Fans upset over Spider-Man torture fiasco; Marvel defends

 In Amazing Spider-Man #685, Spidey allows Silver Sable to pour acid onto the Sandman to get information on Doctor Octopus’ whereabouts. Since then there has been a bit of fan outcry at the scene, with fans citing out Spider-Man flat out tortured to get his info. One particular blogger made a post citing his dissapointment and digust at the sight of Spider-Man allowing such a thing. Writer Dan Slott and Senior Group Editor Steve Wacker have since responded (found here), saying that Spidey has psychologically tortured crooks before by hanging them over high ledges and such. What do you think? Was the scene too much? Was Spidey out of character? Or is the whole thing blown out of proportion? Comment below!

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(67) Comments

  1. Anton Phibes

    I think some modern pop artist ought to take the above panel and reproduce it, in the style of Roy Lichenstein. Make the thing good and big, too, maybe 10 feet long horizontally. It's full of big themes, after all: it should overpower. It could be titled, "American Super-heroics c. 2012.". Or perhaps, "Marvel tarts it all up again!!!" (exclamation should be included, it IS pop art and comics, after all.) As Marvel seems proud of this, they should proclaim it even more loudly to the world--and beat pop artist me to the punch--they should emblazon this image on all sorts of merchandise! T-shirts and wall hangings of the Sandman's suffering and melting face! Cereal boxes, too! Plaster that moaning mug to the crotches of men's underwear--there's a symbol of empowerment! Does anyone bother with movie press-kits anymore? Marvel should hurry and make sure this pic is slipped into every magazine and made part of every advert for that big new movie--underscore that thing with the caption, "Our Spider-man, he's not a wimp any more! He's tough!". Put the thing in the musical programs, too! Bah! The other day, I stumbled on this, and I think you should, too. It's an article describing a project called "Ordinary Batman Adventures," and these are by an illustratator named Sarah Johnson. ( ) You might be able to guess by the title what these are about, but I think you should look. I think these illustrations are brilliant in their wonderful whimsy. Go ahead and laugh at them, I think that's partly the point. But after you've had your chuckle, ask yourself, is there more heart in these little pictures than in an entire year of Spider-man exhibitionism?

  2. Mike 13

    @43 - just because stuff hasn't been explained doesn't mean that continuity has been thrown out the window... and most of those arguments that you've thrown out there can easily be found in many, if not ALL retcons... which seems to be the norm in comics nowadays... Harry's ressurection has been explained, and it works... yes, it contradicts ONE thought balloon in Norman's head... but that's pretty nit-picky if you ask me... considering a lot of other "faux-pas" that have been in ALL comics throughout the years that just get dismissed... Sheesh...

  3. fantasyfreak

    Im with K-Box all the way. Hearing this made me both sad and disgusted.That just isnt something Spidey would do. And And like K-Box said there just isnt any possible way to defend this. As for not bringing this up in reviews I guess they wanted to save the controversy for one post?

  4. Enigma_2099

    ... You're all completely ignoring one important thing about this... ... are they blaming the Crawlspace yet?

  5. Nick MB

    @58 - Surely the argument isn't "is torture defensible morally?" or "is torture effective?"? Spidey acknowledges on the page that he isn't happy with the morality of it and wouldn't have let it go much further, the question is "Would Spider-Man, in this situation, be able to be talked into trying this degree of torture by the two hardened spies he's working with?". I can buy it to the degree written, although, yes, it is at the limits of what you can get away with using this character. If you don't buy the leap, then fair enough, the story probably wouldn't work. But yeah, not feeling the moral outrage at all. And considering the comic in question was out for nearly a month without complaint, the two separate reviews of the issue on this site didn't even mention it... yeah, I'm struggling to see it as a huge deal.

  6. boomstick

    Okay, I admit, this idea might be an interesting character study in a psychological piece, aimed at exploring how far he'd be willing to go-and what lines he'd never cross, including physical torture-to get the job done. However, this is a fairly routine hero vs. bad guy/Armageddon story, and it's grossly out of character, especially in such a mundane comics plot. Comparing Batman to Spider-Man is a grossly false analogy and a very weak defense: Batman is an entirely different story, person and character-arc than Spider-Man and batman only used, at his worst, THREATS of violence. Nine times out of ten, he just scares them by looming over them or growling at them in that big, intimidating Bat-Voice. And this is a hellova lot different than acid-boarding. Batman and Spider-Man simply do not compare, and even at his worst, Bats never, ever strapped a bad guy down and poured acid on him, nor did he stand by and let someone else do it. There's a big difference between scaring someone with words or empty threats. We know Bats would never drop someone off a ten story ledge. However, tying a bad guy down and pouring acid on him til he talks is torture. Bad guys use physical torture. Good guys are not supposed to use physical torture. Peter has always been far more an idealist than a cold-blooded pragmatist, which has been his greatest strength and weakness all in one, a wonderful part of his character. This whole thing raises unwelcome questions: If he’s willing to cross this grey line, what others will he cross to save lives? That’s the sad part about ends-justify-the-means thinking: You can use it to justify anything. So if he’s willing to do this, what, some readers may wonder, is next? What line is the next to blur and be crossed? Standing aside and letting the bad guy die when he could save him? Making deals with Mephisto? ... Oh. Never mind. Dead honest? I think Dan wrote this one a bit out of his customary sphere/depth and doesn't quite know how to handle it, so sadly, he seems to be following Wacker's lead and lashing out at disenchanted customers. And the sad part is, this whole mess could have blown over had Slott and Wacker made a simple disclaimer, or better still, said nothing at all and let the whole thing blow over.

  7. K-Box in the Box

    "So are you now going to complain every time Spidey uses threats of violence to get information?" Yes, I am, because he has a BRAIN, which means that, even in the example above, there are about an INFINITE number of other ways for him to obtain the same information, ESPECIALLY in a world as fantastical as superhero comics, and especially when THE EXACT SAME STORY goes on to show Spider-Man using other, smarter methods of persuasion on Mysterio that actually would have been MORE effective on Sandman, since Sandman has a DAUGHTER whom he cares about and who will DIE, along with everyone else on Earth, if Doc Ock is successful. Slott isn't even FOLLOWING HIS OWN RULES within the story itself! "Same goes for other characters like Batman and Moonknight?" Yeah, amazingly enough, I've NEVER liked scenes of Batman holding guys upside down over ledges, because it's not like he's a DETECTIVE or anything. ANY story which insists that torture is the way to go is not only MORALLY wrong, but LOGICALLY wrong, because people in the REAL WORLD who DON'T have any of the powers or resources of superheroes manage to get that information ALL THE TIME, and WITHOUT engaging in torture, which DOES NOT WORK, according to REAL-WORLD INTERROGATORS. There is absolutely nothing you can say that can make this defensible, ChaosInc. It is OBJECTIVELY wrong on EVERY POSSIBLE front.

  8. stillanerd

    #55--Exactly! As I pointed out above, the whole notion that Spider-Man is forced out of desperation to go along with Silver Sable's "acidboarding" the Sandman, that he had no other means to get him to talk, doesn't even work when you factor in the fact that Spidey already has leverage to use to get the Sandman to cooperate in the form of his daughter, Keemia--which again, not only did Dan Slott himself establish that Sandman's desire to get his daughter back is the whole reason why he going along with Doc Ock's plan, but it was the mere mention of his daughter's name which helped Spidey stop the Sandman in the previous issue before this one. Besides, wasn't the whole point that has been driving home repeatedly that Spidey's greatest weapon is his brain? There was nothing, based on what this story and previous stories have already established, to stop Spidey from pointing out that stopping Doc Ock would help to save Sandman's daughter.

  9. The Lament Beast

    Why thank you. Well it's not much about what Spidey did but more of what happened in the comic itself. His character is fine overall… well as fine as it gets in this post-BND era… but imagine if Punisher tortured someone in A: EMH, wouldn't that be similar to what happened here? The main characters did no wrong but something wrong still happened. Now if you excuse me I have to vote in the California Primary. And yes, it sucks. ~Lament~

  10. Leunamme

    I think the problem people are having is I don't think Peter would use torture to bring Sandman to give the information he wants. I think he would have reasoned with him, tried to convince him. Spider-Man has also always used empty threats but the problem here is that he's actually hurting Sandman. I think that's why people are upset/peeved about this.

  11. Enigma_2099

    @#53 Welcome back... As for the whole mess... there's a fine line. It may be uncomfortable seeing him toe the line, even if the circumstances may somewhat justify it, but as long as he doesn't CROSS it, it's not as bad as everyone makes it out to be, in my opinion. I mean did anyone actually think he would let Silver Sable kill Sandman? And honestly, how much damage is this REALLY doing to him? Add to that the fact that HE'S not the one pouring the acid. Hell, Sable might have already promised him that she wouldn't go too far with it. My god, I'm defending Marvel... what the hell is wrong with me?

  12. The Lament Beast

    Ah Enigma_2099, long time no see! And no, I don't believe the Crawlspace overreacted. Now personally I believe that scene shouldn't have been in there period mainly due to the fact ASM age demographic has been aimed at younger readers. This is ASM, not Punisher. Well that's what I think anyway. Again it's nice to be back! ~Lament~

  13. ChaosInc

    @38 So are you now going to complain every time Spidey uses threats of violence to get information? Same goes for other characters like Batman and Moonknight? Since you're equating them with racial slurs its only logical that you would, right?

  14. Enigma_2099

    Lemme re-read that... Lament, are you saying that this drama is originating from here? Or am I reading your comment incorrectly?

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