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The Green Ninjas

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Subj: Re: What Have Been the 20 WORST Decisions/Stories In Spider-Man History/The Spider-Man Books? My (edited) List..
Posted: Wed Oct 27, 2010 at 08:18:20 pm EDT (Viewed 189 times)
Reply Subj: What Have Been the 10 WORST Decisions/Stories In Spider-Man History/The Spider-Man Books? My List..
Posted: Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 03:01:33 am EDT (Viewed 412 times)

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These are the ones that I feel have seriously damaged Spidey, the mythology, and the books. It's a top 10 list. Maybe one or two more will do. And unfortunately, this isn't one of my comedy posts (I'll do one of those next time.).

#10. The Sandman- Maybe this is me, but I kind of liked him better as more of a semi-hero and "gray" character. I don't really care for him as a villian except for his early appearances.

#9. They ruined the Jackal- I think that the second Clone Saga ruined him, and he's one of my all-time favorite Spidey characters. But when they had him out to kill everybody and replace them with clones, I think that it pretty much doomed the character. I did like his return though. The only way they can salvage him and bring him back is if they retcon the Jackal in the Clone Saga to being a renegade clone.Also, how many clones did he create anyway? And Spider-Cide. Yuck.

#8. Bringing back Eddie Brock- Ever since that first story in the Jenkins arc, he died at the end. But then in that very arc, he was brought back at the end. And then in the Millar run, they had him attempt suicide. And then in that Sensational Spider-Man arc, he- JUMPED OUT OF A WINDOW. Of course, only to be saved at the end. This guy has had his story closed off three times, and he always gets brought back. I feel that they should retire him for a while.

#7. Bringing back Aunt May- In my opinion, this never should have happened. I could see why they brought her back of course, but really, as Peter grew up, she wasn't really needed anymore. Her being alive sort of sends Peter into a state of less maturity, because he doesn't really need and her role has expired. Although there have been a lot of good stories with her since, I really feel that bringing her back was a huge backstep for the Spidey mythos.

#6. The Goblin legacy/history is a mess- We had Norman, then he died. Then we had Harry and Bart Hamilton. Then we had two Hobgoblins, then a retcon that one wasn't really the Hobgoblin. Along the way we got Demogoblin, Phil Urich, and worst of all, the totally unnecessary Grey Goblin. All and all, the Goblin Legacy has gotten way out of hand. We've had about ten or eleven Goblins total. That's too many, and has convoluted the Osborn legacy. Also, bring back either Kingsley or Macendale.

#5. Bringing Harry back AFTER they Brought Back Norman- When one or the other was dead, the Goblin/Spidey fights and dynamic were much better. Especially when Norman was blaming Peter for Harry's death. It brought a different side to Norman and Norman and Peter's relationship. It's cool that we got to see a few confrontations between Norman and Harry now that both of them are back from the great beyond, but still, I think these characters worked better when ONE of the two were dead.

#4. Norman sleeping with Gwen and impregnating her- This was totally unnecessary. It pretty much diluted the motive behind a classic and pivotal moment in Spider-Man history. We didn't need a "new" reason for Norman kidnapping Gwen and knocking her off of a bridge. Also, as stated above, how many Osborn kids do we need? And this absolutely does not in any way make any sense with Amazing #121. And it also can't work if we take into account the Gwen clone, because the GC would have been pregnant as well. And it gave us yet ANOTHER Goblin. It figures that the one story of his that JMS wanted to retcon/erase, Marvel wouldn't let him. Sigh!

#3. Bringing back Kraven the Hunter and expanding the family- Really, bringing Kraven back is horrible. There was absolutely no reason for this guy to come back. And he blew his head off. His death was as close to a "There's no way that he's going to come back after this" as can get. And when a character commits suicide, there's pretty much no new direction that you can take them in. And really, how many kids does Kraven have no anyway? The only really interesting one is Aloysha or whatever his name is. The Spidey titles, unlike the X-titles where everybody and their mother (In some cases literally.) comes back from the dead, are usually pretty good in that they respect a lot of deaths.And really, Kraven already won. He beat Spider-Man. Any story where he either wins or loses will be totally redundant. Okay? This had better be Mendell Strong after a month long coke bender, because I'm going to pretend that the writers and editors were smarter then this.

#2. Spidey making a deal with Mephisto and them retconning the marriage- Really, I've never heard of this. Them retconning out an entire marriage. I don't have a problem with Peter and Mj not being married or not dating anymore. But really, THIS is the best that they can come up with? This sounds like something that DC would do. Really, they could have left the marriage intact and found a way to make a brand new, clean start. And Spidey making a deal with Mephisto is just too absurb and taints the character. But Spidey has done worse, as we're about to see with number 1.

#1.Having Spidey become a killer/blackmailer/criminal- During JMS's run, Spidey has either killed a few people (Like Morlun. Yes I know that Morlun wasn't exactly a person, but still.), or let people die. Remember that Spider-lady? Spidey just let her die. Remember during Millar's run when Spidey tried to extort Jonah with pictures of John's son as Spider-Man. And Jonah buying it sucked too. Remember when Spidey was doing stuff like stealing ambulances during the Back in Black stories? But really, the killing thing will forever taint him.

Honorable mention goes to:

#Keeping Bendis on Ultimate Spider-Man for so long- I used to LOVE this title. But somewhere along the line I lost interest. I would follow it again if another writer takes over, because Bendis has been aboard for too long, and the title has long run out of steam.

#Norman ripping off the Jackal during the Final Chapter and trying to kill the world.

#The secret identity being erased from everybody named Daredevil, Osborn and Venom.

In largely chronological order, and may run past 10....

....and indeed, worked out as 17. (and now edited up to a full 20)

1) Making the Green Goblin a mystery villain without figuring out who he was going to be. OK, we can certainly argue that it all worked out for the best, except for how clashing over who it was going to be is said to be the thing that ended the Lee/Ditko team forevermore, and the plot inspired #2.

2) The Spider-Man franchise's (and fandom's) thing for mystery villains in general, and the tendency of the mysteries to drag on so long that the original writer leaves before it's done, or for everyone to forget where it was going, if anyone ever knew to begin with. For every Jackal, Kaine or Menace, there's a Hobgoblin 1, Facade, Mad Jack or Green Goblin 5, and if the resolutions ever come, they're never satisfactory for many, with Green Goblin 5's unmasking being regarded at the time as a declaration of utter "screw you for caring about this!" contempt for the audience.

3) The Clones weren't really clones. This is a really weird one, with Conway re-writing his own work after becoming convinced that human cloning wasn't possible. For some reason, no-one stopped him on the grounds of "but it's absolutely possible in the comics", or by namedropping Arnim Zola, Sinister, Maelstrom, etc. Thus there was this to be ignored and later explained away when the clones came back.

4) The Venom Truce. A decision motivated by the money Marvel could make out of a Venom solo book rather than it being a good and sane idea. While the initial miniseries is honestly not bad, nobody really seems to have much fondness for many of the others (well, except for the one with Rad Eddie), and Eddie never really recovered as a villain afterwards.

5) Peter is the Clone. For anyone who wasn't there, it's really hard to convey quite how much of a punch in the guts this was, and when it quickly became apparent that it wasn't just a fake out, they actually meant it, it really hurt the books.

6) Maximum Clonage: Omega. I'm going to stand up and say it. As the "big finale to the Clone Saga" that it was supposed to, I was rather enjoying Maximum Clonage, then, out of nowhere, the Jackal's plan for the Carrion Virus is to wipe out EVERYONE and replace them with clones. By way of putting a bomb on top of the Bugle building. Perhaps the stupidest example of the books artificially "raising the stakes" for an Event storyline, plus we get Spidercide and the Jackal both dying the same stupid fall-off-the-building death (can anyone explain how Spidercide possibly just let himself fall like that?), and, for the second time running, the Gwen Stacy Clone just....wanders off to become a forgotten lose-end, and nothing is really resolved.

7) Keeping the same guys on the books post-Clone Saga. Nothing against any of the writers on the books at the end of the Clone Saga, most of whom were doing work I enjoyed, but this was a point in time where they really needed to make a high-profile revamp with all-new creative teams. Most of the books had recently got new artists, so if they'd held those guys back to start after the Clone Saga as well, there really could've been a chance at attracting some much-needed attention and bringing in more new readers.

8) Hobgoblin Lives. Was there really any serious justification for revisiting a decade-old mystery that had already been resolved, let alone for doing so this weakly? The Hobgoblin went from being the most prolific Spider-Man villain (outside of the one who'd become and antihero and had his own miniseries, anyway) to being gone and forgotten, and it's all Rod Kingsley's fault. The spiteful and hateful killing of Jason Macendale, who was actually a viable and developed character, ended up being the only way in which this debacle actually mattered or made any difference. Made a difference by way of "no-one wanted to write about the Hobgoblin anymore."

9) The Final Chapter. After months of build-up teasing that the lost Spidey-baby would be found, we instead get the unasked for return of Aunt May (and it would be years before anyone would do anything with her to justify that), and then Norman Osborn repeats the Jackal's stupid clone bomb plot from Maximum Clonage. To add insult to injury, the "final battle" between Norman and Peter takes place entirely off-panel.

10) Chapter One. A modern-day re-telling of the first days of Spider-Man? OK. It's in-continuity? And Byrne is "fixing mistakes" Lee and Ditko made? And he's making Norman Osborn and Sandman related because they have the same hair?

11) The Reboot. From the hated Mattie Franklin being forced on us as the third Spider-Woman, to the Sandman heel-turn, (in which Byrne tried to declare he'd been faking his reformation all along, AND Ben Grimm had been spying on him all that time), to MJ's 'death' and Peter sleeping on the streets, to the general awfulness of it all, this era remains a benchmark for Crap Spidey for a reason.

12) All those magic stories in the JMS era. OK, you'd like to be writing Doctor Strange, really, that's nice. But you're not, you're writing Spider-Man, and magic stuff may be the kind of thing that'd work as a once-or-twice-a-decade "Spidey's totally out of his element now!" story, here it was going on all the time.

13) Unmasking Spider-Man, then undoing it barely a year later. OK, I totally get that Marvel's intent was to rip Peter's world apart and make it so depressing, so much that fans would embrace the reboot like we totally all have, but if you're going to do something as big as the unmasking, shouldn't we really play that out as far as we can before we call an end to it? The "flagship" ASM book didn't even think to have Peter confront JJJ, and NOBODY figured out how there needed to be a story with Peter as the unmasked outlaw, pursued by Norman's Thunderbolts. Also, the re-masking resulted in Norman, Harry, Eddie and Aunt May no longer knowing Peter was Spidey? That's just pointlessly ruining things.

14) One More Day. OK, the fact that most of the people who have a problem with the idea of the Spider-Man being married are people within the industry than within the audience, and the sheer disconnect between people writing comics for themselves not for the paying audience could've made for an item on it's own, given how many attempts Marvel have made to back out of a status quo the readers were largely OK with. But of all the ways they could've backed out, a deal with the Devil is absolutely the stupidest way they could've.

And from there, the things I've read about here rather than suffering through myself...

15) And of course, the reason for OMD was purely so Marvel could give Peter "girl problems" again. Only rather than "Peter misses a date because he absolutely had to fight Stegron the Dinosaur Man", we mean "Peter gets to sleep around like a man living under the pressure of a crushing moral burden absolutely would". And thus, we had the whole "drunk sex with a woman he doesn't even like", followed by the mask-stays-on thing with the Black Cat. Because these plots are perfectly appropriate for Spider-Man comics.

16) The 2nd Daily Bugle building is destroyed, people react like it's never happened before, or even like it's another 9/11. What?

17) Kraven is resurrected as an immortal that only Spider-Man can kill. Seriously? Why?

*edit additions because I totally forgot them*

18) Vulture becomes an old man again by just...colliding with Spidey-Ben foe DK. There was a lot of just-because-we-can post-Clone Saga regression of characters, and resurrections of Doc Ock and Aunt May years before anyone actually had any plans for the characters that were good enough to justify it, but the sheer awfulness of how Vulture was de-aged, (and, for the most part de-fanged as a threat) really wins the prize for how badly-executed it was, as if we'd all be so happy it was done, we wouldn't care how.

19) Major Spidey villains getting killed off in other books. First it was Mysterio in Daredevil, with the Spidey editor forgetting he'd given permission for that, and having then greenlit several Mysterio stories in the Spidey books, set AFTER the DD appearance, and a series of random events that left us with a new (or new-old) Mysterio who was by now a character to just avoid using because it was all such a mess. And then, as if nothing was learned, Carnage was casually killed off in New Avengers, and despite someone realising that they WILL want to bring Kasady back sooner or later, and stating in-story that no-one knew if he was dead or alive, the Carnage miniseries is defeating the whole point by insisting he's really dead so we can have an unwanted new Carnage.

20) If Norman's new baby doesn't get named "Good Harry"...

....and there we are already. Godammit Marvel.

...and if the upcoming Hobgoblin return isn't Jason, well, there's your 18, 19 and 20. I'm making that last one worth 2 points rather than have to think of something else at 01:18 in the morning.

OK, at this point, how slim are the odds of Marvel actually doing the right thing there?