Tuesday, July 22, 2014


Doctor Octopus is no longer the Superior Spider-Man. Ultimately, he failed at his attempt to be a better Spider-Man, but not, I think, at becoming a better man. Oh, he wasn’t a good man when he let his memories slip away into nothing so that Peter could once again take control of his body. Not by a long shot. Even so, he died a better man who sacrificed his existence to protect a women he truly loved.  

I recall a pretty smart fellow by the name of Stan Lee once telling me that no hero is all good and no villain is all bad. I took that to heart then and, over time, I’ve come to believe the best stories are the ones that take place in the grey.

Writer Dan Slott and others, but primarily Slott, spun some interesting tales during the year or so this story unfolded. They surprised me along the way. They had me eager to see what comes next. I wasn’t wild about the brutality of some of these tales, but that brutality sort of had to come with the territory.

If I have a lingering complaint, it is in the ongoing vilification of J. Jonah Jameson. Jonah has become a pathetic caricature of the layered character he once was. As I’ve said before, it’s time to write him out of the series. No heroic/meaningless/tragic death. Send him on his way and let him find his own peace and redemption. He’s no longer a proper foil for Spider-Man. He’s just unbearably sad in every way.

Some random thoughts...

At one point in this extended story, it appeared Doctor Octopus had utterly wiped out every last vestige of Peter Parker. It currently appears every last vestige of Otto Octavius is gone, Obviously, if Peter could fight his way back, so could Otto. I really don’t want to see that happen.

One of the things I dislike most about modern super-hero comics is the overuse of villains, how they commit the most horrific crimes and escape any fit punishment, how they keep coming back from the dead. More stories should end. Completely end. Which would have the added benefit of forcing writers to come up with new ideas and new villains.

I love that Anna Maria Marconi is still part of The Amazing Spider-Man. She’s a great character and can be a great ally and confidant to Peter...and he’s going to need a good friend to deal with the mess Octavius had made of his life.

I love the mess Octavius has made of Peter Parker’s life and also Spider-Man’s life. There are lots of great stories to be told here and, because of the weird circumstances, they will force Slott and others to look at Spider-Man and Peter Parker differently. Pete has to go up fast and he’s got to stay grown up.

Most of the traditional Spider-Man supporting players have really good reasons to move on and out of the book. The writers should go with that. I love Mary Jane and Aunt May and Robbie Robertson and the rest as much as anyone, but they’ve had their moments. Time for some new stories.

Because it has to be said...Slott and company have managed to make Norman Osborn scarier than ever before. I would not have thought it possible. I used to think Osborn was played out. These days, not so much. Should there be some distance before he returns? Certainly. But I think he’s earned the top spot among the Spider-Man villains.

In the meantime...I am intrigued by the introduction of the second person who was bitten by the radioactive spider on the fateful day Peter got his spider-mojo. I’m somewhat less intrigued that there will be all sorts of spider-heroes and spider-villains coming into the series. But Slott earned considerable credit with the Superior Spider-Man storyline. I’m happy to sit back and see what he can do with these new plot elements.


I have been remiss in reviewing actual somewhat current comic books in recent months. I’ll try to do better by an industry that still published some entertaining and even excellent comic books.

Previous seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel & Faith went on too long. By the time they reached their season finales, I was more relieved than satisfied. Yet hope springs eternal and I’m very optimistic about each title’s tenth “season.”

Magic is kind of sort of back. The rules are changing. The heroes have a steep learning curve. This notion has possibilities unless it becomes too complicated for good storytelling.

Some of the character stuff fascinates me. Buffy is trying maybe a little too hard to be *the* slayer. Willow needs an emotional arc. Xander is being haunted by his best girlfriend ever and I wouldn’t be adverse to seeing Anya come back from the dead. She’s probably the Buffy/Angel character I would most like to write.

I can see it now...Anya and Cordelia. Two hot babes, back from the dead and the best of frenemies as they pursue former flame Xander. Are you listening, editor Scott Allie?

Giles is already back from the dead, but as a very young teenager. Much hilarity has ensued.

The Xander/Dawn romance is shaky. As it should be. Because that one was creepy from the get-go.

Angel and Faith have parted ways. Angel is trying to bring relief to the newly-born “Magic Town.” Though these stories are not quite clicking three issues into the season, I think the overall plot has potential.

Faith is working for Kennedy’s version of Haliburton. Kennedy has gone over to the dark side, even though she hasn’t realized it yet. I sense the unseen hand of Wolfram & Hart...and I think Faith will have to take Kennedy down sooner or later. I’d vote for sooner so she get back to being Angel’s partner.

I like both Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel & Faith. If you’re a fan of the original TV series, I think you’ll enjoy them as well.

I’ll be back tomorrow with more stuff.

© 2014 Tony Isabella

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