Archive for Spider-Man made a deal with the Devil?!

What is Best in Life?

People, I don’t have much of anything I want to blog about today, so I’m just gonna sit here and deliberately stir up trouble.

What I am about to reveal here is the complete, objective truth.

For example:

Who was the best Green Lantern?


Answer: Kyle Rayner.

No, definitely not Hal Jordan. He’s always been a shallow, generally uninteresting character. “Fearless test pilot” isn’t a personality all by itself, and the people out there who seem to freakin’ worship Hal strike me as some of the weirdest people on earth. Yes, that includes the “Hal’s Emerald Attack Team” fanatics and Geoff Johns. As for the rest of them, Guy Gardner’s generally fun, but he’s mostly a gag character. I like John Stewart, especially in the Justice League cartoons. Simon Baz is too new. But Kyle, the last Green Lantern, uncertain, awkward, crab-masked, completely aware of his own fears, freelance artist with the no-yellow-impurity power ring? Kyle was the best.

Who was the best Flash?


Answer: Wally West.

Definitely, definitely not Barry Allen. Having a crew cut and a bow tie makes him the *worst* Flash. Wally was funnier, cooler, more interesting in every possible way — and of course, he was far, far, far faster.

Who was the best Robin?


Answer: Dick Grayson.

Really, I guess the best answer would be “Anyone but Jason Todd.” Because I really like all of the Robins. But Dick was the first Robin, he was Robin for the longest time, and he eventually ended up being the best possible Nightwing, so I’m giving the circus kid the crown.

Who was the best Batgirl?


Answer: Stephanie Brown.

Not to take anything away from Barbara Gordon or Cassandra Cain, because they were pretty cool, but as grim and gritty as the Bat-verse generally is, it was just plain awesome to get to read a Bat-title every month where the lead character wasn’t an emotionally-crippled basket case. Steph was fun and funny and had the best dialogue.

Who was the best Aquaman?


Answer: Bearded, hook-handed Aquaman.

Because I don’t care who writes him, the clean-shaven, orange-shirted nonentity from “Super Friends” just sucks on every possible level.

Who was the best Hawkgirl?


Answer: Kendra Saunders.

Mostly because I liked the idea of a Hawkgirl who, at least initially, didn’t want to be the back half of “Hawkman and” — she didn’t love Hawkman, and she wanted to be her own person. She was even in relationships with people other than Hawkman. Eventually, she fell in love with Hawkman in a way that felt more organic, realistic, and worthwhile, and that was fine with me. She certainly didn’t deserve to get exit-stage-lefted the way she did…

Who was the best Green Arrow?


Answer: The one with the beard.

I liked Connor Hawke, but he’d never be the equal of his dad. And Ollie without a beard just looks like a dork, so he’s gotta have the ridiculous beard.

Who was the best Hulk?


Answer: Angry green stupid Hulk.

I liked the Professor Hulk, actually. And the Green Scar was cool. Joe Fixit is always fun. But angry green stupid Hulk is the strongest one there is.

Who was the best Spider-Man?


Answer: The Peter Parker married to Mary Jane Watson.

Because Spider-Man isn’t Otto Octavius, and he doesn’t make deals with the Devil.

What are the best zombies? Fast or slow?


Answer: Slow zombies.

To quote Max Brooks: “Ha ha, there are no such things as fast zombies!”

So there we go, friends and neighbors, all the mysteries of life cleared up. Go on about your business, please.

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Ambush Bug: Year None #2

Plot? Please, there is no plot. Ambush Bug goes to see Rama Kushna, but she’s decided to become Groucho Marx. Cheeks has become an OMAC. Heck, almost everyone has become an OMAC. Bug meets some horsey friends of the Flash, a Mauve Lantern named Don Gaye Apparel, and a Galactusized interior decorator. Ambush Bug becomes a bear to fight Go-Go Chex. DC editor Jann Jones goes anime. And a whole page accidentally gets printed without dialogue balloons or captions.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Nothing big happens, just some nicely goofy stuff.


Ambush Bug: Year None #3

Ambush Bug went to Vegas, got drunk, had a blackout, and wakes up to learn that he’s gotten married to the Inferior Five’s Dumb Bunny. He desperately tries to get un-married, even traveling to Hell to bargain with the devil to erase his marriage. Hi, Spider-Man! He also meets Earth-2 Superman, Earth-2 Lois Lane, Earth-3 Alexander Luthor, and Superboy-Prime (played by Super-Turtle), who goes on a rampage and kills Pantha. Darkseid does karaoke. Go-Go Chex tries to eat all the mer-people in Atlantis. Next issue: The Return of Argh!yle!

Verdict: Thumbs up. I think this is the best issue of this series so far, at least partly because I’ve always liked Dumb Bunny and the rest of the Inferior Five.

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Shout at the Devil


Well! Spider-Man! “One More Day!”

What a screwup that was, huh?

For you non-comics people in the audience, Marvel’s Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada decided that he didn’t like Spider-Man being married to Mary Jane Watson. They’ve been married since 1987, and a bunch of Marvel insiders decided pretty quickly that they didn’t like Spidey being married. They felt like it made him too domestic, less of a sad-sack hero. I don’t agree, but I guess they’re entitled to their opinions, no matter who wrong-headed they are.

So Marvel was stuck with a married Spider-Man for 20 years. In all that time, they couldn’t think of any way to make Spidey un-married. It never occurred to them that they could have the characters divorce. Can you believe that? Frankly, there are times I suspect that comic book creators have something wrong with their brains.

Anyway, finally, Marvel decides they’ve got the perfect way to un-marry their most popular character, and they kick off a four-issue storyarc called “One More Day” to get the job done. What did they do? What was their surefire, perfect, can’t-fail idea?

They had Spider-Man make a deal with the devil.

The background is that Spidey had revealed his secret identity as Peter Parker to the whole world. Someone tried to kill him and shot his Aunt May by accident. Peter couldn’t accept that his aunt could die, and Mephisto — Marvel’s version of Old Scratch himself — shows up and offers to save her life, in exchange for retroactively nullifying their marriage. And they actually agree to it. “Oh, sure, we’ll potentially damn our immortal souls just to give Peter’s elderly aunt a few more years of life. What could possibly be the downside to that?”

Let me repeat: There are times I suspect that comic book creators have something wrong with their brains.

So now, Peter and Mary Jane aren’t married. Peter’s a 30-year-old unemployed loser living in Aunt May’s house, and he’s got his secret identity back.

The big problem for Marvel is that this was an unbelievably bad idea. Fine, fine, they don’t want Spider-Man to be married — but in that case, just divorce him. There’s absolutely no reason to have your most popular, most marketed character shaking hands with the Prince of Darkness. Heck, Marvel’s even sanitized Ghost Rider to get rid of his demonic origins (True story — they now say he turns into a biker with a flaming skull because he’s possessed by an angel. Wha?!) so why have kid-friendly Spider-Man cutting deals with the Adversary?

Possibly worse, from a comic-book standpoint, is that it throws a major kink into Marvel’s continuity — and Quesada himself had bragged that the loss of Spidey’s secret ID was going to be permanent, with long-lasting effects. Now, not only is the secret identity back, but 20 years’ worth of stories may have disappeared into the Gulfs. Marvel claims everything turned out mostly the same, but it’s not like Mary Jane spent the last two decades sitting around doing nothing, and writers who aren’t familiar with the subtle differences between pre-Mephisto and post-Mephisto are going to make some pretty big mistakes pretty soon. And the last time someone did a major retroactive refit of Spider-Man’s continuity, they called it the Clone Saga — the least popular storyline of any Spider-Man comic ever.

The assumption going ’round with most Spidey-fans is that, as soon as Quesada gets shown the door, someone will work out some way to undo “One More Day” — they may not bring back the marriage, but they’ll certainly work out some way to erase the deal-with-the-devil aspects of the story and just give them a normal, mundane divorce.

And it’s gotten a lot more people talking about Joe Quesada — and not in any good ways either. People are saying a screwup this monumental is proof that he’s been running the company for too long. I expect him to announce his retirement sooner, rather than later. Sure, they’ll say he’s leaving “to explore other storytelling opportunities” and “to spend more time with his family.” But everyone will know the truth.

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