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The Sorry State of Spider-Man

Spider-Man is real weird nowadays. It’s always something with this guy, obviously, comics are a never-ending medium. If it’s not a bunch of clones competing to be the “real” one, it’s the devil trying to steal Spidey’s marriage. Still, since the beginning of All-New, All-Different Marvel, the state of Spider-Business has been in disarray.

Now, to be clear, there have been worse Spider-Times. Brand New Day, a lot of the Clone Saga, and there are definitely some swaths of Dan Slott’s current run that can be included. No, the problem here is much more subtle. It’s not simply the plot. The plot is the symptom, a symptom of a few, deep diseases.

And here’s a few of them…


Why is Mary Jane the new Iron Spider?

I think a lot of people would compare this to Jane Foster becoming Thor, but there is a fundamental difference: Jane Foster has never had a strong opinion on super-business. MJ on the other hand? Over the years, her character in the Marvel universe has been defined by her superhero fatigue. Since the whole Brand New Day, Mephistopheles stealing their life thing. She’s tired of superhero business. Even through Spider-Island spider powers and Iron Man fights, she still has none of it.

So it’s strange that she’s been added to the Spider-Family. It’s not like they’re hurting for characters. There’s, what? Three Spider-Men? Then there’s Silk, Spider-Gwen, and the entire supporting spider-themed people. Did we need another person slinging webs? Especially a person whose character historically goes against it.

It’s a lust for gimmick that’s dominating Marvel as well as the drive to appeal to new readers. On its own, that’s fine. In fact, I encourage it! However, you don’t have to destroy the house in order to sell it. There have been a ton of different roles MJ could have played instead of another Spider-Man.

Oh nevermind, this explains it.

Spider-Man is LITERALLY the new Iron Man

When All-New, All-Different started, I had joked that Iron Man and Spider-Man had switched roles. Tony had Mary Jane hanging around, he was more lighthearted, more bashful. Spider-Man had a multinational tech company and a thriving private life. It’s no longer a joke. Now it’s a parody.

I’m all for Spider-Man moving on and progressing. He doesn’t have to stay stuck as a poor boy in Queens for all eternity. I’d just rather he doesn’t progress into another character. Spider-Man has a thriving private life. He’s real buddy-buddy with SHIELD. He has constantly advancing “spider-armor”. Exactly like O.G. Iron Man, Spider-Man is considered Peter’s bodyguard by the public. Dear Odin, he now fights global super-terrorists. Maybe it’s personal, but Spider-Man has never seemed quite right outside of street-level crime.

Peter Parker as a Silicon Valley-esque tech guru makes sense; a cool Mark Zuckerburg that also punches animal-themed super criminals. Just like it never really seems right when Spider-Man fights world-wide crime, it doesn’t seem right when Peter is a global tech mogul. Sure, he’s able to help a ton of people, but I don’t think his Spider-Maning would allow it. What’s more, Spider-Man is the hero that represents us. He’s our struggle to do right, to take responsibility. Something, some connection, is lost when he’s a billionaire jet-setter.

Special Super Spidey Super Suit

Where is the connection?

Amazing Spider-Man isn’t a bad read. The dialogue is a little weird, stilted, a kind of throwback to classic comics. Still, it’s missing the real connection of classic Spider-Stories. That’s why he became so popular in the first place, why he’s been one of the best received comic characters of all time. He speaks to us because he is us.

The villains were tragic figures, most often the result of science gone wrong, accidents that ruin lives and families. The Lizard cost Conners his family, the symbiote took Eddie Brock at the lowest point in his life, after a tortured life Otto lost his career and sanity. Now there are just vast terrorist cells and super-powerful, Thanos-like villains like Regent. Not a lot to hold onto. Not a lot to make you care.

Don’t you just hate it when your cutting edge super car is stuck in traffic?

Comic titles go up and down. Now may just be a down. Perhaps, one day, we’ll see a new outstanding up. But what do you think? Let me know in the comments below!

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