Jan 4, 2008

Disgusted

I'm so mad I could kick a puppy!
I'm a little behind in my comic reading, so this morning before I left for work, I read a couple of issues to try and get through my ever-growing stack-'o'-comics.
One of them was Amazing Spider-Man # 545, the last part of a 4-part storyline called "One More Day". It came out last month, but I just finally got to it.
Now I wish I hadn't.
Spider-Man, the comic hero I have always been a fan of, has made a deal with the devil to save his 'poor dying aunt'. In the process of which, he destroys his marriage to Mary Jane.

To say I was pissed after reading it is quite an understatement.
This story was bad on so many levels.
There have been A LOT of discussions on the comic online forums about this* so I'm not going to cover what they've been saying. Let's just say, almost everyone is in agreement that this was a bad idea.

Peter Parker (a.k.a. Spider-Man) is trying to find a way to save the life of his aunt May, who was shot by a sniper that was targeting Spider-Man.
Wracked with guilt and unable to find a cure or scientifc doo-hickey or magical spell to help her, he resorts to making a deal with Mephisto.
The catch is... he has to give up his marriage to MJ.
You know... his wife who he once told, “But you’ve never been optional, MJ. Every happy thought I ever had begins and ends with you, and every unhappy thought begins with the realization that you’re not there, because I screwed up. I want to make it right, MJ, and I’ll do anything to make that happen. Anything.” -Peter Parker, Amazing Spider-Man vol. 2 #44

So his unhappy thoughts come from her not being there, yet he wants to end their marriage so his dear sweet aunt Methuselah... er, I mean, aunt May can stay alive?
Yeah, whatever.

Okay, cut to a few panels later and MJ agrees... under one condition *whisper, whisper* (in Mephisto's ear).
So the deal is made.
Aunt May lives.

But...
Peter (Spidey) and Mary Jane are no longer married. In fact it seems like they might've dated at one time but broke up.
Oh well, Peter's secret identity is restored (it was part of the deal) since nobody reconizes him at a party he's going to where... wait, who's that? Harry Osborn?! Isn't he dead?
Oh, Peter has been taken to the past (it seems it's the late 70's now).
Well if he's NOT dead, then where is Gwen Stacy?? She's still dead? But Harry isn't. Riiiight.

Okay, well if he's been transported back in time what about all the stuff that's happened during the years he's left and the years he now lives in?
Did he join the Avengers?
What about his clone?
Didn't he transform and gain "awesome" new powers not long ago? Are they gone now?

Ugh! My brain hurts!
-------------------------------------
This was the bright idea of Marvel Comics Editor-in chief, Joe Quesada.
Joe thought that Spider-Man being married was a bad idea and wanted to find a way to make him a care-free, single guy again. In essence, he wanted to re-boot the whole Spider-Man history and start 'fresh'.
Yeah.... good luck with that.

I've been a Spidey fan for over 25 years.
I've stuck with him through many, many bad story-lines.
The clone saga?
A stupid storyline, but whatever.

The gaining of organic web-shooters? Not once, but TWICE?
I didn't like it, but I didn't freak out about it. Yeah, it was stupid but they were trying to tie the movies in with the comics.

His powers were somehow related to a totem that has been passed down through the centuries?
Which means his powers were not some random accident, but fate actually intervened?
Um... sure whatever. Can we move along please?

His first true love, Gwen Stacy, had children out of wedlock... fathered by his greatest enemy?!?
Okay, yeah. This was bad but I could still accept it and move on.

Speaking of children, didn't him and Mary Jane have a baby that was kidnapped at birth by Norman Osborn? (We saw the baby breifly but they've never brought it back up in regular continuity)
Well, she grows up to become Spider-girl and has her own adventures. Doesn't she? Or does that not really happen because MJ and Peter were 'never really married' to begin with?

And now, Spider-Man makes a deal with the Marvel version of the devil to save the life of his aunt, and wipes out YEARS of back-history of the character!
All right. This is enough. This is an insult to fans world-wide.

Yeah, I know it's a comic book. I know these people and events aren't real. I know this isn't reality. But come on.
Marvel is going to throw away all that just because the EIC didn't think it was cool to have Spider-Man married?
This totally $%*#'s up every other storyline in the Marvel Universe. (read the online forums*, you'll see what I'm talking about)

Not only that, but he didn't even create this character! What right does he have to destroy the history on this just so he can have it the way he likes it? Especially when the fans, you know... the PEOPLE WHO ACTUALLY BUY THE COMIC SO HE GETS PAID, are so much against this?

If Mike Mignola wanted to kill off Hellboy, fine. I'm sure there would be a fanboy uproar, but it's his character. He created it and he can do with it whatever he wants. He owns it.

The same for Spawn by Todd McFarlane.
When he started the comic, the character had a limited amount of power available to him, but they worked it out so that he didn't have that liability and could keep on keeping on. It's his creation so he can make the rules.

But Joe Q. didn't create Spider-Man.
Stan Lee & Steve Ditko did. Do you think Stan "The Man" Lee would've copped-out with this deal-with-the-devil plot? Hell no!

I'm am literally millimeters away from dropping Spider-man off of my list and not buying it again.
The only reason I haven't yet is that a new creative team is taking on the book.
I like the writers and the artists they have lined up for this, but I don't know if they can bail the water out of this sinking ship fast enough to keep it afloat and get it on it's feet again.

Spider-man was the comic that first got me interested in them and has been the ONE COMIC that I always buy.
Now after 25 years, I don't think I want to read another one about him.

There's a great article on Newsarama about this whole debacle, but one of the statements made is very poignant:
"You want to make Peter more accessible to a younger readership. Now let's really think this through with some logic here.
Goal: Peter more accessible to younger readers.
Point 1: Marvel, under Joe Quesada, has a no-smoking policy for its heroes. Joe reportedly thinks it glorifies and/or encourages kids to smoke and doesn't want it in his comics.
Point 2: To make Peter Parker more accessible to younger readers, the same Joe Quesada had him make a deal with the devil. This means, to me, that making a deal with the devil is more acceptable for our children than smoking."

Point well made.

Hmmm... sales are down.
I think we hould have all the heroes reveal their secret identities and then fight each other until some of them die.
Okay, now let's kill off Captain America. Nobody likes him anymore, anyway.
And finally, let's have Spider-man trade a his loving marriage with a beautiful wife for his elderly aunt to live a few more years.

It's like Marvel doesn't want us to read their comics anymore.
Okay, maybe that isn't quite true. There are still some really good comics being put out by them, but things like this make me wonder.... how much longer until they screw with those books too?



* Check out these comics forums for reviews and reader responses to the current Spider-Man debate:
Comics Should Be Good
Comics Daily
IGN.com
Silver Bullet Comic Books
Pop Syndicate
Rokk's Comic Book Revolution

1 things people had to say:

joe c. said...

I swear they killed off Aunt May in the 90's. Wasn't it in issue #400 of one of Spidey's titles? But then again in comics no one ever stays dead.