I went away to college a little bit later in life and I could no longer afford to buy just anything that came out on Wednesday. As someone in this hobby, it was the best thing that ever happened to me because I was forced to think about my purchases and only buy what I liked instead of every Marvel title with Wolverine on the cover.) or suckers who think they’re making an investment.
The pro argument would be that the industry needs to indulge in stunts to sell books and keep the medium alive. The con argument, to me anyway, is that these sales are made by “taking advantage* of their customers, the people who already love and support comics. That seems not only unethical but wildly short-sighted.
Did they really have to cancel “Amazing Spider-Man,” one of Marvel’s flagship books, to pretend they were making a change that no one thought would last, a response that was confirmed in the FIRST ISSUE of the “new” book?

Last thing: If anyone thinks I was being too mean to Slott, who I don’t know, well, you might be right. But I’ve had misgivings about the guy since I read the Great Lakes Avengers mini and joke after joke was “Ha, ha, it’s funny when a person dies!” (I’ll cut off the response here: You can either say, “They’re just comic book characters” or you can say, “We’re writing fictional stories about characters we hope you’ll like enough to keep following.” Can’t say both. And from Harry Potter, boy wizard, to Col. Henry Potter, commanding officer of MASH 4077th, pop culture is full of fictional characters that real people care about.) It was creepy and mean and I’ve thought some of his other stories, like the Avengers Initiative series had the same overtones. YMMV.

T – I like your alternate explanation for what’s going on with Peter’s mind, that he’s been brainwashed into believing the mind transfer happens, but having it actually be Doc Oc’s mind makes it easier for writers to later transfer Doc Oc’s mind to a younger age-proof body. Just like you know Peter’s not gone, you know they’re not going to kill Doc Oc, and while there are many other ways to bring him back, having his consciousness sitting right there makes it that much easier to eventually transfer his mind to a stronger age-proof body.

Thanks Bryan L and Pack.

I used to be a real fan, there were times on my life when I was really sold on the idea of the Marvel and DC universes as shared world experiments that were vibrant and organic.

I don’t know when the rot set in, but it has something to do with both universes becoming too self-referential, IMO. There is something vaguely unsettling when a writer panders too much and too shamelessly to its audience, but it’s even more unsettling when it’s this sort of bizarre “reverse” pandering, when you appeal to the fan’s hatred.

I like Slott’s writing on Spider-Man, because I think it’s good! This story is not a big deal. There’s nothing sinister going on here. It’s a story.

So are you saying that Peter and Ock DID switch brains, but not souls? Okay, fine, but does that mean that Peter’s consciousness DID die in Ock’s body, but his soul lives on in Peter’s? Meaning that the entity we saw in Superior Spider-Man isn’t actually Peter’s mind, which DID die in Ock’s body, but his soul? This raises another question: what makes a self? If Peter’s soul is all that’s left of Peter, but his consciousness and “experiencing” self was terminated, is that soul residing in Pete’s body enough to count as the “real” Peter?

You say “simply put” but I think your theory actually muddies the waters further!

Response: The way I see it is that what’s in our brains is just data, not our soul. But that data does shape who we perceive ourselves to be. I’m saying that there was never a TRUE switch. It’s like swapping out harddrives, but with a backup file still floating around. Data can sometimes be recovered, which is where peter’s soul comes into play. perhaps as his “last redemptive act” Ock wil eventually admit what he’s done and work together with Richards and Pym to fix it. (or just fix it himself, an egotist to the end) I see what you’re saying, i’m saying that even the whole “peter in ock’s body perspective” was really Ock, just with new Peter software. I don’t see a problem with that approach, because Ock is a scientist who doesn’t deal with magic and souls, so it makes sense to me that those souls never moved anywhere.

@ Rene (again): I think you’re still a real fan, but the thing that you’re a fan of doesn’t really exist any more. The problem with self-reference and “meta” themes is that it makes us too aware of the artificiality of the fictional construct. It becomes less possible to “lose” yourself, because you’re always seeing the cracks under the surface, like the holodeck flickering in Star Trek.

At least for me, I detach and begin to care less and less, because none of it is “real” any more. I read ASM 700, and basically yawned. When I read Gwen Stacey’s death (many years ago now), I was shocked and stunned. Somewhere between those two things, comics lost something, at least for me. They’ve pulled that same gag WAY too many times. I was not for one second under the illusion that Peter was “dead” or that this was even a significant event.

A blogger I like referred to current comics as seeming like fan fiction. I think that’s another way of saying the same thing that you and I are saying. She was referencing DC, but Marvel “feels” much the same to me. I’ve turned to independent publishers to get the same satisfaction I used to get from the Big Two. In strict fairness I should note that I do enjoy some Marvel/DC titles, but they tend to be on the “fringe,” not tied as deeply to the overall universe, and get cancelled quickly.

@ Pack: I hadn’t considered the subtext angle, and I applaud you for pointing it out. See my fan-fic comment.

““Hey, thanks for the heads up. You wrote it so you would know and now I can go spend my money on a comic book I *won’t* hate! Maybe there are even some creators that *aren’t* trying to alienate me. Let me know if you ever decide to write a story that you’re hoping paying customers might enjoy!””

It seems like you read contempt into everything that Dan Slott says or does. You’re probably right not to continue reading him.

“(I’ll cut off the response here: You can either say, “They’re just comic book characters” or you can say, “We’re writing fictional stories about characters we hope you’ll like enough to keep following.” Can’t say both.”

That’s a ridiculous argument. Even if it were true that Slott’s position was “they’re just comic book characters so you shouldn’t care about them” — which certainly hasn’t been proven yet in your diatribe — it would *still* be ridiculous to claim that that is mutually exclusive from people enjoying reading the stories. If you want to claim that it’s not possible to write interesting comic book stories where you don’t actually care about or like the characters, then you’re the one placing severe limits on what you can enjoy from the medium, but don’t make out like those are blanket facts, or even logical cause-and-effect. You just don’t like his writing. That’s fine, but don’t try and make it sound like it’s an objective fact based on science.

It’s *not* possible to write interesting stories of ANY kind where you don’t actually care about or like the characters. You can find the characters unlikeable (For instance, I love “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” and all the lead characters are awful, awful people.) but if you’re reading a story, watching a movie, etc., and don’t *care* at all about the characters….? Bad writing. Why are you watching stories about characters you don’t care about? Have you wandered into a Michael Bay movie? Is the remote missing and the TV is on MTV during a “Jersey Shore” marathon? Will you inherit money if you read Chuck Austen’s X-Men run?
Science agrees with me, BTW.

Didn’t Gerry Conway (co-creator of Firestorm) write for Spidey around the time that the original Firestorm series debuted? Plus there was a Spider-Man villain around that time called Fusion that was two guys in one nuclear body.

FuryOfFirestorm, it seems Conway left Amazing Spider-Man in ’75. He wrote the first few issues of Peter Parker, Spectacular Spider-Man but literally only that, having moved on by the fourth or fifth issue.
The two-in-one Fusion villain was from 1980 and debuted in an issue written by Dennis O’Neill, plotted by Jim Shooter and Mark Gruenwald.
Firestorm came out in ’78.
So roughly, yeah, it was all around the same few years.

Basically Dan Slott is a mofo.

And Doc Ock is the biggest mofo of all time. All he wants to do now is bang MJ.

Is there any particular reason why the “real” Peter _must_ have died in Doc’s body or be alive in his own, but not both? I can’t think of any.

One thing on the mind vs soul/who’s in whose body:

spoilery bit for ASM 699, if you haven’t read it:

While in Doc’s body, Peter “dies” for about 3 minutes and is revived, and while he’s “dead”, he is in “heaven” (presumably). All those Peter has loved and have died over the years show up, and a pep talk from Uncle Ben is necessary to get Peter to go back to fight the good fight.

So… I’d say that I like what T is saying about the mind switching not necessarily happening, but it seems like what we’ve been shown is an attempt to make it “clear” that there WAS a switch, mind and “soul”.

People give Dan Slott no credit. There is always a point behind his storylines. In Spider-Island, the idea was to show that it wasn’t having super-powers that made Peter Parker a hero, it was who he was. I could be entirely wrong, but I suspect that part of both the whole ‘Peter Parker successful at Horizon’ plot and the idea that Doctor Octopus could be better as Spider-Man because he doesn’t have Peter Parker’s “flaws”, an idea that Chad Nevett was kind enough to make for me;

‘I loved the idea of issue 698 where Octavius demonstrates that Peter Parker’s life as Spider-Man doesn’t have to be one of misery. To a degree, he brings a lot of his pain and suffering on himself. All of the tools are there to be a wonderfully happy and content person, and Octavius sees that. It’s a great criticism of Peter Parker, of his flaws — and, through, Octavius, introduce new flaws’

is to make the point that there really are reasons that Peter hasn’t been doing what people would want him to do; the idea that he isn’t living up to his potential. If this goes where it should, it could show, as Doctor Octupus gradually realizes, is that Peter Parker ‘fails’ to be other people’s idea of success not because he is a dumbass, but because he has different priorities. He is a decent person, and he does the right thing instead of the self serving thing. He could cripple and maim the bad guys, and they might even deserve it, but he doesn’t. I know Dan Slott generally plays it straight when he subverts the ‘Reed Richards is useless’ trope and lets Peter use ‘marvel science’ to fix his real problems instead of keeping marvel reality in line with our reality, but I think eventually the idea of Peter getting successful by using his scientific genius for self advancement is going to (if it already hasn’t) come back to bite him in the ass in a big way. Eventually, the point will be driven home- the usual Peter Parker, the amiable ‘failure’ isn’t a failure, at least not any more than anybody else. He just succeeds at different, more important goals. Can’t pay rent? Lost his job? Well, that kid didn’t get hit by a bus. New York City isn’t a smoking crater. Aunt May eventually did get her medicine.

As for Ock raping Mary Jane, well, for about one issue, it seemed possible within the confines of the story. Now we wonder if Ghost Peter could prevent Ock from doing it (Let’s not get hung up on how), but if he couldn’t, well, if Slott is sticking to character as well as he usually does; Otto Octavious is evil enough, he robs, cheats, murders, steals and generally performs acts of super villainy, but to my knowledge, he has never been a rapist. The potential rape is not an icky implication, it is a significant part of the story- can Otto keep any morality he has left or even become a better person. He is a formerly fat schlob whose success with women has been mostly limited to a naive octogenarian (or there was that whole hard light hologram Stunner person, which was weird enough), but can he manage to keep himself from taking advantage of MJ? Well, we get to read and find out.

Yeah, Marvel does sensational exploitative plots, but when Dan Slott does them, they generally have a point, and lots of heart. There have been a lot of truly inexcusable travesties with regard to Spider-Man over the last couple of decades, but Slott generally doesn’t leave behind real messes that cry out for future retcons, at least to me he doesn’t.

As for the debate as to how Peter could still be in his own brain after he died; I could be wrong, but everybody is working so hard on explaining it away- did it occur to anybody that huh, maybe Dan Slott is aware of the seeming contradiction (it is pretty obviously a contradiction) and actually has already written a solution? I’m sure some of y’all might be right on if you are trying to predict what happened, and that is fun, but me, I’m just going to wait and see.

I get it. I truly hate it when somebody does something I think is ridiculous to ‘my’ Spider-Man; that is the problem with characters with multiple writers in serials- if Stan Lee wrote in 1969 that Norman boffed Gwen, well, like it or not, it happened (well, it is fiction, but whatever). If another writer does it 35 years later, it seems illegitimate. Nothing I can do about it though, so I do what I have to do, which is accept it and either read it or don’t, depending on its merits as a story.

And if it rings false to me for whatever reason, well, it failed for me. But maybe everybody else likes it. I can’t do anything about it.

I do like it that I can go to the internet to discuss it though, that is part of audience participation. If it starts me thinking, if I have an opinion on it, well, it can’t be a complete waste, even if it is only making me appreciate a different story more through contrast.

Well, I ran on with this, and used a lot of run on sentences with this, but hey, I got it written. Thanks

[…] The Fury of Spider-Man or The Amazing Firestorm… Some folks are drawing correlations between Spider-Man and Firestorm after Superior Spider-Man #1 hit the stands! It’s ironic that Firestorm was originally patterned after Spider-Man, and now Spider-Man seems patterned after Firestorm! It comes full circle! Click here for more information. […]

So, does Doc Ock masturbate with the metal arms?

More @Rene praise. There seems to be a flip in “shocking” stories where they used to be done for story’s sake, rather than just to “piss off readers.” Both may work, but the later is cynical and not very good art. Plus the need to convince us that these things are always true or permanent. When Stan Lee had Dr. Doom fall off a cliff to his death we didn’t have to hear he was really, really, really dead. We knew of ways he could come back. No one was taking it seriously. And this was before we knew it was all BS because there’s no way that Peter Parker isn’t Spider-man within a month of the release date of Amazing Spider-man 2, starring Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker. (Complete with Peter coming back in a new, more movie-like, costume).

I’m with @Lorrie. It seems like a better out, and a better story, if Peter isn’t dead, but just thinks he’s Doctor Octopus. It has a Kraven-esque almost last laugh to it, and not only makes it more realistic that Peter didn’t “die”, but sets up a lot more moral dilemma for him.

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