The ‘Ends of the Earth’ storyline in Marvel’s Amazing Spider-Man has severely damaged the character’s credibility, due almost entirely to writer Dan Slott. I took flak from fans for mentioning that Spider-Man’s dangerously naive “no one dies” mentality is a war zone liability, and that only a fool would jeopardize a time-sensitive mission by worrying about the well-being of North Korean soldiers — when over six billion lives were on the line. Only a few weeks ago I said: “A hero is still a hero, but some of them are meant for city streets, and some of them are meant to determine the fate of the world.” And now, Dan Slott’s Spider-Man proved it, through his own dialogue and actions:
“I’m not used to ‘End of the World’ stuff. Gimme a bank robbery or one of my regular bad guys. Now that I can handle,” (Dan Slott’s Spider-Man, Amazing Spider-Man #687).
Sadly, truer words were never spoken. Only pages later, Spider-Man is put in a situation where he must choose between saving Silver Sable’s life as she is held beneath rising water by the immovable Rhino, or stopping a satellite launch that will doom billions. Our hero feebly pulls at his enemy’s forearm like a little boy who yearns for a toy until Sable uses one of her last breaths to berate his idiocy: “If you don’t go — EVERYONE DIES! GO!”
As I said before, Dan Slott’s Spider-Man is so myopic that he only sees the lives right there in front of him. He’s like a baby, tricked by peek-a-boo because his mind isn’t fully developed; if there are lives to be saved right in front of him, there’s a good chance he can be distracted.
With the climax of ‘Ends of the Earth’ at hand, Slott delivers — in the wrong way. The blinded fan will only remember Spider-Man finding an inner reserve of strength to break free from his bonds to save billions — again, thanks to the Silver Sable’s clear thinking at death’s door. What they won’t remember is that Doctor Octopus admitted he is pure evil right before Peter decided to save his life — instead of using the opportunity to return to Silver Sable. Doctor Octopus says: “I shall live on in infamy — a mass murderer worse than Pol Pot, Hitler, and Genghis Khan combined.
Only moments later, as Peter attempts to save the genocidal maniac from the crumbling fortress, he says: “I made a promise. As long as I’m around no one — … Come on. I’m getting you out of here.”
Note the pause. Peter obviously thinks of his teammate possibly drowning a few rooms over. I say ‘possibly’ because Spider-Man doesn’t know what happened after he left the room, and neither does the reader. Perhaps Silver Sable had one last trick up her sleeve. Perhaps another hero found a way to come to her aid. In that moment, wouldn’t the true hero have ditched the man who hoped to transcend Hitler, in an effort to check on his ally? In that situation, would it not have been better to at least recover her dead body over saving the man who was willing to subject billions to a burning death just seconds earlier? Let’s not even get into the many people who have been resuscitated after having been submerged in water for lengths of time conventional wisdom says is impossible…
It’s fitting that ‘Ends of the Earth’ would feature a character who (seemingly) died from drowning, because Dan Slott’s Spider-Man walks around like there isn’t enough oxygen going to his brain. Here’s to hoping that one day Spider-Man will come to his (spider) senses.