Jun 152006

It’s a Marvel : Spidey UnmasksL.A. Times (Registration Required)

You know, I’ve ranted here about the changes they have made to the Spider-Man mythos before, but this? This takes the fucking cake. Yes, this is even worse than killing him and brining him back from the dead with new powers and giving him an Iron-Spider costume. This is worse than the clone saga.

This…this is just crap.

One of the key elements of the Spider-Man character is the fact that he is, first and foremost, Peter Parker. He puts on a costume and becomes Spider-Man, but it is not who he is. Bruce Wayne? That’s a mask. Clark Kent? Mask. Logan? Mask. Most heroes have a secret identity so they can go out among the world as normal everyday joes, but most of their lives are defined by the fact that they ARE a hero. Peter Parker? He IS a normal, everyday Joe. He’s got a job and a family. He has to sew his own costumes. He has to pay the rent and get to his classes on time. Spider-Man is, more often than not, an obligation to him – and one that causes him no small amount of distress as he attempts to juggle these things.

There have bee numerous occasions where he could have used his powers to make his life easier. He was offered a permanent position with the Avengers, along with a fat paycheck, but he turned it down. Why? Because he would have been required to reveal his secret identity. When the Fantastic Four helped him get rid of the alien symbiote, he went through great efforts to hide his face from them and went home wearing a PAPER BAG on his head (and a “Kick Me” sign on his back, courtesy of Johnny Storm).

I agree with Mr. Quesada when he says that there are many story possibilities in this move, and I’ll even concede that some of them will be good ones. There will be the “revenge” storylines (but many of them will be less effective because not only does Aunt May know who he is, she lives in the Fantastic Four building with him and his wife, Mary Jane). It will be interesting to see how people like J. Jonah Jameson, Harry Osborone, Robbie Robertson, and Betty Leeds respond. Once those plot lines are resolved, though, what do we have left? Another Super-Hero. No longer will there be the back story of Spidey trying to juggle his secret identity with his role as Spider-Man. He’ll live in his Fortress of Spidertude and venture out to battle evil wherever it strikes.

Great, just great.

Spider-Man comics have always been the story of a man trying to cope with the responsibility of having great power. This move, I fear, will remove that crucial part of the character and make him just another guy in tights.

And that’s a damned shame.

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