Tuesday, June 29, 2010

One more One More Day

I really didn’t intend to write about Spider-Man that much on the blog, but here we are again. Jim recently wrote a piece on here about the upcoming One Moment in Time storyline. Now, I find talking to Jim about Amazing Spider-Man, enormously frustrating. I agree with the basic premise that the marriage and Mary Jane really didn’t need to go. However, if you’ve been reading the book (which is not by the OMD creative team), I think it’s evident that in spite of that, it has been solid to very good. In fact, it’s been WAAAAY better than the back half of JMS’ run. However, I cannot convince Jim and others of the same opinion to overlook that and just try the book. Here’s what’s more frustrating, in his latest post, Jim is 100% completely right about One Moment in Time.

I cannot understand what Marvel is trying to do here. Bringing back Joe Q and revisiting One More Day is only going to piss people off. It’s poking the wound with a stick and rubbing salt in it. One More Day was sloppy storytelling. They had a change they wanted to make (single Spider-Man) that really couldn’t be cleanly accomplished through an organic story (killing MJ or a divorce, let’s say) so they did a big continuity reboot. Now, if I remember correctly, the big disagreement between Joe Q and JMS was basically that JMS wanted to explain the various changes to continuity, while Joe Q just wanted to make Peter single, change the relationship he had with MJ from a marriage to a long term relationship, bring back Harry, and ignore the rest.

Now, both of these are bad approaches to a bad idea, but I have some sympathy for Joe Q’s position. If you’re going to do a reboot, make your changes, stick to guns and move on. That is what made John Byrne’s Superman reboot so successful. He did what he wanted to do, moved on with that, and stopped talking about what he had rebooted! Yes, Byrne was working with what I think was a better idea, but it remains smart approach to instituting these changes. If you’re giving someone quality stories in the new status quo and plowing forward, they’ll be less inclined to bitch about losing the old status quo. Which of course, brings us to the problem of One Moment in Time.

WHO CARES WHAT HAPPENED ON THEIR WEDDING DAY?! There is no possible answer they can give that will satisfy fandom. Like Jim said, all it is doing is reminding people about what pissed them off in the first place. It is a small piece of continuity that I’m sure they felt they needed to address when they wrote One More Day, but its two plus years later. We don’t want to know about it!

Right now Spider-Man is knocking it out of the park on the Grim Hunt arc. And even better than that, the Grim Hunt is a storyline they’ve been building too for a year! How often do comics get that right!? We’re getting extremely high quality Spider-Man comics three times a month, it has a tremendous head of creative steam right now! We should be focusing on that. Instead, we’re talking about One More Day. Again. Isn’t this fun?

Now, anyone who has been enjoying this title has been set back years in trying to get anyone like Jim to read this book again. We could get the best year of Spider-Man ever, but no, they’ll pass because One More Day left a bad taste in their mouth. And you know what? Marvel totally deserves it, because they WON’T. STOP. TALKING. ABOUT. IT.

I don’t agree with the end of the Spider-Marriage, but at this point, I just don’t care anymore. I’m sick of everyone talking about it. I just want to read some good Spider-Man comics. So Marvel, I’m begging you: PLEASE stop bringing this up.


  1. Greg - in all fairness I won't read Spider-Man because I view it as a boycott. So it doesn't make much of a difference to me if the stories after the fact are good or not. I have plenty of other books to read :)

  2. You know I liked Shed. Grim Hunt is ok, but I kind of think the overall premise is silly.

    I'm one of the haters for the marriage ending because (Joe Q felt like it) however, I had occasionally dipped back into the Spider-Man waters. It still isn't amazing.

    The rotating creative teams were a novelty at first but now I never know which Peter Parker I'm going to get. They should just give the book to Zeb Wells and let him have three different artists rotating arcs. (Bachalo should be the definitive Spidey artist.)

    But now we're getting OMIT. If Joe Q proved anything its that he doesn't understand Spider-Man at all. It's kind of like Loeb on the Hulk. Completely misses the point of the character.

    The last two or more years of Spidey I've liked three story-arcs. THREE. Maybe those creators should stay on the book for the long haul, eh?

    Regardless, Spider-Man is a mess. If they could get a clear vision on the book and not write Peter Parker like a violent Charlie Brown, I might even look past him being single again. Even though divorce would have been a natural progression for Peter Parker. Over, say, selling your marriage to the Devil to save grandma (aunt) May.

    Be careful to equate good stories with great ones. I think what you're comparing the stories to make them great by default. JMS' Aunt May was much better.

    And you know what? As bad as OMD was story-wise, if Peter had given up the marriage because it was MJ that was shot and dying? That I almost would have been ok with....

  3. I think you're being a bit harsh on the book, Shawn. I've been reading the book since the relaunch and I can think of waaay more than 3 storylines that were good or better(Shed, Kelly's Hammerhead stuff, Kelly's Rhino stuff, Slott's FF story, the Mayan snowstorm, Slott's Punisher story, Guggenheim's Election Day, and that's just off the top of my head). And I can't think of any story that was out and out abysmal.

    There have been misfires (only one of the potential romances has clicked for me on any level), the multiple writers does create a jarring shift at times, I don't like how May is written, and Mark Waid in particular hasn't worked nearly as well as I'd have thought he would. However, Joe Kelly, Zeb Wells, and Fred Van Lente (just pulling from the past year) have all been consistently very good. I think ANY of their stuff compares favorably to the best stuff that writers like JMS and Roger Stern were cranking out. While guys like Slott, Guggenheim, and Waid have produced stories that have been at least as good and often better than the mediocre stuff JMS cranked out after JRJR left. Remember Sins Past?

    Considering the number of writers we've had, I think its been remarkably consistent as a book and in its portrayal of Spider-Man. In fact, they've all been a bit uniform in making Spidey a bit more of a Charlie Brown loser than I'd prefer, but that's just my taste. Its certainly a valid interpretation of the character.

    Obviously, this could just be a case of "our mileage may vary," but don't let your dissatisfaction with OMD cloud your judgement of these stories. We have gotten a longer run of consistent quality Spider-Man stories in the past few years than I can ever remember. I just wish they'd either bring back MJ or completely move on so I can stop having to talk about OMD every time I want to discuss this book.

    I'm honestly loving this current storyline. Its a bit dark, but it is a story centered around Kraven, who was the center of the darkest Spidey story ever. So that gets a pass from me. Its well constructed and the stakes feel appropriately big enough. I wish we were talking about what we loved or hated about this story as opposed to dragging out this "Joe Q doesn't understand Spider-Man and raped my childhood" crap again. But I can't blame anyone for dragging it out, cause that is exactly what Marvel's doing! Stupid, stupid Marvel.

  4. I liked The first Wells/Bachalo God-in-the-snow story. I liked the Slott/JrJr one with Osborn. And I liked Shed. The rest didn't work for me whatsoever.

    Better than Osborn having love-children with Gwen? Sure. But using that as a benchmark makes anything look good. Once again, I think you're giving it more credit than it deserves.

    None of the love interests are credible save for Black Cat since all she wants to do is shack up. That seems more real to be than the other two.

    I've been bitter since they brought back MJ and she's living with Harry. Wow, MJ and Harry. Will they or won't they? It's 1982 all over again.

    Peter is not consistent and that is the worst crime punishable. The Gauntlet did not live up to expectations. The rotating teams are jarring. Grim is not that great. (I used a grim and gritty Spider Clone to sacrifice and bring back Kraven because his lookalike son wasn't good enough.)

    And now Quesada has come back to retcon the retcon, so that Peter didn't *really* sell his marriage to the Devil.

    I read it because I hope it will get better and stay there. Most of the arcs you mentioned were no better than good. Great is few and far between.

  5. Clearly there's some difference in opinion here. I wasn't the biggest fan of New Ways to Die and I've found Peter's characterization consistent (even if its not how I would prefer it), for instance.

    However, while not all the stories I mentioned are classics (and I would argue the point on Shed and the Mayan Snowstorm arc), they are very good. The batting average on this title has been extraordinary, especially when you consider that there's a rotating creative team (which I'll admit can be jarring sometimes, as different writers understandably have different things they want to focus on), the thrice monthly schedule, and the overall quality of this title over the past two decades.

    I've enjoyed the quality of this run in its own right, but I think it stands up particularly well when you compare it to basically everything published since David Michelinie's run ended in the 90's. Consider what we have gotten since then: Maximum Carnage, Spider-Clone, Howard Mackie's reboot, John Byrne's reboot, and JMS. The only one of those that contains any sustained quality is JMS, and that goes duff in the second half.

    I maintain these are very good Spider-Man comics standing on their own, but they are downright miraculous when you consider the last 15-20 years of the character.

    Still I think the important thing here is there is at least one area of agreement here: More Zeb Wells, please.

  6. Even though Spider-man was my entry point to comics as a kid, I have nothing to add here. I gave up on the book around issue 300 and haven't missed it over the years. Having read about 100 issues I realized it was circling around the same stuff ad nauseum. From what's been written here, I'd have to say it still is, story execution issues notwithstanding.

  7. Your writing read more like you were calling them GREAT stories. I'll give you good and better than the second half of JMS' stuff. But they're referencing horrible storylines like the Clone Saga and it's starting to wear thin.

    Oh, and just because Marvel is hellbent on pissing me off:


    I think it's time for Joe Q to go.

  8. Thomm-

    You miss the point, Spiderman stopped being about you, or me for that matter, years ago.

    Yes, it's the same basic story but that is what has always made Spidey & Peter P interesting. Now it's written for the younger set (Greg & Shawn)

    In 20 yrs, provided Shawn makes it that long, he won't care about Spidey either. And Greg will be writing blog posts about how 'they' need to let someone else be spiderman so that the character can grow and evolve.

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  10. I loved issue 600 and it almost got me back into the book, but then he slept with his roommate after getting drunk at May's wedding. I bought the first part of the Juggernaut storyline because Stern and Weeks were involved (and eventually read the rest from the library). I liked it, but it didn't leave me begging for more. Given this cruddy economy having Peter be unemployed totally works for me and I'm not that concerned that he would fake a photo (it was dumb, but Peter has to LIE all the time. -- Makes me wonder why I ever related to him).

    So, since Peter never married MJ and Kraven's Last Hunt occurred soon after the wedding -- did it really happen?

    The new solicits show MJ back in Peter's life following OMIT. Maybe they're going to OMIT OMD (I wish -- better yet Sins Past. THAT's a story I have to mention EVERY time I talk about Spidey).

    I sure enjoy the money I'm saving NOT buying Amazing 3 times a month!

    I think Lee makes a good point. I can't relate to Spidey anymore either. Now if he had a teenage daughter and a small son, I could totally relate to him (Good thing he does in the MC2 universe at least for a few more months.) :(