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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Amazing Spider-Man turns off the dark now

    I love Spider-Man. I love him so much that my high school graduation speech was about Spider-Man. I once wrote a rap song about Spidey and Mary Jane. The dedication of Jeff Mariotte’s book, “Spider-Man: Requiem,” is made out to me.

    That’s true dedication.

    Given my love for Spidey, I was understandably ecstatic when I heard that, after Doctor Octopus having played “Superior Spider-Man” for a little over a year, Peter Parker is returning to the role of the “Amazing Spider-Man” in April.

    The argument over which Spider-Man reigns supreme is not perceived as important in most circles, but its implications are actually huge. Peter Parker, the wisecracking webhead, is not a dark, brooding anti-hero like Superior Spidey and so many others. Parker is the Spider-Man we need.
    Today’s heroes are going from champions of truth and justice to dark, dismal avengers.

    Christopher Nolan’s “Dark Knight” trilogy presents a much more serious Batman than previous film interpretations — in no small part through the lack of “Shark Repellent Bat-Spray” and costumed nipples —reinforcing the idea that this Batman will, as Two-Face said, either die a hero or live long enough to see himself become the villain. Blurred lines like these between hero and villain are redefining what makes someone a superhero, or generally, what makes a hero.

    This isn’t to say that there’s no place for dark stories, dark heroes or major twists on classic villains in Spider-Man stories. “The Night Gwen Stacy Died,” “99 Problems” and most stories involving the Venom symbiote deal with sorrow, frustration and rage. But these are still important stories, because they bring realistic emotion to comics.

    The problem is that even though “Superior Spider-Man” explores an interesting extreme of superheroes who value brutal efficiency over empathy in a novel way, the efficiency-driven anti-hero is becoming less than novel: He’s becoming the standard.

    By choosing to portray their characters as more “realistic” by writing them as grimmer and grittier, writers are glorifying the “fighting to end battles quickly” anti-hero qualities over the inspirational, emotionally healthy regular superhero qualities.

    That’s why I’m really excited to see Peter Parker make his comeback as Spider-Man. Peter has had his share of dark stories, and even his origin is tragic. Yet, even if it takes a while, Peter always returns to his regular self: wisecracking, smiling and colorfully drawn. He’s emotionally driven because he has had to handle and to move past sadness, frustration and the urge for vengeance. Peter slips up sometimes, like most of us do, but when he does he expresses regret.

    “The Superior Spider-Man” is the product of a bully begetting a bully. “The Amazing Spider-Man” is a story of overcoming pain, humiliation and anger to become a better person. Both comics have relatable stories, but the latter displays what being a superhero is really about.

    Peter Parker is not a perfect role model, but he’s a hopeful ideal to strive toward. Through his example we see that superheroes can simply be people trying to live up to promises, deal with grief and go on living the best they possibly can.

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