Wednesday, July 05, 2006

COMICS: The Identity Crisis for the Webslinger is Over...

...Or is it just beginning? For the past forty plus years Ole Peter Parker has enjoyed the freedom of his secret identity. If things got too hot for Spidey, then Peter would just put him away in his sock drawer, unfortunately he doesn't have that luxury anymore. The second issue of Civil War ends with Spidey unmasking revealing to the world that he is Peter Parker. The after effects of this event can be read on the pages of Amazing Spider-Man, issue 533. I read the Civil War issue as well as ASM 533 and I'm pretty undecided on whether this unmasking is such a good idea.

The stakes have been raised; Spidey/Peter is now more vulnerable than ever. His wife, his aunt and his friends (that aren't supers) are all at risk. This is how Spidey's life is anyway, so I think it's great that they are giving him real issues to deal with; and as everyone knows the best stories about Spidey are when he is in considerable danger. Ironically this will mirror his counterpart from the pages of Ultimate Spider-Man; every villain in that book seems to know who Spidey is anyway. I think you'll be able to complicate the swimming pool better now that villains like Doc Ock, Electro, Vulture, Scorpion, Chameleon, Hydro Man and not to mention his greatest rival J. Jonah Jameson who practically had an aneurism as he was watching the unmasking unfold on television. The part I think I am enjoying the most is the reaction from Norman Osborn the original Green Goblin; he was pissed when he found out saying that Peter was breaking the rules, interesting. Norman of course has known for years that Peter is Spider-Man and he has held Peter's head to the fire by threatening to expose his secret. I can't wait for this battle royal between Gobby and Spidey. I can already see that they are going to be putting the screws to Spidey very soon, especially if you've seen that cover of Spidey getting thrashed by all of his worst villains. I say bring on the blood.

On the other hand this revelation could also be the beginning of the end for this most beloved Marvel superhero. Spider-Man, Peter Parker's ability to be a phenomenon in public as a masked superhero at the same time, when the mask comes off, a mild mannered, broke photographer who could hardly be noticed by anyone. This everyman quality is what makes Spider-Man so endearing, this is how he is relatable to you and me. He does his own laundry, he sometimes cannot pay his rent, and he struggles like many of us just to get by in New York besides fighting super villains that want to kill him. Look at him now, he's an Avenger and he gets free room and board at the luxurious Avengers Tower. Now that he has revealed who he is, his life may be more at risk, but that means he is now an official celebrity with and without the mask. So his everyman status has now been revoked. Sure he may have newer more complex problems with his assorted villains, but there is another thing that was so great about Spidey that has been totally forgotten. His Loner Status. This guy has never had a stupid kid sidekick, he may have been the kid his entire career but he never played second fiddle to any hero I've ever seen, until now. Spidey has been adopted by Tony Stark (Iron Man) and he tends to call him boss, this is not a good sign. Spidey has teamed up with many heroes over the years but until recently he has never officially been on a team. That's what gives him that charm of one man with his back against the wall, who has to fight everyone by himself. This is Spider-Man at his finest and it doesn't look like we will be seeing that Spidey anytime soon, or maybe ever again.

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