Op/Ed: Spider-Man: Brand New Day - Seven Months Later, I
Op/Ed: Brand New Day - 7 Months Later, I
For a over half a year, “Brand New Day” has been the status quo for Spider-Man and his supporting cast. The changes brought forth at the end of last year’s “One More Day” storyline, which saw both Peter Parker and Mary Jane forget that they’d ever been married, and everyone who knew forget that Parker is Spider-Man (along with more than a few other substantial changes to the then-current status quo) are now the Way Things Are.The message boards still occasionally flare up about the Spider-topics from time to time, but largely, the loudest and the angriest have quieted. Now, with six months of stories under our respective belts…how does it look? We were approached by two of our regular writers, Mike San Giacomo and Mike Avila, at roughly the same time, both offering their opinions on how they see Amazing Spider-Man now, six months into “Brand New Day.” The two have very different opinions, and we’re presenting them both, beginning today with San Giacomo. by Michael San Giacomo Last week I walked into my local comic shop for my weekly fix and I did not buy the latest issue of Amazing Spider-Man. “Big deal” you say? Actually, it is a big deal. You see, I bought Amazing Spider-Man #1 off the shelf and every single Spider-Man comic ever since. (Yes, I’m that old.) That’s every Amazing, every Spectacular, every Sensational, every Marvel Team-Up. I even stuck with Spidey through the clone saga. My point here is this: It took a lot for me to not purchase that latest issue of Spider-Man, just to “keep up the collection.” Since I have many times advised people to not buy every issue of something they don’t like just out of habit, I decided it was time to follow my own advice. This was not a hasty decision. I gave it a shot for six months or so, that's 18-plus issues, but “Brand New Day” just isn’t cutting it. I don’t know how the sales are going, but when I talked about Spider-Man in my column in the Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper I got a bunch of calls and emails from people who felt the same way. Is that the typical fallout whenever there is a major change? I dunno. In San Diego, Joe Quesada said this is the new Spidey status quo and that people would like it. He said that most people already like it. Clearly, Joe never liked the idea of a married Spider-Man. I never bothered me at all. He said one thing of interest, that there is a lot of background to be filled in that would slip between the infamous ending of “One More Day” and the start of “Brand New Day.” Maybe that would help, but for now, I don’t want to try to figure out what happened and what didn’t, what Mephisto changed and what is the same. And why do the stories feel like we’re back in the 1980s? I read “One More Day” and felt cheated. There were far more clever ways to get out of the corner that Marvel painted itself into than a deal with the devil. That subject has been hashed over to death, so I won’t go into the details. But even though I didn’t like the device, I stuck with the books into “Brand New Day” to give the writers a chance to prove themselves. It ain’t happening, it’s like everyone’s just going through the motions, one unimaginative story after another. I don’t get it. These are good writers, Dan Slott, Bob Gale, Marc Guggenheim and Zeb Wells can certainly do better, especially Slott, just look at his She-Hulk work. Phil Jimenez and Salvador Larroca are solid pros. But the stories just lie there. There is a feeling of impermanence to them, like a What If? comic that can be read and forgotten since it doesn’t resonate with the rest of the “real” universe. These feel like fill-in issues, like we’re waiting for …. Something. And now, big surprise, Mary Jane is already back in the book. But, wait a minute, she’s leaving again. Will she be back? Does anyone care? And what has been done with Aunt May since the new world order? Almost nothing, she’s back to being the cipher she once was. I miss the feisty Aunt May we saw in New Avengers and Amazing Spider-Man in 2007. She was truly alive. The writing feels forced, which is something I’m not used to seeing in a Spider-Man comic. I know, I know. I’m taking the comics waaaay too seriously. Well, yes, I do take them seriously, why else would I read them? I enjoy the five minute forays into a fantasy world and, for a time, I relate to them. But no more. This Spider-Man is a stranger. Marvel took a fascinated, multi-dimensional, adult hero and turned him into something…less. I say this because I care. I like Spider-Man and want nothing more than to add the books to my pull list. I enjoy Ultimate Spider-Man and even the Marvel Adventures Spider-Man written for kids. But the mainstream books are like cotton candy: it may look substantial, but when you bite into it you realize there’s just not much there. Not me. I leafed through the comic and put it back down. The first of thousands of Spider-Man comics I did not care to read. So long Spidey, it’s been a good run. And those of you who are still reading, let me know when the books get good again, will you? For what it's worth, my two ideas of getting Spidey out of his current fix: 1- It's all a dream. Well not exactly, but remember when Mary Jane whispered something to Mephisto? What if she said "Show him what life would be like if he goes through with this." So the past eight months have been in Petey's head. 2 - Somebody's a Skrull. Maybe Mephisto has been a Skrull since the beginning. Maybe he is the one referred to in "He loves you." Maybe the whole Skrull world came from Mephisto. Anybody got better suggestions? Tomorrow - Mike Avila's response.