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Date Posted: 17:21:40 01/14/08 Mon
Author: Seven
Subject: Amazing Spider-Man 546 "Brand New Day" Spoilers - connections to Connor MindWipe

So for anyone who has read the latest issues of Marvel’s Amazing Spider-Man, you know that Joes Quesada and company have erased Peter Parker’s marriage to Mary Jane from continuity. This, of course, brings up parallels to both Dawn and the Connor Mind-Wipe, but that is not necessarily the reason for this post. I am torn as to how I should view this turn of events and am asking for the board (once I have explained my point of view) to help me along with how to feel about this.

So here goes…

I have always been a Marvel guy. I have found that the best way to gauge a fellow comic reader is to see whether they are “Marvel” or “DC” (and yes, I realize that there are a plethora of Independents out there, but this is generally speaking). I find DC to be too old-fashioned, unrealistic, and “classic” for my taste. One reason is that their heroes still wear their underwear on the outside. This, of course is another generalization, but it encompasses quite a bit. DC’s universe is one where a “Flash Museum” exists within it. Marvel, on the other hand, has Spider-Man – a known vigilante – hunted by the police and the press. This, to me, shows DC’s rampant idealism of heroes.

Many of us, the Buffyverse faithful, obviously enjoy a mixture of both realism and fantasy, but the hero’s journey represents something that has time and time again been shown to be ambiguous. Heroes don’t always get credit for their deeds and such. I realize that I am over-generalizing, and I apologize. Perhaps I have created and perpetuated this view of DC (without reading any of their mainstream titles) in an attempt to forgo spending even more money every week on my addiction to comics.

The point that I am trying to make is this: As my understanding goes, DC has these “ages” to their characters. There is “Golden Age” Superman, “Silver Age,” Pre-Crisis,” Post-Crisis,” etc. Each of these versions has a slightly different back story, as the many different writers and creators have had problems with long-standing continuity.

Comics, as anyone reading this probably already knows, are one of the only mediums (if not the only one) that has to consider upwards of 75 years of continuity for some characters in order to tell a story. I admit that this can be troublesome and has often led writers at Marvel to take a few, minor liberties with story. For instance, characters that last left each other on bad terms some 6 years ago in real time might meet again 3 writers later and act as if nothing happened. We as readers can forgive this even if we are supposed to believe only a “few months” have passed in Wolverine time. On the other hand, Marvel has (at least to my knowledge) avoided grand sweeping changes to long-standing characters in order to reset status quo. Until now.

Marvel established the Ultimate line for just this problem. This line launched with Ultimate Spider-Man #1. So he is covered in terms of resetting his story. His 616 counterpart, however, has just recently been reset. Now, I must admit that I didn’t seem to have a problem with the story that led to the new status quo. Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada has long said in interviews that the biggest problem with Spider-Man is that he is married because it limits the story-telling. Not only does it do that, but it also makes it hard to feel bad for the “regular guy with regular problems” when he goes home to his model-wife who always loves and supports him. That much I understood, and as far as I was concerned, if Quesada wanted to erase the marriage, fine. I thought they did it in a very interesting, heart-felt way and that it managed to give credit to the long history that both characters shared. I was particularly touched as Mary Jane adamantly made certain that she told Peter that no matter what, they would find each other again because nothing is stronger than what they had together.

But the set-up seems to all be a lie.

When the next issue of Amazing came out, I was shocked to find that the marriage of Mary Jane and Peter was not the only thing altered. Here is a list of the other changes along with the problems that I have with them. I pre-curser this with the possibly erroneous rumor that J. Michael Strazynski (Amazing Spider-Man writer for the last 7 years) wanted no part in writing the “One More Day” storyline but was coerced by Marvel to do so.

The Changes:

#1: Peter Parker never revealed his identity to the public. No one, including Daredevil, knows his identity.

I find this to be the worst change because there are just so many F****** problems that this creates.

For one, it makes the entire “Unmasked” storyline to be an obvious “we’re gonna re-write history anyway, so let’s f*** with Peter’s life as much as possible between now and then” type of thing. Marvel has always been daring, but c’mon, what’s the risk if you just reset history?

Secondly, “some people seem to recall that Spidey unmasked himself during the Civil War, [but] no one quite remembers whose face was under the mask.” (ASM 546). What kind of cop-out is this?! If Marvel insists on re-writing history, at least be definitive about it. Either he never did it or he did. PICK ONE. This ambiguity is just the type of thing resetting the history was trying to avoid.

Lastly (on this change), what are we to expect in terms of Spidey’s relationship with characters such as Luke Cage, Daredevil, and Wolverine? Each of these characters knew his identity and it made sense that they did. Two of them have hyper senses and his mask did little to hide his scent. Meanwhile, Luke Cage and Peter had started to develop an interesting friendship after the Civil War in The New Avengers title. I feel all these relationships have shifted in dynamic. These were some of my favorite Spidey relationships and I feel that they will not hold the same quality now. I also realize that many with argue that the characters’ dynamic was not necessarily precipitated by knowing each other’s identity, but I tend to disagree, especially in the case of Daredevil. Also, Cage and Parker’s relationship seemed to shift after the “House of M” storyline when Cage saw Peter’s frustration dealing with the loss of his “ideal” reality. Without knowing who Peter is, this dynamic is lost.

#2: Harry Osborn is alive.

I honestly wasn’t even aware that he was dead. This actually says a lot. I own 15 years of Amazing Spider-Man and not once have I given a crap. Beyond that, the point of the change was to eliminate the marriage to Mary Jane, not bring characters back to life and change the rest of history.

I never had a problem with the Connor Mind Wipe because it was always assumed (at least to me) that everything had remained mostly the same character-wise, just with substitutions where Connor was concerned. The biggest issue people seemed to have was with Wes as his change in character had so much to do with the kidnapping of Connor. However, I didn’t have an issue with this because I always imagined that it didn’t’ matter exactly “what” Wes did, but the “how” and the “why.” Angel hated the fact that as Eve put it in season 5 (paraphrasing) “he’s willing to make the hard choice for the greater good, no matter who it hurts.” I just assumed that Wes made some other error in judgment – something he thought was right – and it blew up in his face. No matter what it was, it still created the same character. The only person the specificity of it being Connor affects is Angel – and he REMEMBERS IT AS IT HAPPENED!!! And also, doesn’t Wes eventually get his memories back when the Orlon Window is shattered? Bringing back Osborn seems to be out of place and more to the tune of “I always liked that character, here’s a chance to bring him back without having to create a convincing story.”

#3 Peter no longer has organic webbing and again uses “Web-Shooters”

This was obviously brought back to 1) tie-in to the whole “Peter is broke and needs money for web-shooters” classic contrivance and 2) to open the possibility of the always exhilarating dilemma of Peter running out of fluid as he falls towards New York asphalt.

What it also does is eliminate not only pre-existing history that has nothing to do with Mary Jane and Peter’s marriage, but also the entire “The Other” storyline where Peter and his powers go through massive changes. Again, the “let’s F*** with the character as much as possible because it won’t matter anyway” concept is in full force.

The Connor mind wipe had many posters saying that it was an incredibly weak way to erase the damaged Connor storyline and remake him as a different character without having to waste time on telling that story – one that if believable, would likely take a while to tell (possibly longer than the series had left even if picked up for a 6th season).

But I never really cared for Connor’s character, and I guess that’s the difference, right?

Because I care about Spider-Man/Peter Parker, this situation concerns me. Now be aware, there are distinct differences. While people’s memories were changed in Angel, “reality” stayed relatively the same. This is not the case with Spidey. Things have PHYSICALLY altered.

Also, this sets the precedence for Marvel to “reset” other characters and titles in order to make storytelling easier. And I am not sure that I want that.

So tell me fellow-posters: How should I take this?


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