I'm Just Sayin'…#60
by Greg Manuel on May 16, 2009

Hey all – had to take a few days off before coming atcha with this week’s edition of…

…mainly because the latest ATOMIC ROBO was in fact so effin’ sweet, it left me in a brief diabetic coma. Incidentally, I’d like it to be known…

…I want this on a t-shirt, and I want it on a t-shirt NOW. But, knowing my luck, we’ll probably sooner get something like this:

I couldn’t help it. It’s turning into my own personal Chicken Tetrazzini!

But if you’ll recall, ever since we were treated to that eyeful courtesy of Mark Waid and company, I’d been speculating on where this particular plotline was going to go. Well, THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN* #593 came out and it looks like the answer to that question is “not very far:”

Noticing Peter’s glance at the photo of Aunt May and Uncle Ben from days gone by, I wondered if Peter was going to freeze his aunt out for a few issues before ultimately coming around. As things turned out, it only took the very next page:

And that’s that. Welp, that’s one way of handling things, I guess. One…very gross way of handling things, anyway:


 Ew. And ew again.

I suppose you could see that as Peter swallowing his personal feelings toward catching his aunt in bed with someone decidedly not Uncle Ben, but reading that sequence, all I could think of was, “dude – even for a fictional being, you’re a bigger man than I…and you’ve put up with a lot in your day, too!But at the same time, I imagine that is a natural reaction. After all, when it comes to stumbling upon your mom, surrogate or otherwise, in a compromising and delicate situation…

…in that very moment there’s nothing more you’d want to do than shut the door as fast as possible, and move on!

And move on we shall, if the following advertisement is any indication:

That’s right – AMERICAN SON, coming this month! The next block-busting, pulse pounding saga that could only be told with a single, never-before-bitten-by-radioactive-matrimony Peter Park…yeah, yeah. You know the drill by now… 😉 

I will say this – it’s downright hilarious the number of people who saw this image and thought another Marvel figure was set to make a comeback…

I mean, when you’ve got a title like FANTASTIC FORCE back on the shelves, how much of a stretch would that be at this point? Oh, that reminds me…

Being all distracted by all of that Aunt May boot-knocking, I noticed FANTASTIC FORCE #1 came out recently, and that went about as well as you might’ve expected. It’s been about two weeks now, and I have been able to find but one review, and that was from from Brian Hibbs at SavageCritic.com:

Christ, that fucking sucked. Here’s your entire argument against throwing shit at the wall to see if it sticks… now you have shit covered walls! Clearly someone at Marvel realized either how shitty this was (or the numbers can in REALLY low) because this was solicited as an ongoing monthly book, and it is suddenly a 5 issue mini-series. That’s going to be four issues too many. Boring characters, set in the stupid nu-earth idea from Millar’s run. I can only hope that this puts a stake in the idea that the FF can support spin-off titles. It can’t. Fuck, I think this was even worse than the 1994 version of the title. And that was really awful. If Marvel keeps up production of shit like this that there isn’t any audience for, things are going to start looking like the late 90s again there… I think I ordered five times the number of copies as I’ll actually need… and I ordered less than 10 copies. CRAP.

And with that, I wanna come back to Spider-Man – the curtains to KNEE-JERK REACTION THEATRE are open once again, and this time it’s NEWSARAMA.com’s preview of THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN* #594.

So when last we left our web-slinging superhero back in issue #593, Spider-Man had just given his blessing to his aunt to resume boinking her new paramour: “Jay” Jonah Jameson, longtime absentee father to J. Jonah Jameson “Junior,” Spidey’s former boss and now current mayor of New York. After first coming to the realization that the real reason he’s counter-antagonizing Mayor Jameson is because he can’t touch Norman Osborn (who these days is practically “Dark” Nick Fury), he encounters the New Vulture – an apparent underworld cannibal who spits blinding yellow acid bile. And that’s where ASM* #594 will be kicking off, apparently…

…with a blind, panicked Spider-Man…

…doing everything he can to keep from freaking out, listen to his spider-sense….

…and survive his first encounter with this all-new, all-freaky Vulture.

MY KNEE-JERK REACTION: You’ve got to be kidding me.

Has Spider-Man not only lost all recollection of his marriage in this new continuity, but years of experience as well? I would like to think that even when caught unawares by a brand new supervillain during an initual encounter, even when his personal life has worked his last nerve, our man Petey’s been doing this whole friendly neighborhood spider-thing long enough not to panic over a temporary loss of sight.

I also expect him to trust his spider-sense without question, too – not force himself to do so. “Jeez LOUISE, it’s like pea soup and battery acid! Where is that so-and-so? If I ever get my sight back I’m making you pay for all my masks for a year!That is a reaction I would buy. But this “Oh, no – I’m blind! BLIND! Whatever shall I do?!” No. That is not a natural reaction coming from someone who not only once did this to himself…

…but did that to himself quite a while ago.

Now from previews to reviews, and for that we jump from Marvel to DC – I picked up WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE CAPED CRUSADER? recently – probably one of the more satisfying things I’ve read involving a top-tier DC character in a while. A lot has been said about it at this point – particularly Part 2, which was DETECTIVE COMICS #853 – but I think my favorite review came from David Pepose: Do we ever find out what really happened to the Caped Crusader? Yes and no — Gaiman is using continuity and storytelling as a prism, making up stories as he goes along that might not fit in any one issue of Batman’s 70-year career, but still feel true to the character…

Gaiman’s focus on Batman’s supporting cast doesn’t diminish from his instinctive understanding of Bruce Wayne himself. “This is what a brain does when you’re dying, isn’t it?” he asks. He instantly categorizes this issue as a near-death experience — classic Bruce, trying to contextualize the unimaginable — and yet doesn’t give red flags over R.I.P., Final Crisis, or another other case: this could happen at any time.

And in the minds of many, maybe it did. It’s fitting — how else can you kill an urban legend than by making up a story of someone doing him in? But one thing remains the same: “The Batman doesn’t compromise,” he says. “I keep this city safe… Even if it’s safer by just one person… and I do not ever give in or give up.”

And that, I think is what I enjoyed the most about Gaiman and Kubert’s story here. It’s not quite the same as it’s supposed counterpart from 1986: WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE MAN OF TOMORROW? What Alan Moore and Curt Swan did there was close the door on the ongoing non-tinuity that Superman’s world had been from 1938 up until that point.

CAPED CRUSADER doesn’t close the door on anything. Like Pepose said, “this could happen at any time.” What Gaiman and Kubert have given us is a virtual dissertation on Batman in comic book form; the thesis being, no matter how it actually happens in any given continuity – whether it’s Pre-Crisis, post-Zero Hour, or whatever – there’s only one way that Batman’s story can end. Somehow, someway, some day, Batman will die and Bruce Wayne will only be reborn to perpetuate the cycle for a people that will always need him. But not yet. That’s key, here. After all, we already know that our Bruce Wayne hasn’t gone anywhere yet…

…except for a brief, yet extended vacation.


Hm. If this is the best thing to come out of THE BLACKEST NIGHT, then I dare say DC will have done it’s job! Til next time everybody – I’m Greg Manuel, and I’m just sayin’, is all…

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