Page 1 of 4 1234 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 60
  1. #1

    Default Is Spider-Man An Incompetent Hero?

    I've been meaning to start a thread on this topic for a while now. I was reluctant because I wanted to make sure I structured it in a way that the mods were okay with. If I don't, I apologize and if any of the mods have issues with the format, please let me know and I'll be happy to fix it.

    I'm not sure how this topic will be received, but I hope it generates a discussion. It has to do with just how effective a hero Spider-Man actually is in the most practical sense of the word. By that, I mean is he really accomplishing what he set out to do when he put on the mask? Is he actually being responsible in how he operates as Spider-Man? Is he actually achieving the goals he wants to achieve?

    I've thought about this for a while and on my publishing blog, a link to which is in my signature, I made the argument that he has failed on almost every level. In fact, I go so far as to say that Spider-Man is the most incompetent hero of all time and his chosen methods ensures that in the long run, he will always fail.

    Now let me make one thing clear. I'm a fan of Spider-Man. I've been a fan of his since I was a kid. I don't hate the character. Granted, I don't like him nearly as much as I used to. I'm a lot more fond of characters like Silk, Miles, and Spider-Gwen these days. But Peter Parker still has a special place in my heart, even if I don't buy a lot of comics that focus on him anymore.

    However, if you take a step back and really break down his methods for combating crime and irresponsibility, he's not just inept. He's downright counterproductive. The way he carries himself as Spider-Man doesn't just fail to improve the situation. He actually makes it worse and everyone he cares about is almost guaranteed to suffer because of it.

    Why do I say this? Well, in my blog post, I lay out Spider-Man's methods. It usually goes something like this:

    -He encounters a villain
    -He fights the villain
    -He makes jokes and crude remarks
    -He defeats the villain
    -He ties the villain up so the police can take it from there
    -He occasionally smiles for the cameras and builds his public persona

    I know there have been variations in the past, but that's really the main template that Spider-Man uses. Watch the old cartoon or read comics from nearly any era and this is how he goes about fighting crime. And when you actually break that method down and compare it to how other heroes operate, you come to one uncomfortable conclusion. Spider-Man does absolutely nothing actually deter crime and irresponsibility.

    For one, he doesn't really intimidate or scare his enemies that much. Unlike Batman, he doesn't apply any significant psychological tactics. The only tactic he really uses is annoying people. He cracks jokes and frustrates his enemies. But he never actually scares them. And annoying his enemies doesn't dissuade any of them from becoming villains. If anything, it just gives them more reason to hate Spider-Man even more.

    On top of that, Spider-Man wears a flashy, colorful, easily-recognizable costume. Day or night, everybody can usually identify him pretty quickly. Even with his Spider-Sense, that still makes him a big flashy target. That wouldn't be too bad if he didn't have a huge public persona, some of which he actively cultivates.

    This is a big issue and not just because Jameson paints him as a menace. By making him a public figure, he's basically telling the entire criminal world, "Here I am! I'm the guy who's cutting into your profits and annoying you to no end! Look at me! Look at my flashy costume! Go on! Come after me! I DARE you!" That doesn't just make him a target. That gives his enemies a common threat to rally around. Nothing makes a group stronger than having a common enemy. It means criminals and villains who otherwise would not have collaborated are more likely to team up and become even more dangerous. That's not just irresponsible. That's downright regressive.

    As a result, his villains don't really have a reason to be threatened by Spider-Man and, therefore, don't have a reason to stop what they're doing. They know he's not going to kill them like the Punisher. They know he's not even going to seriously hurt them. He's just going to give them over to the cops. Sure, that's inconvenient and frustrating, but they still have someone to blame. They know exactly who to go after and he's got a nice, flashy costume on top of it. And the more Spider-Man beats them, the more annoyed and angry they get. Again, that just makes them stronger in the long run.

    Then, there's his loved ones. This is where Peter's failure becomes complete. I'm not just referring to the death of Gwen Stacy here either. Because of what Peter does, he doesn't just make his loved ones vulnerable. He makes it so that their suffering is inevitable in the long run. He has to get lucky every single time in order to protect his loved ones completely from his activities. His villains, as the Green Goblin knows, only need to get lucky once. In essence, the laws of probability are actively working against Spider-Man.

    So in the grand scheme of things, Spider-Man has failed to achieve his goals as a hero. Compared to other heroes like Batman and Daredevil, his failure is probably the most egregious of any major hero in comics right now. The saddest part is that there is a way for him to become more competent. However, doing so would mean fundamentally changing the ways Spider-Man operates and Marvel isn't going to allow that. They need to keep Spider-Man in this state because he's more marketable that way.

    Again, I want to make clear that I'm not just bashing Peter here. I still consider myself a Spider-Man fan to some extent. I also don't doubt Peter's sincerity as a character. Every writer at Marvel has made clear that he wants to do good. He wants to be a hero. He wants to make the world better. That is beyond dispute. The way he goes about it, though, is just so utterly inept. The more he does what he does, the worse things get.

    I go into a bit more detail in my blog post on this issue. If anyone is interested in that, here's a link:


    But I also want to open up a discussion. I have a feeling my position is an extreme minority position. I'm probably not going to make many friends with this thread. I imagine even Dan Slott would roll his eyes at this, but I doubt he'll ever read this anyway so I'll just put it out there and hope for the best.

    So let's have at it. Do you agree with me? Do you think Spider-Man is an incompetent hero? Do you think my assessment is wrong? I think, given Spider-Man's history, it's a topic worth discussing.
    Join me on the official website for X-men Supreme, home of Marvel Universe 1015. Want a fresh take on X-men? Click below to enter the official home of Marvel at it's most Supreme!


    Or if you want, check out my official publishing blog.

  2. #2
    Astonishing Member SpiderClops's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Posts
    3,515

    Default

    TL;DR.

    Short answer: NO.
    “Indifference and neglect often do much more damage than outright dislike.”
    -Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

  3. #3
    Fantastic Member
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Posts
    255

    Default

    He curbstomped Titania so badly she was scared of him for years. When he has reason to he can be really scary!

    I think Spidey's only issue in terms of effectiveness is the same one that plagues most superheroes, that being that most villains keep coming back to cause trouble. But since he has some baddies who know his identity, as well as an everyman's luck, things seem to go wrong for him as often as they go right.

  4. #4

    Default

    The Bland New Day version of the character is pretty incompetent.
    Undo One More Day, bring back the marriage, and make Spider-Man great again
    Renew Your Vows is the only good Spider-Man book on the market nowadays
    Married Spider-Man is better than Teenage Spider-Man
    https://vampfox667.tumblr.com/

  5. #5
    Astonishing Member DieHard200904's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Location
    Backwoods of Pennsylvania
    Posts
    3,153

    Default

    Overall, no. He does have some events where he is stuck with consequences. However, having consequences that you live with is the biggest part on the scale of relatability. If someone could just wave a magic wand and erase various events from a character's history , each time is an absurd wish fulfillment that makes me feel less interested because there feels so little at stake when they can just wave the magic wand at any moment.

  6. #6
    Astonishing Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Posts
    4,191

    Default

    This shows a fundamental misunderstanding of both Spider-Man and of the superhero genre in general.

    You can also use this same logic to call Batman the most incompetent hero because all he does is catch the same psychotic villains over and over again, put them in Arkham Asylum over and over again only to see them continually escape, go on to cause the deaths of many more innocent people, and rather than change his approach and seek more effective solutions, Batman just keeps repeating the same flawed cycle and getting the same disastrous results.

    You have to understand this: no superhero is ever going to be truly "competent" in the way they deal with their adversaries. If they were, the books would just be over.

  7. #7

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by SpiderClops View Post
    TL;DR.

    Short answer: NO.
    Well what's the long answer? I'm genuinely interested in why you feel that way.

    Quote Originally Posted by lalalei2001 View Post
    He curbstomped Titania so badly she was scared of him for years. When he has reason to he can be really scary!

    I think Spidey's only issue in terms of effectiveness is the same one that plagues most superheroes, that being that most villains keep coming back to cause trouble. But since he has some baddies who know his identity, as well as an everyman's luck, things seem to go wrong for him as often as they go right.
    Well you bring up a relevant issue. Why do those villains keep coming back? Spider-Man gives them no reason whatsoever to stop what they're doing. He just annoys and frustrates them for the most part. That'll just make villains even more determined to hurt him.

    I also think the luck aspect is overplayed here. You can say Peter is unlucky all you want, but his tactics constantly put him in a situation where he's vulnerable. It's not about luck as much as it is about causality. By emboldening his enemies and being an obvious target, he's putting himself in a position to be unlucky. And when that does come back to bite him, he does nothing to actually change what put him in that situation to begin with. That's like cursing the ocean for flooding his home, but never actually moving the home away from the water.

    The more I think about it, the more I believe the whole concept of "Parker Luck" isn't actually a thing. It's more like "Parker Blowback." What happens to him isn't a result of luck. It's a result of his well-intended actions coming back to bite him and never learning from those actions. That's why his loved ones keep suffering. It's not luck. It's him.
    Join me on the official website for X-men Supreme, home of Marvel Universe 1015. Want a fresh take on X-men? Click below to enter the official home of Marvel at it's most Supreme!


    Or if you want, check out my official publishing blog.

  8. #8
    BANNED
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Posts
    2,183

    Default

    Only when he's badly written.

  9. #9

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Prof. Warren View Post
    This shows a fundamental misunderstanding of both Spider-Man and of the superhero genre in general.

    You can also use this same logic to call Batman the most incompetent hero because all he does is catch the same psychotic villains over and over again, put them in Arkham Asylum over and over again only to see them continually escape, go on to cause the deaths of many more innocent people, and rather than change his approach and seek more effective solutions, Batman just keeps repeating the same flawed cycle and getting the same disastrous results.

    You have to understand this: no superhero is ever going to be truly "competent" in the way they deal with their adversaries. If they were, the books would just be over.
    I'm glad you brought up Batman because there is one key difference between Batman and Spider-Man. Batman actually does scare people. He uses intimidation, fear, and psychological tactics to accomplish his goals. You could make the case that Gotham City doesn't have as much crime because people are scared of having to deal with Batman. Remember that scene in The Dark Knight when that criminal ran away because he saw the bat signal in the sky? That's something Spider-Man never inspires.

    Now I don't deny that Batman's methods aren't as effective as they could be. Just throwing criminals in Arkham doesn't work. However, you could make the case that because Batman scares away all the common criminals, the only ones left for him to battle are the truly deranged types. So it makes sense that Gotham's major criminals would be the Jokers and Penguins of the world.

    I get that no hero can be truly "competent." However, I would argue that Spider-Man's incompetence is far more egregious compared to most other heroes.
    Join me on the official website for X-men Supreme, home of Marvel Universe 1015. Want a fresh take on X-men? Click below to enter the official home of Marvel at it's most Supreme!


    Or if you want, check out my official publishing blog.

  10. #10

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by DieHard200904 View Post
    Overall, no. He does have some events where he is stuck with consequences. However, having consequences that you live with is the biggest part on the scale of relatability. If someone could just wave a magic wand and erase various events from a character's history , each time is an absurd wish fulfillment that makes me feel less interested because there feels so little at stake when they can just wave the magic wand at any moment.
    It's one thing to have to deal with consequences. That's an unavoidable part of life, even for a superhero. The issue I have with Spider-man is that he keeps suffering from the same consequences. He never learns from them. He never adapts his tactics. I get that he has a brand and Marvel has an interest in maintaining this brand, but it really is regressive in the grand scheme of things. Not learning from mistakes and consequences doesn't make someone more relatable. It just makes them incompetent.
    Join me on the official website for X-men Supreme, home of Marvel Universe 1015. Want a fresh take on X-men? Click below to enter the official home of Marvel at it's most Supreme!


    Or if you want, check out my official publishing blog.

  11. #11
    Y'know. Pav's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Posts
    1,718

    Default

    Spidey's incompetence stems from his goodness.

    Like, the logical thing would be to kill Carnage - you know the Superior SpOck would! - but Spidey does what he believes is right even if it flies against the moral majority. And it's the majority opinion that decides something like incompetence.

    -Pav, who thinks Peter's selflessness is selfish...
    2017 Marvel Monthly Buys: America Ben Reilly: the Scarlet Spider Iron Fist Iron Fists Runaways Silver Surfer Spider-Gwen

    Closet full of comics? Consider donating to my middle school students! DM for details

  12. #12
    Moderator oldschool's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    NYC
    Posts
    1,294

    Default

    NO. Not at all; this is a kind of silly and rash overreaction to the fact that he is, at his core, probably the most human and fallible hero in the Marvel Universe. Would an "incompetent" hero have saved NYC and the world many times over? Even during the last few years when Slott has often written Peter as less self-assured, he saved NYC during the Spider-Island story and the world during "Ends of The Earth". So.....no, I would not call him incompetent at all; that's just absurd.
    I miss Kevin Nichols. Not as much as bacon, but still...

  13. #13

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Pav View Post
    Spidey's incompetence stems from his goodness.

    Like, the logical thing would be to kill Carnage - you know the Superior SpOck would! - but Spidey does what he believes is right even if it flies against the moral majority. And it's the majority opinion that decides something like incompetence.

    -Pav, who thinks Peter's selflessness is selfish...
    I think you're right to some extent. The fact that Spider-Man is good and tries to be good works against him. Like I said, I don't doubt his sincerity as a character. However, I think he's extremely short-sighted with respect to exercising his good nature. Sure, in the short-term, doing the right thing is heroic. However, in the long run the good he does only leads to more bad. This is part of the blowback I mentioned in an earlier post. By doing the right thing with his particular methods, which are not the same as crime-fighting characters like Batman and Daredevil, he makes his enemies stronger. He makes them more dangerous. More people suffer because of what he does in the long run. Now I know hindsight is always 20/20, but the fact this happens so regularly to him and he does nothing to adapt isn't a sign of goodness. It's a sign of incompetence and maybe even a little insanity.

    Then again, aren't all superheroes insane to some extent?
    Join me on the official website for X-men Supreme, home of Marvel Universe 1015. Want a fresh take on X-men? Click below to enter the official home of Marvel at it's most Supreme!


    Or if you want, check out my official publishing blog.

  14. #14

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by oldschool View Post
    NO. Not at all; this is a kind of silly and rash overreaction to the fact that he is, at his core, probably the most human and fallible hero in the Marvel Universe. Would an "incompetent" hero have saved NYC and the world many times over? Even during the last few years when Slott has often written Peter as less self-assured, he saved NYC during the Spider-Island story and the world during "Ends of The Earth". So.....no, I would not call him incompetent at all; that's just absurd.
    I respect your sentiment and I think yours is probably the majority opinion of comic fans. I don't think it's entirely wrong, but I also think it's incomplete.

    On the surface, it's true that Spider-Man has saved New York and the world many times before. However, I think that ignores the blowback from some of his methods. Would he have even needed to save the world or NYC in the first place if he had somehow dealt with his enemies more efficiently? What if he had somehow dealt with Doc Ock, Norman Osborn, and Miles Warren effectively? I don't mean he'd have to kill them like the Punisher. But say the first fight was the only fight they had to have. Then some of those feats wouldn't be necessary. Is it really that heroic for him to solve a problem that he created due to the unintended consequences of his own tactics? I'm not saying that makes him a bad guy, but I think that's just another sign of his incompetence.
    Join me on the official website for X-men Supreme, home of Marvel Universe 1015. Want a fresh take on X-men? Click below to enter the official home of Marvel at it's most Supreme!


    Or if you want, check out my official publishing blog.

  15. #15
    Fantastic Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Posts
    485

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by MarvelMaster616 View Post
    I'm glad you brought up Batman because there is one key difference between Batman and Spider-Man. Batman actually does scare people. He uses intimidation, fear, and psychological tactics to accomplish his goals. You could make the case that Gotham City doesn't have as much crime because people are scared of having to deal with Batman. Remember that scene in The Dark Knight when that criminal ran away because he saw the bat signal in the sky? That's something Spider-Man never inspires.

    Now I don't deny that Batman's methods aren't as effective as they could be. Just throwing criminals in Arkham doesn't work. However, you could make the case that because Batman scares away all the common criminals, the only ones left for him to battle are the truly deranged types. So it makes sense that Gotham's major criminals would be the Jokers and Penguins of the world.

    I get that no hero can be truly "competent." However, I would argue that Spider-Man's incompetence is far more egregious compared to most other heroes.
    But at the end of the day.Gotham's still a shithole.How many people actually turn alway form crime because of his scare tactics?The minions the Penguin hires have to come form somewhere.

    Saying that Batman only fights guys crimebosses someone.zys is just plain incorrect.There are plenty panels of him oneshoting some thug mugging someone
    Last edited by Baseman; 04-14-2017 at 07:41 AM.

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •