Well, we had two Spider-Man comics today, so I might as well keep the webs spinning.
While there were a number of Spider-Fans who didn’t like the Spider-Marriage there were also a number of them that did, including myself. But even those on the anti-marriage (for Spider-Man, not necessarily marriage in general) side hated One More Day, the storyline in which Mephisto wipes the marriage completely out of continuity. Sure there’ the comic strip, but Spidey really doesn’t come off looking the best there, often deferring to whatever Marvel hero has a movie coming out and just not coming off as a seasoned hero. It’s okay, but it’s still not what the pro-marriage fans wanted.
During the recent Secret Wars (that they should have just called Secret Wars 3 to avoid the confusion) alternate continuities were formed into a new version of Battleworld, and in one of them Peter and Mary Jane were not only still married but had Annie, the daughter shown in Mephisto’s “pitch” to Peter that would never be. (May Parker, the first comics Spider-Girl, is in a different continuity and I guess they didn’t want to suggest that M2 would become the main Marvel Universe at some point.) From what I’ve heard, this version of Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows, wasn’t really what the pro side would have wanted as it was kind of like “see, this is what a Spider-Marriage would look like; isn’t it terrible?” deal. Not really a surprise since Dan Slott is part of the anti-marriage Spider-Writers. However the miniseries seemed to do well enough to give it a full run, with Gerry Conway (who actually thought of Spider-Man when he co-created Firestorm for DC) on writing duties. Is it possible that he knows how to do this? Douglas Ernst of the Douglas Ernst blog thinks so.
I forget who, but one of the Spider-Writers (or possibly fellow MJ-hater Joe Quesada) once asked if we wanted to see Spider-Man changing diapers and dealing with family gatherings that he had to get away from to do superhero stuff. The answer is YES! The thing is Peter Parker is supposed to be the everyman, the normal person who has to fit a normal life beside his responsibilities as Spider-Man. However, as I’ve joked many times, THIS is how they see Peter.
Charlie Brown for having a lot of bad luck (even referred to as the “Parker luck”) as well as having numerous romances and a bit immature, ala Archie Andrews. And of course the black suit for being dark and edgy even though I prefer the black costume as it looks more like a “spider man”. If I could fit his current Tony Stark role in there I would but I’d have to track down a usable picture of the Iron Spider armor. And that’s kind of where Spidey is right now. Romances doomed to fail, running a major high-tech company while his superhero ID is now his bodyguard, and still having things go wrong for him. He’s more Iron Man than Spider-Man right now.
If there was any change I would make to what I’m hearing from this title is that Peter really doesn’t have to work for J. Jonah Jameson anymore. One thing OMD did was also take away Peter’s job as a science teacher, still an everyman job but one that gave him growth. And with the internet and 24-hour news channels it’s not like he needs the Daily Bugle to keep track of criminal activity in New York. If this was a continuation of a Mephistoless Spider-Life wouldn’t Peter still be a teacher? Then he doesn’t have to sell pictures of his alter ego to a man who wants to make him look bad and stiff him on his pay. It would also leave him free for any summer event that takes place.
But this sounds closer to what pro-marriage Spider-Fans wanted. And we get to see MJ become a superhero in her own right. Quite a few fans, including myself, were hoping Jackpot was Mary Jane Watson as a superhero, but it turned out to be a trick on the fans, and possibly a dirty one. It shows she isn’t just sitting on the sidelines and while I’m usually in favor of the civilian support team (as I mentioned in a recent Art Soundoff) I kind of like this too. MJ isn’t a sidelines kind of gal, after all. And the hero who showed kids don’t have to be sidekicks…has his daughter for a sidekick Robin-style (especially since the current Robin IS Batman’s child) which would open the door to kids to relate to her were modern Marvel interested in giving kids a comic to read that didn’t tie in to a current cartoon.
I really wish I had income so I could pick this comic up. It sounds like what we wanted to see from Spider-Man: marriage, fatherhood, maturity after years of being a superhero, and the everyman trying to balance his superhero and personal responsibilities. And isn’t Peter supposed to be all about responsibility?