Monday, April 07, 2008

Don’t try to adjust your set

No, this isn’t an episode of The Twilight Zone, this is your real life. or rather your Post-BND Spider life. Heaped on top of all of the other indignities that we've been forced to endure (no marriage to MJ, Harry is dead/not dead, Spidey can’t seem to catch even the most bumbling of muggers, and the randomness of slowly-eroding, previously-established continuity). The most recent indication of which is that in ASM#551 wherein Peter sells a photo to the new owner of The Daily Bugle, for two grand, and Peter thinks that should just about enough to make a batch of web fluid.

Apparently since continuity no longer matters, no one recalled that back in Sensational Spider-Man #0 (1996) has Ben Reilly able to prep a new batch of webbing for $16.50 and some trash he scavenged from a nearby dumpster. While I realize that I don’t expect every aspect of the previous 45 or so years of continuity to be recalled, but really...

Now, (in Spider-Man Family #8, of all places) we are being forced to endure the indignities of generic, badly-written plots. To be sure, previous issues have all read better than recent issues of Amazing, but that level of quality seems to be slipping with this most recent issue of Family. In this issue, we have two new stories (both retro-fitted into Spidey’s past)

The first one has Spidey and Iron Man teamed (obviously timed to help promote IM’s up-coming movie) where the two heroes go up against rogue sleeper robots built by Stark’s dad in a Cold War era to act as doomsday protectors against a Russian invasion). At the conclusion of the story there is a cute nod to the “ideas” that IM has to improve Spidey’s costume (which naturally became the Iron Spidey costume). The second story (where the real sloppiness occurs) has Peter and Bobby Drake bumping into each other in Manhattan, and then both racing towards the same restaurant (with their respective dates — peter, interestingly enough, with Gwen not MJ) to be the ones to get there to make the last table.

The story is OK, only it feels like something that was left over from a previous script and then doctored to fit into this retcon. (Spoiler alert) the story ends with both Bobby and his date, and Peter and Gwen arriving at the restaurant only to discover that Ben Grimm is already there with his date (presumably Alicia Masters). The appearance of Grimm leads some to believe that perhaps this story was originally crafted with Johnny Storm not Drake. (Spoiler alert over).

Bobby in the city at this time, (and with a girlfriend), racing for a restaurant against Pete simply doesn’t ring true, especially considering that Bobby and Peter have never met (in spite of the fact that Spidey and Ice Man have met (most notably in X-Men #s 27 & 35, and Marvel Team-up V1 #4. Still, as civilians, these two individuals simply never met (unless there is some rectcon about which I know nothing). Plus, let’s make sure to mention that Bobby is younger (by a couple or three years) than Peter.

I’ve been reading Spidey stories for quite some time, and I’ll be honest, near as I can recall, the first (and only) time that Peter (willingly) revealed his secret Identity to any other hero was to Johnny Storm in Spider-Man Human Torch #5. (before you all go off the deep end, in that issue Spidey revealed to Torch that DD, Wolverine, Dr. Strange and (probably) Prof X had all figured it out with their powers), and he did tell Black Cat (she has played both sides of the law, and even though they were partners for a while), but given that she has been on both sides of the law (depending on her use in in the story), she really can’t be considered the straight and narrow “hero” type.

And yeah, there is MJ and Aunt May (who both knew his identity by this time), but still, Pete willing letting another hero into his privacy circle was a big deal (According to New Avengers, only six or seven months old by this time) we see that both Spider-Woman (Jessica Drew—whom he met in her comics in #s 20 & 29) knew his identity as did DD (which we just established here). Also, obviously so did Cap Who recruited Pete into the New Avengers after the breakout on the Raft (Cap mentioned a SHIELD file, so it is probable that SHIELD (Nick Fury and perhaps others) knew as well.

So I suppose that after all of that perhaps Bobby could have known, but it is more likely that someone (the writer of the editor of SMF #8) half remembered that MTU issue, and simply tossed it in to make the story
work.” Needless to say, for me, it simplyjavascript:void(0)
Save Now didn’t.

I can’t wait for this entire sordid episode to be over, but I seriously shudder to think what travesty will follow. I fear that it can only get worse.

Oh yeah, if I’m shown that I’m wrong (in that Bobby did know Pete’s secret identity), I’ll be happy to apologize in this space.


Tommy said...

I'll see what I can do to expand on this entry. *Pops neck and knuckles before typing*


I know of no instance in which Bobby Drake met Pete before, but I do know he came out in Amazing Spider-Man #92 during the period after Gwen's father died.

This is also where the Death and Destiny limited series takes place, which then leads to Gwen going to London and well...damn you, Sins Past! *Shakes fist!*

Seriously...even though I've not read it yet, she wasn't showing in regular continuity (cause no one would have conceived this at the time), then the pregnancy is rapid to allow early birth to somehow make it work...bah!

Okay, moving on.

With the Torch, Spider-Man was going to reveal his identity to him in the Spider-Man Holiday Special in the last story, "Merry Christmas, Mr. Storm." (and where did my entry + scan go, narg! I'll need it when I'm ready to SMURF it. Hope it's just a spiderfan glitch. I still see the Venom story at least, not that it needs smurfing.)

It shows Peter meeting the Torch on the statue of Liberty and then the next year, we see him meeting Ben and this is when Ben tells Torch about clones and so forth.

Torch says he doesn't want to see Spidey's ugly mug and says knowing he is a friend is enough. Spidey does give him his number if he wants to talk though. I must admit, it would be funny if he did and Mary Jane picked it up and Pete didn't tell her.

Further onward, from the review I read on the last issue in that limited series, the Torch didn't know Peter was married to Mary Jane at that point, but yet, he did meet her in Web of Spider-Man #73 (Pt. 1 of Art Attack w' the Headmen).

Am I nitpicking? Yeah, I am. Doesn't matter, cause this is me using my Spidey knowledge powers.

As for the SHIELD file, this is something else during my blind area of Spidey, but when looking at some reviews, I recall Nick Fury learning of Spidey's identity at some point prior to the limited series with Spider-Man and Wolverine. Just go to the Limited series section and click on Spider-Man/Wolverine.

Cap probably got this information from their files when he needed it. It is rather strange that Cap would intrude like that, but it was still an amusing scene.

Cap could also have his suspicions from the times Pete has requested information revolving around his parents in the beg. of the storyline where his fake parents come back and in the trio of novels with the Sinister Six and a possible sister for Pete.

Now, with that out of the way, here's some more on the web-fluid. Untold Tales of Spider-Man Anthology (Story 4: Better Looting Through Modern Chemistry). Yes, I am really busting it out now.

The component he buys from a chemical supply house for his webbing is $30. It used to be $20, but the price went up.

Pete's early in college at this point btw.

So between that and the scan you posted of Ben, Bob (hehehe @ using Ben for this entry), if making webbing cost 2G's, I'd seriously consider changing my mode of transportation. That Spider-Van you posted would be pretty slick...of course, it'll have those cool modifications done first. :)

Robert J. Sodaro said...

Good Follow-up, Tommy. I had forgotten some of those references.

Some other bits and pieces: In the Torch/Spidey series, Storm says “Your that Parker?” indicating that he knew MJ was married to a Parker, but didn’t realize it was Peter (a stretch, perhaps, but entirely plausible as Johnny is so self-involved with Johnny-world, that anything that isn’t specifically about him, probably falls into the “Oh yeah, right.” category of information.

As for Fury knowing who Spidey is, I’m sure that Fury (and elements of SHIELD) know who everyone is. I became convinced of this during Walt Simonson’s run on THOR when Fury snapped up Don Blake and told him to “...Do the hammer thing” When Blake switched over and asked Fury how he knew, Nick replied “I’m the head of SHIELD, it’s what I do, I know stuff.”

As for Cap knowing, I’m certain that he didn’t until after the Raft Incident, when Pete lost his mask, and Cap looked up Spidey’s file so Cap could ask him to join the new team.

Tommy said...

Hehehe, if Johnny said it like that, yeah, that seems right. That makes all the difference. :)

Reggie White Jr. said...

Heeeey, how about that? I'm not the only one who reads Spider-Man Family! I also thought The Spidey/Iron Man team-up was meh. SMF #7 with the Looter? BRILLIANT!

I was also confused about Bobby Drake knowing Peter, because I don't think he'd ever met him in his civilian ID.

Robbert, you hear about ASM #556? Spidey's web-shooters froze. 4 arcs and each one has had problems involving the web-shooters. Aren't editors, I dunno, suppose to catch this stuff? Although to be fair, those things are likely to freeze in cold weather.