If this were a true and just world you would likely be seeing Amazing Spiderman #549 would be on my top three list of comics this week. Now that my rage has somewhat abated I can understand the editorial need to steer Spiderman back towards his roots, I don’t have to agree with it, but I can understand it. I can also see that choosing top shelf writers and artists was absolutely necessary if they wanted to maintain at least some sort of viable fan base. Slott (Month 1) had the hardest job. Introducing readers to a new continuity, reintroducing old characters, and basically doing his damnedest to set up some interesting plot twists. Poor bastard. From what I understand, isolated from the context which the whole “Brand New Day” concept emerges from, Slott did a pretty good job. Which makes that little caveat all the harder to swallow because I find separating this run from what came before night impossible.
That being said I managed to breeze through Guggenheim’s first issue and found myself enjoying it. Guggenheim has a real handle on Spidey’s voice; enough to the point where I could almost jump on this whole “Brand New Day” bandwagon. Jackpot, the red-haired superheroine introduced in this issue, has a personality similar to Peter and is almost so obviously Mary Jane that I could almost believe it isn’t actually her. The banter between the characters is reminiscent of some of the best issues of Ultimate Spiderman.
And therein lies another major contention with “Brand New Day.” Sure the Ultimate titles lay outside the purview of the main Marvel U but the Spidey there and the Spidey currently running around in Amazing are far too similar. Was Spidey a darker title than usual in the last couple of years? Yes. Was the adult Peter Parker further removed from the comics reading youth of today? Yes. Does that mean he wasn’t an interest or relatable (sorry Dr. Shannon) character? No. Does that make retconning the near-entirety of a writers (lengthy) run a justifiable action? I certainly don’t thinks so.
For an industry filled to the brim with seemingly static characters who change only in small ways (costumes and powers mostly) Spiderman was one of the few who had evolved into something, or someone, (slightly) more mature than he started out as. Not only did he evolve but he evolved in no small part thanks to his famous mantra: “With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility.” A mantra that is, in my own humble opinion, directly contradictory to even the mere contemplation of a deal with the devil. I can’t help but feeling betrayed by that. As a result I find myself unable, or perhaps unwilling, to stop seeing Brand New Day through the lens of that betrayal.
So…kudos to you Mr. Guggenheim on what seems to be a solid grip on Spiderman, and on the crafting of what looks to be an interesting and exciting run. I just hope Joe Q doesn’t suddenly decide to erase all your creative ideas from continuity because it doesn’t fit with his editorial vision.
Once I’m done going through this week’s stack I’ll have top picks chosen. With a couple from last week for good measure.