I'm Just Sayin'…#48

Heydi-hey, one and all – hope you had a fine three-day weekend; sorry I’m late again, whenever I find myself with a day off it throws me a little. But we’re back with our latest edition, and let’s see what there is to discuss…

Maybe it’s on my mind because I’m totally expecting Heath Ledger to get a posthumous Oscar for his portrayal of the Joker, but do you know who would’ve made a great Spirit?

That’s just been floating through my head a lot lately. Also, if there’s definitely going to be a third BATMAN movie, and the villain of choice is going to be the Riddler as everyone believes…I’d like to nominate this guy:

I mean, Christopher Nolan has been pretty consistent with casting Brits in the main roles, and for some reason I really want to see Simon Pegg in a green suit bedecked with question marks. Plus I must’ve watched HOT FUZZ some fifteen times over the holiday weekend and I may just be enraptured with this man’s sense of comedic timing. That and the phrase, “crusty jugglers.” Crusty jugglers…

I was recently contacted by Liz Davis of COMICBOOKS.com – how’d that domain not get snatched up? – and being a site that collects comic book and comic book-related news from all over the web, we at the Nexus have gotten more than a few nods. So I wanted to return the favor and point y’all their way, if you didn’t know of them already. It was the least I could do; after all, thanks to them I found this:

That’s some gentle comedy, right there. 🙂

NEWSARAMA.com has the May 2009 solicits available for the Big Two this week, and reading the ones for Marvel set off an interesting chain reaction of memories for me. Specifically…

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #593:
Written by MARK WAID  Penciled by MIKE MCKONE  Cover by JOE QUESADA
Part Two of “24/7”!
Reeling from the discovery he made last issue — one that will have a huge impact on the Spider-Universe in the coming months — Peter Parker withdraws even further into his Spidey identity just in time to come face-to-face (or web-to-wing) with the all-new Vulture!

I swear to you, I was not actively searching for something new to criticize about THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN* this week. Really, I wasn’t. And yet, it never fails…it’s when you’re not looking for something, when it falls right into your lap. Case in point:

I’m telling you, it never fails.

But seeing that solicit in particular reminded me of the 1993-1995 period at Marvel Comics as a whole. If you were to describe the general atmosphere of the Marvel Universe at that time in one word, “bleak” would cover it pretty well. It was a period when every main character and/or team were dealing with some sort of crisis. Over in THE FANTASTIC FOUR, both Reed Richards and Doctor Doom were believed dead, and Ben Grimm had suffered supposedly irreparable facial injuries after a fight with Wolverine.

There was an overarcing storyline that threatened the pending demise of the remaining members of the team called “Nobody Gets Out Alive.”

Meanwhile, over in DAREDEVIL, Matt Murdock’s secret identity was leaked to a tabloid, so following a storyarc called “Fall From Grace” Matt faked his own death (they never did adequately explain just how Matt Murdock supposedly died, mind you), ditched the sunglasses and took on a new identity as a neighborhood con man named Jack Batlin. He then began posing as an entirely different Daredevil, now sporting this look:

In retrospect, it seems like it would've made more sense for him to KEEP the red suit after having just created a new civilian identity, thus creating further evidence that Matt Murdock and Daredevil were two different men...but whatever.

And this was all happening around the same period when Tony Stark was dealing with all the evils his company absorbed when he bought out Stane International over in the IRON MAN storyarc “Crash & Burn,” and over in CAPTAIN AMERICA, the Super Soldier Serum had begun to have a reverse effect on Steve Rogers’ body, destroying his motor functions and forcing him to seek out his successor while having to resort to an exoskeleton just to be able to move. This was editor/writer/fondly remembered Marvel institution Mark Gruenwald’s final storyarc on the character, called “Fighting Chance.”

Which now brings us to my point about Spider-Man during that period, because his life at this point was no different – the storyline I’m talking about, as it turns out, was just the lead-in to the Clone Saga, and as such it was also the wrap-up to the mystery that had been running through the title for the past year or so: the return of Peter Parker’s parents. This was “Lifetheft,” which led into “Pursuit.”

Courtesy of Wikipedia: The Vulture once stumbled across a plot by the Chameleon and the Green Goblin [Harry Osborn] to drive Spider-Man insane by having shapeshifting androids impersonate his late mother and father. Due to Toomes’ interference, the androids were destroyed, leading the wall-crawler to a brief nervous breakdown. The Vulture absorbed the artificial life force from the Mary Parker android, and the effect on the Vulture was twofold; not only did he become a young man again, but he was instantly cured of the cancer that had been slowly killing him for some time.

See what I’m getting at? Let’s compare to the May 2009 solicit – and remember, the text I’m using is for THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #593. In 2009. Y’ready? Here we go:

Reeling from the discovery he made last issue — one that will have a huge impact on the Spider-Universe in the coming months…

Peter Parker withdraws even further into his Spidey identity…

… just in time to come face-to-face (or web-to-wing) with the all-new Vulture!

Mark Waid – the guy most closely associated with adding such layer and nuance to Wally West and the Rogues over in THE FLASH, the guy who gave us our last “definitive” run on THE FANTASTIC FOUR, the guy who wrote the kick-ass JLA story “Tower of Babel,” where Ra’s al Ghul stole protocols for taking down the Justice League from Batman’s computer, the guy who turned CAPTAIN AMERICA into a political thriller a good ten years before Ed Brubaker…writing a Spider-Man story with a blatantly recycled premise. Why does that sound so wrong?

But then again, should I be surprised? I mean, that’s all BRAND NEW DAY is when you think about it – let’s not kid ourselves, “brain trust” – and we already know how enthusiastic Mark is about the new/old/new Spider-quo. But really, is anybody else catching some wicked deja-vu right now?

Hm. Must be contagious. By the way, I say this on the highly unlikely possibility that anybody from the New York Post happens to be reading…y’see the cartoon above? Okay. Take careful note: this is satire. THIS IS NOT.

AND NOW, JUST CUZ I FEEL LIKE IT…

…actually, that’s not entirely accurate; I couldn’t have resisted sharing this one if I tried.

Til next week everybody – I’m Greg Manuel and I’m just sayin’, is all…

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