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Top Five Things Norman Osborn Retroactively Did

Awhile back, the original Green Goblin, Norman Osborn, thought dead for about twenty-five years, showed up in the Spider-Man titles alive. Apparently, his Green Goblin powers gave him a super-strong heart and/or healing ability, allowing him to survive a punctured heart. Since his return, in an almost comical manner, writers have been using Osborn to explain away various things that happened in his absence as having been secretly set into motion by Osborn. “Remember that time in the fourth grade that you stubbed your toe, Peter? It was I who moved the bed so your toe would hit it!” It’s to the point now where you really wouldn’t be THAT surprised to learn that the robber who killed Uncle Ben was secretly working for Osborn. Anyhow, these are the top five things Norman Osborn retroactively did. Enjoy!

5. Took over the Scriers

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Perhaps even more so than the Clone Saga in general, Scrier was probably the biggest case of “Too many cooks” syndrome that you will ever see. I don’t know if ANY Spider-Man writer really knew what Scrier’s origins/motivations/etc. were when he was first introduced right around the same time of the Clone Saga.

And then when we found out that Scrier wasn’t a PERSON, but a GROUP of people? Lordy.

It was just “someone come up with SOME explanation for this!” And ultimately, it was revealed that it was this ancient order, and that Norman Osborn, in the time he was away after his “death” joined and then slowly worked his way up the ranks before taking it over.

So, retroactively, all the Scrier stuff was being controlled by Norman Osborn.

4. Bankrolled most of Spider-Man’s villains.

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This came up in Mark Millar’s Marvel Knights:Spider-Man run, and was amusing, as Brian Michael Bendis almost simultaneously came up with the same basic idea in the mini-series, Secret War.

Both men decided to address the whole “How do supervillains PAY for all this stuff?” question. Bendis went one route, Millar went with the revelation that Norman Osborn has secretly been bankrolling supervillains for years.

3. Impregnated Gwen Stacy.

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I would like to leave “Sins Past” in the past, but what the heck! In this storyline, Norman Osborn and Gwen Stacy had a moment of passion and she got pregnant. Norman helped her hide the children from Peter. Gwen was going to go to Peter and confess, hoping he would marry her and they would raise the children together.

Sadly, this made Norman snap – leading to Gwen’s death.

2. Masterminded the Clone Saga.

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I don’t know if it came up since Sins Past, but since Norman was with Gwen, then wouldn’t that partially explain why he would take an interest in Miles Warren’s work? Miles Warren cloned Gwen Stacy, but maybe Norman Osborn liked that idea, too!

In any event, the big Clone Saga, where Peter Parker is “revealed” to be a clone of the “real” Peter Parker, who went by the name Ben Reilly.

Ben took over for Spider-Man after Peter gave it up to go move away with Mary Jane.

It was retroactively revealed (because the writers needed SOME ending to the Clone storyline) that Norman Osborn was behind it all, just in an attempt to mess with Peter’s head. When he saw that all his plans were for naught, and that Peter didn’t even really care that much that he was supposedly a clone, Norman decided to finally make his return.

In his return, he killed off Ben Reilly, revealing him to be the clone. It was sad – poor Ben deserved better.

1. Faked Aunt May’s death.

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Nothing, though, could top this retroactive nonsense.

So, Aunt May dies. Before she dies, she reveals she’s known Peter was Spider-Man for a long time, and she is proud of him, etc.

Later on, though, after Osborn returns, Spider-Man (whose wife had just miscarried a baby they were going to name May) learned that Osborn had “May.”

So Spider-Man went through a lot of travails to find May, only to discover that it was AUNT May who Osborn had, not the baby!! The baby was, in fact, dead (and never to be referred to again, under penalty of law!).

As it turns out, Osborn, in yet another retroactive attempt to mess with Peter’s head, paid an actress to impersonate Aunt May. After some surgery, she was basically May’s twin. He then “faked” the actress’ death (but killed her for real, unbenown to her) just to screw with Peter.

I totally get that storytellers Howard Mackie and John Byrne wanted Aunt May back, and that they figured, heck, whatever silly explanation we come up with is fine, so long as she comes back – the fans will forget about it later, anyways. And, ya know what, fans basically HAVE forgotten about how she came back. And it WAS good to have her back, even if it invalidated a great death issue by JM DeMatteis.

That all being said…wow…what a lame way to bring her back.

And it was all due to Norman Osborn! Nothing can top THAT for retroactive actions!

That’s the list! Agree? Disagree? Let me know!

68 Comments

What I wanted to know was…what exactly was she doing that year or so she was being held prisoner by Osborn? You’d think that a year or more of house arrest would be traumatizing at the least, but she didn’t even seem to remember it!

Norman Osborn is Warren Ellis wearing a fiction suit. How else could he hate superheroes so much?

What I wanted to know was…what exactly was she doing that year or so she was being held prisoner by Osborn?

They were having an affair and being the science wiz he is, Norman impregnated her. It will all be revealed in the upcoming saga where Peter’s niece and nephew try to kill him for some crappy reason; Past Sins Past!
Honestly, readers and writers should just ignore the largest part of 90s Spidy comics. I stopped reading halfway through the clone saga because even as a kid, I just couldn’t take this much crap any more.

Then again, ignoring the parts you don’t like leads to questions as “how the hell does Norman Osborn walk around alive?”, questions that lead to answers you already (don’t want to) know. *Sigh*

At least blog posts like this enable you to laugh about it!

Honestly, the only territory that still remains is to reveal that Norman is actually Peter’s father. He secretly intended to have a bastard child that he would later retro-retroactively torture.

Actually, Norman didn’t kill the Baby May… he had her whisked away by an associate, in a dangling plot point which, for obvious reasons, will never, ever be addressed again.

And Baby May was referred to, though very briefly, in Millar’s aforementioned Marvel Knights: Spider-Man run — Spidey mentions his child as one of the people Osborne has taken from him over the years.

Al from Italy

May 29, 2007 at 1:58 am

In general I hate when a writer (he should be a “creator”)re-write the past. And in all 5 things Norman did something is “explained” and something else is messed-up. A very BAD work
But I hated the most this stupid thing:
“So Spider-Man went through a lot of travails to find May, only to discover that it was AUNT May who Osborn had, not the baby!! The baby was, in fact, dead (and never to be referred to again, under penalty of law!).”

John Byrne killed that baby (he killed many babies as a writer) and I can’t forgive him for that!!!

Actually, Norman didn’t kill the Baby May… he had her whisked away by an associate, in a dangling plot point which, for obvious reasons, will never, ever be addressed again.

And Baby May was referred to, though very briefly, in Millar’s aforementioned Marvel Knights: Spider-Man run — Spidey mentions his child as one of the people Osborne has taken from him over the years.

The current take on that is that the baby died. PERHAPS due to Norman poisoning Mary Jane to cause a miscarriage, or perhaps just due to a standard miscarriage. That is the official stance by Marvel on that point. The baby died in a miscarriage.

So if Peter mentioned the baby being “taken” from him, he is likely talking about the baby dying.

But yeah, either way, it’ll most likely never be mentioned again.

I’d rather see Joe Quesada giving the okay to Peter becoming a father than to killing of MJ. We already know him as a single man, it would be more interesting to see him as a father.

“Actually, Norman didn’t kill the Baby May… he had her whisked away by an associate, in a dangling plot point which, for obvious reasons, will never, ever be addressed again.”

The baby came out dead, MJ said so. Osbourn just has the body.

Oh, and as for Byrne killing the baby… I think you can put ‘good sense’ up there as a co-conspirator because wow that would have been a terrible idea.

I certainly agree that Ben deserved better than the hastily written death he received, Brian. What a waste. I hated the drawn out plotting of the Clone Saga as much as the next guy, but Ben certainly deserves some recognition for the freshness that his character added to the series – in the beginning, at least.

FunkyGreenJerusalem

May 29, 2007 at 4:32 am

It’s true, the clone saga was exciting at the start.

Why did everyone complain when John Byrne linked Spidr-Man enemies to Norman Osborn and no one did when Mark Millar did the same?

Best,
Hunter (Pedro Bouça)

You forgot the oldest, most accepted, and possible the most sensical of the Green Goblin’s retcons: the Goblin Serum, and the powers it bestowes.

Originally, Norman was just a guy in a mask on a flyer with some weapons. Only later did someone say “Gee, how come he can hold his own in a fight with someone with the proportionate strength of a spider?” Not sure when exactly the serum was added into the mix, but it was not there in the beginning.

Wow, those are some dreadful storytelling decisions. (Especially the Norman-schtupps Gwen retcon.) This entire post is actually a great testament to the folly of killing characters off and then — somehow or other, deus ex machina — bringing them back. They should’ve just left Norman Osborn dead. And all comic storytellers should think twice and then a third time before killing a character off. And then publishers should actually enforce the “dead means DEAD” policy that Joey Q. so hilariously stated and then ignored. (It’s the comic-book equivalent of “Read my lips: No. New. Taxes!”) Are you listening, DC and DiDio? Let Barry Allen stay dead!

Wait – when did the baby die? I seem to recall the issue where Baby May was born, alive and healthy.

I figured Norman Osborne had her in hiding in some remote villa in Switzerland, waiting until some hack writer decides to bring back Spider-man’s daughter as an assassin to hunt down Spider-man. My guess is that someone who was 12 years old when the Clone Saga was going on will get around to this story sometime next decade.

Wasn’t Osborn also responsible for the fake-return of Peter’s parents? Or was that the one thing he didn’t do?

Number 3 is the worst and dumbest of them all. It not only takes a piss on a classic character but betrays a total lack of any basic understanding by Marvel editorial of their own characters past or present.

Green Goblin used to be a great villan whose story had a begining, middle, and an end. Now, he’s Stephano DeMera in a purple hat.

And that’s why I haven’t touched a Spider-Man comic in over 10 years. You have a great character, great villians, and great supporting cast that’s constantly being written as total trash. It’s sad really.

“Wasn’t Osborn also responsible for the fake-return of Peter’s parents? Or was that the one thing he didn’t do? ”

He was. He told Chameleon to do it and Spidey found a video message waiting for him at the end of that storyline, with Goblin going “Gotcha!”

“The baby came out dead, MJ said so. Osbourn just has the body.”

I’m not sure she ever saw the baby and the doctors were working for Norman. The woman Norman had poison MJ took something (the baby) out after the birth, and was given a yacht and sent of to Europe with this secret delivery.
The woman, Miss Mongrain, was later seen numerous times with a shadowed crib and talking to the “delivery” and saying how she got fond of it and that it was doing well.
The way they held it suggested a baby and she had a baby toy and everything.
Then Norman had the scriers take the object and blow up the boat (the scriers were later taken down by Kaine so he might posses the mysterious bundle now). It was heavily hinted during the whole time that it was baby May.
Only later Miss Mongrain came back and said it was Aunt May. I don’t know if it was considered strong misdirection from the very start or if they just changed it in the middle of it.

Wasn’t Osborn also responsible for the fake-return of Peter’s parents? Or was that the one thing he didn’t do?

That was Harry.

I agree with Kevin.
This is all why I stopped reading Spider-man, and most other mainstream books, a long time ago.

The final verdict from Marvel was that the baby was kidnapped, and Norman bribed the doctors to tell Peter and MJ that it was dead. Thus, Marvel got its cake and ate it too; anyone who would be furious at Marvel for killing Peter Parker’s first-born daughter can take solace in the fact that she’s alive, just “missing”…fans who don’t want to see the adventures of Peter Parker, Spider-Dad, can take solace in the fact that Marvel’s writers and editors will never mention her ever ever ever again under penalty of torture.

And the best part of the “Norman Osborn faked Aunt May’s death” is in ‘Spider-Man: The Osborn Journal’, written by Glenn Greenberg and intended (at the time) to be the definitive account of what Norman was off doing while everyone thought he was dead. In which he said, of Aunt May’s death: “My only regret is that I was not the cause,” because Greenberg wanted it down that Norman wasn’t responsible for every bad thing that happened in Peter Parker’s life over the last ten years.

Which means that not only did Norman Osborn fake Aunt May’s death, he lied about it to his _own diary_ to throw people off the track. Now that is sinister.

This is a really long but very interesting look at the Clone Saga with commentary by Glenn Greenberg.

The Life of Reilly

I agree with Rebis, bringing back Norman Osborn was one of the stupidiest´s decisions ever.

And Sins Past… I´m not one the JMS’s haters out there, but that storyline was one of Marvel´s worsts. Totally pointless.

Marvel, under Joe Q’s EIC has been a big “let´s do everything that has never been done before”, i. e., revealing Peter´s ID, bringing Bucky back (even though i like the way it was handled), etc.

What´s next? Bringing Uncle Ben back!

Amazing 400 was one of my favorite issues for awhile. Amidst the confusing and never ending clone saga here was an issue that told a sweet story and gave a tasteful end to a beloved character. It was very touching and I was really pissed later when I heard that they brought her back and completely invalidated that story that charmed me so.

Rohan Williams

May 29, 2007 at 9:23 am

I must admit, that initial moment when Norman returned, and the following issue where he fought Pete and Ben, were favourites of mine. But everything I’ve read since then… yeah, this list is quite accurate.

I thought the Osborn Journal was alright- it tied everything together well enough- but it sped along the trend of giving Norman so much pull that he really wasn’t usable anymore. It got to a point where it became unbelievable that Norman wouldn’t have just bombed the apartments of Peter and everyone he knew, such was his omniscience.

Sins Past. You had to mention Sins Past. I looked at the title of this post and I thought “surely he won’t mention Sins Past. That would just be cruel.” Then you went ahead and mentioned Sins Past. sigh.

So, can we retcon that already. Does anyone actually think that that was a good story?

Rohan Williams

May 29, 2007 at 9:57 am

Sins Past hasn’t really been mentioned since, has it? Seems like a stealth recon, which wouldn’t be a bad thing.

I really do not get why people like JMS.

“Wasn’t Osborn also responsible for the fake-return of Peter’s parents? Or was that the one thing he didn’t do?

That was Harry.”

I am going to retcon my post into a dork test. You failed! You dork!

Seriously, though, thank you, you saved me the trouble of looking back at those issues with Young Vulture and a dozen other stupid things to remember how they got rid of his parents and whose fault it was.

I feel like that deserves honorary placement on the list, though; it was the one time Harry really acted like his father.

Osborne may be the king of the retcons now, but give Marvel’s Illuminati enough time and they could give him a run for his money. Especially since they have (retroactively) gotten a hold of the infinity gems. Who knows what mischief they’ve been up to all these years.

Mark Millar’s quite good MK Spider-Man run aside, I’ve never bought the Clone Saga’s retcon that Norman Osborn is some kind of super-duper genius strategist.

This is the guy who couldn’t even wok out how to take over the mobs in New York City…or even how to get a small gang of his own going. Ther problem is that the Goblin’s goals are originally so modest, and later so narrowly psychotic, that he just..well, he doesn’t come off as some kind of “omniscient” schemer at any point in his history.

Instead, he’s a character who has incredibly complex plans attributed to him to explain various plot points and then shows up on-panel behving like someone far too uncontrolled and loony to have ever carried out said complex, subtle machinations.

I’m not entirely sure Millar’s run entirely escapes this last problem, but to be more precise, his retcon was that a number of similarly sketchy businessmen and “movers and shakers” bankrolled supervillains to keep the heroes distracted. In Millar’s story, Norman is the cabal member who “went native,” becoming a villain himself because he was mentally unstable and thereby endagering the conspiracy as a whole.

REBIS wrote: “This entire post is actually a great testament to the folly of killing characters off and then — somehow or other, deus ex machina — bringing them back.”

Agreed. I’d like to read a similar post focussing on Phoenix/the Phoenix force.

Why did everyone complain when John Byrne linked Spidr-Man enemies to Norman Osborn and no one did when Mark Millar did the same?

While a significant portion of the dislike is probably due to an anti-Byrne bias, I think the rest of it is that Millar didn’t make a big deal out of it, so he did not give people a chance to react to it, while Chapter One was hyped to fans as “John Byrne re-envisions Spider-Man’s beginnings.”

I feel like that deserves honorary placement on the list, though; it was the one time Harry really acted like his father.

Actually, I’d argue the opposite due to reasons Omar just mentioned about Norman’s original appearances: he really was never that great a villain. Doc Ock was a much better villain and strategist before, Norman’s main appeal was a great design and that his identity was a mystery. Never was that great a fighter, and was a small-time strategist. Later he became notable because he presented a moral dilemma for Spider-Man, he was his best friend’s dad making Pete have to hold back, plus he knew his identity making it dangerous to turn him in. It was never that he was such a great combatant, it’s that Pete never wanted to hurt him and didn’t know how to approach capturing him. Then he became immortalized by killing Gwen.

But Harry? After a rough start as a Green Goblin successor, he really came into his own. Under J.M. DeMatteis and Sal Buscema, he really became a scary ass threat. His last few psychological torturings of Pete were exquisite. And his final revelation of being the mastermind of Pete’s parents return in my mind cemented him as the superior Green Goblin and a master strategist.

Since Norman returned, he’s began acting as the mastermind Harry was shown to be before he died. I’d argue that Harry wasn’t acting like Norman when he masterminded Pete’s parent’s return, but instead was setting the template for how Norman would act when HE returned. Harry wasn’t acting like Norman, but instead Norman has been retroactively been turned into Harry.

EXACTLY, Omar! Although I rarely reread my comics, I don’t recall at all that Normie was so Machiavellian. I remember him being a shady industrialist who went crazy every once in a while and became Spidey’s most powerful villain. I quit Spider-man comics during the clone saga, came back for the return of Norman, then quit again forever right after that. STUPID, STUPID, STUPID.

I also agree that #3 is by far the worst. It completely reeks of destroying anything innocent about Spider-man. Why not just drag Gwen’s dead, naked body through the streets and then make a statue of it.

By the way, is there anywhere on the web that states EXACTLY what current continuity is on Baby May. You people are confusing me and now I want to know. I don’t care what Joey Q. has said. I just what to know what’s been said in the comics. I always figured some day, somehow Baby May would come back as the new Green Goblin.

I just what to know what’s been said in the comics. I always figured some day, somehow Baby May would come back as the new Green Goblin.

They never said anything one way or the other in the comic, although it certainly LOOKED like Goblin had the baby kidnapped. They’ve since stated that all those panels were just talking about Aunt May.

Either that was misdirection at the time, or they retconned it.

I know Howard Mackie has said more than once “If you look at what was said in the comics exactly, at no point did we say the baby was alive.”

“Especially since they have (retroactively) gotten a hold of the infinity gems.”

How retroactive was that, really? Didn’t that issue make reference to stuff that happen in Slott’s run of ‘She-Hulk’? I know there was a ‘She-Hulk’ reference, I just assumed it was a fairly contemporary one (I don’t read ‘She-Hulk’).

Isn’t Baby May being alive the basis of the Spider-Girl series? I know that’s an alternative future and all, but I thought that was basically the gist of the series (which I’ve never read).

“They never said anything one way or the other in the comic, although it certainly LOOKED like Goblin had the baby kidnapped.”

Right, I have the issue where Baby May was born and that’s what I gathered as well (although I haven’t read it since it came out).

“They’ve since stated that all those panels were just talking about Aunt May.”

It was stated in the comic books themselves?

“Either that was misdirection at the time, or they retconned it.”

The apparent kidnapping of Baby May by Norman was misdirection AND it was retconned in subsequent comics???

Sorry I’m being such a PITA :)

Yes, the robot parents was Harry. The “Gotcha!” thing was brought up ages before the final revelation, with Peter wondering what the hell the now-dead Harry meant by it… and he found out at the end of “Pursuit.” Some good stuff by DeMatteis there.

EXACTLY, Omar! Although I rarely reread my comics, I don’t recall at all that Normie was so Machiavellian. I remember him being a shady industrialist who went crazy every once in a while and became Spidey’s most powerful villain.

Nope, he was never even Spidey’s most powerful villain. Under Lee, Ditko, Romita, Kane and later Conway, there was no evidence that he even had heightened strength or anything. The serum just made him crazy. Scorpion, Doc Ock, Sandman, Electro…I’d argue they all were more powerful than Osborn (and some of them are arguably more powerful than Spidey too). GG was just crafty and had cool weapons and was mysterious. But while alive he was never the most powerful villain, the superstrength and reflexes were a retcon done by Roger Stern in the 80s to explain how he was able to go toe to toe with Spider-Man.

Green Goblin’s apperances, small or big, outnumber any other villains in Lee/Ditko’s original work. I think that means something.

Maryjane said SOMEWHERE that she knew the baby was dead. She never saw it, but she knew it was dead. Maybe it was MK: Spider-man, I remember reading it somewhere.

Green Goblins appearance may outnumber other villains, sure, but that doesnt mean he was the most powerful or a Machiavellan strategist. It just means that people found his story the most compelling. My guess is that that was due to the mystery of his identity more than anything. It was the biggest ongoing subplot at the time.

The first spider-man issue i bought as a kid was the one where peter and ben first meet on the roof of the hospital, so I always have a soft spot for the clone saga.

Remember how the jackal went from a guy who was just in love with gwen, to trying to destroy the world in the space of three issues? Or when Doctor Octopus died? Or when they tried to make peter the bad guy (as if we would ever believe that) and he hit MJ?

Also what was the go with Kane? I remember him saying he was the first clone but was that ever elaborated on?

Wouldn’t it have made (a bit) more sense if Harry had been the one who masterminded the Clone Saga and impregnated Gwen? You know, given the stories from the past, where Harry was actually in the position to date and shtup her, and his rivalry with Peter wasn’t too far into the past by the Clone Saga.

Stealthwise,

Originally Harry was supposed to be the mastermind in the form of Gaunt, but Bob Harras did one of his micromanagement decisions and decided it should be Norman Osborn. Then the identity of Gaunt was changed to Mendel Stromm.

Why did I not wiki before I typed before? For anyone interested about Baby May, there’s stuff in the Spider-Girl entry:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spider-Girl

What I gather is that the issue remains nebulous (though da wiki could be wrong). And that’s probably because Marvel decided that the more they say about Baby May, the harder it gets for them to deny she ever happened ;)

Well, there’s no doubt about it.

Norman Osborn is the “Superboy Prime punch” of Marvel!

–Mike B

Let’s hope all this doesn’t make it into the movies.

Urgh. I feel physically ill.

It’s amazing how many of us gave up reading Spidey because of one of these (including me, after Sins Past). I wonder if anybody — anywhere — picked up one of these as their FIRST taste of Spider-Man and decided to keep reading, thereby balancing out the rest of us leaping overboard?

Somehow I doubt it.

Sean Whitmore over at Fanboy Productions (http://home.earthlink.net/~fanboyprime/) said it best in his “Shush” storyline – a spoof of Batman’s Hush and Mark Millar’s Marvel Knights Spider-Man: “No! All for Norman! All plotlines belong to Norman!”

Personally, I think Spider-Man could use more evil masterminds in his career — most of his rogue’s gallery consists of henchmen-level thinkers with formidable powers. But putting Norman behind everything – and tying many of his new stories to showdowns on bridges – is just lazy writing.

Green Goblin’s apperances, small or big, outnumber any other villains in Lee/Ditko’s original work. I think that means something.

They don’t.

The Goblin was in #14, 17, and 26-7, and if we’re charitable, as Norman in #37-8. Ditko was not reportedly planning Norman to be the Goblin, though.

Ock was in #3, #11-2, Annual #1 (as leader of Spidey’s otheer rogues), and #31-3. He was the mastermind in the early Spider-Man adventures, and got much more development and builduo than Gobby ever did.

Octopus led gangs and other villains; the Goblin, under Ditko and Lee, persistently failed to lead even “no name” gangsters. Indeed, the prototype of Ditko’s Goblin is not really a supervillain, but rather the Big Man in #10, hardly the model of a running master villain.

It’s Doc Ock who gets the major storylines, too. He fake-unmasks Spidey in #11. He assembles the villains in Annual #1 as their mastermind. And he steals the serum that endagners Aunt May and runs the unstoppable costumed gang in the longest of Ditko’s serials in the title, from #30 to 33. Indeed, the much-rehearshed Ditko sequence in #33 — Spidey lifting the machine — is the tail end of a Doc Ock storyline.

Ditko’s Goblin, and arguably the later Lee/Romita’s, is not a premier villain.

While a significant portion of the dislike is probably due to an anti-Byrne bias, I think the rest of it is that Millar didn’t make a big deal out of it, so he did not give people a chance to react to it, while Chapter One was hyped to fans as “John Byrne re-envisions Spider-Man’s beginnings.”

******************

Not by him, that’s for sure. Marvel wanted to redo Spider-Man’s origin with or without him (that’s the part no one seems to notice), hired him, approved every single change, yet people only blame him.

And every single change he is done pales compared to J. Michael Strangelove’s “spider-totem” origin, that people complain much less about (and before Sins Past no one but me seemed to complain about…).

I blame Quesada and Alonso for Sins Past and the other Spider-Man antics that happened on the last few years as much as I blame Straitor. They should have fired him long ago or, at the very least, nixed his worst ideas.

Best,
Hunter (Pedro Bouça)

Sins Past. You had to mention Sins Past. I looked at the title of this post and I thought “surely he won’t mention Sins Past. That would just be cruel.” Then you went ahead and mentioned Sins Past. sigh.

So, can we retcon that already. Does anyone actually think that that was a good story?

*****************

Quesada seems to think so. He said that on his latest Newsarama column.

And Matt Brady agreed, so there are at least two people who like Sins Past (besides Strangler, of course). Probably Axel Alonso (the series editor) too.

But I’m quite sure that the story will be retconned as soon as Quesada steps down as EiC (unless Alonso gets the job, of course, and THAT would make me miss Quesada!).

Best,
Hunter (Pedro Bouça)

Nope, he was never even Spidey’s most powerful villain. Under Lee, Ditko, Romita, Kane and later Conway, there was no evidence that he even had heightened strength or anything. The serum just made him crazy. Scorpion, Doc Ock, Sandman, Electro…I’d argue they all were more powerful than Osborn (and some of them are arguably more powerful than Spidey too). GG was just crafty and had cool weapons and was mysterious. But while alive he was never the most powerful villain, the superstrength and reflexes were a retcon done by Roger Stern in the 80s to explain how he was able to go toe to toe with Spider-Man.

*****************

On the Romita run, when Norman had lost his memories of being the Goblin, there was a story when he remembered and decided to trap Pater Parker by inviting him to dine with him. Once there, Norman squeezed Parker hand with his might, thus showing him that he revovered his memory (and powers). Strong as he is, Peter would have never noticed that if Norman hadn’t superstrength.

Small evidence, I know, but it’s there. I’m sure I could find out more if I had the issues at hand.

Best,
Hunter (Pedro Bouça)

Not by him, that’s for sure.

Fine. I didn’t say he made a big deal out of it, right? Marvel sure did, though! They ended Amazing Spider-Man after over 400 issues, take a month off, have Chapter One, then relaunch the main title. That was screaming “PAY ATTENTION TO CHAPTER ONE!”

Marvel wanted to redo Spider-Man’s origin with or without him (that’s the part no one seems to notice), hired him, approved every single change, yet people only blame him.

That’s completely normal.

When someone complains about Sins Past and the Spider-Totem, it’s JMS they say, right? That’s who I always mention. The creator who put the idea out there is going to be blamed, unless they can demonstrate that they were told to do something by editorial.

And every single change he is done pales compared to J. Michael Strangelove’s “spider-totem” origin, that people complain much less about (and before Sins Past no one but me seemed to complain about…).

I blame Quesada and Alonso for Sins Past and the other Spider-Man antics that happened on the last few years as much as I blame Straitor. They should have fired him long ago or, at the very least, nixed his worst ideas.

Best,
Hunter (Pedro Bouça)

I’m just not seeing this JMS thing.

The Spider-Totem stuff was dumb, no doubt, but originally, JMS played it cool by not outright saying “THIS IS THE TRUTH,” so he got a mulligan.

Later on, when he DID do that, he got mocked for it (The Other was critically lambasted at the same level of Chapter One). And when he came up with Sins Past, he got mocked for that, too.

You write a major Spider-Man story that fans don’t like, you’re going to get ripped for it, whether you be J. Michael Straczynski, John Byrne or whoever.

I wish I could remember where I read it, but I seem to recall that for “Sins Past,” JMS wanted Gwen’s kids to be Peter’s, but Marvel editorial insisted that someone else had to be the father. Not sure who came up with Norman Osborn, though.

I wish I could remember where I read it, but I seem to recall that for “Sins Past,” JMS wanted Gwen’s kids to be Peter’s, but Marvel editorial insisted that someone else had to be the father.

You may have heard it from Brian.

And the Norman solution there was apparently the brainchild of JMS and editorial working together. It’s a pity they didn’t instead decide not to do the story at all.

And the Norman solution there was apparently the brainchild of JMS and editorial working together. It’s a pity they didn’t instead decide not to do the story at all.

**********

That’s what they should – and the reason why the editorial is as much to blame, if not more, than JMS.

The original story was just dumb (superhero discovers that he has kids who got to adulthood much faster than normal, it happened in more than one Marvel book on the 90s), but pretty harmless. The “solution” was WAY worse than the original!

Best,
Hunter (Pedro Bouça)

And people wonder why I read DC and Image exclusively now…

but killed her for real, unbenown to her

What, was her back turned? Too busy watching TV to notice? Was she distracted by squirrels?

What, was her back turned? Too busy watching TV to notice? Was she distracted by squirrels?

Hehe…I mean that she thought it was only going to knock her out to make people THINK she was dead, but instead, it actually killed her.

I like choice #5 up there – “Traveller and Scier… everything you know is wrong!”

Really? People know things about Traveller and Scrier? I find that hard to believe. Since I never heard of either of them before now, does that make everything I know right?

Why did everyone complain when John Byrne linked Spider-Man enemies to Norman Osborn and no one did when Mark Millar did the same?

My guess? Because Byrne’s version involved stuff like “our grandmothers were cousins, and that’s why we have the same haircut, Sandman,” while Millar’s version involved “I paid them.”

Does anyone actually think that [Sins Past] was a good story?

By the time I started reading Spider-Man, he and Mary Jane were already married. Therefore, Gwen Stacy means nothing to me. She’s an event, not a character – she’s a physics lesson off the side of a bridge. So I didn’t have some burning fury about the story, or tell myself that it was somehow ruining the character. I didn’t love the story, but the only thing I particularly disliked was the art.

And as for the Spider-Totem, I could go either way. It doesn’t change who Spider-Man is, so it really doesn’t matter…

IIRC, they had to finish the Sins Past storyline somehow, because Marvel editorial nixed JMS’s idea for it midstream. Which, really, WAS fairly irresponsible of editorial. I think you can noticeably tell when Marvel editorial alters the direction of the story about halfway through… early on, all signs point to the kids being Peter’s.

This is not to say it wasn’t a dumb plotline, though. I have a certain amount of respect for JMS actually trying to write Peter as an interesting adult, but the Peter/Gwen relationship just did not need to be revisited ever again. It’s really quite dull.

Well, right…the single biggest problem with either version of Sins Past is that it revolves around Spider-Man’s dead ex-girlfriend’s superhuman love children.

That’s simply a dumb, dumb idea.

I didn’t many of JMS’s big ideas, whether they were 100% his or someone elses. Spider-totems? The Other? Everything you mentioned regarding Sins Past? And this is someone whose ‘talent’ we’re all supposed to love? Ugh.

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