Wednesday, January 16, 2008

>Brand New Day, an Update of sorts

In light of the comments I’ve made about this topic, both here, over at Cuppacafe (my “other” blogspace), PopThought and on Newsweek.com I want to weigh back in with not only some personal observations, but what some of my fellow Spiderophiles feel on the subject.

No, I haven’t changed my mind on the topic, even after having read Amazing Spider-Man #546 (unavoidable aside; if that last link doesn’t work it is only because the ASM reviewer for SpiderFan hasn’t posted it by the time I’ve posted this. Swing back in a day or two and it should work just fine by then.) Truth is I’ve finally forced myself to actually read the issue (and yes, I do mean forced — it sat on my desk for a couple of days as I pointedly ignored it, then it was everything I could to to sit still through reading all the words. Painful doesn’t begin to describe the tension and anxieties I felt during the read.

No, I’m not kidding. I felt that everything that I read during the past two decades become unraveled as I read. It hurt. Spider-Man is no longer being written by fans, he has become a corporate entity being controlled by a faceless, soulless corporate entity who cares not one whit for the character but only for the bottom line. (Hell’s Bells, I’m almost surprised that they didn’t turn him into an African-American, Muslim in the process, I mean, there’s an entire demographic that they are not reaching with depicting Peter Parker as a white male.)

But, (in the words of Peter David) I Digress.

I still haven’t Read Amazing Spider-Man #547 or the Marvel Spotlight One More Day/Brand New Day, but I’ve been chatting with the folks over at SpiderFan, and I’m now willing to go out on this limb:

I think that we are being taken for a ride.

Think about this, (I’m about to go all Spider-Geek/fanboy here, so bear with me for a bit). With the conclusion of One More Day, Marvel canceled the The Sensational Spider-Man, and Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man (the other on-going Spider-Titles) and changed Amazing Spider-Man into a three-times-a-month title. This means that Amazing (currently at issue #547) will reach issue #600 in 18 months, rather than in something like four-and-a-half-years. The reports that I am seeing indicate that this storyline will last 18 months. Anyone starting to see a pattern?

This is what I think. The entirety of Brand New Day is either taking place in the mind of Peter Parker, or Mephisto has moved him to a pocket universe (Think Heroes Reborn)

As stated, Mephisto is to be considered Marvel’s equivalent of Satan, (who has often referred to as “The Prince of Lies”). Hence he is not to be trusted. Further, it has never been demonstrated that Mephisto has the ability to undo time on this level. Quite simply; he does not have this much power. His sole abilities are essentially smoke and mirrors. Hence this is a trick.

Where does that leave us? Well, in limbo so to speak. This storyline will be used to test the waters to see if history can be unmade, and to see how it will reflect in sales. With issue #600 things will revert back to the end of the Civil War, with Spidey shoved back in the main timestream. As to whether or not his marriage to MJ will be restored, or Aunt May will survive, I’m not sure.

I have nothing at all on which to base any of this information save for 45+ years of reading comics in general and Spider-Man in particular. Plus there have been a couple of clues that lead me to believe what I say is true:

*** SPOILER ALERT *** SPOILER ALERT *** SPOILER ALERT *** SPOILER ALERT ***

In Amazing #545 (post Mephisto) we have Pete making the following comment “Well, you know what they say, Harry, speak of the Devil and he appears”(click image to left). This is made at a party where the long-dead (since Spectacular #200, May 1993) shows up after apparently detoxing in Europe instead of being, well, dead). We were told that the only change to continuity was the marriage itself, yet here is Harry Osborn. WTF? Seems like someone is playing fast and loose with the concept of “only.” My feeling that it is either Marvel editorial, or Mephisto, personally, I’m currently leaning towards Mephisto (the afore-mentioned “Prince of Lies”).

Next up, we see Harry respond to this toast with a curious gleam in his eye.



Then, in Amazing #546, in one of the back-up stories, we have Harry making the following comment (see image to right). I have to be honest, this is not the way Harry talks, er, talked. (He’s dead, remember?) Seriously, the Harry I remember was pretty much of a poser and a pansy. He was a mama’s boy being raised by a wealthy, over-bearing, disinterested, megalomaniac father, who was more interested in killing his son’s best friend (Spidey) than in raising his own son (Harry). This Harry is something of a spoiled rich brat than the confused, down-to-earth, drug-addict we all remember.

This is not Harry. This is Mephisto injecting himself into Peter’s delusion, so as to add to Peter’s pain and suffering. (Mephestio, as you may recall, is all about the pain and suffering of others, so this is actually entirely in character for Mephisto.)

*** END OF SPOILER ALERT *** END OF SPOILER ALERT *** END OF SPOILER ALERT *** END OF SPOILER ALERT ***

The only real problem is that I neither trust Marvel to pull this off (The Clone Saga started out just fine — exciting, in fact — then eventually degenerated into a long, overly-drawn-out, mishandled mess) Need more examples? The Other, Sins of our Fathers, That storyline with the Sider Queen, The whole attempt to retcon Spidey’s abilities into a more pseudo-mystical-based abilities? The past several years of Spider-Man have been one discarded storyline after another. No wonder Joe Q. wants so desperately wants to return to the Glory days of Spidey, because no one seems to know what to do with the character.

Needless to say, if editorial could stop mucking around in his life, and let the very talented writers they have hired actually write some interesting stories rather than mandating then abandoning “event” storylines perhaps we’d have some powerful storylines (like The Tablet storyline — a personal favorite of mine). Which brings me back to where I started. I think we are being fed a bill of goods, and all of this is just one more “event” that is designed to waste time and be a big buildup to sell more books. I could be wrong, but I’m not so sure.

The thing of which I am sure, is that Marvel will somehow lose its nerve and screw the entire thing up, and then be forced to scramble around in order to find a way to fix yet another travesty in bad editorial management and direction.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

~~~~~~
I would like to thank my buddy Patrick over at SpiderFan for his invaluable help in hunting down several bits of Spider-Trivia while I was writing this column.

Oh, yeah, I’d also like to include a link to what someone else has to say about this style of what he calls “top down” editing

1 comment:

Tommy said...

Nice new layout. :)


There's something else to consider with the pocket universe theory once we see other characters show up in Spidey's book. It may not just be Pete in there, but the entire M.U.

This would allow Spidey to be in other Marvel books without negating the theory, but it will also mean things are extra complicated as the storyline is set to be wrapped up.

And 18 months...man...kinda feels like a prison term or something knowing that's at least the minimum wait to see any possible changes, which may not necessarily be for the better (which is scary to think about).

I still have not bought the 2 newest issues, and it was tough enough getting the conclusion of One More Day as it were even if I knew what was coming. :(

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