Tuesday, June 13, 2006

To Hold The Line. . . Or Erase It?

I. . . SAY. . . THEE. . . NAY!!! That's right, just like Skurge at Gjallerbru, I'm going to hold the line against the forces of Hela, Goddess of Death. Of course, by "forces of Hela", I mean DC bloggers. No, not because they're hideous monsters! Because we're that damn outnumbered! But that's not what this post is about.

I'm talking Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #9. I've been wondering if I've been too hard on this "Hobgoblin" storyline. I mean, it's not mystical stuff, it's not Civil War related, he's actually fighting a villain right? So what's my problem? I think I'm disappointed that's it's another grudge battle. 'Hobby' is pissed at her dad, but she's going to take it out on Peter Parker. Just from an enjoyment standpoint, I think I'd have preferred a Booster Gold situation, Hobgoblin comes back in time to steal valuable artifacts, like a DVD copy of "The Rundown" because, in 2211, Christopher Walken's greatness is even more revered than it is now. As well it should be.

When I first started reading X-Factor, I saw a number of reviews that said Peter David has a tendency to get too "cute" or try to be "too clever". I didn't understand at the time, which makes no sense, given that I've read through some of my old posts at times, and I could see that I was trying too hard to be funny, and that at the time, I was sure I was being brilliant, so I've got that in common with PAD, I guess. Anyway, with the introduction of the "retcon bomb", I know what people meant. I mean, if he called it a "paradox bomb" or something, that could have worked, but 'retcon'?

Still, whether it's too over-the-top or not, it does provide an interesting question: if you were given access to the universes of Marvel (or DC), and could throw one of those at any character, who would you choose?

If it was DC, I'd pick Ma Hunkle. I'm kidding! Doomsday. He's a one-note character, created for the simple purpose of killing Superman. Once he succeeded, he was dead, and all was well. Then we found out that Superman is apparently too powerful to stay dead, and Doomsday was completely useless. My only misgiving is that story prompted the creation of Superboy, Steel, and probably all the "cool" '90s versions of heroes - Connor Hawke, Jean Paul Valley, probably Scarlet Spider. Hopefully those characters could be created under different circumstances.

Of course, if they had left Superman in the after-life (which I think makes DC more interesting), I'd have to pick someone different. Guy Gardner? No. I don't know, I'm not well-versed enough in DC lore, so let's switch to Marvel.

First off, it's not Joe Quesada. Fictional characters only please. besides, I got other plans for that schmoe. No, the correct answer is "Carnage". I mean, what did he give us?

1) A more extreme version of Venom. Oh goody, because the guy that talks about eating Spidey's liver was going far enough.

2) He gave them the chance to introduce Shriek. Yippee.

3) He gave Marvel a reason to put Venom back in play. As of Amazing Spider-Man #348, Venom thought he'd killed Spider-Man on a deserted island, and had decided to live in peace there, bringing a decent conclusion to a 50-issue stretch that featured at least 10 issues with Venom. Carnage forced Spider-Man to go to Venom for help, thus letting Venom know Webs wasn't dead, giving Venom a reason to go after Spidey again.

4) Wait, why did he need Venom? The Human Torch can fly out to the island with him, but he can't cruise around New York and help Spidey fight Carnage?!

5) He helped push forward the symbiote explosion, which lead to at least six characters having symbiotes, giving Venom more people to squabble with besides the other "extreme" heroes.

6) Kasady being completely evil let Marvel make Venom out as a hero. Sorry "lethal protector", which is the '90s definition of "hero".

7) "Maximum Carnage", because the Spider-Man history was crying out for a 14-part series where a bunch of loonies beat up on third-string heroes while killing hundreds of civilians.

Look at that list. Is there a single damn thing up there that is any good? Sure "Maximum Carnage" gave me fodder for this post, but that's not enough. So for being completely worthless, Cletus Kasady, you get a retcon bomb in the face! And now, none of that stuff happened.


Anonymous said...

Well, the Sentry ripped Carnage in half. While in the earth's orbit. SCORE!

Chris said...

Do I only get one retcon bomb? Just one? Per universe?


Then I'm giving the retcon bomb to Onslaught. That whole situation spawned more crap, more "kewl" heroes dressed like rock stars, and took what was up until then at least passingly decent continuity and ran it through a cheese grater.

Onslaught, Heroes Reborn, The Crossing, (and, indirectly, Bloodlines) --- they all go away if we can just pretend that Onslaught never existed.

Unknown said...

Retcon bomb on the Scarlet Spider! I know a lot of people liked Ben, but that whole mess basically ruined Spider-Man for the rest of my friggin' life.

For DC? Bane!

LEN! said...

I'd like to use my retcon bomb on some crappy villains, because cool heroes can't justify crappy villains.

The main one I'd want to use would be in Marvel. The Purple Man has to be one of the sorriest things ever invented. He's got mind-controlling pheromones and he's purple. That's everything good, bad, or otherwise about the character. In spite of all that, when he's trotted out, he's treated like he's the most powerful mentalist ever, which he isn't. Basicaly, he's everything a reader doesn't want in a villain.

If I get a second retcon bomb, I'd like to jump over to DC and use it on Superboy-Prime. If whiny heroes weren't bad enough, now we've got whiny villains. His powers are Silver Age Superman (the planet-juggler), but his personality is 100% Star Wars prequel Anakin Skywalker... Except without any form of the Darth Vader factor. He's just a pathetic excuse for a villain.

Diamondrock said...

I'll hold my retcon bomb in reserve until I see what they do with Cassie Cain...

CalvinPitt said...

dan: And that's the coolest thing the Sentry ever did. Though I could ahve sworn Carnage didn't exist by then, having been absorbed into Venom sometime in the Post-Clone Saga, pre-JMS days.

chris: Well, dan didn't use his, fortress didn't use his DC bomb, and I think diamond's going to let his Marvel bomb lie fallow, so that's four more, plus you've got your DC bomb, so five.

fortress: Ben Reilly as Spider-Man, I'm with you. But I gotta admit, i liked him as a wrold-wandering Scarlet Spider (though he never used that name during his years on the road).

len: Hell yes on Superboy-Prime, and Purple Man, he's just creepy, and not in a good way.

diamond: Hmm, that's a good idea.

CalvinPitt said...

chris: sorry, I was wrong, you'd only get three extras, seeing as fortress keeper did use his DC bomb, though I think if I retconned Doomsday, we might never have had Bane.

Jake said...

My Marvel retcon bomb will be in a plain brown wrappered box addressed to Gambit. The DC one is heading for Azrael.

Anonymous said...

I know it's a sin in the eyes of the church, but I think I might have liked Ben Reilly more than Peter Parker. Or maybe I just liked the change of scenery that Ben as Spidey caused. Either way, I was young and impressionable back then, so I'd prefer if everyone just blamed it on that instead of some mental deficiency I may or may not have.

If I could get them both within the blast radius, I'd drop my retcon bomb on Sugar Man and MODOK. I don't necessarily have anything against them as characters -- I'm just anti-giant-heads-for-bodies on principle.