The Opposite of Uncle Ben

It’s kind of interesting that Amazing Spider-Man came out this week. It retold the origin story of the Peter Parker iteration of the character, the same week that Ultimate Spider-Man continued subverting it. This issue was mostly a prolonged fight scene with his Uncle Aaron, who (as another character pointed out) was trying to make him an enforcer. It ended with Aaron’s (very timely) death, and delivering one final message to tell Miles that they were alike. I imagine that will continue to haunt Miles going forward.

I felt a bit lukewarm on the ending at first. The issue as a whole was strong, but it seemed like such an obvious untruth that Miles should see right through it. Bryan astutely pointed out that this made him the anti-Uncle Ben. Instead of delivering an inspiring message as he died, he used those moments to discourage his nephew. This also serves as the inverse of Peter’s motivation — instead of living up to an ideal, he might be fighting against that image of himself.

I suppose it still rubs me the wrong way a bit. I didn’t think Miles needed an analog for Ben. He’s been living in Peter’s shadow, and I thought (and still think) that’s a much more interesting character motivation. Hopefully that doesn’t get too overshadowed with misplaced guilt.

Avengers vs X-Men was pretty good this week too. Maybe not as amazing as last issue, but I expect that’s partly due to lowered expectations. This issue was good, and moved the plot forward, but it didn’t pack many surprises. I do think they’re creating a more interesting internal conflict with Cyclops, who’s being written as more interesting character than the annoying whiner he was at the start of the series.

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