Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Comics Out 24 January 2007

The only book I am getting this week is Matt Fraction and Ariel Olivetti's Punisher War Journal #3. I will review it in the comments later today.

No news on Newsarama caught my eye except for this imagination-deadening image on that someone found on solicits. The book is called Iron Man: Steve Rogers:

It's possible this in one of Marvel's misinformation things, to keep people from knowing how Civil War ends, and I hope so, but I fear not. I don't know how many points my imagination has but I permanently lost some from looking at that picture.

Also, Marvel put their solicits out last week, and I read on a message board people talking about the implications of the whole "Spiderman: Back in Black" thing (the solicits only hint at why he is back in black). They were discussing something I was taking for granted: Marvel is going to kill Mary Jane in Civil War 7 -- he will be in the black costume to mourn, and to tie in with Spiderman 3. (This marketing tie in would be in poor taste if Civil War was not also in poor taste). Joe Quesada has said Spiderman should never have gotten married, that it killed the romantic energy in the book (a fair complaint), and this is how he is going to fix it. I just assumed we were all on the same page about this, but then I realized maybe we weren't. Do we all think Civil War is a 100+ issue red-herring for the assassination of Mary Jane? That Peter revealed his secret identity in issue two and it gets someone he loves killed in issue seven? Or did I go off the rails somewhere, misdirected by Marvel or fandom? It's entirely possible that I went off the rails somewhere.


Pat Moler said...

One thing I've liked about Spidey these past few years is he's actually evolved quite a bit. Sure the classic is always great but having him stay a struggling photographer at age 30 woulda been rediculous. I often used to wonder why he even went to college. haha He finally got an education reqiured job as a teacher, and then as a scientist for Stark.

I'm tourn on whether killing off MJ will be a good idea. I've always like the character, but I couldn't stand Peter being with a internationally famous Super model. How many "normal guys" do you know that are married to super models? haha. I think that's why Ultimate MJ is more down to earth, as apposed to being a superstar, and what not.

I fail to understand why/how Iron Man and Cap would/could merge? Basically it'd just be Rogers in his own Iron Tech Armor. Kinda like Spidey's Iron Tech armor, which I think evolved the character as well. I think a mini-series featuring Rogers using Iron Tech armor might be interesting. Rogers has always been a normal(although literally perfect) human among God like beings, and manages to beat them at their own game. It be nice to see how he'd be if he was on there level of power.

Mitch said...

FYI-- There was also an recent interview with director Sam Raimi, where he mentioned he might be doing a Spider-Man 4. He said he was confident that both Tobey and "new leading lady" Bryce Dallas Howard (who plays Gwen Stacy)would return, with no mention of Kirsten Dunst or her character.

I don't really have much to say about that, except that the weird movie/comic symmetry probably couldn't have occured by chance.

And yes, Geoff. I believe it is entirely possible that Joe Q has made us buy 1, 200,000 (my rough estimate) comic books to read his unpopular "death to Mary Jane" story.

I'm not passing judgement or anything. I think the book (if nothing else) has been marketed very well. Ultimately all of us will benefit is a non-comic person sees you reading a Marvel comic on the N-Train and asks, "What's up with this Civil War thing?"

Josh said...

The whole Iron Man/Cap thing is untrue. If you check out the first message posting here (, it debunks the whole rumor.

Matt Brady said...

According to Rich Johnston's Lying in the Gutters column this week, the "Iron Cap" thing is misinformation. I read an summary of the supposed reveal though, and I thought it was hilarious. I think it was on Chris Butcher's blog ( Here it is: Tony Stark has never been Iron Man; it's always been the original Captain America, and the Cap that was frozen and woke up and led the Avengers was a clone. That's so ridiculous I think I laughed out loud when I heard it. If that's what Marvel was really going to do, I would want to give them a one-person standing ovation just for their willingness to say "screw you!" to their fans. Then I would attempt to never buy another Marvel comic again.

Geoff Klock said...

Pat: I agree with Joe Q about the problem with Mary Jane. I just think this is a somewhat crazy way to tell that story, though I also see why he would want to.

Mitch: Yeah, I just hope the person on the train doesn't read Civil War and never come back.

Josh, Matt -- oh thank god. Matt: that fake solicit is hilarious.

Pat Moler said...

Well the thing is the damage has already been done to the character. Nothing will change the fact that Peter Parker some how married a internationally famous super model/actress. So there's really no point in killing her now.

Stan Lee was right in thinking Peter should have ended with Gwen. Mainly because although beautiful she was a normal girl. If you notice in Ultimate Spidey, while MJ is still spunky she's more like Gwen of the old, and Gwen is a more rebelliuos version of MJ.

The only reason I see for MJ to die in the Civil War, really is to show the dangers of the registration act. by Peter revealing his identity he allowed MJ to become a target for revenge.

MItch said...

Not to be argumentative, or to demean anyone, but I don't imagine that your typical non-comic reader would find anything wrong with Civil War: 1. It features nearly every major Marvel character/property, 2. The artwork and book design are both very aesthetically pleasing, 3. There is a lot of action and a reveal/cliffhanger at the end of every issue and 4. It's marketed everywhere (like American Idol) so it must be good, right?

The average person probably won’t notice the little character boo-boos or continuity boo-boos or even the glaring story boo-boos. Before you say it, Geoff—Yes, I know. The people who ignore these things aren’t worth considering anyway. What’s saddest about Civil War is that it proves Joe Q and company find those people MORE worthy of consideration than folks like us.

Geoff Klock said...

Pat: you are right that the damage has been done, to some extent, but Joe Q still wants her gone. What you say makes sense, but I think he may have gone at it backwards -- he wants to kill MJ so Civil War is started, Spaiderman unmasks, endangering his loved ones...

Mitch: no of course you are right. And it makes sense that Joe Q tries to cater to a big audience -- he is a businessman, after all. I just want, as someone said of Emerson, better bread than can be made of wheat.

pat moler said...

Well I think the main theme is law and order, really. Should superheroes really be allowed to just do as they please, so long as they have good intentions? What happens when they decide for themselves that Extreme measures should be taken, or if they're reckless, as was the case with the New Warriors.

I honestly find it hard to side with Captain America. I've found lttle reasons for the Registration act to be more bad than good. Tony Stark and Irn Man identities are publicly known, and they're perfectly fine.

Bryan said...

The Amazon write-up also claimed the trade collects IRON MAN #15-18, which is the only bit of information I believe about the whole thing -- bad coloring included. Something tells me an Iron Man/Cap hybrid wouldn't be happening first in one of Marvel's mid-table performers like IRON MAN.

As far as MJ goes, I say kill the ho. The character's run her course and short of doing the whole power thing like they're teasing in ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN, there don't seem to be a very large number of good stories to be told that include Mary Jane Watson-Parker, especially when Lois Lane has been around for decades keeping a death grip on the "superhero's girlfriend" role. Coincidentally, every year Joe Quesada does that ridiculous song that he thinks pleases the fanboys but really makes me wonder why I don't buy more DC comics, and this year one of the verses ended like this:

I got hit on the head, that’s the last I remember THIS BOY IS WACKER-ER!
Woke up at Marvel, ‘round the end of September
I’m a mad edit bomb. Blow up the drawing and WRITIN'.
Then I chew up Thunder and I spit out THOR’S LIGHTININ!
I’m the new Spidey-Man… so if you liked it BACK THEN.
In month number one: GOODBYE M.J AND HELLO ***

James said...

Just as I disagree with Quesada's stance that mutants need to be a minority for the X-Men to be interesting, I can't see that Spider-Man being a married grown-up damages the character. There can and have been good stories about the married Peter Parker - JMS's handling of the relationship during his run with Romita Jr. was great, for instance. I put complaints about Spidey's marriage in the same category as complaints that Spider-Man and Wolverine are Avengers. These characters can and should change, and fans of high school Parker always have the Essential trades, or the Ultimate universe.

All of which means I shouldn't be against killing off MJ - and I'm not necessarily - but if it's purely to "fix" the character, then it's short-sighted, misguided, and ultimately it won't work. Making Spider-Man seem more like a carefree youngster by killing his wife? Who do the what now?

Troy Wilson said...

I don't think it was necessarily a mistake for Marvel to have Peter get married. But I do think it's been a mistake for the marriage to have worked as well and as long as it has.

The good ol' Parker (un)luck should've kicked in, big-time. I mean, c'mon - a super-model and a regular joe? That could've - and should've - easily been a recipe for disaster. Peter should've been subconsciously sabatoging the relationship the whole time because, deep down, he didn't think he was worthy of a super-model (his self-esteem has never been stellar). They should've had virtually nothing to talk about, because they travelled in entirely different circles. The sizzle (and the sex) should've gone, as it does for so many married couples. MJ should've got hooked on drugs or had an affair (with his feelings of unworthiness, Pete could've practically driven her to it). Come to think it, she might have had(or almost had) an affair and she might have had drug troubles, but I doubt they were executed very well. They should've had a nasty, messy tabloid divorce that would've made Bennifer's break-up look like a cakewalk. Who knows, maybe they would've stayed apart way back when had it not been for the advent of the first Spider-movie.

So I don't think the marriage per se was necessarily a dead end. But Peter living happily ever after with a super-model? Yeah, that's a dead end. Literally a dead end, I guess. I tend to see killing a character as the cheap and easy way out, though. Easy shock value. But hey, it's super-dramatic and attention-grabbing, so I can understand Marvel choosing to go that route. I just wish that the whole marriage and messy destruction of same had've been handled with more imagination drama from the beginning. With the right creators, it could've made for some really good soap opera (similar to, say, Scott's split from Jean).

But, now that we're so many missed and/or bungled opportunities down the road, maybe the MJ-Peter dynamic is all played out. Or maybe the right creators could make it (or its messy devolution) shine if given half a chance. Hard to say...

Mitch said, "What’s saddest about Civil War is that it proves Joe Q and company find those people MORE worthy of consideration than folks like us."

Geoff said: "I just want, as someone said of Emerson, better bread than can be made of wheat."

Mitch, Geoff: I agree, guys. This stuff might play for the masses, but I'm not the masses. I'm me.

Troy Wilson said...

James: You posted while I was busily typing away. I don't think a married Peter Parker automatically damages the character. But married to a super-model? That's what pushes it over the edge. Take the super-model status away from MJ, and the marriage might be more palatable and relatable. It could also make a nasty break-up and divorce unnecessary (as long as they kept the relationship dramatically compelling in other ways). But instead of taking the super-model out of MJ (in an interesting and nasty manner, of course), they're just going to take out MJ, period.

James said...

Matt: Is she still a super-model, though? I know Stracynski had her as an actress again, and not necessarily a successful one. But yeah, it definitely works better if she's not.

Geoff: What is it that you find in bad taste about Civil War/Offing Mary Jane? I'm not disagreeing, just interested.

Troy Wilson said...

James: Hm, you might be right about JMS (or, for that matter, someone before him) reverting MJ to an actress, perhaps even a struggling actress. I must confess, I've read very few issues of his run. In any case, I agree that struggling actress works a lot better for Pete than super-model. Still, hot actress - struggling or not - might still be just a little too glitzy for hard-luck Parker. Depends how it's handled, I suppose.

I'm not sure if her death today is worth the inevitable resurrection down the line. "Face it tiger, they've hit the reset."

Then again, I not sure if my suggestions for spicing up - and possibly destroying - their marriage are terribly original or fun. While protracted marital woes might spice things up, they could just as easily make for some pretty dreary comics. I wonder what someone like Morrison would do with their relationship. Something more imaginative, fun, and clever than anything I suggested, I bet. And certainly more imaginative, fun, and clever than killing her.

Geoff Klock said...

You guys are right that something interesting could be done. I guess the main problem is that dating woes, rather than marital woes, make more sense given the character. But what has been said here is right: you can read Ultimate, or old comics, or Spiderman Loves Mary Jane, if that is what you are looking for.

James: the thing that is in poor taste is the obvious money driven -- rather than story telling driven -- stunt: in this issue MARY JANE DIES; Civil War is in 100 SERIOUS PARTS, BUY THEM ALL. It's not that I am wholly against stuff like this, it's just that the connection of Civil War to the death of MJ makes it very noticeable. It's not as bad as all the alternate covers for the DEATH OF SUPERMAN, but it is a major stunt that asks you to buy a lot of comics and inside contains more than one stunt.

Marc Caputo said...

I think, ultimately, Civil War - the book, will fail. This, of course, will lead to the crossover's failure. The fault will have to be laid at Millar's feet for one simple reason - it's nowhere near his best work. Look at his Swamp Thing, which took the book back to its Moore/Veitch level of excellence/relevance in the DCU. His Ultimates showed that bold, even controversial, handling of "capes" could be done in a mainstream setting. And his Ult. FF (21-32) sees him capable of writing small, satisfying arcs that weave into an epic whole. We're not getting that - and everyone's suffering.

As to the "Back in Black"/Civil War 7, here's my two cents; Peter will be forced to kill (probably the assassin whose sights were on MJ and May). This will lead to disillusionment/estrangement on MJ's part as well as strengthening the Pro-Reg act's reasoning (because we know they win). If this seems a bit broad-stroked, I'm more of a concept guy than a nuts/bolts writer. If this seems crazy, it's because I feel Marvel should put some hair on their icons - look what it did for WW in the DCU.

Troy Wilson said...

Geoff: I agree that dating woes feel more right for Peter than marriage woes. But, of course, it's the woes that are the most important part of the equation. Whenever Parker seems to catch a break, however great it may seem, it can't go right for long. It's got to go south, and badly south (preferably in a tragically comic way). It's like if Charlie Brown finally kicked the football (or kicked Lucy), Schulz would have had to make damn sure the kick set into motion an entirely new dynamic that was a) no better for poor ol' Charlie Brown and b) as sustainable as the "miss-the-ball" scenario. Just having the football break a window wouldn't have been enough (not even his beloved red-haired girl's window).

I actually take my hat off to Marvel for having the balls to move Peter forward and have him get married. But I don't think they truly realized at that time just how hard the married bit would be to sustain. I'm not sure they saw the true magnitude of what they'd bitten off. They didn't spend enough time really formulating a post-marriage game play, besides figuring that, "Oh, he'll still have troubles, just different ones." In many ways, Ultimate Spider-Man was born the second the couple said their vows.

Matt Brady said...

I hope they don't kill Mary Jane, but to tell the truth, I don't really care that much any more. I do disagree with Joe Q's views about Spidey's marriage; I think it comes from storytelling laziness. It's the same reason many movies or TV shows focus on whether or not a couple will get together. Once they do get together, it's much more difficult (yet more interesting, in my opinion) to write stories about them.

It's probably true that they jumped into the marriage without realizing it would be more difficult to write stories about the relationship, but in my opinion, they're in a pretty difficult spot trying to get out of the marriage. Nobody wants to see her killed off (they already did that with Gwen, and it leads to the possibility of a stupid resurrection; actually, they've already done that. About 8 years ago, she "died" in a plane crash or something, but they brought her back pretty quickly), and a divorce makes Peter look bad (especially if you're wanting to make him appear young and hip). I suppose they could maim her or something to take away the supermodel factor. They've already started to downplay the supermodel idea, making her more of a struggling actress. Another solution would be to use some magic or pseudoscience to make her forget Peter is Spider-Man and that they were married (I think something like this was done with the Flash recently). It looks like the route they are going with is to have her killed, but give the death some "importance" by having it happen because of Civil War/Spidey unmasking. Although, I think this is just a repeat of Gwen's death, since she died as a consequence of a villain knowing Spidey's identity.

Whatever. Like I said, I'm pretty much past the point of caring (he says after writing an essay about the subject). I would prefer for her to live and them to stay married, but they can do what they want; I just won't read it.

Scott said...

The only way I can see Marvel has an out in this is COMA. Mary Jane has to go into a coma, disappear for 5-10 years until someone can figure out what to do with her character.

Oh, how I wish I was joking on this one.

Then again, after the stupid "resurrection" this week, I wouldn't put anything past Marvel.

Ping33 said...

Steve Rogers is Iron Man in Bullet Points. Now Marvel is ripping off themselves?

I basically have nothing to say about Civil War anymore. I'm reading it... it's all right provided I don't put any thought into it. I will say that if the "point" behind it is to kill MJ than it's a more worthwhile point than to watch Heroes kick the shit out of one another which is what I had thought the point was since the outset. I can see the idea that MJ's persistence dilutes the power of Gwen... but isn't killing her just going to make her more powerful than we can possibly imagine?