Web of Spider-Man #79-80
Issue(s): Web of Spider-Man #79, Web of Spider-Man #80
Peter Parker and Mary Jane are out for a romantic carriage ride when they are attacked by a group of mercenaries. They are looking for Peter because of his known connection to Spider-Man. Peter is knocked away and comes back as Spider-Man, and defeats all but one of the mercenaries, who turn out to be robots.
Once he finds out that the people he is fighting are robots, he decides it's ok to let loose and destroy them completely.
That normally wouldn't strike me as unusual, but having just read Wolverine #38-44, where i took it as a given that Elsie Dee should be treated like a real person, it now has me wondering. I mean, the robots here are of course trying to hurt Spider-Man, but that's no more true than all of the human opponents he's fought (and they are really just trying to capture him or get some of his blood, not kill him), and they do seem to have fully formed personalities. I guess i shouldn't have been so hard on Storm in the Wolverine story; it's more complicated than it seems.
I will say that the robots all seem kind of dumb. I mean they attack Peter Parker, looking for Spider-Man, and suddenly Peter disappears and Spider-Man shows up. And they don't seem to make the connection. But i think that's more a problem with the writing and casual use of secret identities by the writer than the robots' intelligence. As i've mentioned before, i really hate the idea that Peter's "connection" with Spider-Man is so often used as a plot point since it basically eliminates the benefit of a secret ID. His secret ID certainly isn't keeping his loved ones safe, as we see in this story where Mary Jane is endangered.
The robots were calling themselves the Silver Squad, and Spider-Man tries to guess who sent them. Silver Sable? Silver Samurai? They are in fact sent by this guy (but created by the Tinkerer).
After a long drawn out fight with the remaining robot, Spider-Man is captured and brought to that guy, who turns out to be Silvermane.
Fans of Nick Spencer's Superior Foes of Spider-Man may be interested to see that the above scene is the first indication that Silvermane's head can survive on its own.
He now wants a new cyborg body that will be powered by Spider-Man's blood. So he's got Spidey hooked up to a contraption and starts draining his blood.
Meanwhile, Mary Jane gives a statement to the police about the robot attack, and then reaches out to the Black Cat, asking her to help find Spider-Man. Peter has an arrangement with Mary Jane that when he's in trouble, he's supposed to activate one of his spider-tracers, so that Mary Jane can use the original tracer-tracker (the device that Spider-Man devised to locate his tracers before he realized that he could use his spider-sense) to locate him. MJ gives the tracker to the Black Cat. At the end of this story, it will turn out that Peter never activated a tracer, but Black Cat is able to locate Spidey anyway due to her sleuthing skills (and the fact that the robot didn't exactly try to hide its trail). The ending of the story almost seems to present the idea that Peter didn't activate his tracer as a failing on his part (which the Cat politely decides not to mention), but from what we see, Spider-Man was never really given an opportunity.
Spider-Man does manage to free himself, by loading up Silvermane's blood draining device with web-fluid. But that uses up his last remaining web fluid. And on top of that, Silvermane unmasked Spidey and was trying to record it to impress the other mob bosses. But, conveniently, Silvermane winds up blinded due to the failed blood transfer, and Peter is able to dodge cameras long enough to get his mask back.
The Black Cat, meanwhile, gets in trouble with Silvermane's security defenses, and she winds up getting knocked out. But that turns out to be a ruse and she joins in the fight.
The Black Cat was depowered in Amazing Spider-Man #343 but she didn't have powers for most of her career, so her participation in this fight isn't a problem.
In the end there's an explosion and Silvermane is again seemingly destroyed. Except it turns out that the Silvermane Spidey and the Cat were fighting was another robot, and the real Silvermane was in another room (don't worry; he also got blinded when the robot one did).
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (2): showBlack Cat, Mary Jane Watson, Silvermane, Spider-Man
Maybe Kavanagh is thinking of how WOLVERINE parted on relatively good terms with the Samurai in Wolverine 3?
Posted by: Michael | October 25, 2015 2:24 PM
This reminds me of Rage of Ultron recently, in which it is implied that Parker may have been one of the Avengers present who was less hesitant to eliminate robotic life, despite his usually powerful reverence of it that sometimes borders on obsession. I remember that some of the Avengers arguing against the idea may have been overly defensive and taking some of Parker's words out of context but then again, I can't quite remember them saying the robots couldn't have been reactivated by Pym's device.
I mention this now because I can't actually remember if Peter has ever spared a robot for its intelligence before. If he has not, it may be considered a dark aspect of his personality that he doubts they are alive.
I suppose you could give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that he believes the robots in this story can and will be salvaged, but that may be jumping to conclusions.
Interestingly though, the Ultimate Alliance game has him discuss the topic with Mysterio, the latter of which accuses SHIELD of planning to reprogram Ultron and Parker responding that such an act would be illegal due to his sentience. This is course doesn't confirm his own opinions on the matter, but its curious as to wherever the Marvel Universe has their own legal stance on the matter. I could imagine them requesting that an android have their sentience tested for the court.
Posted by: Max_Spider | October 25, 2015 3:48 PM
Sentient vs. non-sentient could work as a criteria, Michael, but that seems difficult for Spider-Man to determine in a case like this. I haven't read the issue, but the fembot in the scans seems upset that one of her comrades was destroyed.
I'm also reminded of an upcoming Infinity War tie-in where Johnny Storm fights some doppelgangers until one mentions they're not truly alive, at which point he promptly makes like the original Human Torch and barbeques them.
Posted by: Mortificator | October 25, 2015 4:00 PM
Come to think of it, during Disassembled, when they were arguing about whether Wanda was crazy, Bendis had Peter says "She married a robot." People complained it was out of character at the time but now I'm wondering.
Posted by: Michael | October 25, 2015 4:25 PM
Mhmm, looking back at Rage of Ultron, Peter didn't have as much to say about it a I remembered. Not that he made any statements that sounded explicitly like an objection. The ultimate test would have been during his "No One Dies" period, although that might not be such a time he'd risk it I guess.
I remember a real life story about soldiers developing an attachment for their Big Dog robot, willing to carry it back and lay it to rest. I'd imagine their attitude wouldn't extend to enemy robots. I'm not saying that they're anywhere near the level we're discussing, but its interesting how human behavior works sometimes.
Nevertheless, the phenomenon of heroes killing "anyone except for robots" is common enough that Death's Head directly asks Iron Man if he is one of those who carry such a viewpoint. Tony insists "some of my best friends are robots!" Before quickly recognizing the unfortunate implications of such a response.
While we're on the subject, Sleepwalker insisted it was okay to kill the habitats of the Heroes Reborn earth due to them being empty shells. I would hope that this is a side-effect of that world being poisoned and not that Rikki Barnes shouldn't be mourned.
Posted by: Max_Spider | October 25, 2015 7:46 PM
Silvermane died at least 10 times...amazing!
Posted by: Venom_Max | January 6, 2017 5:10 PM
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