Thursday, June 15, 2006

Civil War Rant with SPOILERS

Do not read further if you do not want to spoil Civil War #2, even though half the news sources around already have....

I can hardly believe what a bunch of crap I got a load of while reading Civil War #2. Let me spout like a fanboy for a moment. Peter Parker would NEVER reveal to the world that he was Spider-Man. In the past it has caused him so much misery and hardship, that he has always been very hardened about keeping his name his own. I don't care how supportive Mary Jane and Aunt May are, the facts are simple. Peter Parker has been able to have a life because of his secret identity. By revealing his true name to the world, he is jeopardizing the core of his being.

Did Tony peer pressure him? Had he just had enough? Has living in the Avengers/Stark Tower gone to his head? What the hell is going on here?

Obviously Marvel has plans for us to find out, if the cover to issue 5 is any indication. (I will try and get the art up here soon) Peter's life is going to be sheer hell. Maybe this is partly to bring him back to bachelorhood as has been whispered. God I hope not. I am tired of May and Mary Jane being used as props just to be retconned by the next creative team that comes along.

I can just picture the Marvel editorial meeting: "Hey let's get rid of that zero Mary Jane so Peter can date hot chicks in slutty outfits and J. Scott Campbell can draw 'em." or "Damn, Mary Jane is cramping Peter's style. Let's out his identity and piss her off so he and Tony can have gratuitous panel shots of babes in their undies." Just picture that.

At any rate, I am sure Marvel will be happy with me being mad, because I am talking about it and publicizing it to their whims.

What are your opinions out there? Screw touchy feely week- let's rock.


Mark Fossen said...

In the past it has caused him so much misery and hardship, that he has always been very hardened about keeping his name his own. I don't care how supportive Mary Jane and Aunt May are, the facts are simple. Peter Parker has been able to have a life because of his secret identity. By revealing his true name to the world, he is jeopardizing the core of his being.

You're totally right.

Which is why I like it so much.

Name me one good Spider-Man story where "Peter gets to do exactly what he wants". The very essence of the character is that he does things he doesn't want to do, because he think's it's right. He's built completely on personal sacrifice, and on the idea that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.

Peter giving up his most prized possession because it's the right thing to do? That's totally in character.

James Meeley said...

Matthew is completely right on this one.

You CAN'T take this back. At least, not without sone contrived plot-device (ala, Iron Man using a machine to make everyone forget he's Tony Stark), which only serves to make this huge revelation nothing but the "cheap stunt" so many are likely to see it as.

Yes, Peter always puts doing the "right thing" ahead of "what he wants." But a main point to the drama in that, is that Spider-Man's "quest" gets in the way of Peter Parker's "life." Now, that is gone. Since he's been revealed, that conflict is no longer valid. Granted, it's been weakened ever since Spidey became an Avenger and moved into the tower, but those things are easily changed, while this is not.

And in a lot of ways, the secret identity was a "saftey net" for the character, not a "prized possesion." One that was not only interesting, but necessary. Because Spider-Man is Peter's release valve. He does and says all the things Peter can't (or won't). Now, whether he talks in or out of the costume, everyone knows it's Peter Parker talking. Yet another interesting aspect of the character that has been demolished.

This truly IS the "end of Spider-Man." Oh, maybe not in terms of the actual comics being produced, or a guy with the proportionate speed and strength of a spider running around fighting injustice, but for the core of what the chatacter represents and who he is, this is most definately the end of him (again, barring some hokey plot device).

R.I.P. Spider-Man: 1962 - 2006

"Friend, role model, hero! We will never see his like again."

Mark Fossen said...

"You CAN'T take this back."

Of course you can. Has anything Marvel has done ever stuck?

You seriously think 5 years from now, Spider-Man will still in this situation of a public hero?

It's just a storyline - like the black costume, or the six arms, or Aunt May's death.

Ragnell said...

They've never had the guts for a real universal reboot, though. They'll put a reality band-aid over it (My money's on Scarlet Witch) and some writer'll dig it out in a few years.

James Meeley said...

"Of course you can. Has anything Marvel has done ever stuck?"

Guess you missed the part where I said: "At least, not without sone contrived plot-device (ala, Iron Man using a machine to make everyone forget he's Tony Stark), which only serves to make this huge revelation nothing but the "cheap stunt" so many are likely to see it as."

You can take ANY story back. But can you do it without something that is completely unbelievable or requiring that everyone just "ignore the 800 lbs. Gorrilla in the room"? I don't think this is one of those times.

All which makes this even worse than it already is. If it is a change that sticks, then Spider-Man in forever changed into something that no longer makes him Spider-Man (at least, as we know him to be). If you DO undo the change by some cheap plot device, you only further show the lack of creativity you have for the character, because you are not just admitting it was a mistake, but merely a lame stunt to generate some empty interest.

You see, neither of those is something I'd think Marvel should find desirable outcomes. But that's what we are left with.

Unlike the other examples you noted, this isn't some surface change to the character, like the added arms or new costume were. This change goes right to the core of the character and truly "changes everything." Stuff like that is not so easily fixed. While I agree with Ragnell that they'll try to put a "plot band-aid" on it, when changes such as this have been done in the past to toher characters, the results of doing that only cheapen both the character and the change itself.

Personally, I think it would have been cooler if Peter became a fugitive. Imagine how hard "doing the right thing" would be, not only with the secret identity, but knowing you are being hunted, as well. THat would have been far more interesting (and in keeping with Peter/Spider-Man's character) than what we have now. Ah well... It's just another reason why I'm buying so little Marvel anymore (including Civil War, which I'm not buying, as well).

Scott said...

I think it depends on how it's handled in this storyline, and on just how quickly things get reset (which they almost certainly will).

On the face of it, though, it might make some sense for Peter. First, with Aunt May's knowledge and acceptance, he no longer has *that* hoary old excuse for maintaining the secret identity.

Secondly, what with living in Stark Tower, his loved ones are both somewhat protected, and no more in the danger zone with his identity known than with them just there as bystanders. I mean, with the movie version, I wanted Mary Jane to point out that even *without* knowing his identity, she seemed to get kidnapped by every one of his villains, so what was the difference if they went out?

And finally, it could just be a case of outing himself before anyone else did. I mean, really, even discounting the chance that Tony would be dick enough to reveal his identity for him, how many of Peter's enemies already know who he is, and have perfect freedom to reveal it at any time? He's also seen what happens to someone who has their identity revealed, and then tries to stonewall the truth, with his friend Matt Murdock.

I think in the end it came down to him deciding that this was better than becoming a fugitive, or even a civilian that could never don the costume again, since neither of those options lets him live up to all his responsibilities. Although I'm sure Millar will make him sorry before the story is done.

Finally, it seems like it should be perfectly possible to have interesting stories with a no-SID Peter Parker/Spider-Man. He still has a (semi)private side to his life with interesting supporting characters, he still has the same nasty enemies, he can still try to make something of himself as Peter Parker beyond being Spider-Man, and he'll face new difficulties - "I'm afraid we can't allow you to continue teaching here, Mr. Parker, as there's too much liability should one of your enemies seek you out here." "I know the new insurance premium seems high, Mr. Parker, but consider the risks of your second career.", etc. Maybe he can be everyman in *and* out of costume for a while...

Heidi Meeley said...

Mark, the idea of Peter doing this as a sacrifice had honestly not crossed my mind. That is an interesting thought.

In my mind, it is still editorial pushing the change. I can't rid myself of that icky feeling I get when my "spider sense" kicks in, so to speak.

If the Spider-man book sales are flat maybe they need to look at content and their vision, not what will shake things up.

Despite myself, I AM interested to see where this all goes.

Heidi Meeley said...

Matthew- that is the rub of things- he can't take it back, unless they retcon the whole damn thing, like they have done previously with Tony Stark.

My gut tells me this is leading to a divorce from Mary Jane, the death of Aunt May, and some sort of magic event that makes him anonymous again.

I appreciated your thoughts on this, as it mirrored mine.

Heidi Meeley said...

Ragnell- I think you nailed it.

Heidi Meeley said...

Scott- you bring up a great point. Peter outing himself before someone else gets to it is something I hadn't considered. In the wake of the Civil War, who knows what other heroes might do to out the "rebels".

Amazing Spider-Man set this whole thing up to a point, and that is where I see some of the fall out coming.

The one thing I know for sure is that Peter's life is going to be sheer hell for the duration. If it stays that way is anyone's guess.

Heidi Meeley said...

To my hubby- like we talked last night, it was interesting that Spider-man unmasking made "The Daily 10". Too bad it is reaching all the people who don't understand or care.

You are very passionate about Peter and his continuity. We will watch this play out together.

James Meeley said...

"I think it depends on how it's handled in this storyline, and on just how quickly things get reset (which they almost certainly will)."


But by the very fact we all know it's going to be "reset", shows how the handling of this thing has been done already (and it's not in the "good" column).

I don't see this making any sense, but given some of the crazy choices they've made with Spider-Man over the last few years, "making sense" seems a very low priority.

Really, this whole thing is just one huge mistake. Marvel will end up retconning it and we'll all just shrug and shake our heads at another misstep with their flagship character.

I wish Marvel (and DC, even) would worry less about shock to gain attention and simply produce great works with their icons. Great work might not get the "Daily 10" headlines, but it keeps those who come to you around a lot longer. It's better for the health of the creations and the industry.

Carl said...

Welp, my dislike of this, pretty much the new "style" of the current Marvel regime, is of "stunt events". Their new motto should be: "Will will do anything (for now) to sell comics!" Or piss people off or rile or whatever to get attention. Gay characters pushed with the fact that they are gay first, worthy of existing? Who knows? The Avengers rebooted purely for the Bendis/Spiderman/Wolverine fans and certainly not with "the mightest superhero team on Earth".
And now, Civil War, which wants to give us the unescapable feeling that the War On Terror/War In Iraq and world chaos is also in our comics. There's nothing like the feeling of picking up your comics, opening them up to unwind after a long day and see a 9/11 event start off the comic. Then to see our heroes treated like the military (or police after a Rodney King incident) unfairly, like it was every superhero's fault instead of the villains that actually did the massacre. With this so ever present in our daily lives, what idiot at Marvel thought this would be the greatest thing in comics since the graphic novel or something? Personally, I barely have my toe in the Marvel water as it is and this really makes me shun their comics more. If not for Punisher, Moon Knight, the supernatural characters like Ghost Rider and the Dracula legacy... well, if all those were gone, I'd never pick up another Marvel book. I even soured on JMS after the horrible Spiderman story arc, "Sins of the Past" 'cause it was disgusting to me personally and betrayed the greatness of the death of Gwen Stacy.
Well, the basic point I'm trying to make is I don't like stunts. When I put down my shrinking dollar for $2.99 or $3.99 or more books, I want a comics "meal" that's like being at a steak house buffet, maybe not all you can eat, but damned good and satisfying. And I can't recall any Marvel "stunt" events that have been satisfying, can you?

Carl said...

Oh yes, I also meant to say the whole reason I began reading comics so long ago was that *it was fun*. It was fun to imagine you were a superhero saving people, beating up bad guys and yes, in a sexist way (I did grew up in the '60s), the admiring public, especially the gals. Can you imagine now, a young super hero, learning he/she has this incredible gift, that they can make a difference, even if it's just in their neighborhood, watching this anti-superhero madness unfold? No one in their right mind would want to be a public superhero in the current MU, face all that garbage, for what? And my other thought in this "stunt" driven story line, if it was really happening, if I was a villian I would be going hog wild right now. But I guess since Marvel is too busy destroying the heroes, we probably won't see that for a while. "Make Mine Moron, I mean Marvel!" 'Nuff said...

Heidi Meeley said...

Carl, that is too funny, but also to realistic. Anymore, it is hard to pick up a major "cross over" book without wondering about the stunt behind it.

Thank God we can speak with our pocket books. The bad thing is that too many people don't. I am guilty of this to a point, especially with Uncanny X-Men, of which I have a run since #101.

The ultimate dilemma here for me is how to let go without giving up.