Saturday, December 29, 2007

Geez, He Must Have REALLY Hated That Marriage!

(Spoilers ahead!!!)

When last we left our intrepid couple, Peter (Spider-Man) Parker and his wife Mary Jane Watson-Parker, they were on the verge of making a deal with Mephisto to save Peter's dying Aunt May. Mephisto's price? The complete erasure of Pete and MJ's marriage.

And the resolution? Pretty much everything you feared it would be. The fools took the deal. The unexpected upside for them? Pete's secret ID is secret again, so he doesn't have to worry about everyone and his brother trying to kill his family and friends. The unexpected downside? It looks like the future with Spider-Girl will now never happen. Straczynski and Quesada put in some scenes to leave some wiggle-room to reverse this whole mess, specifically MJ whispering to Mephisto as well as the big "if we're meant to be we'll find each other again...yadda yadda yadda...nothing will keep us apart..yadda yadda yadda" farewell speech.

And then---Bibbity Bobbity Boo!--- the marriage is undone. Pete and MJ's reality has completely changed.

My reaction? *Yawwwn!* Been there, done that.

The whole damn thing struck me as a bizarre hodge-podge of rehashed DC/Marvel plotlines from the last 15 years or so thrown together in a blender set on "puree". Everything there gave me a sense of deja vu. The book even ended up with Peter.....wait for it.....waking up in the morning to the new status quo, including the twist ending introduction of.....wait for it again....a long-dead character who, in this new reality, it comes..... ALIVE.

Sound familiar? That was the ending of HOUSE OF M#1.

The exact ending.

And that's just the start of the rehashes. I was catching a whole "Heroes Reborn" vibe from this thing, minus the bad art from Rob Liefeld.

The whole "we'll find each other again even if our memories are erased" schtick? Holy "Eternal Sunshine of the spotless Mind", Batman!

More significantly, I saw a lot of flashes of, well, THE FLASH, particularly the Mark Waid and Geoff Johns eras.

Both eras contained storylines where the relationship between Wally West and his lady love, Linda Park, was wiped out of existence. Johns' "Ignition" arc even arose from Wally making a similar deal with a supernatural being (the Hal Jordan Spectre). In Waid's case, not only did he take their relationship away; he took Linda away. However, both he and Johns (and their editors) had the sense to make these storylines short-lived; they restored the pairing (marriage in Johns' case) back to normal in each case.

Maybe Joe Q. will be just as sensible. Maybe the Pete/MJ status quo will be restored in a year. But even so, the whole thing was not worth the logistical nightmare with which Quesada is saddling not only the Spidey writers and editors but all the writers and editors handling the mainstream Marvel Universe. Think about it. Spidey's one of Marvel's most high-profile characters. He's also a member of the New Avengers. And that's not including the books he guest-stars in. It's not Sleepwalker or Night Nurse that Quesada is messing with here. This has repercussions. If this lasts more than a year, I predict a lot of continuity gaffes.

And for what? For the chance to see a single Peter Parker? Newsflash, Joe: There were already at least 3 other lines where a single Pete was represented (the Ultimate books, the Marvel Adventures books, and SPIDEY LOVES MARY JANE come to mind). Or was it to recapture the halcyon days of the early 80's Spidey books? I'm only a few years younger than Joey Q. Was there REALLY that big a demand for the days of Deb Whitman and Marcy Kane?

If those were Quesada's objectives, he reached them in the lamest, most rehashed and ill-conceived manner possible. Bill Maher once claimed that all the planning for the Iraq war had been done on the back of a cocktail napkin at Applebee's. If that's the case, Quesada's plan for dissolving the Spider-Marriage must have been written on the napkin paper that was left over.

And the worst part is the Spidey-books didn't need this "big event" to create buzz. They have talented new teams with people like Dan Slott and Steve McNiven coming on board. As is, I would have checked out Slott's Spidey just out of curiosity. But now he's saddled with Quesada's continuity clusterfuck. That puts the new Spidey books behind the 8-ball before they've even been released.

Who knows? Maybe there will be some good stories that will come out of this. Hell, even the Clone Saga had some good individual stories. But the important question is: Why should I care?

In his "In One Ear" blog, Thom Wade once asked us to name a comic character we loved but whose comic(s) we just couldn't get into. A lot of posters (including me) said "Spider-Man".

Editorially-mandated "event" storylines like this are the reason why.

Not the marriage.

No matter HOW much Joe Q. hated it.

And to end it with such slapdash execution, he must have hated it a lot.


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At 8:37 AM , Blogger mordicai said...

Yeah-- I didn't read it; happily no one I know would tacitly approve (via economics) of such a story by purchasing it.

At 8:41 AM , Blogger notintheface said...

I didn't spend money on the thing either, Mord. I just skimmed it at the local store to find out what happened. Then I bought Green Lantern, Action Comics, and the rest of my regular haul.

At 10:13 AM , Blogger Scout said...

Personally, I've never had a problem getting into Spidey comics. ASM has been the one comic book that I have always consistently read, regardless of quality. I've always had a problem getting into a lot of the DC characters with all the Pre-Crisis/Post-Crisis stuff and whatnot. It makes my brain hurt, which is exactly how I felt when I was done reading "One More Day." It doesn't make any sense, and I know that every time I see Spidey now, I'm going to be thinking "But, how...?"


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