Marvel has officially killed Spider-Man. They did it before with his deal, for all intents and purposes, with the devil. And now they’ve done it again by turning him into such a pacifist clown that his lack of moral clarity actually makes him an accomplice to evil. Correction: Writer Dan Slott’s pacifist-clown take on Spider-Man has made him an accomplice to evil.
Case-in-point would be Marvel’s current storyline, ‘Ends of the Earth.” In it, Doctor Octopus has come up with a plan that could seal the ozone layer and save humanity, but the technology — that only he possesses — could also be used to bring about world-wide genocide. Isn’t the ozone layer so … 1989? Regardless, Spider-Man is convinced his enemy is going to trick the international community into agreeing with him and kill billions with the push of a button.
That is precisely what seems to happen, which makes the “amazing” Spider-Man’s actions leading up to the event so maddening (and that’s not even counting the “one man’s hero is another man’s terrorist” moral relativism that’s dished up by a supporting character).
It all starts with a race to stop a number of satellites from being made, some of which are being put together in North Korea — home of the world’s very notorious, very real gulags. A member of Spidey’s team sets explosives at the factory, taking out all the tech and presumably the North Korean soldiers guarding it. Peter Parker then channels Jimmy Carter, berating the hero: “No one dies! Understood?” Sadly, it turns out the North Koreans — those giving direct aid in an effort to cause a mass-extinction event — were led to safety!
The story then moves on to an interrogation scene, where Peter must extract information from Flint Marko (aka, Sandman) as to the location of another weapons factory.With Flint not wanting to talk, a team member begins the equivalent of waterboarding to get the intelligence she needs. Spider-Man acknowledges that he would have caved in to appeals for the “pretty please” approach if the terrorist foot soldier had pleaded with him for just a bit longer. Once again, a braver hero must pick up the slack for Spider-Man’s ineptitude. There is never really any acknowledgement by the characters that Spider-Man is out of his league, or that his “peace at any cost” mentality will actually bring out his worst fears: Word-wide death and destruction.
There is really no way to spin this (no pun intended) into the character’s favor. If good and evil exists — if it is real — then there should be no hesitation by the true hero to do what is right when the moment calls. Not using deadly force for a purse snatcher? Sure. I get it. Freaking out over the death of soldier-scum enablers of one of the most vile, despicable regimes in the world? No excuse. In this day and age, Spider-Man will make a deal with the devil but he won’t kill a few North Korean soldiers when the fate of the world hangs in the balance and the situation demanded it? Thanks a lot, Marvel: You’ve turned my childhood hero into a morally bankrupt loser, sailing through life without a rudder.
My spider-sense is tingling, and it’s telling me Marvel’s Dan Slott might want to talk to Shin in Geun, who escaped from North Korea’s infamous Camp 14, before he writes another issue.
Update: Looks like Dan Slott didn’t bone up on the North Korean regime. See how Spider-Man has become a war zone liability.