Monday, June 30, 2008

By The Way

I don't know how often people click on those links that are located on the left or right side of people's blogs, but you should check 'em out every now and then. You may come across a pretty sweet web-site or another jolly good blog.

Anyway, I wanted to let those that check this page know I've got another blog going. Gaming Rocks On is the where I'll be posting all my gaming related stuff. I'll still keep doing regular blog entries here but I'll be posting a lot of stuff in that blog as well. So if you're into gaming, old stuff or new, I think you'll dig what I post there.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Jealous Much, MJ?

Tommy Wilson, fellow writer and a frequent commenter on my blog presented some strips from the Amazing Spider-Man newspaper strip. These are actually more than 10 years old and I normally don't talk much about the strip here since another SpiderFan writer handles that pretty well, but I thought these warranted posting and talking about.

Posted above are a few strips where Mary Jane unleashes her fury on Peter on what is clearly romance of the one-sided kind in order to create a publicity stunt. Peter tells MJ this but it doesn't look like she really believes him. Looks like Ditko-Gwen possessed MJ because she's slapping the spit out of Peter. Now I've heard of overacting but MJ's behavior here is borderline psycho.
Get this woman some Valium. I know Stan was only trying to add romantic tension in the strip, but making MJ the hot tempered, crazy jealous wife is a bit much. Even though its really out of character for her to act that way, I think its really funny. Still, if Peter were the type to retaliate, it wouldn't be pretty. Normally isn't a good idea to abuse your spouse when said spouse can lift 10 tons.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Too Much Amazing Spider-Man?

Is there really any truth to the words "too much of a good thing"? I don't know and I don't really care.

Amazing Spider-Man has, for many years been my all-time favorite comic book. The first issue I picked up was Amazing Spider-Man #397 back in early 1995. From there I picked up any issues of the comic (and other Spidey comics) that were on the racks that I had the green to pay for. At that point, the oldest issue of Amazing Spider-Man I had was #107, an issue I'd gotten for free from one of the kind ushers at my church (still have it). It wasn't until 1997 that I'd gotten a huge does of Amazing Spider-Man that would strengthen my love for the character and the title. I came across a book that was called at the time, The Essential Spider-Man. For $12.95 (these are now $16.99) I had black & white reprints of Amazing Fantasy #15, Amazing Spider-Man #1-20, and Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1. To a fifteen year old kid, it was the equivalent of stumbling onto a gold mine. I wasn't bothered by these titles not being in color. All I cared about was getting my education to Spider-Man, and that's exactly what this book was made for. Now I've got the first seven Essential Amazing Spider-Man TPBs, and a box of Amazing Spider-Man comics from various runs and eras. If I put anymore comics in that box, it may burst (I really need to get more comic boxes). And you know what? I want more Amazing Spider-Man.

Some folks are satisfied with the reprints, Essentials or actually issues that they've got. I'll never give up my Essential books. That's where I got introduced to old-school Spidey and they hold sentimental value to me. I'll still have them when I eventually buy the Amazing Spider-Man Omnibus vol. 1. This ultra thick baby gives you the entire Lee/Ditko run in color. The regular asking price is $99 but for what you're getting, I think that's a pretty sweet deal, and depending on where you look for it, you can probably get it cheaper. Me, I can get 25% off the book at my comic shop. And you just know Marvel will release a volume 2, which will hopefully give us the entire Lee/Romita Sr. era (with John Buscema doing a few fill in issues). This book has been out for over a year now and if you listened when it was announced, you could hear the sound of millions of fanboys crapping their pants.

I really do prefer to have my comics in my hands in paper form, but I really can't argue with this package. The Amazing Spider-Man Complete Collection has every issue in Amazing Spider-Man from 1962 all the way to through December of 2006 on a single DVD-ROM. The site I've linked to has it for less than $40 with estimated shipping. I'm gonna try to buy this puppy online this week. With such a huge collection, I'll finally be able to read Roger Stern's two part Juggernaut story and see just how bad the '98 reboot really was (people actually tell me Brand New Day is similar to the reboot but much worse). The comics are also printable, which is a very nice bonus. I already spend way too much time on my computer and this really won't help me take time away from it. The price I pay for being a huge dork, I suppose.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Read This Blog!

I've made it no secret that I despise One More Day and it's successor, Brand New Day. If you're on the side of the camp that believes Marvel screwed the pooch on Spider-Man, then you should check out Killer Writer's MySpace blog. Regardless of your thoughts on fan fiction, I think you'll be pretty impressed with what he's doing here. He begins the story in Amazing Spider-Man #545 and rather than urinate all over everything and eff things up the way Marvel has, he actually moves forward, and by forward, I actually mean forward, not backwards like Joe Q. Peter and MJ are still married and written in character, which is reason enough to read it but he also weaves a lot of interesting plot threads.

In all honesty, Killer Writer's work is a lot more creative than anything currently going on in the pages of ASM (which is a pitiful attempt to recall the glory days at best.) He's even got a story going that involves Norman Osborn and his green alter ego.

I've exchanged some back and forth messages with the guy on MySpace. Not only is he a good writer, he's downright funny. So check out his page and enjoy.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Getting a Married Spidey Fix

Since Spider-Man is no longer married in the main Marvel universe, fans of the marriage (of which there are many) have had to look other places if they want to read stories where he's married to Mary Jane and not trolling for booty. I may not like Marvel's approach with Amazing Spider-Man of late, but there are still other ways for me to see my favorite super hero with my favorite redhead.The Amazing Spider-Man comic strip may not be what it used to be but in all honesty, I do get a kick out of tunning in every day to read the hokey dialogue and see if my predictions for what happen next come true. Stan Lee's run on Amazing Spider-Man is still one of my favorites and its nice to see him still in touch with the wall-crawler in some form. I wish John Romita Sr. was still doing the art, but bearing a few odd panels, Larry Lieber's art isn't too shabby.

Amazing Spider-Girl may not be the core continuity and Peter Parker may not be the central character, but Peter is married to MJ. On top of that, Peter is an excellent family man and seems to be filling the world up with little Spider-People. Not only does his daughter Mayday have spider powers, but little Benjy has also inherited the ability to stick to walls. And really, you should be reading ASG anyway since it's a fantastic book, written by one of my favorite Spider scribes, Tom DeFalco, drawn by Ron Frenz and inked by Sal Buscema. That right there is a flippin' dream team! Even marriage-destroyer Joe Q likes this title and recommends it, so I guess he's not all that vile.

Alright, good news/bad news time. Marvel is including Brand New Day Content in Amazing Spider-Man Family. Say it with me, everyone "ARRRRGGGHHHH!" The good news is, Marvel is throwing us marriage fans a nice, juicy bone. Mr. and Ms. Spider-Man stories will begin in ASMF #1 and will feature stories of Spidey, MJ and baby May. All written by Mr. DeFalco. I guess I can stomach the BND stuff or just outright ignore it. The Mr. and Ms. Spider-Man stuff really has me intrigued. In the first story, Spidey has to protect his family from the Lizard. These stories will count as a prequel time-line before Peter hangs up his webs for good.

As much as Joe Q may not like the marriage I have to admit that even he may realize its importance and how many fans have come to love it over the last 20 years, and see married Spidey as the status quo. If sales of BND continue to decline he may even have to bite the bullet put Peter and MJ back together in the core Marvel continuity. Time and money will tell. We'll just have to wait and see, but I hope someday the natural order is restored.

So those are your options for married Spidey. Take 'em or leave me.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Digest Spidey

Books, that is, Digest Spidey books. I went in Borders today, not really expecting to walk out with much, if anything at all. To my surprise, I saw that they had the Marvel Adventures Spider-Man digest books vols. 1-9 in stock. See, I'm not much of an online shopper. Whenever I've got money in my checking account, its usually only kept in there to pay bills. Picking up the earlier stories from MASM has been pretty tough for me. My comic shop doesn't have the issues and even the trades have been very hard to come by. So seeing so many of the digests on the shelf was the best thing I'd seen all day (it was a pretty "meh" day for eying hot babes). I bought vols. 1-5 and I'm pumped for some teenage, light hearted done-in-one-issue Spidey goodness.

I've read vols. 6 and 8 of this series and I've started collected the single issues from #36 onward. This really is in my opinion, one of the best Spider-Man books out there, one I've pimped here in my blog every month. Fellow writer Robert J. Sodaro takes the review duties of this title and I think this is a book that is worthy of being reviewed on the site. I should have been reading this book sooner but it wasn't until Marvel screwed up the flagship title that I'd sought out other ways to get my Spidey fix.

MASM rocks for a number of reasons. As I mentioned before, the stories in this title usually begin and end in the first issue, the exception being the Sinister Six story in vol. 1. I'm a big fan of of stories in comics that can be told in one issue. This type of story telling is almost extinct because comic companies and writers feel the overbearing need to make our heads spin with mind blowing events and convoluted stories. Now I'm not saying I don't dig these kinds of stories. Some are actually pretty good, but some of these stories that are meant for shock value or to change the status quo end up doing more harm to the characters and the books.

You know I hate the fact that MASM sales numbers don't even come close to that of Amazing Spider-Man. Probably because MASM isn't the core Spidey book. If the core book was called Marvel Adventures Spider-Man, then the numbers would probably be pretty high. But then, if it were the main book, it would be on suck mode right now, which brings me to reason number two why this book is made of win. You see, I'm in the mind that Joe Q's involvement in ASM right now is pretty far reaching. In MASM, as far as I know, we just see his name on the credits page as EiC so he isn't mucking up the stories or getting int he way of the writer's wishes. Basically, the writers on MASM are free to do what they want.

Yes, I know MASM is a book that is targeted at children. Hey, I'm a guy who has a collection of over 430 video games, action figures and gets all giddy at the thought of collecting a cool toy in a kids meal. And really, do you know how many kids are actually buying comic books? Comic books stopped being a hobby that was most dominated by kids a long time ago. Despite being a book that has children as the target audience, I think adults will like MASM as well. The current stories in ASM are an attempt to emulate the stories from a Spidey era of decades gone by but, to put it mildly, these stories are freaking pitiful. MASM gets it right. With a teenage Spidey, I expect him to make the kind of mistakes an inexperienced person would make because he's a kid. Even so, the Spider-Man in MASM acts with more brain power and maturity than the editorial mandated version that is in ASM.

There's been a lot of top talent on board for this book. Sean McKeever, who wrote the highly touted Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane series wrote a few issues. Peter David, well known for his run on Spectacular Spider-Man in the '80s also wrote some stories for MASM, and I hope he comes back to the title some day. Fred Van Lente, like Peter David has had two runs on this title, and one of my favorite stories pits the Green Goblin against the Hobgoblin. Lente wrote another solid tale that involved Harry Osborn (dressed in Goblin gear) trying to free his father from prison, only to realize that it just wasn't worth it. This was one of the more touching and semi-serious stories for MASM, but not so much that it went into grim, dark territory. Marc Sumerak, who always cracks me up with this Franklin Richards books has contributed some really creative stories, the most recent in MASM #40, where Spidey battles the gods of Asgard.
Heck, even some writers I've never heard of like Kitty Ross, Erica David do a bang up job of making this book good, clean fun.

One look at the pages of MASM and one may think that the art is too simple and not as edgy as what you'd seen in Batman or Superman comics. I'd love to see Mark Bagley, John Romita Jr., or Lee Weeks do the art for this book, but I'm pretty happy with that I've seen. Pop Mhan, David Nakayama, Mike Norton, and Patrick Scherberger all do a terrific job and make the MASM just as enjoyable to look at as it is to read. Bright, colorful art that's easy on the eyes as it should be.

If you are a Spider-Man fan, you should be reading Marvel Adventures Spider-Man. The book succeeds at capturing the feel of the older Spidey stories where the current title, Amazing Spider-Man, fails. Will Peter ever leave high school in this series? Probably not. Does he still behave like he's got some growth despite his age? You bet he does. Just don't come in expecting earth shattering events. That's not what this title is for. What you will get are easy-to-read, charming stories but known and unknown folks in the comic industry. You can also expect to see a ton of familiar faces like Doc Ock, Chameleon, Scorpion, Dr. Doom, the Gray Gargoyle and other heroes and villains from the Marvel universe. Best of all, no screwed up continuity to follow or rack your brain trying to understand. You can jump in at any time. So stop reading this blog entry and go read yourself some Marvel Adventures Spider-Man.

(Yes, I wanted to pimp this series and slam Brand New Day at the same time. Wanna make somethin' of it?)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Spidey In June

As tired as I am of seeing Spidey unmasked in Ultimate Spider-Man, I really can't argue with what went on in USM #122. When I heard Spidey was gonna be unasked again, I let out a sigh. I felt even more annoyed when I found out that the person who caught and unmasked our teen hero was Shocker.

Shocker has been the joke villain of this series since USM #8. Whenever he shows up, he's quickly caught and sent to jail. In Peter's own words, Shocker is "the biggest loser in Loserville." Well Herman Schultz gets the upper hand on Spidey and he's pretty ticked that he's been defeated by a punk teenager time and time again.

What I liked about USM #122 is that we finally got some back story of a villain that has more or less been the butt joke of this comic for years. The Roxxon corporation shafted him, so now he's taking what he wants by force and he's tired of Spidey always laughing at him. Spidey breaks free, socks Shocker one and all is well and good in the world again. It was also good to see Mary Jane and Kitty working together to find Peter. Kitty even admits to Peter that MJ is an outstanding girlfriend. I hope we see more interactions between these two in future issue. Kitty has become one of my favorite supporting cast members.

I really am glad I jumped on the Amazing Spider-Girl train because it looks like things are really getting intense. We've got May 2.0 floating around in a tank in an underground lab, the mutant hate group, Humanity First about to get rough with May's friend Davida, Sara becomes a super villain, and then you've got the normal teenage drama. Whew!

From what Tom DeFalco said, someone "may" die in this arc and a new status quo will be established. I'm a little nervous about a new status quo hitting ASG, even though I've only been reading the book for a few months. I mean, we all know what happened when Amazing Spider-Man had a ahem, "new status quo" set up. It turned out to be a lot like the old one, except it really, really sucks. Still, I've got faith that Tom will keep me interested and I don't think we'll get any editorial mandates to muck things up.

In ASG #21, there was an explosion in the underground lab where May 2.0 is being held and it looked an awful lot like the boom that went off in Norman Osborn's face when he created the Green Goblin formula. The face caught in the blast this time? Peter Parker. Maybe we'll find out what's going on with him in the next issue. I don't think he'll be riding around on glider, throwing pumpkin bombs, though. At least I hope not.

Mayday's boyfriend Gene Thompson has a serious case of Me-Myself-and-I. He wants May to spend her time with him and shirk her responsibilities to her family, such as watching Benjy. Now I missed a lot of early ASG issues, but if Gene was so self absorbed in the past, I have to wonder why May is with this clown in the first place. I think Wes would be a much better boyfriend for May and he seems to still like her.

Ever since I saw the cover to Marvel adventures Spider-Man #40 months ago, I've been stoked for this issue. It wasn't what I thought it would be, but it didn't disappoint. Spidey saves Enchantress from a mugger (not that she needed any help) and to show her gratitude she makes him a warrior... one that she can control. So Spidey gets decked out in some sweet Thor-like threads and fights off nearly all of the gods of Asgard. With Thor's help, he's able to break free of Enchantress' hold.

Rather than post a cover, I provided a page from this issue, one of my favorites to be exact. Does Spidey look awesome or what? Artist David Nakayama, who drew the excellent cover of Marvel Adventures Spider-Man #36, and did the art for MASM #38 does the artwork for this issue. It looks like he had a lot of fun drawing it. Though I was told from a friend of his that Enchantress couldn't look too sexy, since MASM is targeted at children so he may have had some frustration here and there. But really, the artwork for this issue is stellar. You can see more of David's work at his deviant art page.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Spidey vs. Venom

This is it. The final episode of season one of The Spectacular Spider-Man. In "Nature vs. Nurture" Spider-Man goes up against Venom, former longtime friend Eddie Brock. Brock is powered by the very symbiote that Peter rejected because it was feeding off his negative emotions. With Brock's unfathomable levels of hate and his unstable personality, one doesn't have to be a genius to know what the suit will do to him.

Our episode opened up with an excellent bank heist foiled by our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. If you saw the teaser trailer for Spectacular Spider-Man that was aired nearly a year before the series began, this scene will look very familiar as it is almost an exact replica. The added scene of Spidey saving a helicopter with his webbing was well done.

Since Spidey no longer has the symbiote, he turns down Tombstone's offer, which leaves the position open. Guess who takes it? Tombstone's test of loyalty is for Venom to kill Spider-Man, a test Venom gladly accepts.The Spidey/Venom fights were some of the most brutal I've seen all season. Spidey took more punishment than he dished out. Eddie showed that he was no longer the person Peter once knew, he decided to take out his vengeance on Peter's friends and family as well as his alter ego. He tried to get to aunt May but when that wasn't successful, Venom told Spidey he'd go for the one he knows he "loves the most." Spidey thought he meant Mary Jane, but he was actually talking about Gwen. During the Thanks Giving day parade, Venom kidnapped her and dangled her on one of the floats. Spidey was able to save her with the help of his friends from school.

Now first of all, I'd like to point out that since the alien was still alive, Brock had a chance to get his job back, but when he opened the door and let the symbiote get on him in "Intervention," he threw it all away for revenge. He really did screw himself. We learned that Eddie may have harbored a deep seated hate for Peter ever since they lost their parents. Brock says that Peter has his aunt May and uncle Ben but he had no one. He was always alone. As much as Eddie was a big brother to Peter, he was probably carrying that envy for Peter for years. Just something I found very interesting and worth noting.

In nod to the comics, Spidey beat Venom by drawing the symbiote away from Brock by offering to take it back. Its no secret that the suit has always wanted to get back with Spider-Man. He was the alien's first host after all. With the suit off Brock, Peter buried it in wet cement. Don't worry, the cast and crew of Spectacular Spider-Man have already given us the word that Venom will be back for season two. If Spidey beat this hulking power house once, I'm sure he can do it again.

I'm an action lover but I also love the more calm moments in this series and the ones here did not disappoint. Peter thanked Flash for giving him a reality check from the previous episode and Flash was cool about it so long as Peter didn't mention it to anyone, cuing Peter's growing circle of friends. Gwen, MJ, Liz, Kenny, Glory, Rand and even Sally, the whole gang wanted to know how Peter and his aunt were doing. Peter apologizes for blowing them off and his friends don't make a thing of it. This leads to Gwen and Liz practically fighting for Peter's attention/affections, grabbing his hands and giving each other back and forth glares. I thought this was one of the funniest scene sin the whole episode along with Peter messing up Thanks Giving dinner. Really, you'd think Gwen and Liz wanted to jump in a boxing ring and kick the crap out of each other for rights to date Peter. Wonderful stuff.

Oh and did anyone catch Peter mentioning "Romitas," no doubt a nod to John Romita Sr. (and maybe even John Romita Jr.) Spider-Man artist? Very nice homage there.

When all was said and done, Peter sat down for a nice dinner with his aunt, Dr. Bromwell, Detective Stacy and Gwen. It was a nice scene and one well deserved for the day Peter had.

Another thing I dug was Peter wondering if he should give up being Spider-Man. The gene cleanser he took from the Connors lab in episode three is something he nearly forgot about. Near the end of the episode, he poured it down the drain and accepted that Spider-Man is a part of who Peter is. Looks like he's finally accepted his destiny. At least for now (we all know how many times he quit in the comics).

Remember when MJ told Gwen to step up her game concerning her feelings for Peter. Well she seemed to be doing just that this episode, what with her vying for Peter's attention with Liz early on. As she was leaving Peter's house, she paused. I was cheering her on aloud, saying "Kiss him!" She turned around, placed her hands on Peter and planted one right on the lips. I let out a "Yeah!" because even though I knew it was coming, it was nice to finally see it happen. This may have surprised Peter more than anything that happened to him this whole season. Gwen looked a little embarrassed after the kiss, but I don't think Peter minded one bit. His response after standing there flustered? "Whoa." I can't wait to see where Peter and Gwen go in season two, one of the things that will make the wait downright unbearable.

I have to admit that this isn't my favorite episode, but its still a nice finale to an incredible first season. There were a lot of great moments here and did I mention how much I loved Gwen finally locking lips with Peter? What can I say, I'm a romance freak.

No word on what network will pick up season two but since the first season was a ratings hit, I'm positive someone will pick it up. Whoever passes on it would have to be a complete idiot. In a time where the flagship comic (Amazing Spider-Man) is in the craper, Spectacular Spider-Man was an excellent addition for Spider fans to get a web-head fix. To the voice cast, writers, story directors and everyone else working on this show, congratulations for constructing one of the finest cartoons on this or any other planet. I'll be watching the reruns and I'll see you all again for season two.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


My tax rebate check (finally) came in the mail and after setting some of the green aside for bills, I decided I'd treat myself. Went to my comic shop and snagged myself some cool Spider-Man goodies.

I was thinking I'd pick up Amazing Spider-Man #247 to further complete my issues for Roger Stern's run. God must have really smiled on me because when I was looking through the back issue boxes for said comic, I found a copy of Amazing Spider-Man #248, which has the highly praised side story, The Kid Who Collects Spider-Man. And I was just talking about this story a few weeks ago. Go figure.

This could be my Spidey biased kicking in, but I've always loved Black Cat more than Catwoman. Don't get me wrong, I like Selina Kyle and her feline alter ego. In fact, she stared in one of my favorite mini series, Selina's Big Score, but I find Felicia Hard to be a more interesting character. Be it the sexual tension between her and Spidey, or her simply being a good friend and coming to the wall-crawler's aid, the Black Cat is one of my favorite characters in the Spider books. My comic shop has had copies of Amazing Spider-Man #194-195 for over a year now so I decided to give them a good home. Along with Marv Wolfman's excellent return of the Bugler story, (which concluded in the epic Amazing Spider-Man #200) Black Cat was probably the one of the writer's biggest contributions to the books.

More Roger Stern goodness with Amazing Spider-Man Annual #16, which gives us a new (at the time, anyway) Captain Marvel. This issue was drawn by John Romita Jr. and inked by John Romita Sr. I love JR Jr's new stuff but I still think his old stuff looks fantastic even if it is almost a carbon copy of his dad's. I get all giddy when I see that John Sr. inked his son's art. They do make a great team.

Flipping through the book, I kinda wonder if this is really a Spidey tale, as Captain Marvel gets a lot of panel time and guest stars are all over the place. I don't want to jump to conclusions so I'll just have to read the story to find out what the deal is.

I picked up Amazing Fantasy #16 in 1996. I was never able to finish the story because I didn't get around to picking up issues 17-18. That really sucked because I can still clearly remember what happened in AF #16 even though its been more than 10 years since I've read it. Kurt Busiek wrote a heck of a starting tale and I guess that isn't much of a surprise. The guy did write Untold Tales of Spider-Man, one of my favorite Spider-Man books. This mini series was probably one of saving grace for Spidey fans since Marvel ticked off so many fans by doing something really stupid with the Clone Saga. Kinda reminds me how things are now, except we've got more options. But I digress.

Yes, it was a glorious day for buying old comics. I picked up some new comics as well, but I blog out those another day.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Back to Red & Blue

You gotta love Spider-Man's black costume. Its simple, sleek design has been a fan favorite for more than 20 years. It looks just as cool in the cartoons as well. As sweet a costume as it is, I'm always happy to see the web-head return to the classic red & blue tights, which is what he does in the Spectacular Spider-Man episode "Intervention."

This episode moves at a slower pace than others but considering the heart of it is Peter's inner conflict with the symbiote, I think moving slower was the right choice here. This episode was written by Greg Weisman, the show's producer. He hasn't written an episode since "Survival of the Fittest," the series premier episode, so it really was a pleasure to see him return to the writing helm.The good news is that aunt May, despite suffering from a heart attack in the previous episode is doing fine. The bad news is, the bill is pretty huge and this puts Peter in a foul mood. Mary Jane, Gwen and Liz all try to comfort Peter but he just blows them off, which does not go unnoticed by Flash. Things go sour for Eddie as well. With the loss of the symbiote, Eddie loses his job, making him even more furious with Peter. When Eddie confronts Peter on this, he just shoves him aside, literally, much to Eddie's surprise. This is when Flash shows up and I expected a fight to break out. To my surprise, Flash doesn't give Peter any grief and he's well aware that things are going badly for Peter, stating that even Sally feels for him. Can you say "Whoa!"? I thought Spidey taking up Tombstone's offer to lay off crime fighting was shocking but this is even more of a shocker.

The way they handled Peter's inner battle with the symbiote and getting rid of it was brilliant. We're treated to heartwarming and heartbreaking black & white flash back scenes of how Peter became Spider-Man. This of course means we get to see uncle Ben and he's every bit the man who helped to shape Peter into the Spider-Man we know him to be. There are lots of homage moments in these scenes. Peter jumping from a car that's about to hit him and then sticking to a wall, fighting Crusher Hogan, Spidey purposely letting the bugler go to spite the fight promoter who cheated him, etc. Very excellent stuff. Even better was uncle Ben' talking to Peter through his mind battle, encouraging him, telling him all the good he's done, the new friends he's made and this is all done through quick flash backs from episodes of this season. This is topped off with an awesome homage to the cover of Amazing Spider-Man #100. Beautiful, beautiful stuff.

Spidey returned the suit to Dr. Connors lab, which made Eddie happy. Until Spider-Man froze the symbiote, knowing what it is. This further fuels Eddie's hatred and the symbiote can sense this. Eddie lets the alien out and it exposes him to Peter's memories. Now Eddie knows that Peter is Spider-Man and he's going to use every ounce of hate in his body to crush the wall-crawler.
We finally got some real MJ/Gwen interaction in this episode. Gwen was sitting alone for lunch so MJ came to keep her company. MJ says that Gwen really likes Peter. Gwen tries to hide it by saying she likes Peter as friend but that isn't what MJ meant when she asked her. So Gwen finally admits to liking Peter. Gwen is afraid to risk her friendship with Peter and MJ is aware of this. In another surprising turn of events in this episode, MJ tells Gwen that she'll need to step up and put herself out there if she wants to be more than friends with Peter. I really want to see where Gwen goes with this. And props to MJ for being a good friend.

Next week will be the season finale and we all know who Spidey will be up against. I've been very impressed with this cartoon and I've no doubt the final episode of this season will live up to the show's name. Keep on swinging, Spidey!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

10 Years of Spider-Girl

Yeah, I know I'm really late to the party on this one but I just read Amazing Spider-Girl #15, which celebrates the 10th anniversary of Spider-Girl. The book was a good read I really dug the Master Planner/Final Chapter moment of May freeing herself from her bonds in a one page spread. Very cool.

May "Mayday" Parker is a lot like her father and not just in the everyman (or everywoman) sense. Like Spider-Man, Spider-Girl's first appearance was originally intended to be a one story deal. Making her first appearance in What If...? #105 vol. 2, Spider-Girl made such a spark among Spider fans that she was given her own title for 12 issues. Then more issues were added, then more, and well now, Spidey's kid has been in publication for 10 years.

Spider-Girl has been faced with cancellation many times. Time and her series has been saved by what seems to be an extremely loyal fan base. Not long ago Marvel said Amazing Spider-Girl was good until issue 30 but Joe Q said sales for the book were healthy, so it looks like Mayday won't be swinging off into the sunset anytime soon, and as a new fan, that's very good news.

There's a lot to like about Spider-Girl. The main character is a chip off the old block, but the way the whole world is shaped just oozes with awesomeness. Seeing Peter Parker as a father is heartwarming stuff and little Benjy is just the cutest little thing ever. Mary Jane is nowhere near the fashion model industry or even acting. Instead she works at Mayday's school as a guidance counselor. The Hobgoblin is an active villain and is just one of the many rogue's that gives Spider-Girl problems. Then there's the other super heroes J2, Nova, Darkdevil, The Buzz and way too many others to list. Really, there's a lot of meat to Spider-Girl outside of Mayday and her family.

Spider-Girl was birthed from what many consider to be one of the worst Spidey periods o all-time, the Clone Saga. I have to admit that I'm not a fan of that particular era of the Spider books but there are some stories I liked. And Spider-Girl is proof that good things can come from a disaster. Spider-Girl has even made mention of the Clone Saga on more than one occasion and with the currently storyline going on in ASG, Brand New May, it looks like we will once again revisit it.

If you aren't reading Amazing Spider-Girl, I highly recommend adding the book to your pull list at your comic shop. Spidey's kid is one of the best things to happen to the Spiderverse. Here's to another 10 years of Spider-Girl.