The Spidey comic written by overrated movie producer Abrams and his son has come out. One of Bleeding Fool’s contributors was pleased with the result. Gizmodo recently reviewed it also, saying it’s a future-set father-son tale where Mary Jane Watson’s been thrown out of the picture, and Peter Parker himself didn’t fare much better:
Set in its own version of Marvel continuity, Spider-Man #1—by the Abrams duo, Pichelli, Elisabetta D’Amico, Dave Stewart, and Joe Caramagna—picks up 12 years after a horrifying battle with an unknown alien force (lead by a villain named, I kid you not, Cadaverous) puts Peter Parker through one hell of a ringer. Not only does he lose the lower half of his right arm facing off against Cadaverous and his hordes…
He loses his wife, Mary Jane Watson, leaving their son, Ben, with no mother and a traumatized and broken father. Twelve years later Peter Parker is no longer Spider-Man, he’s rough and rugged and so very tired of the world around him, shut off from the people who care about him the most. Ben is a likewise moody teenager, desperate to discover who he is in a sea of conflicting emotions about his absent parents.
I’m sorry to say this, but it looks like the pere et fils movie team chose a pretty cheap route concerning established characters like MJ. Coming as it does over a decade since One More Day originally wiped out the Spider-marriage, this only leaves a bad aftertaste, instead of offering more venues in which to explore Peter and MJ as a couple. And subjecting Spidey to dismemberment of an arm is no improvement. Here’s where it really gets weird:
Spider-Man #1 is, like those prior Abrams re-imaginings, a tale of generational legacies, of connecting the mystery behind the lingering threat (in this case, Cadaverous, who seemingly has some kind of Mary Jane clone and a twisted connection to Spider-Man beyond it, as part of his mostly unexplored reasoning for his villain) to something deeply personal for our heroes. It’s fitting that this is a collaboration between Abrams and his own son from a writing perspective, because—in the Abrams family style of stripping away the esoteric weirdness we know of a franchise to tell a story that is primarily grounded in human, intrapersonal dramas—this is a comic that is also all about the tempestuous, enduring relationships between children and their parents.
Oh good grief, what is this? Why do we need clones instead of the real deal? And why more connections of the villain to the hero himself?
Coming into the announcement of this series, Marvel Editor in Chief C.B. Cebulski hyped up the reveal as the potential next big hit for the publisher—the book that could break Star Wars #1’s fabled, seemingly-impossible-to-reach-in-this-market target of one million copies sold. So far, it doesn’t seem likely: it’s a tale eternally retold retold once more—Ben is not the first child of Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson to have ever followed in their father’s heroic footsteps—with a few tired unfortunate twists like Mary Jane’s casual murder thrown in for good measure. As something particularly visionary and new for Spider-Man’s vast, enduringly flexible legacy, Spider-Man #1 is less of a fresh twist on its own, and more of a mediation on a theme Abrams has tackled time and time again.
Well that’s certainly saying something. They’re right about horrific trope of murdering a girlfriend as an alleged motivation for a hero being an awful one. What makes it particularly stultifying is when, as in 90s Green Lantern Kyle Rayner’s case, it leads to unorganic paths like the hero pairing up only with established heroines such as Donna Troy and Jade. I don’t think Rayner’s ever had a civilian girlfriend, or at least, not one who wasn’t already established, recalling he may have been written having an affair with Carol Ferris several years ago! But if they think this is going to be comicdom’s answer to the Force Awakens, I can only dissent. It may see tons of copies printed up, but most could end up gathering dust on the shelves, and should.
Here’s also Digital Spy’s notes on the story:
In the brand new miniseries, the Star Wars director takes Spidey on a heartbreaking journey that stings more than the death of Uncle Ben, with the first issue of Abrams’ Spider-Man revealing that Peter and Mary Jane’s marriage (!) ultimately ends in tragedy.
Set in an alternate universe to the Amazing Spider-Man comics, Spider-Man tells the story of MJ’s death and the devastating impact her murder (at the hand of new villain Cadaverous) has on Peter and their son Ben.
Well I wouldn’t buy or read this, if it matters. At worst, it’s a slap in the face to Spider-fans who supported the marriage, and alternate world or not, it’s just another way of avoiding focus upon the marriage. It remains to be seen if the marriage will be restored by the end of this year, but I won’t be shocked if it’s not. And even if it is, fans have long been driven away.
If this is the kind of premise Abrams and son want to build on, they should create their own characters. Instead, they’ve concocted a story that only alienates fans of the very property they’re assigned to script.
Originally published here.