Spider-man's New Status Quo
Normally, this is the kind of thing that would make me drop a series.
Something that always amazes people about me is that I am not a
completist. If a series does something I don't like, I will drop it in
a heartbeat. And conversely, if the series turns around and I once
again approve, I will be right back with it. Harry Osborn back with no
explaination? I have the issue where he died, bought it when it was
new. I will admit though that with all the other returns in comics over
the years and with my renewed interest in the character thanks to James
Franco's role in the Spider-man movies, I often wondered why Harry
Osborn was one of the few characters that just couldn't come back. And
I'm told that nobody knows who Spider-man is. Nobody, but nobody. Not
Aunt May, not Iron Man, not Daredevil...not even the Human Torch. There
have been some great stories over the years that revolve around certain
super-hero peers of Spider-man's knowing that he is indeed Peter
Parker. And what about Civil War? The worst thing a comic book story
can do is tell the reader that the stories they spent money on didn't
happen. The thing that they made, that you bought, is invalid and does
not count. Usually this is something that is the commonplace modus
operandi of the Distinguished Competition across the hall, but not
something that Marvel pulls the trigger on in a large scale way. Joe
Quesada had been personally spearheading the campaign to do away with
the marriage for years, online and at conventions. Years. And this is
the best the Marvel brain trust could come up with? A deal with
Mephisto of all characters? Wow. Like I said, this is precisely the
kind of thing that a series can do to run me off. But then yesterday,
something incredible and totally unexpected happened.
Amazing Spider-man #546 Brand New Day
The new issue of Amazing Spider-man came out, the supposed Brand New Day. Written by Dan Slott, one of my favorite writers, with art by Steve McNiven of Civil War fame. The people who know me best, know that I am a huge Dan Slott fan and have championed his She-Hulk series for years. When I read Slott's Spider-man and Human Torch mini series, I knew that this was a special and rare writer. He seemed to have read the same stories that I had and read them the same way I had. And he just had the voice of the characters down. So regardless of how One More Day ended, I knew I was going to support Dan Slott on his Amazing Spider-man debut. So I was going to get this comic no matter what.Â And that's not just because Dan personally sent me a bunch of signed comics one time for my birthday.Â It didn't hurt things of course, but I knew that Spider-man was going to be in capable hands.Â Even still, One More Day left such a taste in my mouth that I just didn't know if I could look the other way, be open to changes I felt were haphazard and ill-conceived at best. So I turned on the critical eye of judgement and turned it upon one of my favorite writers as I read Brand New Day part one. Not even Bendis gets the fully armed and operational critical eye from me like what I was about to do to this comic, how could I do this to Dan Slott? Answer? To quote my customer Mr. Breeze, "Quesada." You have to say it like Seinfeld says "Newman" to get the effect. The bad taste in my mouth was Quesada's doing, not Dan Slott. Slott would use the tools that were available to him, to the best of his ability I was sure. But still swift and critical judgment from Mount Olympus was to come, my lightning bolts primed to blow holes in the issue. But as I read the issue, I found myself completely pulled in. Sharp artwork, bright color, aspects of Spider-man comics that had been gone for years had returned. A supporting cast of new characters and old favorites was being rebuilt as part of the series. Peter Parker needed money, needed another job. Peter's pal, Harry Osborn and his hair were back. A new villain was introduced. A mugger was out there discrediting the already not-so-good Spider-man name. And wrap it all up with a confrontation for the ages with J. Jonah to set up the cliffhanger ending, and I held in my hands a great issue. An issue that I could find no fault with. An issue that made me laugh out loud twice. The critical eye was closed, no bolts could be thrown. There was nothing wrong with the issue that I had been so ready to pan thanks to the dubious One More Day saga. Which I still think is suspect. But this story helped me to forget the story I didn't care for and become excited for these new Spider-man stories. Yes, changes have been made to the continuity. But this issue presented these changes smoothly and in positive or intriguing ways. The fact that this issue was able to turn back so many angry villagers, myself being the leader, speaks to the talent and dedication of Dan Slott as a writer. Thanks to him I'm still with the Amazing Spider-man when I thought that surely I was done.
Thanks for reading, but don't just take my or anyone else's word for it. Check out these comics and decide for youself.