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Spider-Man’s Latest Story is Totally An Inversion of the Venom Arc

SPOILER WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Nick Spencer and Ryan Ottley’s Amazing Spider-Man series, Issue #4 of which is on sale right now.

Nick Spencer and Ryan Ottley’s Amazing Spider-Man series has largely been concerned with the classic Wall-Crawler debate between great power and great responsibility. So far, the series has tackled this conundrum by bodily splitting Peter Parker from Spider-Man. As nothing more than a man, Peter Parker is free to go about his civilian life while the masked vigilante Spider-Man cleans up New York City. Marvel canon is littered with stories about clone and alternate-reality Spider-Men, but the ongoing series is starting to feel like an inversion of Venom's origins.

As most Spider-Man fans will likely already know, Venom wasn’t always a separate entity from Spider-Man. The symbiote was first an alternate costume donned by Peter Parker in Secret Wars after his standard underoos were shredded by the Absorbing Man in a distant galaxy. When Peter returned to Earth, he came back with a fancy new black costume. For a while, Peter thought the costume was the bee’s knees. Who wouldn’t want a sentient alien superhero costume that obeyed your every mental command, after all? In time, though, the reality of the situation chilled Peter’s excitement.

RELATED: Spider-Man Has Forgotten His Greatest, Life-Changing Lesson

Recent events in Spencer and Ottley’s Amazing Spider-Man mirror Peter’s journey from “oh cool” to “oh no” first glimpsed in the Venom arc. As is often the case when weighing most binary arguments, the situations are aggressively opposed but the result is similar. For example, in the Venom arc, Peter Parker is fused with another entity (a totally separate personality, if we’re to glean anything from Eddie Brock’s experience with the symbiote). Amazing Spider-Man, on the other hand, is wholly concerned with the separation of entities -- Peter Parker from Spider-Man. In both cases, though, the result is a violation of Peter’s “with great power comes great responsibility” mantra.

The issue with Spencer and Ottley’s split Spider-Man is simply that he lacks the life experiences that led Peter Parker to become a great superhero. To briefly summarize the ongoing story, Amazing Spider-Man #4 revealed that split Spider-Man has forgotten Uncle Ben, who is canonically the deliverer of the great responsibility mantra. As a result, Peter Parker never matured past a petulant nerdling. Mentally, he’s still the same brat who was fawned over by his aunt and uncle, became vindictive when girls rejected him and just generally thought the world owed him something. As a result, he lacks the same moral compass Peter had when he was the one under the mask.

On the other hand, Spider-Man’s Venom costume fully debuted back in Amazing Spider-Man #252 and was the result of a cosmic adventure the Web-Slinger embarked on in Secret Wars. At first, Peter saw the costume as downright nifty, so much so that he didn’t even take up Reed Richards’ offer to examine the suit for quite a while. That’s decision that would come back to haunt Peter, because while the suit was instrumental in taking down baddies like Puma and the Rose, it harbored a darker side.

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