Monday, June 19, 2006

From The Bottom Of A Hole, Even A Ditch Would Look High

Can you be nostalgic for something you hated the first time around?

Looking at everything that's been done to Spider-Man in the last two years or so (organic webshooters, The Other, the House of M revelation that he'd rather be married to Gwen Stacy, moving in with Stark, the Iron Spider, unmasking), I'm actually missing. . . The Clone Saga.

I really can't believe I typed that, but at least at heart it seems like a well-intentioned attempt to get Spider-Man back to his "roots". Send the current version, who's married to a sometimes model, who's expecting a baby, off into the sunset of the Pacific Northwest, to spend his days as a husband, father, probably scientist (something related to genetics I'd bet), and yeah, probably occasional superhero, on those rare occasions a Marvel villain strays from New York, and threatens his home.

Replace with different version, that's not married, doesn't have the educational credentials of the previous Parker, even if he does have the smarts. So he works a menial job, and tries to have relationships, but being Spider-Man gets in the way. Hey, that sounds like classic Spidey!

Whether or not that was a neccessary move, whether it's a good idea, I don't know. But at least it seemed a bit smoother. There didn't seem to be the hamhandedness we're seeing with Quesada fumbling about trying to remove Mary Jane from the board. Just assure the fans that no, they aren't dead, they've just moved on to a different place to live. If it were up to me, don't even argue with the question of which was the original Spider-Man, and which is a clone. Let the fans argue about it, if they care. Oh and they should have had Ben Reilly keep using the original Spider-Man costume. That was the most jarring thing to me, as someone who lacked the funds to buy every Spidey title, so just glancing through one or two every few months, I was lost. What's with this weird costume? Why is he a blonde? Oh, it's the Scarlet Spider? Where's Peter at?

I guess that's the problem, that sometimes -OK, a lot of times - we as fans demand more consistency than is probably good. Maybe "consistency" is the wrong term, maybe I just mean "less change". We wouldn't accept the new guy, we hollered about it, they brought back Peter and Mary Jane from the Northwest, and eventually restored the previous status quo.

To be fair, they've written some good stories since the end of the Clone Saga, so it wasn't the worst thing in comics history that they went the route they did, but given recent trends, if they gave me the choice between the scorched earth tactic they seem to be taking to Peter's character now, and just bringing in a new Spider-Man, that looks and acts strikingly similar to the old one, I'd have to vote for option "B".

Probably a "grass is always greener" situation, but where I'm standing right now, I'm not seeing much grass period, green or otherwise.


Anonymous said...

Just back away from the ledge sir, slowly now, slowly.

But in all seriousness, I seem to be the only damn person who thinks some good might come of this, even though JQ will probanly find a way to keep it from being great.

Brandon Bragg said...

You make a lot of good points. I think even the some of the craziest, worst ideas could have worked given a good enough story. Look at all the weird, goofy silver age stuff DC has managed to successfully revive.

What would be so wrong with just killing off Mary Jane or Aunt May? People act like it would destroy the character. If it could be done in a truly dramatic,tasteful manner- one that doesn't involve a kidnapping by the psychopath of the month- I think it could work.

The last time I can remember either of them actually mattering to the plot of any Spider-Man story was back in the 80's.

Lately they seem to be filling similar roles. Who can Peter whine to about his problems this week? Does he really need two close family members who he can rely upon for advice? They're both often standing right next to each other in the same panel, giving essentially the same words of encouragement.

One of them needs to go. Since the only New Avengers story element I'm really digging on right now is the whole Jarvis-Aunt May thing, I vote for Mary Jane.

LEN! said...

At least I could enjoy half of the Clone Saga (which isn't even an actual storyline, but a storytelling undercurrent that lasted 2 years). Civil War... blah.

Unknown said...

Sorry, but the Clone Saga was really, really, really bad.

Although they've messed up Peter so badly the past few years, he might as well be Ben Reilly.

CalvinPitt said...

njgw: No way, man! I'm jumping! You just make sure Quesada and JMS are down there to break my fall!

brandon: I can see your point about them being redundant, although if someone would Peter and MJ a social life, where they do stuff as a married couple, that might change.

len: I thought it was the funny, that Howard Mackie said in an interview the Clone Saga was supposed to last 6 months, then editorial madates keep shifting, so it keep dragging on, getting more convoluted.

fortress: Well, in theory it wasn't a horrible idea. The execution was just really flawed. REALLY flawed.

Anonymous said...

I actually agree with this. 100%

The Clone it's original form...was actually a decent idea. It had all the right ideas, and while the execution WAS really, really flawed, I still think the idea was sound.

Now, BAH! this Spider-Man seems to have a horrible idea behind him. I don't know what the execution will be like (that's more of a wait and see...but with JMS as do the math.)

This makes me nostalgic to read the old Clone Saga issues I have...if I could remember where they are anyway

Anonymous said...

I'm up for Plan B myself. After all, the man needs a frikkin' vacation.
QUIT FOISTING PLOT ON THE POOR GUY, MARVEL! Let him stop a robbery for God's sake.