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CSBG Archive

You Decide ’09 – Who Has Been the Best Brand New Day Writer so Far?

You know the bit – each day in October I’ll give you folks a poll question. Each poll will last four days. The results will be posted every Tuesday leading up to (and ending with) Election Day on the first Tuesday in November. Here is the master list of all questions asked so far!

Enjoy!


(NOTE: I excluded Brian Michael Bendis’ back-up story because, well, you know, it was a back-up story)

76 Comments

This was a really tough call between Joe Kelly and Fred Van Lente. Everyone else has been doing great work (although Roger Stern’s oneshot fell flat for me), but those two have just been knocking it out of the park.

Joe Kelly, Joe Kelly, Joe Kelly

Slott or Waid for me.

But I’ve enjoyed all of them, even Gale, who was getting better until he left.

I don’t know about writers (haven’t been reading it) but that Ditko homage cover is beautiful. Is that Rivera?

The one with Spider-Man holding up the wreckage, Julian?

That’s the brilliant Marcos Martin.

You guys realize that Joe Kelly wrote American Son? I voted Van Lente, but pretty much all of the candidates have been hit and miss for me.

Hard one as (for me) Amazing Spider-Man has been consistently good, but very rarely exceptional. No one is really standing out for me.

Slott, Waid and Kelly are the ones that jump to mind, but all have had their misses as well as their hits.

None of the above. The best writer is the one that takes the story back in time to prevent the devil deal.

Seriously. You can make a perfectly fair argument that it’s outside the point of this poll, but I suspect you’d get a lot of votes for “none of the above.”

I would have voted for “none of the above”.

It was a really tough call between Waid and Kelly, but I went with Kelly because there were more moments that made me laugh out loud then I can remember. Good Spidey brings the funny and I think Joe does a great job with it.

Dan Slott….easily. OK….Waid and Kelly put up some competition, but Slott’s issues are quintessential Spidey for me.

I was torn between Mark Waid and Zeb Wells. I ultimately picked Waid, that Waid and Martin team is golden.

I’m not voting, but I just want to say that I’m amused that you used the Return of the Spot cover to represent Van Lente. (I realize that you’re using the first cover from each writer, or something like that.)

hard one for me to even vote on since i do not care for the story or the deal with mephistoe. plus the story was the reason jm stanzykie went off the book.

Omar Karindu, with the power of SUPER-hypocrisy!

October 7, 2009 at 6:34 am

Oddly enough, this has been the one series I think van Lente’s done a rather poor job with. The transformation of the female characters into the world’s worst Three’s Company remake — and some of the lamest writing for Peter Parker — happened in the most recent arc he wrote.

Now this is almost certainly the fault of editorial, since the “Brain Trust” setup means that supporting cast through-lines are planned out well ahead by everyone. That said, van Lente’s scripting was pretty mediocre and his involvement at all is a bit baffling.

Leaving aside the endless arguments over One More Day, a story that was nothing but editorial interference, Brand New Day has never quite managed to be more than a self-conscious rehash of the early 1980s-era Spider-Man with a bit more sex and violence added. Van Lente’s recent issues have been the ones where that problem has been most apparent, I think, not least because his usual light touch as a scripter here simply highlights the cliched plotting and general insubstantiality of the title. The current Amazing is a Spider-Man book for people who have a generic expectation of what “a Spider-Man book” is, and it aims no higher…and sometimes even aims lower.

Now, Joe Kelly, on the other hand, has escaped a lot of the traps of BND writing by turning his fine sense of characterization onto the characetrs in the story who the editors will actually allow to have arcs and development — Hammerhead, Harry Osborn, and so on — rather than focusing on the treadmill-running Quesada-mandated Peter Parker, Twentysomething Nitwit and his revolving cast of Girlfriends of the Month and Wacky Misunderstandings. There’s just no weight to the Peter Parker stuff in BND, and no writer yet has managed to convince me that there will be any.

Slott.

Kelly and Waid have written the better stories. more fun and more exciting BUT Slott has been tasked with explaining all the crap that we got from One More Day. And he’s done it extremely well. 600, which rocked, was about the only time he’s been able to do what he wants. Give the master his due. He’s fixing the Spider-Man universe and he’s doing it damn well.

Too close to call… so Dan Slott gets my vote because he’s the architect.

It is good to see, more than a year after ASM’s “new direction”, there are still people too stubborn to actually read the book. I recently had a discussion at my store with someone about it. He motioned dismissively toward the latest issue on the wall and said “has this book been fixed yet?”.

I said “Well, it wasn’t really broken… there were a lot of fun story arcs leading up to 600, where MJ came back during Aunt May’s wedding…” and he gasped. I continued, “Of course, that set up the Chameleon arc, where Chameleon posed as Peter and told MJ their relationship never worked because she wasn’t Gwen Stacy.” He recoiled with the mock pain of someone watching a ‘yo mama’ joke. “That cleared the way for Pete’s on-and-off relationship with his roommate, who only became his roommate because her brother is in jail from the fallout of the Spider-Tracer storyline…” and by the time I finished that sentence, he had scooped up everything since 600 and bought the whole lot.

People can throw all the snark and cynicism that they wish at this book, but it keeps delivering great stories and must-read moments three times per month.

I only started picking this up from American Son onward, so my sampling is pretty small, but so far I’ve enjoyed the Joe Kelly issues the best.

And there is a “none of the above” option included — its called refraining from voting in the poll.

Yes, in that sense, I’m currently running several dozen invisible polls in which all of the options involve refraining from participation for a different reason. Response is tremendous, but I haven’t quite figured out how I’m going to count up the votes.

;-)

It’s good to know that having people scream and cry nonstop is still considered deft characterization.

Craig, all of what you just described sounded bloody terrible. Like, bad-soap-opera terrible, not good-superhero-soap-opera. I’ve been trying to get issues of this on and off, and reading here and there about what’s been happening and it all sounds like the lamest dogshit rehash I can imagine for Spider-Man.

I’m with Aaron Thall. I would like to vote but I dropped the book after OMD.

I voted for Slott, but Kelly was a close 2nd.

Omar Karindu, with the power of SUPER-hypocrisy!

October 7, 2009 at 7:44 am

Craig’s summary isn’t even that accurate, really: the thing that started Pter’s “on, then WAY OFF” relationship with his roomate was Peter and the roommate getting drunk and screwing followed by the Chameleon as Peter shutting her hup with some make-out time. Then Peter is aghast that he’s somehow dating her, tries to tell her the truth. She then gets mad and does stuff like put his clothes down the garbage disposal and draw a line down the middle of the apartment. At the same time, she seems to still want him and fights with the other women in his life over him.

The plotting is painful, even for the genre.

9 writers?

Man, I’m glad I get my dose of Spider-Man in New Avengers.

There is no ‘None of the above’ choice.

I went with Waid, because he was the GENIUS who gave us John Jameson, Senior, one of the best ideas to come along in the Spider-books in YEARS. But the real hero of the Spider-Man title is Steve Wacker, who does the seemingly-impossible job of keeping this book together and gives it a consistency that some books with only *one* regular writer do not have. DC should never have let Wacker get away.

Had to go with Slott. “Paparazi”, “New Ways to Die” and “ASM #600″ were great, although Mark Waid wrote my favorite story with “Unscheduled Stop”.

It’s so, so, sooo close between Joe Kelly, Fred Van Lente, and to an only slightly lesser extent Mark Waid… the three of whom are so far ahead of Slott and the rest of the original writing pool that I’m tempted to peg Steve Whacker as a mutant, evolving right before our eyes.

I vote Joe Kelly. He’s doing some of his best work on the title. He hasn’t hit any lows so far on the title and his highs are even higher than FVL’s or Waid’s. The Hammerhead story was the best thing Spidey’s seen since BND began, American Son was even better, and with the Black Cat story trumps it all. Joe Kelly was born to write Spider-Man — the snappy dialogue, the impossibly hard luck, the zany characters and Spidey’s response to them — and we all knew he was born to write Spider-Man, but he’s honestly exceeded my expectations.

I’ve loved each one of Van Lente’s stories so far, and yes, Waid is a genius for bringing us the elder Jameson, and his storytelling’s been top-notch since he came on the book… but Kelly cakes the cake.

Cass, that’s a mean thing to say about message board respondents.

Dan Slott hands down. The man is straight up golden.

From what I have read Slott was the only consistently good BND writer for me. I had gotten a big stack of BND issues during a comic store sale, and most non-Slott issues tended to be a slog for me. However, I did kind of love Joe Kelly’s recent Black Cat 2-parter so he would be my 2nd choice.

DC Guy said: “But the real hero of the Spider-Man title is Steve Wacker, who does the seemingly-impossible job…”

Kisskisskisskisskisskisskisskiss…

I’ve enjoyed all the writers on the book, but wish they’d settle on a single artist. It’s not that any of the artists have been bad– I’ve enjoyed them all to varying degrees, but having one consistent look for the book might be a good way to balance out the rotating tones that the different writers bring to each arc. My vote would be for Marcos Martin.

FVL is one of my favorite writers in the world but Waid’s ASM has literally been the closest to perfection I’ve seen out of a superhero comic in years.

The funny thing is–or maybe it isn’t, is that while I half-recognize most of the names on the list there, the sad fact is that Spider-Man, probably my favorite character after Batman since the 1960s, is DEAD to me. I dunno…the retroactive continuity change via Mephisto where he’s no longer married, the artists remaining for so short a time, the writers…it’s all a blur to me, and frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn!

Tom from West Chester

October 7, 2009 at 10:40 am

Slott and Waid in a dead heat for me. Today I voted Slott but if given the choice again tomorrow it could be Waid. They have both really nailed Peter’s character for me and have really paid fantastic attention to the supporting cast. When was the last time Betty Brant was treated like a real character? Waid’s birthday story was brilliant! Slott has been writing a fantastic JJJ.

I’ve liked Kelly’s work but the tone in his just seems off from the other writers so far.

One artist pumping out 3 books a month? Good luck finding that guy Brian. Not even JR Jr or Bagley could handle that.

Before anyone mentions Trinity, Bagley did half the book, which adds up to 2 books a month.

I voted for Wells btw.

Waaaay too hard for me to decide. My favorite story was the Wells/Bachalo story way back in the 4th new arc, but Wells has only wrote two or three stories for the team. Slott and Kelly have a few great stories under their belt, but I went with Kelly by a tiny margin.

“and draw a line down the middle of the apartment.”

Just when this thread had me thinking maybe I want to give Spider-Man another shot, especially Dan Slott Spider-Man…

Thanks, Omar. You saved me the trouble with just that one sentence.

I don’t know if Brian Reed qualifies for this poll; he hasn’t written Amazing Spider-Man at all, just the Secret Invasion mini-series. (Which should have been called a Jackpot mini-series, but I guess they figured Spdier-Man’s name would sell a lot more copies.) And Roger Stern has only written one issue (but if stuff before Brand New Day counted, he would win hands down, I think).
If the Secret Invasion mini-series counts, what about the Mister Negative series? It does have Spider-Man and Betty Brant as major characters. If Mister Negative counts, then van Lente would be the winner, but I’m not sure he should get my vote with just his other stories. Otherwise I’m leaning towards Slott, and just possibly Kelly.
I’m still having a hard time deciding.
It feels kind of strange to agree with someone called DC Guy, but I think he’s right that Wacker should get some credit. He’s the one responsible for keeping the narrative steady and consistant from one story to the next, and he’s done an amazing jobe. As DC Guy said, it’s been better than some books with a single writer.

My vote goes to Dan Slott, but I’ve pretty much liked everyone, except for Roger Stern and Zeb Wells.

And I’d love to see what people’s reaction would have been if we didn’t have the disaster that was OMD and the whole retcon thing souring people for the surprisingly good stuff that came later.

Honestly, I’ll say that the run didn’t really sink in for me until Character Assasination. For one thing trading Wells/Gale for Kelly/Waid/FVL was quite a step up and Wells isn’t bad or anything. It’s just a good trade.

For another, that’s when the payoffs of the first year started to hit. Immediately thereafter there was American Son and 24/7 and just a lot of good stuff and now we’re finally getting the big villains back (and kudos to the creative team for showing that sort of patience and restraint).

It really is a team effort though and I find that super impressive.

Slott for the win. The only writer I detested was Bob Gale. Kelley is an amazing writer, but American Son wasn’t great, though I’d blame that on the disconnect between the art and script.

Waid, with out a doubt.

I didn’t bother to vote since I haven’t actually read much of the storyline, but I did pick up 600. And it was so lame, it turned me off of Slott forever. I’m shocked at how many people in this thread have picked him as their fave, but if that’s the case all the other writers must be doing the worst work of their careers.

I’d always been on the fence with Slott. I was perpetually on the verge of dropping Avengers Initiative until Gage took over, and I read one issue of Mighty Avengers after Bendis left and I know I wouldn’t be picking that up anymore. ASM 600 was the final straw, though. I find his dialog so exposition heavy that it’s like he’s still writing for Sonic, or whatever other kiddie comic he did.

I voted Mark Waid initially but I just voted for Van Lente forgetting I had voted.

I think they are my two favorites so far. I loved the Chameleon story and all of the MJ stuff Van Lente has been doing recently, but I really liked the Spider-Man in the subway story too. Those are the two writers that have made me enjoy Spider-Man on a whole different level lately.

I could probably rank the other writers too, but eh, why bother.

And for anyone that said “I would have voted for “none of the above”. I’m pretty sure you don’t really get the concept of “best”?

As much as I hated the just-finished Black Cat arc, I’d still have to go with Kelly, followed closely by Van Lente, who has turned Chameleon and Spot into interesting villains. Still Omar’s point about the lack of ambition in this title is on target. JMS’ run had its problems, but at least he was trying to do something interesting with the character; these days Peter seems pretty two-dimensional, which isn’t a good thing for Marvel’s most compelling character.

Looking at the covers, especially the second one, confuses me. I thought Ultimate Spider-Man was the round-headed one (like Charlie Brown) and the regular Spidey had the more oval head. Nobody uses model sheets anymore, do they?

It’s not actually “Brand New Day” any more – they wrapped that bit up over a year ago!

I don’t know if Brian Reed qualifies for this poll; he hasn’t written Amazing Spider-Man at all,

True, except for the issue of Amazing Spider-Man he wrote.

Seriously, though, he wrote a recent issue with Fred Van Lente.

The other polls were more fun. Are we going to vote on “Who would win in a fight?” next? (Batman vs Captain America? etc, as nauseum, ad infinitum.)

The other polls were more fun.

With all due respect to the fans (and I’m a fan myself of comic books), this whole line of a question just strikes me as something I’d see in BIG BANG THEORY, only not all that funny. The passion about the character, how folks feel about him (Spidey), and who writes him best…I dunno… I just don’t care and that’s my vote.

Like sgt rawk said…who’d win in a fight is as fanboy as it’s gonna get but this isn’t that far off.

Several (hard to believe) years ago I would pontificate ad nauseum online about all sorts of ‘comic booky’ topics and ultimately, the nature of the boards became close to moronic…no,not moronic. Just…common. I just think we’re all better than this.

With all due respect to the fans (and I’m a fan myself of comic books), this whole line of a question just strikes me as something I’d see in BIG BANG THEORY, only not all that funny. The passion about the character, how folks feel about him (Spidey), and who writes him best…I dunno… I just don’t care and that’s my vote.

Is this a really advanced Spam-Bot? If so, kudos you guys, I was THIS close to googling “Big Bang Theory.”

(But then I decided I was OK with my penis size.)

FunkyGreenJerusalem

October 7, 2009 at 7:11 pm

The passion about the character, how folks feel about him (Spidey), and who writes him best…I dunno… I just don’t care and that’s my vote.

Discussing which writers take on the character you prefer is one step above ‘Batman Vs. Captain America’?

That’s absurd.

Aside from She-Hulk, wich i loved, Slott´s Spider-Man and Avengers is really boring.

I voted Van Lente, Waid, Wells and Kelly are good to. The rest… meh

You need to include an option something along the lines of:
“I stopped reading Spider-Man during the cockamamie One More Day storyline.”

I worship Roger Stern and thought Slott did some great work on the series so far, but voted for Fred Van Lente because he actually wrote my favorite arc of late (the Chamaleon one).

And I second the notion that Steve Wacker is the series unsung hero. I thought Spider-Man was coming from fifteen years of almost constant bad stories and the last writer had wrecked the character almost beyond recognition (how could anyone drop comic’s very best supporting cast almost entirely? For the last six years or so Peter’s regular supporting cast had been just his wife and aunt! Not even friggin’ Jameson appeared regularly!), yet Wacker not just pulled the series out of the cesspool but was able to make writers I never really appreciated (like Waid and Kelly) put out consistently enjoyable work.

THAT, my friends, is quite a feat!

Best,
Hunter (Pedro Bouça)

“his whole line of a question just strikes me as something I’d see in BIG BANG THEORY, only not all that funny”

so, JUST like the BIG BANG THEORY. zing!

None of the above for me. There’s no inspiration anywhere to be seen in Spider-Man’s books anymore; it’s all by-the-numbers and hollow. Crap can sometimes be entertaining, but it’s still crap.

I agree with you, Pedro.

The last 15-20 years of Spider-Man stories have been misguided at best and awful most of the time! The current stories, by comparision, are excellent.

I usually respect Omar Karindu’s oppinions, but I found myself amused by what he wrote this time. Is Brand New Day a rehash of early-80s Spidey? Perhaps. But why is that a bad thing? :) The early-80s were the last time I really enjoyed Spider-Man’s comics.

And I also find myself agreeing that the current stories are “what people expect a Spider-Man comic to be,” but again, isn’t that a good thing? It’s Spider-Man’s Spider-Man, instead of the last 2 decades of a hero that never quite felt like Spider-Man.

As I usually say, if the series is supposed to last forever (instead of having a definite ending) it DOES have to be formulaic.

And I frankly prefer a good quality formulaic series than the what he have seen on the last Spider-Man run, where he, ina a space of few years:

- Found out that his origin was mystical, not scientific
- Discovered he is a part of a long superpowered spider “dinasty”
- Fought the now adult children of his former girlfriend and his greatest enemy (what?)
- Died
- Got better
- Changed powers
- Changed uniform
- Revealed his secret identity to the world
- Changed uniform again
- Made a deal with the devil to get rid of his marriage and most of the above (best deal ever!)

This is CHEAP SHOCK VALUE STORYTELLING, for dog’s sake! It is MUCH harder to do straight, high quality conventional Spider-Man comics than this crap. And BND has been doing that with impressive regularity.

I’m impressed that the super-hero comics reading public has became so inbred as to prefer the garbage above to solid conventional storytelling. Outside the US, where there is no direct market, the cheap stunts of the last 15-20 years almost crippled the character’s commercial viability.

Best,
Hunter (Pedro Bouça)

Omar Karindu, with the power of SUPER-hypocrisy!

October 9, 2009 at 7:21 am

The problem isn’t that it’s a rehash of early-80s Spidey, it’s that it’s a rather shallow rehash that misses much of what made that stuff interesting. My major complaint with the current ASM is that Peter is written as an unthinking nitwit rather than the guilt-ridden, overthinking character he was for decades. And most of the other supporting cast members — particularly the love interests — seem to have been stuck with one personality trait each. It’s the plotting style of the early 80s, but no one other than the villain-of-the-arc gets decent characterization.

I disagree about your view of Spider-Man’s characterization.

As for the supporting cast, the writers had to introduce (and reintroduce) A LOT of them since BND because previous writers pretty much ignored them. Some of them got quite a lot of development (Jameson father and son, Harry, Vin Gonzales), others didn’t.

And I think that “…most of the other supporting cast members (…) seem to have been stuck with one personality trait each” applies to pretty much ANY fictional work with lots of characters. The most important, recurrent members of the supporting cast are doing fine.

At least that’s what I think. But then I’ve been reading the book.

Best,
Hunter (Pedro Bouça)

Omar Karindu, with the power of SUPER-hypocrisy!

October 9, 2009 at 8:26 am

I’ve read every issue of BND through #608, at which point I finbally dropped the thing. hat’s what I base my complaints on. I stuck with it, waiting to see what they’d do with the supporting cast and Peter’s characterization, and I’ve been, in the end, disappointed. I even decided to wait and see if the new writers in the “Brain Trust” would shake things up.

They haven’t. Wehave a Peter Parker who’s not so much overcommitted as genuinely inept at both costumed and uncostumed life, a Peter who hops beds in a way he never did in the era we’re supposedly recapturing here, and has three annoying stereotypes chasing after him at once. And prior to this, we had every member of the new supporting cast except Carly burned away for “Charactrer Aassassination;” these aren’t lasting characters, they’re plot gimmicks.

You say supporting cast members “always” get stuck with one-dimensional personality traits? I call BS. This is a title that’s been able to tell stories about Betty Brant, about Glory Grant about Robbie Robertson, many times in the past inw ays that easily demonstrate their mutlivalent and layered character elements. These new characters? A stereotype of a hot-blooded Latina, an annoying reporter who’s meant to be “brassy,” and a Mary Jane whose enture repertoire of behavior consists of eye-rolling. We have idiotic plot devices like the “blindfold” and the umpteenth version of “Kraven has a kid!” And now we’re getting into the mid-1990s desperation of revamping the classic villains, which didn’t stick then either.

You say I’m wrong about the characterization? Other than saying “you’re wrong” and “everyone does it,” would you care to make points or cite specific evidence to back up your opinion?

Omar Karindu, with the power of SUPER-hypocrisy!

October 9, 2009 at 8:33 am

You know, I’ll put it more simply: a lot of the arguments here seem to be defenses of admitted mediocrity rather than genuinely compelling arguments in favor of BND.

Omar, I think what you’re missing in regards to the supporting characters is that because many of them are new, the writers haven’t had a chance to build on their personalities much yet. To compare Norah Winters’ development to Betty Brant, a character who’s been around for 40 years, is completely unfair.

Yet, I’d argue they have shown new sides and depth to the characters. Aunt May’s relationship with JJJ Sr. and her guilt over moving on with her life past Ben’s death I thought was well done, along with Jonah’s feelings about having a new “stepbrother” in Peter has been really fun to read. Yes, Norah is an aggressive personality, but I think they’ve been planting the seeds for an interesting arc with her character due to the events of “American Son”. Lastly, if you read issue #605, I’m amazed you’d assess that Mary Jane’s behavior only consists of “eye-rolling”.

Quite frankly, I assume your criticism is much more based on your nostalgia for the era of Spider-Man you grew up with and enjoyed then it is actual flaws. I think your bring up some good points about Peter’s promiscuity (which isn’t very “responsible”) and his awful decision making. Yet I would argue it’s less about being “inept” then it is that he seem to be thinking with his heart (or another organ I won’t mention) then his brain. It’s different then what we’re used to, but I don’t think it’s a huge stretch and I don’t think it constitutes bad storytelling.

Omar Karindu, with the power of SUPER-hypocrisy!

October 9, 2009 at 11:55 am

JJJ Sr. has been one of the brightest spots of the relaunch, yes, albeit that it’s been at the cost of flattening Jonah back into the rather uninteresting heel he was before Ditko left. But I’m not all that nostalgic for a 1980s Peter Parker, or a 1990s one. I just think that one of the defining elements of the concept of the character — not any given era, but the planks one which the franchise itself rests — is that Peter is very concerned with “Great Responsibility.”

Part of what I see as the current “weightlessness” of the character and his supporting cast is the tendency of the current writing to create wacky situations for the characters that don’t seem organically developed. It’s not that we haven’t gotten the time to develop the cast, it’s that the emphasis on this moment here or that moment there has actively prevented more subtle or smart characterization. My problems with BND aren’t comparative or nostalgic so much as structural and technical issues with the writing. It’s not just unambitious, it’s often actively lazy. It’s not just formulaic, it’s assembly-line formula.

Again, Kelly’s arcs have been the more striking exceptions, along with Waid’s wonderful two-parter introducing JJJ Sr. Those arcs can stand with anything in any other era of the title, so far as I’m concerned. But the rest of the storytelling has been the march of gimmickry over character. I’ve argued elsewhere that this is a general editorial syndrome at Marvel these days for various reasons, but ASM is one of the more blatant hot spots for it. Editorial mandates from the EiC come down, are translated into rather arbitrary plotting limitations, and the result is a title that flashily treads water.

Omar, It’s impossible to argue with you if you distort what I say.

First, I never said you were wrong, jut that I didn’t agree with you. You say that Parker is “genuinely inept at both costumed and uncostumed life”. Well, on the costumed part he was able to defeat two major Norman Osborn plots (on “New ways to die” and “American Son”), mostly with quite smart tactics like the one he used to defeat Bullseye on NWTD or the Venon disguised infiltration on American Son.

The uncostumed life is a different matter, that goes on the essence of the character. You see, Spider-Man isn’t just a character, he is an archetype. He is the super-hero whose life is in constant turmoil due to the fact that he is a super-hero. Change that and he becomes other character. So, when his life is going well he is suddenly thrown on a dimension where time runs differently, making Peter Parker disappear for months, to use a BND example. He can’t have TOO good a life! And that was true even before BND. Married or not, before OMD he had lost his house and had to live with his wife and aunt on the Avengers Tower, had no friends at all, no real job besides “super-hero” and so on. Go to the Stan Lee Spider-Man newspaper strips, where he is married, and he can’t win on those too. That’s part of the character essence! If you can’t accept that, THEN you definitely are wrong and should try reading a comic more appropriate for your age (check out I Am Legion, for example).

On to my second point.

I said, quoting you, that “…most (enphasis on MOST) of the other supporting cast members (…) seem to have been stuck with one personality trait each” and that it “applies to pretty much ANY fictional work with lots of characters”. I stand by it. The series has quite many well defined characters (the Jamesons, MJ, Harry, Vin, even Aunt May has been doing something!), but most are unidimensional because it’s impossible to round EVERY character. Were Rosencrantz and Guildenstern examples of well-rounded characters? Prince Escalus an example of subtle characterization? Mutius Andronicus a multi-layered creation? I don’ think so.

By my experience with your behavior on other threads I doubt I’ll be able to convince you. Or even escape being insulted. But I put my arguments on the table.

Best,
Hunter (Pedro Bouça)

Omar Karindu, with the power of SUPER-hypocrisy!

October 9, 2009 at 3:30 pm

Well, on the costumed part he was able to defeat two major Norman Osborn plots (on “New ways to die” and “American Son”

Well, not exactly, no….in “New Ways,” he didn’t stop Norman so much as survive when Norman attacked him with the Thunderbolts. Freak escaped, and Norman had already gotten anti-Anti-Venom and any number of exclusive disease cures out of him.

And in “American Son,” Spider-Man basically spent the story in chains. Harry beats Norman, not Spider-Man; really, that was kind of the entire point of the story. Even Spider-Man’s internal narration credits Harry.

Other than this, however, his track record as Spider-Man has been overall pretty crappy. He’s failed to capture Doctor Octopus, didn’t accomplish the “bring down Norman” mission he started on in “American Son,” had trouble fighting a completely normal human being in his clashes with Screwball, failed to catch the Chameleon, failed to catch Kraven’s Daughter (and foolishly endangered Vin Gonzalez <Iand potentially Daredevil in the process), wasn’t the one who stopped Menace (and she’s free and ready to have a Norman-baby), saw Jackpot die in front of his very eyes, has consistently failed to stop or even bother investigating Mister Negative after their first clash over 60 issues ago, and seems to have a negligible effect on villainy in his own comics.

Seriously, his two big triumphs have been against Vulture-knock-off-Man and Paper Doll. Quite literally every other adversary has chumped him, and 99% of his foes outright escape. He’s nowhere nearly as successful as any prior iteration of the character in hi superheroing.

The personal life material, conversely, has been dedicated to showing that Peter is apparently a flake…yet a flake to whom a variety of thinly-drawn female characters are rather inexplicably attracted. I could understand this if their reasons for liking him were at all fleshed out, but — particularly with Michelle — I genuinely can’t see why the character’s chasing him except that the writers really loved Three’s Company in the 70s.

Your points ont he supporting cast would be better-appreciated, I think, if we hadn’t been told over and over that Peter’s personal life was what the marriage retcon would allow the writers to address. What we’ve gotten are very generic “girl trouble” plots and secret idenity complications. I really have no sense of who this Peter Parker is as a person. Is he a carefree scamp, an overcommitted doofus, or a man crippled by responsibilities? None of the above, or confusing and contradictory bits of each, so far.

Nor are the supporting characters blanks awaiting further development — rather, they’re single-trait personalities are ludicrously exaggerated. Michelle, again, is the worst of these, but every new addition from Vin to Carlie to Norah seems to show up nearly every issue and fail to develop further. Say what you wan about Rosencrantz, but he wasn’t in every single scene and act of Hamlet…and Sheakespeare killed him off well before the end, come to think.

More damagingly, he doesn’t really seem to react to what should be fairly big life events, except with wry sitcom laffs. The JJ Sr./May thing is the one, shining exception there, but he hasn’t really worried much about anything except the rent where Vin was concerned, and his response to having three women in his civilian life complicating matters is to sleep with a fourth…and a fourth who physically endangers him by her very presence.

Peter may be a bit unsocialized, but he’s not supposed to be self-destructively dumb, surely? Yet this guy seems to make, not honest mistakes, but horribly dishonest mistakes. He’s neither super nor heroic, not even an everyman but rather a sub-everyman.

That’s just not a take on the character I find interesting or compelling, really.

Well, again you are seeing things just from one side. In NWTD Peter couldn’t arrest the vilians (THEY were the law, after all) neither obviously kill them, so beating them was the best he could do – and he did! Do note also that since Norman was needed for Dark Reign he is pretty much untouchable until that storyline ends. Who knows? Might be Spider-Man the guy who finally gets him down.

He WAS the guy who stopped Menace, Harry wouldn’t have been able to do that alone (neither Parker, to be fair). Same for Magma. He also defeated pretty much by himself the Elder God on the snowstorm story (arguably the most powerful foe he faced on BND), not to mention Hammerhead, Moses Magnum and some of the new villians. Mr. Negative is still a running plot, so he won’t be beaten any soon.

As for Parker’s private life, you seem to talk as if he had a lot of love interests, but that’s not what the stories have been showing. Carlie most certainly wasn’t one and the jury is still out on Norah and MJ. The Michelle thing was clearly done on purpose to create conflict – and she didn’t appear to be as much of a pain before it happened.

Now, I’ll give you that she hasn’t been a particularly interesting character until now. Neither was Carlie (to be fair, she was always eclipsed by Lily, a much more interesting character) or Norah. But those are the worst examples out there and they are hardly appearing “nearly every issue”. Carlie simply vanished from the book (maybe the writers noticed she wasn’t an interesting character?) and Michelle and Norah are fairly recent inclusions (replacements for Carlie and Lily?). Vin, which I still think got A LOT of development, is also out, with good reason. No cast member has had the dominating presence MJ and May had before BND, though.

Your main complaints seem to be that Spider-Man doesn’t win every fight, which goes with the character tradition albeit he is having a lower batting average than usual, and that you dislike his potential love interests (you weren’t buying the series on the late 70s, i guess?). That’s fair.

On the other hand, the series recuperated a lot of the former supporting cast and created many new ones, something that just hadn’t happened on the last decade or so, has had quite a lot of interesting and intricate stories, many of them longterm and with satisfactory conclusions (like the whole Menace storyline), has reduced the shock value storytelling to a minimum (which justifies BND just by itself), has been quite a lot FUNNIER than the last 15 years or so (yeah, I know, everyone hates fun) and created a new publication structure for flagship characters that, in my opinion, easily beats the system used in the past which obligated people to buy different books with different creative teams to read a single story. To me those are more than enough merits to consider BND a sucess.

Best,
Hunter (Pedro Bouça)

May I jump into this fight just long enough to say that Pedro Bouca has been absolutely right in everything he has said.

(Sorry for spelling your name with a regular ‘C’, Pedro. I don’t know how to type one with that hook under it.)

ALT+135, Mary. ;-)

Thanks,
Hunter (Pedro Bouça)

Yeah, 9 writers and not one “best Spider-Man story in years”.

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