How I spent my Summer (Spider-) Vacation 2010

Posted by under *mixed, Comics |

I had the chance to get away over the last few weeks and made a serious effort to avoid anything resembling work. As a result, I managed to read a few comics that have been laying around this place for a while. This was the same plan I attempted last year, but as you’ll see, my reading list has changed quite a bit.

Last summer, I took a fairly eclectic mix of books away with me in a little box, and I even started writing this post about them. All the big names were there: the X-Men (X-Men Forever #1, Dark X-Men: The Beginning #2New Mutants #2-3), some Marvel Cosmic stuff (Nova #26-27Skaar: Son of Hulk #6-12War of Kings: Savage World of Skaar), a few Avengers (Mighty Avengers #24-27, New Avengers: The Reunion #2-4Ms. Marvel: Storyteller), even some things that aren’t normally on the reading list (Batman and Robin #1, Warren Ellis’ Ruins).

What I came away with after reading all this is that  I should have never continued with Mighty Avengers after Brian Bendis left the title. Everything else was rather satisfying, but it solidified my decision to stop buying a lot of books. One of the stand outs that I didn’t mention was Amazing Spider-Man: The Short Halloween by SNL’s Bill Hader and Seth Myers. It’s a fun book, but remembering it makes me sad about what I’m coming away with this year:  there’s just too much Amazing Spider-Man each month.

I’m a fan. I’m not crazy about what they did to erase Spider-Man’s marriage to Mary Jane, but I gave Brand New Day every possible chance I could. There were some great stories in there (particularly Chris Bachalo and Zeb Wells’ Sometimes It Snows in April) and most could have been told with the marriage in place. I stuck in there anyway, but as I packed for this trip, I knew being 17 issues behind on the title was a bad sign. Kevin was quick to point out that was equal to a year and a half of a regular title, and I had only fallen behind in March. The recent announcement that Brand New Day was officially ending and the book would ship only twice a month with one writer couldn’t have come at a better time. The downside, the writer is Dan Slott. I’ve enjoyed his Amazing Spider-Man, but he was the one writing Mighty Avengers after Bendis so I’m a little gunshy about where things are headed.

The worst part about so far being behind was that the big One Moment in Time story was addressing the magic marriage erasure and I feel compelled to suffer through a Vulture story and a whole lot more to get to it. This, and many of the other issues covered here, are branded as part of something called The Gauntlet. A series of stories that have featured a host of classic Spider-Man villains coming after Spidey at the behest of Kraven’s family in preparation for their Grim Hunt. Here’s quick rundown of what I’ve been missing:

  • #623-624: The aforementioned history of the new Vulture. Not interested in the character or his origin going in, less interested coming out. It’s a Mark Waid story so it has some good moments, just hard to really care.
  • #625: A great story with the old and new Rhinos facing off. It was actually not the outcome I was expecting and not a complete waste like some of these other stories. Didn’t need to be more than one issue.
  • #626: Another Gauntlet story that was really just a set up for the Grim Hunt which seems hundreds of issues away. The new Scorpion is the focus and honestly I almost forgot about it immediately.
  • #627-629: A three-part Juggernaut story by Roger Stern that spins out of a story originally told in ASM#229-230. This is the type of thing I’d normally be totally into, but the inclusion of  the Captain Universe power and it being a pretty unimportant story in the grand scheme of things made it insufferable.
  • #630-633: Zeb Wells and Chris Bachalo re-team for a four-part Lizard story called Shed. This was fantastic and what I want Spider-Man to be all the time. Honestly, it’s worth your time to check out. I could write way more about this, but I had more to read to catch up.
  • #634-637: The Grim Hunt of Kraven the Hunter’s wife and daughter is finally here. This has been building for months (maybe even a year) with a lot of classic Spider-Villains being brought into the picture. It was a fun story with lots of twists and Michael Lark’s artwork really worked. I’m not sure how I feel about Kraven being back after the classic Kraven’s Last Hunt story by Mike Zeck and J.M. DeMatteis, but this was decent. I’m also not sure about the status quo changes for Julia Carpenter and Araña, but we’ll see where all of this goes.
  • #638-641 One Moment in Time

So, how was O.M.I.T.? I still didn’t know even after reading over the long Labor Day weekend! It wasn’t until a week after Part Four shipped that I finally got caught up. Of course, Marvel had to ship two issues of Amazing Spider-Man that week, so guess who’s behind again. After finishing the story, I have to say I think I’m done with Amazing Spider-Man (I completely empathize with this guy). I bought the next issue because I’m a sucker like that and didn’t have the chance to finish O.M.I.T. before the next arc started (it’s Mark Waid writing again and has an awesome Marko Djurdjevic cover so that helps a little, maybe?). I was hoping O.M.I.T. might do something on the level of One More Day which undid Spider-Man’s marriage, or at least hint at the possibility that things could go back, but it didn’t.  All it really did was describe in (at times painful) detail what the new history is now that the marriage didn’t happen. All exposition, all the time. The artistic approach of having Joe Quesada’s work frame each issue as the flashbacks were handled by Paolo Rivera was the only thing good about the story, particularly in Part One when the artwork really recaptured the marriage scenes from 1987. Oh wait, they included actual pages from that issue and changed the dialogue! It wasn’t the only time they reused pages in O.M.I.T. In Part Four, pages and panels straight out of One More Day were included with new dialogue as well.

As much as I’d like to change it, I’m biologically programmed to look for the best in all things, and even here I can find some bright spots. While it’s not obvious (and let’s face it, probably not intended), there’s a chance that this isn’t the final word on the deal with Mephisto. Mary Jane wishing she could forget the recent past along with everyone else might mean she remembers the deal she made to erase the marriage. That could be why she’s so tortured as the story wraps up. All along, the reused scenes gave me the impression that this is how the characters remember everything happening, or it’s the only way they can rationalize the changes without Mephisto in the picture. After all, he leads off the story saying “…this never happened.”

It would really be something if in Amazing Spider-Man #666 we saw Marvel’s devil get his due. Of course, this is all just wishful thinking on my part, but that’s how I spent my Summer (Spider-) Vacation.

Related Posts with Thumbnails