Saturday, September 5, 2009

The Brand new "old" Spiderman

Reading Malaysian politics has been depressing. All the flip flopping and stirring up hatred ...

So it was nice to find new comics in the local library that provided something light and breezy.

Borrowed a spider-man graphic novel- a compilation of The Amazing Spider-man #546-551 which included a couple of specials. (BTW, different cover from the one on this post - which I copied from somewhere on the internet ...)

And I like it very much because it returns the spider-man storyline back to the good old days (late 1960s) It's a new spidey but also the old spidey. I like the direction that the new executive editor Tom Brevoort is taking the title. A consolidation of the three spiderman titles back into one title and while there are five writers (at least from the graphic novel compilation I am reading - which is already a few years old ...) they are writing within some broad guidelines.

What I like is that they have used a dark and moving storyline of the "One More day" storyline to "re-launch spider-man". I read that graphic novel a few months ago.

BTW, I found the "One More Day" storyline dark because it involved Peter Parker and Mary Jane making a deal with Mephisto (a demon) to sacrifice their marriage in order to change reality so that May Parker would not die. It was dark because it gave a demon powers that they do not have (hey, I am not just a Christian but a pastor!) . The demon of course had his reasons - the love between Peter and Mary Jane was so deep and unselfish that he was willing to do this in order to gloat at God by destroying this love and be able to torture them in this new reality because they will always have an emptiness in a part of their soul but they will never know why.
In summary, reality is changed and while events generally happened as they did, the results and consequences were different because Peter and MJ never fell in love and never married. That part of their life is missing. Thus May Parker lives (and the writers could bring back a great supporting cast of Harry Osborn., Liz Allen, Betty Bryant, Flash Thompson etc) to relaunch this new "universe".

It was moving because it was story of great sacrifice by both Peter and MJ as both loved May Parker so much. And also a brilliant twist where MJ cuts a side deal with Mephisto so that one added condition that nobody remembers that Peter Parker is Spider-man. So in addition to May Parker living, Peter no longer needed to deal with worrying that his enemies would come after May Parker again in this new reality.

Anyway ... this re-writing of Spider-man is nice as it is a clean slate yet has continuity. But best of all is the decision to refocus on Peter Parker as Spider-man rather than a full-time spider-man who is incidentally Peter Parker. So Peter Parker, the Amazing Spider-man is once again the hard luck hero, the guy who does his best but keeps making mistakes and bad choices. He is the funny, wit quipping misunderstood hero who is torn between trying to live his life and be a hero because with great power comes great responsibility. He has a circle of close friends and an aunt who love him and stick by him despite his often seemingly irresponsible and selfish behaviour (because they do not know he is spider-man).

What is cool is that Peter Parker has issues a 25 year old faces. Trying to make a living, wondering where his life is heading. A more realistic human face. His spider powers are back to the way it used to be - cool but not totally "super" because there are clear limitations. I found it funny how he had to struggle as a disadvantaged" superhero without his web fluid. ... because he did not have the money he needed to get the chemicals to make more web fluid. He is back to being the underdog that struggles and does what he needs to do despite the odds because he knows it is the right thing to do. And all this despite being unappreciated and often vilified for his efforts.

I like it that Peter Parker is back to the guy who will help anyone who needs help because he values human life. He is not the rage filled character of the last decade seeking vengeance and "back in black". It was cool how he risked his life to save a mob's family line.
Great storyline ... (warning - a spoiler!)

Spidey: So what now? What do you want? I don;t get it. You killed all the Maggia dons. Why go after their children? What kind of sick freak would do something like that? What could you possibly hope to gain?

Bad guy: Their family business. One where I've made many inroads. And a business I intend to keep well into my old age. I thought it best to tend to my garden while the weeds were still young. But now thanks to you, that will have to wait. You see, devil's breath contains many rare and costly ingredients. There's barely enough left for one dose.
Your blood spider-man. Give it to me, and I release the girl.

Spidey: You're not kidding are you?

Bad guy (OK, it's Mr. Negative): No. This is a serious transaction.

Spidey catches the syringe like container and plunges it in his arm. Then ...

Spidey: Perfect. A new bad guy who's literally after my blood. So now you'll make a batch that can kill me?

Bad guy: Better. One that can kill anyone in your family (As spidey tosses him the container filled with his blood). Interfere with me again and everyone you love will die. Do we have an understanding?

Spidey: Yeah. Part of that understanding was you letting the girl go.

Bad guy tosses the girl into the river (super strength throw) and spidey jumps in after her. He saves the girl and as he climbs out with her says "Easy, Honey. Looks like your mommy's right here.

Then more dialogue ...

Spidey: She'll be all right.

Mother: Thank you. I don't know how I can ever repay you ...

Older lady (obviously the Matriarch) * all the men have been killed off at another location by the "devil's breath gas"* : None of us ever can. You saved our children, spider-man. Our future. You put our blood before your blood. From this day on, the Maggia will forever be in your debt. You're family.

As spider-man swings off with a scene of police, ambulance and fire trucks arriving in the background, he quips: Wow. That's a real nice sentiment and all ... but did you have to say it so loud right when the cops pulled up? Just what I need: Spider man Mobster." I mean, could today get any weirder?

Welcome back Peter Parker, the Amazing Spider-man!!


  1. yeah. politics is depressing. what's wrong with the world these days? it seems like greed, evil, and injustice is proliferating at greater speeds than lalang these days. american and malaysian politics are both getting crazier and crazier.

  2. I'm waiting for the 2012 election ...

  3. Looks like I have to read Old Spidey's One More Day. I have been turned off Spiderman lately because of the frequent rewriting of his origins and what happens to him after Civil War.

  4. I know what you mean. I did not like the Civil War and post Civil war Spider-man. One more day relaunches Spider-man into "brand new day" but back to his roots. How well this will continue, I do not know .... I think Marvel compiles their Graphic novel compilations a few years after the comic books are released.

    I must say though that I do like the Ultimate Universe's spider-man ... and the FF but can't say the same for the X-Men.