Tag Archives: comics

Top Ten Smack-Downs Marvel Should Do

Many people have their own preferred Marvel battles, either one-on-one fights or team vs. team battles.  There are very few of these generic battle types that I am especially partial to, but there are several battles in particular that I would enjoy seeing Marvel write up, preferably for a TV screen.

So, without further ado, here they are!

Superman_vs_Thor

(1)  Thor vs. Superman

It may be that this incident has already occurred – I don’t know for certain – but it would be interesting to see just how long the Man of Steel would last against Marvel’s Thunderer.  Some might say I have it in for old Clark Kent/Superman.  All I have to say is, “You say that your character is the best and strongest guy around?  Okay.  Then let’s see your champion beat…him.”

And, yes, I DO have it in for ol’ Superman.  Sorry…no, actually, I’m not.

Hawkeye's New SuitGreen Arrow

(2)  Hawkeye vs. Green Arrow

This is an old fight in some ways; Marvel and DC crossed their respective universes and had their two greatest archers meet during the crossover.  Still, as far as I can tell, the only fighting the two really did was a lot of bickering.

Personally, I would like to see the two duke it out, either competing on a target range or actually fighting against each other.  My money would be on Hawkeye all the way.  When listing his credentials beside Green Arrow’s, one can see the odds are in his favor.  If Marvel and DC would be willing to put these archers in single combat, I would enjoy watching them try to see which one is really the champion of comic-book marksmanship.

Hulk-Vs-Superman6

(3)  Hulk vs. Superman

Now people will say I am trying to get Superman killed.  I admit that I want to see him drubbed, but dead?  I’m not that heartless.  Besides, DC already killed him once.  Maybe they’ve killed him again in recent years; I don’t know for sure.  I don’t keep up with DC comics.  To kill Superman again, however, would be DC’s prerogative.  However, I highly recommend they avoid killing him another time.  It’s pretty sad when a writer is so desperate to sell a story or series of stories that he murders the character(s) several times over.  It’s an unimaginative way to make money; readers soon lose their interest in such stories.  I know I did, and quickly.

Still, I would enjoy seeing how long the perfect, powerful Superman would last against the rage-empowered muscle of the Hulk.  That would be more fun than RAW any day of the week – and twice on Sundays!

Black WidowMystique

(4)  Black Widow vs. Mystique

If there is one Marvel villainess I loathe above the rest, it is Mystique.  This is primarily due to her treatment of Rogue and Nightcrawler, X-Men for whom I developed a soft spot when I first began watching the 1990’s TV series.  That TV show, and subsequent TV series, only further raised my ire against the character.  I would truly enjoy watching her take a beating from one of Marvel’s heroines.

As for choosing Widow to be that heroine, it just makes sense.  Both are assassins, both are well versed in hand-to-hand combat, and deception is their game.  I would be rooting for Black Widow the whole way.  “Paste Mystique!”  “Make pancake batter out of her!”

I despise Mystique.  ‘Nuff said.

Black Widow Madame_Hydra_Viper

(5)  Black Widow vs. Viper

Viper I do not hate as much as Mystique.  On the list of Marvel villainesses I detest, she probably ranks a solid eighth.

However, this all around femme fatale deserves a smack down.  As noted above, the best one to accomplish this beating is Black Widow.  It takes a femme fatale to pulp a femme fatale.  Go Black Widow!!!

Thor vs. Juggernaut

(6)  Thor vs. Juggernaut

I’m pretty sure the Hulk and Juggernaut already went toe to toe, with Juggernaut the loser.  That is no real surprise, considering the Hulk’s strength.  And Big Jug has probably already fought Thor.  Still, that would be a punch-out to watch.

I know that Juggernaut has turned over a new leaf in the comics, but that still leaves the TV screen to host such a brawl.  So, if these two titans could ‘play’ on the tube for five minutes – in cartoon or live action format, I don’t care – that would be fun.

theIncredibleHulkVStheBlob

(7)  Hulk vs. Blob

Every now and again, when Blob is introduced in a new cartoon series, he refers to himself as “immovable.”  Well I, for one, am fed up with that title of his and would like to see what would happen when “The Immovable” meets the “Strongest There Is.”

This battle may have occurred in the comics, but I have yet to see it on film and videotape.  At a guess, I would say that Blob would be very immovable after the Hulk had finished with him.  Oooh, what a fight that would be!

Hawkeye's New SuitDomino

(8)  Hawkeye vs. Domino

Some would say that this isn’t a fair match.  After all, Domino’s mutant power is her probability manipulation, which allows her to hit targets no one else has a prayer of hitting.  Hawkeye is a normal man whose skills are his only ‘power.’

Quite frankly, I think Domino cheats.  She needs her mutant powers to do what Hawkeye has learned to do through years of practice.   Her powers only work when she’s in motion.  Hawkeye would need to catch her unawares to take her down, but he could accomplish it, I think.

So which of them would win – the one with years of practice and natural talent or the one with mutant powers?  For the record, my money is yet again solidly on Hawkeye.

SifThe Enchantress

(9)  Sif vs. Amora the Enchantress

Originally I thought that having the Scarlet Witch face off with the Enchantress would be a satisfying good girl/bad girl smack down.  Thinking it over, though, I realized that Wanda hasn’t got the power quotient or skill to go up against Amora, even with the power boost the Scarlet Witch has received in recent years.

Sif, on the other hand, is Asgardian.  That makes her just as strong as The Enchantress, albeit not a sorceress.  Plus, she and Amora both have a thing for Thor, so letting them duke it out while arguing over which of them likes Thor better would be a good way for Sif to blow off some steam.  Can you say, “Catfight”?  Me-OW!!

CAPVSSUPERMAN

(10) Cap vs. Superman

I can hear the Cap fans now: “Are you CRAZY?!!!?!”  “He’ll kill Cap!”  “Cap would never stand a chance against Superman!”

Now honestly, what kind of Marvel fan would I be if I wanted Cap to lose to Superman?  (And why are you bunch so pessimistic about his prospects?  He’s beaten guys nastier and more powerful than Superman.  Have a little faith, why don’t you?)  As a matter of fact, Steve Rogers is one of my favorite Marvel characters.  And I think he’s far, far better than Superman, who looks about as impressive as a block of wood when someone stands him next to Cap.

However, I was not going to suggest a battle of muscle between Marvel and DC’s respective titans.  I was going to suggest a battle of personalities, of wits, of character, as it were.  It could be anything from Cap and Superman reading the newspaper across from each other to the two of them playing chess.  If I were to write such a scene, I would show Cap and Superman having a conversation during this “idle” moment, in the duration of which Cap would philosophically paste Superman.  Then they would go back to their separate universes and work on saving humanity.  Again.

Now THIS is the smack down I want to see most!  GO CAPTAIN AMERICA!!!

Later,

The Mithril Guardian

http://spinoff.comicbookresources.com/2014/01/25/five-animated-team-up-films-marvel-has-to-make/

Caught

The Wasp

Hello, Marvel Writers!

      (Oh, boy.  Here it comes!) 

Yup, I’m back. 

     (Hide the story drafts!  Call SHIELD!)

Sorry, that’s not going to work.  Pay attention, everyone!  Today’s subject is the rampant paranoia among fans.

    (What?  What does that mean?)

It means that we, the fans, are paranoid about our favorite heroes.  You know what I am talking about – those days when the X-Men or the Avengers charge into a battle and, when they finally pull back, gasping for air, one of them does a headcount and finds someone is missing.

And then it turns out that the missing member of the team is on some infirmary table in the villain’s lair.  Cue the villain of the day’s egotistical bragging and the torture of the captured hero.

Of course, the hero/heroine cannot die, or you will lose their audience.  So the team comes to rescue them, they escape, or they are killed and ‘resurrected.’  Yippee, everybody’s safe….!   Right?

Hmmm….  No, not so much.

These days I, for one, cannot relax after watching an Avenger/X-Man (or any other Marvel hero) get caught by, and then escape from, the bad guys.  Several times a hero has been returned to their friends, or society at large, after being imprisoned by a villain only for something bad to happen when they get back. 

Sometimes it is a few years before the hero snaps; runs amok; gets cloned; or starts acting on pre-programmed villain instructions.  Eventually, one of these events will occur.  Generally it is the snapping story line, where the hero retaliates against the villain, the team, or society because of the treatment they received on the table.  The second most popular storyline is cloning.

Excuse me, but what exactly is the point of this?  It has gotten to be so common a plot point that I am amazed any of the heroes can catch forty winks.  If I was one of them, I would not be able to sleep at all for fear that one of the bad guys would grab me the minute I shut my eyes.

Honestly, fellow writers, this is too much.  How are we or our heroes supposed to function with this fear weighing on our minds every time a new adventure occurs?  It spoils the enjoyment we derive from watching our heroes work if we are always thinking, “Yeah, but Dr. Doom is going to grab [insert the hero of your choice here], experiment on him/her, and then this character will go berserk at some point in a future story.”

Was this the original point behind the heroes getting caught?  No.  The original ideas behind a hero getting caught are, I believe, as follows:

a)  To add suspense to a particular story arc/start a story arc;

b)  To prove the hero’s strength under pressure and pain;

c)  To show how cunning and strong a seemingly flippant or shallow hero actually is;

d)  To flesh out a new villain/hero by showing their motives/hidden virtues;

e)  To prove how deluded a certain villain was and start a plot line where the heroes would eventually bring him down;

f)  To bring a team into a tighter-knit group by having the teammates work to support the physically/emotionally injured hero;

g)  To have a hero conquer his/her inner demons through their own strength of character after being a guinea pig or after being tortured.

These days, imprisoning and experimenting on our heroes is more reminiscent of people playing entomologists chasing down rare butterflies.  Instead of following any one of the above possibilities thoroughly, as someone with any imagination would, you poke at our heroes with needles.  I am more than a little tired of it.  You should be, too.

Why?  Because the more often you use these plots where the hero gets cloned or goes crazy, or somehow snaps at his/her team or at society itself, the more easily the lead up to such a story twist will be recognized.  People will flick through the comic book and then put it back on the shelf, saying, “Seen it.”  The more often you use this plot, the more bored the readers will become, and then sooner or later you will be out of business.  

At which point our heroes will be stuck in literary limbo.

I don’t know about you, but I do not want to see that happen.

So how about pulling the pins out of our heroes and letting them get back to work, as full-fledged heroes who are secure in their self-knowledge, principles, and strength of will? 

I am not saying that you should not test the above qualities in our heroes.  By all means, do it.  Just remember that there is a fine line between testing a character and breaking them.

The fact is that right now, you are breaking our heroes.  A broken engine cannot always be repaired, fellow writers. 

Neither can broken characters. 

Sincerely,

Mithril (A True Believer Caught in between Pandiculaton and Story Paranoia)

A ‘Quake’ing Good Idea

Quake

Hello, Marvel Writers!

I was bopping through the Wikipedia files on our favorite heroes when I remembered a character I’d seen in Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes!  So when I found the episode title and saw one name I didn’t recognize listed, I clicked on it.  That’s how I discovered Quake, a.k.a. Daisy Louise Johnson.

She’s very interesting; a SHIELD agent AND the daughter of a villain (in this case Mr. Hyde).  Adopted (and apparently raised) by S.H.I.E.L.D., she doesn’t seem to have any care for her actual father.  It’s safe to say he doesn’t care about her.

Beating Magneto on her first mission is a major accomplishment.  Too bad she didn’t join the Avengers; she’d make a heck of a teammate!  By the way, who are her adopted parents?  She seems to be so loyal to Fury that she considers him something of a father figure more than a commander.

From what I can see, she’s in good company.  Or at least, she should be.  After all, the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver have a similar story to hers, but so far hers has turned out better.  And so this brings me to my questions, theories, and suggestions.

We’ll start with the questions: Why is she the only really good (recent) character related to a villain to turn into a permanent heroine?

And why don’t the heroes get to have families?

Wanda and Pietro have had repeated relapses into their criminal tendencies.  Nightcrawler has gotten along fairly well, but the same can’t be said of Rogue these days.  Gambit is also zigzagging across ‘state lines.’  Harry Osborn has fallen time and again into his father’s madness, and taken on the costume of the Green Goblin a few times in certain arcs and series as well.

The Prof’s son, David, turned into the villain Legion.  Cable – well, after a while it’s hard to tell which side of the tracks Nathaniel Summers fights on.  Spider-Man’s daughter is dead (I liked the kidnapped story better), and Mockingbird had a miscarriage at some point.  Yet Mr. Hyde, Thanos, and even the Red Skull each succeed in having a daughter.  Can you say ‘unfair’?

Now for my theories.  I think that you guys have Wanda, Pietro, Rogue, and Gambit ‘relapsing’ or going berserk to add pathos to their characters.

Excuse me?  All four are (or were) already trying to shake off the sins of their fathers (or mothers).  Gambit’s ‘father’ was a thief who raised him to use his powers to steal.  Rogue’s and Nightcrawler’s ‘mother’ regularly tries to kill them or ruin the world they live in.  And the Maximoff twins’ father is Magneto, a near genocidal mutant who has killed at least several hundred people.

This earns them plenty of sympathy and reason to run from their past.  The only one who seems to have succeeded, however, is Nightcrawler.

L Face it, sending them straight back into what they are desperately trying to avoid isn’t for the effect of extra tragedy.  It’s to ‘explore’ their psyches and ‘dark sides.’

For the umpteenth time; this is unnecessary!!  They suffer enough even being tied to these people.  Drowning them in their ‘dark sides’ is just to entertain yourselves (you sickos!!!!).

As for not giving anyone but the Fantastic Four and Luke Cage a stable family, I think you haven’t done that for two reasons.  First, you don’t believe the readers and fans want to see the heroes ‘grow up’ and have a family.  Second, you figure there’s no real need for them to have one except as a launch pad for a plot twist (which is why Hawkeye’s family died in the Ultimate Marvel Universe; how else could you make him a suicidal loose cannon?).

Did the relative popularity of the MC-2 universe Spider-Girl teach you nothing?  Obviously, it didn’t.  New York’s favorite Webhead finally gets a chance in that series to be as happy as Reed and Sue Richards, and fans liked it.  They liked it.  Yet our mainstream heroes get slung into the depths of despair and pain for no other reason than it is amusing to you.

So somehow villains like the Red Skull, Thanos, Magneto, and Mr. Hyde get to have children (two of whom, Sin and Nebula, take on the professions of their fathers), but only the FF gets to have a legacy in Franklin Richards and his new baby sister.  Even the Prof doesn’t get to have anyone take up his cause since Cyclops’ fall from grace.  I don’t know where Legion is, but he certainly isn’t a member of the X-Men.

Meanwhile, evil is assured root in the Marvel Universe by the likes of Sin and Nebula, while good wanes as fast as the might of Gondor.

As you may remember, that fictional country’s strength was reinvigorated by the return of the king. When I say this in relation to the comics, I mean the return of hope, common sense, and heroes to their principles once again.

If Spider-Girl was popular once, why couldn’t she be again?  I’m not saying that Spidey has to hang up his costume when/if he becomes a dad; when has Reed Richards?  When has Luke Cage?  Last time I checked, they were still actively serving as heroes after becoming fathers.

I have more examples beside the MC-2 Universe, too.  I haven’t forgotten the Next Avengers’ Universe with James Rogers, Francis Barton, Torunn, Azari, etc.  Fans enjoy those comics, don’t they?  When last I checked, they did.

Just out of curiosity, have you ever tried to find out why they are so liked?

If not, then here’s why I enjoy them: although all our heroes in the Next Avengers Universe are dead (sniffle), all is not lost.  For a while they had a little bit of happiness before they went to the great beyond.  They had children who would be able to continue their legacy.  And watching these youngsters grow up is almost like meeting our favorite heroes all over again.

Throughout their comics’ series, they have made nearly the same mistakes that their parents would have.  They get into similar disagreements or brawls the way their parents did (James and Francis continue to knock heads, as their fathers did before them, over how to win a fight).  They’ve been fostered by Iron Man, just like Myles in Men of Iron was fostered by a friend of his father’s.  This type of story is nearly as old as time.

So despite the fact that these true ‘Young Avengers’ are living in an apocalyptic world without their parents, the driving theme is that they are emblems of hope for their universe.  That’s why I like them.

Okay, so now that I’ve burned your ears off, are you ready to hear the suggestions I referred to earlier?

Well, ready or not, here they are.  Why not let our mainstream heroes wake up from this clockwise nightmare?  Suppose the stories from Disassembled and onward are somehow erased (permanently, please!) or are the result of some sort of ‘dream sequence.’  Then give the heroes a breather for as long as they need it; get them back on their feet, reorient them with each other and with the readers.  (I cannot tell you how old they feel right now, with this constant breakneck pace that’s been running through the comics for the past twenty years.  Giving them a breather would help, oh, so much.  It would take years off them if you just gently applied the brakes and started cruising down the street again.)

And then I would suggest that you let them have what the people they continually fight to protect have – a family.  I would suggest giving them heirs to carry on the mantle at some future time (preferably, a future time that is always one more day away).

Luke Cage is proof this works.  He’s a father and his daughter was kidnapped not too long ago.  They got her back, safe and sound.

Reed and Sue Richards are also proof.  How many times has Franklin been threatened since he was born?  I, for one, have lost track.

These two families are proof that being a family and being a superhero is possible.  A family wouldn’t make a hero ‘grow up,’ they would make them ‘grow out.’  In other words, they would expand their character.

Think of the plots that could come of this, fellow writers!!  Think of the new teams that could be formed this way!!  If there’s to be a band of Young Avengers, it should have at least one or two children of a few actual Avengers as members- in my humble opinion.

You could make Iron Lad (can that name get ‘ironed’ into better shape?) a son of Tony Stark instead of a young Kang the Conqueror.  That would make it less of a headache to keep up with an Iron Lad, as well as explaining how he got the armor.  Cap is definitely a family type guy.  You already know what I have to say about Mockingbird and Hawkeye.  Quicksilver has a daughter, as does Arachne/Julia Carter.  Where are these girls?  And T’Challa needs an heir or the kingship of Wakanda goes to a relation of his when he’s dead.  Storm would make a great mom; she proved it taking care of Shadowcat and other young mutants.

And having Rogue and Gambit finally finish their dance around the Maypole would be a relief.  Jean and Cyke gave up that dance (finally); Rogue and Gambit should be able to as well.

This is not to say I want our heroes abruptly and unceremoniously replaced by their children (if they have any).  All I’m asking is a hint that someday, a day that never really comes, our heroes will have heirs to take their places.  Kings and queens in old folklore had that.  Why can’t our heroes/heroines have that?

I realize that characters like the Hulk and the Black Widow can’t have children.  That’s fine.  Who in the world could replace the Hulk or Natasha Romanoff?  There are also characters I wouldn’t want to see married, let alone parents (I mean Ms. Marvel here; *shiver*).  But it would be nice to see some of the heroes, like Cap, Tony, Spidey, and Hawkeye, get the chance at that happiness.

Why, you ask?  Because the villains shouldn’t get all the perks.  For starters, they haven’t earned them.

The heroes have.

I say – no, I shout – let the heroes go back to having rambling, surprising, fizzy adventures.  Adventures where the heroes are the good guys – period.  Reading stories like Disassembled and Age of Ultron makes me feel a thousand years old; that was never the purpose of our favorite heroes. And I suggest letting Quake, Rachel Carter, Franklin Richards, Nick Fury Jr., etc., have peers.

So this is my challenge to you, fellow writers.  Turn off the overheated engine, the blaring buzz of constant hate and warfare.  Give us some fizz, hope, and freedom.  Give us some expanded characters.

Are you up to it?

Sincerely,

Mithril (A Frustrated, but Eager and Hopeful True Believer)

Spider-Girl

Avengers Assemble!

Marvel's Avengers Assemble!

Heeey, DiNozzo!

Here’s day four of Torture Very Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo Week served up to you on a bright silver platter, DiNozzo!

Come on, Tony! You had to know that I was going to work a Marvel series in here somehow! The only problem was deciding which one it would be. 😉

I’ll admit that this may be a bit of a premature review for a series. Only a few episodes have aired on television. There’s no knowing how high and far the story could go. Not yet.

But you know what? I simply can’t resist talking about it!

All right, so we’ll start with the all important aspect of a story: how it begins.

As first episodes go, Marvel’s Avengers Assemble was pretty good. The two-part opening in May showed the Avengers had disbanded on Tony Stark’s, ummm, order, I guess. Despite this, Tony still keeps an eye on his fellow bachelor Avengers (for some reason he doesn’t keep tabs on Black Widow). Seeing Captain America suddenly losing to HYDRA and the Red Skull, Tony dons his armor and takes off.

Only, it seems, to get in on the fight too late to save Cap from being killed by the Red Skull.

This leads Tony to call the Avengers back together. While Hulk, Thor, and Hawkeye are at first less than thrilled to be back with the guy who so arrogantly broke up the band, the three change their tune when they see Cap’s ‘death.’

The four, of course, head out to avenge Cap by taking down the Red Skull. Widow joins them at the HYDRA base the villain currently calls home, and that’s when Tony discovers (surprise) Cap is not dead. Blasting his way in to get to Cap, Tony is met with a rude revelation: because he is dying, the Red Skull has switched bodies with Cap.

Wait, wait, I’m not finished, DiNozzo! Red Skull’s super soldier serum in this series is incomplete; it can no longer keep the man alive. Cap’s serum is quite complete; it will take a lot more than mere time to do in the First Avenger. That’s why the Skull captured and switched bodies with him.

Quickly incapacitated, Tony and ‘Cap’ are rescued by Iron Man’s secret weapon/new protégé – Sam Wilson, a.k.a. the Falcon.

With the band back together again, the Avengers and Falcon beat Skull and undo the switch. But after the round of pats on the back, the seemingly incapacitated Skull pulls another trick from up his sleeve. Using the machinery in the room they are standing in at the HYDRA base, Skull rips Tony’s suit off his body. He crushes the helmet and deprives Stark of his arc reactor, the only thing keeping the billionaire hero alive.

As the Skull escapes, the Avengers race back to their base to save Tony. They manage it in the proverbial nick of time. However, according to Tony the Skull isn’t going to be a problem anymore. He proceeds to again disband the team. Everyone but Cap and Falcon walks out on him in disgust. Falcon flops onto the floor in dejection because in answering Tony’s call for aid he got fired from SHIELD.

But an attack by the Skull (Hah! Not so defeated after all, Mr. Stark! Hmm, another fat-headed Tony ….) leads to the team having to fight and defeat him again. Beaten twice in one day – ouch. The Avengers’ Mansion is destroyed in the battle and the Skull flees. When the Skull calls on other super villains to form a cabal with him to conquer the world, Tony is finally convinced to keep the team together.

After this decision, Cap nominates Tony for leadership of the Avengers and Falcon is invited to join them. The team’s next step is to set up base in Stark Tower since the Mansion is a wreck. At the end of the show they jet off to China when the Great Wall abruptly stands up and heads for Beijing.

So far the series is doing pretty well. But I do have some questions and observations about it, a few of them less than flattering.

To kick these off, we’ll begin with the disbanding and reforming of the Avengers. Avengers Assemble is supposed to be a continuation of the television series Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes! which ran for the last three or four years. At the same time Assemble is also supposed to capitalize on the 2012 film Marvel’s The Avengers.

Heroes ended with the Avengers as a well-honed, tight-knit fighting team. There was no hint that they were considering disbanding, which makes sense because it was the end of that series and any such hints would only drive fans bonkers. As others have noted, Assemble seems to shadow the 2012 movie rather than its television ‘prequel.’ This is evidenced by such scenes as Cap knocking a punching bag off its chain in the episode ‘Blood Feud’; the Hulk’s statement of “I’m always angry!” in ‘The Avengers’ Protocol, Part 2’; and Hawkeye telling Cap, when ordered to fire on Dr. Doom in ‘The Serpent of Doom,’ “After what he did to me it’ll be my pleasure!” These and other small incidents echo the movie and have nothing to do whatsoever with Earth’s Mightiest Heroes!

Now we come to the characters. For the most part, Iron Man doesn’t feel too changed. After the depth of character Robert Downey Jr. imbued in him, it would be hard to radically alter Tony Stark. But this doesn’t keep Tony’s arrogant and somewhat high-handed leadership style from grating on my nerves every five minutes in an episode’s run.

Ooops, I think I crossed my characters again! Was I talking about Tony Stark or Tony DiN…

Okay, okay! Don’t get mad! Moving on….

Then there’s the Hulk. Unlike the movie, this Hulk speaks in proper sentences. There are also a few added twists, such as the Hulk keeping a spotlessly clean room full of glass figurines no higher than an inch. It seems the new series’ writers want to portray the Hulk as a rather calm nine-foot tall wall of muscle until it’s time to start SMASHING! This dainty portrayal even extends to the Hulk carefully getting himself a PB&J sandwich in ‘Blood Feud,’ and then stealing Justin Hammer’s cocktail in ‘Super Adaptoid’ without breaking the glass.

In all honesty, I don’t really mind this turn of events for the big guy. Ol’ Green could use some quiet moments. I do wonder, though, if the crystal critters may not have been a step too far.

Next there’s Thor. In the two-ipart opening of Assemble I was under the impression that this version of Thor is a bit of a party animal. During the quinjet ride to Avengers’ Mansion, Hawkeye asked Thor what was on the social calendar for Valhalla that night. Thor’s enthusiastic reply was a little too enthusiastic for a minute; I thought he might actually start up a tavern song. Even though the Prince of Thunder sobered in the next few seconds, it hinted at a change in Thor’s proud and regal bearing.

This image of Thor having a “PARTY!!!” motto was emphasized in the third episode, ‘Ghost of a Chance.’ While trying to help Falcon settle in at the Tower, Tony showed him Thor’s room. If it hadn’t been for a sudden noise, the two wouldn’t have been able to avoid Thor as he tumbled to the floor while wrestling his ‘pet’ Bilgesnipe (an Asgardian creature also mentioned in the 2012 movie by Thor). Thor’s obvious lack of concern for his teammates’ near miss was his cheerful statement that they shouldn’t worry about him, as Bilgesnipe enjoyed fighting.

Uh, excuse me? Thor nearly pancaked his team leader and the new kid yet he thinks they’re worried about him? I’d say Tony and Falcon were more worried about what the Bilgesnipe might do to the rest of the Avengers if it ever got out of Thor’s quarters. Not to mention what it might do if it got out of the tower.

There appears to be some hope that Thor is getting a little calmer and more regal. I don’t mind him being jovial, but I draw the line at him behaving as if he’s had one too many gulps of ale while he’s lounging around the Tower.

Next there’s Hawkeye (thank goodness they didn’t put him in that Red Arrow knock-off costume!). While the other three members of the team are the most noticeable for their powers or size (one would have to have severe macular degeneration to miss the Hulk, let alone Thor), Hawkeye manages to retain the audience’s attention. How does he keep himself in the spotlight?

Simple. He runs his mouth.

This is nothing new. Hawkeye was always a talker, even in the original comics. I think this is a way for him to feel as if he’s keeping up with his super-powered teammates. It also distracts his opponents. When they say, “You missed!” after dodging an arrow, they’re jinxing themselves. If they avoided the arrow, then Hawkeye was aiming for something else. So I don’t have too much of a problem with Hawkeye’s constant string of repartee. The rub for me lies in that he seems to have been given the role of team clown.

For instance, do you remember when I said the Hulk was making himself a PB&J sandwich in the episode ‘Blood Feud’? Well, he had the jam and the bread, but some “dead man” had stolen the peanut butter from the fridge.

The so-called ‘dead man’ was in the gym, watching Cap work out while fisting into the peanut butter with his hand. And his name happened to be Hawkeye.

Throughout these episodes Hawkeye has repeatedly fired off remarks or done things which have gotten the Hulk upset with him. While you will never hear me advocate for the World’s Greatest Marksman to go back to the days when he was constantly riding Cap, I don’t think it’s exactly safe for him to ride the Hulk, either. This is also a departure from the friendship Hawkeye and the Hulk developed in Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, but that seems to have no bearing on Assemble.

Next we have Cap. Despite the fact that the two opening episodes feature the Avengers banding together again precisely because of Cap, he remains a background figure. This continues in ‘Ghost of a Chance’ and ‘The Serpent of Doom.’ So far ‘Blood Feud’ and ‘Super-Adaptoid’ are the only episodes which give Cap more than ten lines and the same amount of time in the limelight.

This also ties in somewhat with what I was saying about Tony earlier. Iron Man is not a bad team leader. If he was, the team would have been dead a long time ago. But the most capable leader of the Avengers has always been, and I believe always will be, Cap. Tony’s good, but he hasn’t got the experience that leadership requires. Cap does.

I think this is another indication that Assemble follows the movie more than the TV show Heroes. By the end of Heroes, Cap was team leader for the Avengers. In the movie, Iron Man and Cap were sharing leadership up to a point. For the most part, though, it was Cap who called the shots. Literally. This is what seems to be going on in Assemble, showing once more that Heroes has no actual bearing on the new series.

Now for Sam. Falcon is, according to some, supposed to be the “eyes and ears of the audience.” In ‘Ghost of a Chance,’ Falcon indeed serves this purpose by finding his way around Avengers’ Tower and stopping the Space Phantoms from invading Earth. But in episodes like ‘The Serpent of Doom’ and ‘Blood Feud,’ he’s the nearest thing to a go-fer the Avengers have ever had. In ‘Blood Feud,’ he’s also the one who predictably falls into the trap of trying to answer a plea for help, only to get caught for his troubles.

It’s a characteristic mistake in film and television, one the rookie always makes. But it would be nice to see at least one rookie, particularly one as bright as Falcon, not fall into that trap for once.

As for the Black Widow, she is present sporadically throughout the aired episodes. She was there for the team in ‘The Avengers’ Protocol, Parts 1 and 2,’ ‘Ghost of a Chance,’ ‘Hyperion,’ and ‘Molecule Kid.’ But in ‘Blood Feud’ she showed up under the control of Dracula.

I know. I’ll get back to the lead vampire in a minute.

Because Widow is supposed to be an Avenger “when she wants to be, and ONLY when she wants to be,” I wouldn’t expect her to be a regular in the show for the first season of the series. This means that she won’t get too much character development initially. But her girlishly pitched question, “Oh my gosh, am I a vampire?!?” in ‘Blood Feud’ was rather revealing because it proves she can be frightened. That’s a plus.

In a way, having Widow as an on-and-off member makes sense. To the Black Widow, espionage is as essential as oxygen. If she stops spying it’s because she’s dead. She has never stopped her espionage work in Marvel history, despite joining up with other heroes and teams several times. Bred and trained to be a spy she will never aspire to be anything else, not even something as prestigious as an Avenger.

Okay, okay, now we’ll go back to Dracula. When he got added to the Marvel roster of villains I don’t know. I would guess he’s been around as long as Blade the vampire hunter. I’m sorry, but when you’re going to Bram Stoker for a bad guy you’ve either run out of imagination or are following a ‘trend.’ Worse, you could be doing both. In my opinion Malekith or the Kingpin would have been better additions to the Cabal line-up than ol’ fanghead, but that probably won’t happen. Not any time soon, at least.

The other observations I have about the series have left me with questions. Lots of them.

In the first two episodes the audience is never told why the Avengers disbanded. How Marvel is going to twist an answer out of pAssemble’s supposed combination of the 2012 movie and Heroes I don’t know. But it better be good, or they’ll be hearing from yours truly.

In those same episodes our two ‘master assassins’ leave us perplexed on several counts. First, Hawkeye is shown standing in front of a statue in the Avengers’ “Hall of Fallen Heroes” (pardon my naming it as such). The statue’s features aren’t clear but it appears to be a woman’s likeness. Is it a statue of Mockingbird? Does that mean she’s dead in this series, or that everyone thinks so? Or was he just standing in a convenient place to think/reminisce?

In a small tussle in ‘The Avengers Protocol, Part 2,’ Widow and Hawkeye both accuse the other of being a traitor. Why? Why did they make these accusations? Does Widow feel betrayed because Hawkeye left SHIELD? Does Hawkeye feel betrayed because she didn’t follow him out of SHIELD? Or is the answer something totally different?

(If the writers start a romance up between Widow and Hawkeye, they’d better be ready to hear from me. Remember my post ‘Romantic’ Tension?, DiNozzo, and you’ll know what I mean.)

What made Tony disband the team in the first place? Where did Falcon come from, and why did Iron Man choose to mentor him? If some big calamity made him split up the Avengers, it would stand to reason Tony wouldn’t abruptly do a one-eighty and suddenly decide to teach Sam to be a superhero.

Why is Hawkeye riding the Hulk? Where has Thor been? Why is Cap so reticent? This is definitely another nod to the movie, as Heroes saw Cap completely at ease with the 21st century and his team by its end episode. Assemble shows him still acclimating to a time gap, as mentioned (several times) in ‘Super Adaptoid.’

Why is Widow watching the Avengers? What does Fury fear they’re going to do that he has his best agent working with them? Odds are that every fight she participates in, Widow writes a report about it that lands on Fury’s desk promptly afterward. Any fight she merely observes probably gets the same treatment.

The Avengers have to be aware of that. Hawkeye should suspect it since he once worked with her. Why are they still letting her be a part of the team? Do they trust her implicitly or are they watching Fury watch them?

There’s still time for these questions to be answered. The series is just starting.

Yes, Tony, I’ll be watching it. And Marvel better remember that, because if I don’t like something, they’ll be hearing from me about it.

Anyway, that’s my take on Avengers Assemble. It has potential, and I am looking forward to seeing where it goes. But don’t be surprised if I bring it up again in a few months or so. More episodes will have aired, and I will probably want to talk about them.

After all, I am pretty heavily invested in Marvel characters.

See you around, DiNozzo!

Later,

Mithril

Assembled

Age of Despair

Assemble!

Hello, Marvel Writers!

As you know, in my last letters, I have asked continuously why certain things have been done. Why the heroes have made oddball decisions; why they’ve been torn apart and rebuilt; why they have lost all common sense. I am now leaving the so-called ‘Why Phase’ behind. Now I am going to supply my own answers to the why. If I’m wrong, feel free to correct me.

But I don’t believe I am wrong, fellow writers. Here are my answers:

The reason that you disassembled the Avengers in the story arc by the same name was the same reason that DC attempted to kill Superman. Heroes weren’t heroes, or clear cut good guys, in anyone’s opinion anymore. They couldn’t be trusted to stand for righteousness and the greater good. If no one in reality could, then why ‘spare’ the superheroes and heroines of your fiction?

Iron Man disbanded the Avengers because he had been in the worst, most heart wrenching battle of his life. No one could make him stay. Once he quit the others would follow, albeit reluctantly, since he was one of the pillars of the team. Oh, and those times he had quit the team previously, when he was having a seriously rough day? Those were the times when Cap (or someone else) led the Avengers until Tony felt up to coming back or he was desperately needed. No one would remember those incidents. Disassembled would make them forget.

You decided that having Mockingbird divorce Hawkeye and sending the archer on a dating spree afterward would be fine. After all, thousands of other people do it. So why should this be different in the fictional world?

And as for all the other romances and implied flings, it’s no secret that Hawkeye was an incurable flirt prior to marrying Bobbi. No one would care if he dated Echo and Spider-Woman. He’d already had a fling with Moonstone, after all. There’s not much farther one could fall after that.

At least Echo and Spider-Woman fight on the side of the Avengers. That was a small consolation. And I mean very small.

Some of you might say, “What about Cap? He hasn’t gone into the drain pipe along with a lot of other characters.” That’s an easy enough question to answer. Cap’s nearly incorruptible as a character; if anyone tried, there would be a massive outcry from the fans. You can kill almost everyone else in the Marvel Universe twenty times over and turn them insane as a result, and no one will complain too loudly.

But if you lay a finger on Cap’s character, or try to pervert him in any overt way, ninety percent of Marvelites will have a tantrum fit to rock the world. So since he’s as nearly untouchable spirit-wise as a character can be, the only things left to do to him are physical: death, shape change (with unnecessary disgusting results), and a rest period. And even that has to be temporary. Otherwise, Marvelites rise in a furor and you lose their business.

As for the X-Men, since Wolverine has become popular over the past few years, the best way to make the X-Men comics sell better was to give him a more prominent role on the team. The most important part of any team is the position of leader. Cyclops was everyone’s idea of the X-Men’s best field commander; especially when the Professor somehow divorced himself from his principles (he’s dead now, too, so it would be hard to change that). On top of this, Magneto had (finally) been reformed and saw things the way the X-Men did.

But that robbed the X-Men of their greatest nemesis. Well, since you wanted Wolverine in the spotlight and needed a new archenemy, why not kill two birds with one stone, and have Cyclops turn away from his responsibilities to take Magneto’s place as the most dangerous mutant alive?

Except, given her history, Jean wouldn’t stand for such a decision on Scott’s part. So she ended up dead – until she was needed at some point in a typical apocalyptic X-Men future. Still, this left Cyclops without a partner. The partner would have to be telepathic to continue the dynamic fans were familiar with when Jean and Cyke were still together. That left the cold-hearted, ever shifty Emma Frost to be Scott Summers’ next partner prior to his downward spiral. It’s beginning to look more and more like a perfect match the farther down the road Cyke goes, too.

Then there were the wars between heroes, starting first with Civil War and heading into Round Two with Avengers vs. X-Men. Fans have speculated for years about which heroes are more powerful than others. So far, I’d say the Hulk outdoes everybody; the next strongest would be Thor (though he has had a lot of punishment from the Hulk previously). Ben Grimm would come in a solid third (no pun intended).

So who would win in battle between each other, Cap or Iron Man? Hawkeye or the Wasp? The Thing or Namor (who does NOT qualify as a mutant)? Wolverine or Cyclops?

The Marvel Universe was torn up to answer these inane, inconsequential questions. If people wanted to see which heroes are stronger than which, it would have been better to do what Legolas and Gimli did in The Lord of the Rings; have a contest to see who could take down more bad guys faster, better, etc. There’s also the idea of ‘play fights,’ where camaraderie is at the heart of the duel. There wouldn’t be any real need for the Hulk or Thor to hold back in such a fight; it would just be pure fun for the two of them. That would be better than watching great allies and, more often than not, great friends, trying to knife each other or blast the other to atoms.

As for bringing back the Phoenix Force and writing up another Summers’ child (is she Jean’s and Cyke’s daughter, or is she Cyclops’ and someone else’s? I still don’t have that straight) as a so-called ‘Phoenix Messiah,’ that was just to get the ball rolling for another superhero war. This one was to answer the question of whether it was the X-Men or the Avengers who were the stronger team. Considering the X-Men were split nearly down the middle, it wouldn’t be hard to have the outcome be the Avengers. (On a side note, naming the ‘Phoenix Messiah’ Hope was a lame idea. Rachel and Nathaniel Summers are stronger names.)

You disbanded the espionage agency S.H.I.E.L.D. because spy stories were ‘so last century.’ SHIELD may not be high in anyone’s esteem for its espionage work, but it was the eyes and ears for several of the heroes and several of the teams. Without the agency, the heroes are left flying as blind and deaf as a plane with no radar and a dead radio. Any information that SHIELD could give them about their enemies or potential threats is now gone. Any villain they capture is no longer taken care of by the moderately able organization (it is hard to imprison determined super villains, after all).

Of course, I’m sure you didn’t really mean to do that. Just the price of literary trends, after all; reason is always first under the bus.

Then there are the Marvel Zombies and Ultimate lines. The zombies were to capitalize on the undead mania that swept the world during the nineties and early twenty-first century. And while it is still going today, it has lost some momentum. I hope it runs completely out of steam; I’m fed up with it. Same plots, same endings, same hopeless situation for the protagonists in every story. And, oh yeah, everybody dies at the end. How BORING.

The Ultimate series was written to exploit the heroes hitherto non-existent ‘Dark Sides.’ You couldn’t use the ‘mainstream’ comics for this; there was too much history for the heroes there. If they all suddenly turned into psychotic flirts and murderers, fans would be furious (rightly so) and retaliate. So a spin-off series was devised for the ‘Ultimate’ stories, which are the equivalent of mad scientists cooking up monstrosities in the basement of a dark, dank castle. Every Ultimate version of a Marvel character is as gross and perverted as Igor and the monster of Frankenstein legend.

So, am I right about these answers to the ‘Why,’ fellow writers? I think I am.

This is a crime all the way through. The heroes do not deserve this; we, the fans and readers-in-passing, do not deserve this negative nonsense shoved down our throats in nearly every issue. Heroes are not meant to have ‘dark sides’ that can explode at the flip of some invisible switch at your fingertips, which makes you cackle with glee. We’re not laughing at the changes the switch shows off. Neither should you, and this is why.

When you drop a hammer, do you need to watch it to know it falls? When it rains, do you go out with a watering can and pour water on the flowers in your garden? When you write, do you use a spoon to put down the words?

When a hammer falls, it makes a noise on contact with the ground. When it rains, the flowers are being watered. When one writes, they use a pen, pencil, or a keyboard.

Heroes are like hammers, heroes are like the rain, and heroes do not change their attitudes or beliefs for anyone or anything. Sometimes their allegiance changes, yes; but only when the organization they gave it to is no longer worthy of their loyalty.

Heroes have doubts. Heroes have flaws. Heroes get into disagreements with each other. They have tempers. They make mistakes. But they do not become psychotic killers at the drop of a hat; they do not attempt to kill the friends and teammates who have saved their lives countless times in countless different scenarios.

Heroes do not have spontaneous flings that stop almost as fast as they start. If they fall for someone, something really drastic has to happen to change their mind about them. Caring is not an on/off switch or a toy to a hero.

Heroes are grounded in the principles of right and they have what the bad guys don’t have.

They have people in their lives that they care about: wives, husbands, children, siblings, friends, girlfriends/boyfriends, fiancés, colleagues, parents, etc. They see ordinary people struggling who care about their families and friends, too. And since they have the power to help them, they fight the villains who would make the struggle worse for these everyday people.

The villains don’t have that. When was the last time Dr. Doom, Apocalypse, Kang, Mr. Sinister, or any of the other villains, truly cared about anyone but themselves? If they did, even for a little while, they would have stopped trying to take over the world or stopped trying to destroy it. Even when they said they loved someone, they didn’t stop their plans. They went ahead with them. That’s what makes them evil.

It is this foundation in the principles of right that makes heroes good.

This is how and why fans, readers, and viewers connect with Marvel Heroes. This is what makes the characters great.

And this is what you have been ripping out of them for the past twenty years.

Sincerely,

Mithril (An Angry True Believer)

Villains

Trickshot (Barney Barton)

Trickshot (Barney Barton)

Hello, Marvel Writers!

Have you noticed how certain villains never seem to take a break in the Marvel Universe?  Dr. Doom is always a neat bad guy to have the heroes fight; there’s almost nothing scary he can’t dream up.

Others, well, not so much.

For instance, let’s take a look at Henry Pym’s self-adapting, berserk-o android Ultron.  I have to admit, it’s a pretty good bad guy.  Very like the Cylons in Battlestar Galactica, it wants to wipe out humanity; especially the Avengers and specifically Henry Pym.

Not a bad back story.  But can’t it have a rest for a few years?  Right now, Ultron has sent his androids from the future (isn’t that Kang’s bailiwick?) to finish off humanity.  From what I’ve read, he’s done a pretty good job, though it won’t last.  Somehow or other the whole attack is going to get nipped in the bud, the world will go back to the way it was, and Wolverine and a few of the other heroes are going to be the only ones who recall what Ultron almost succeeded in doing.  And then, of course, some other universe-shattering disaster will occur to keep the heroes strained to the breaking point.

I’m sorry; but this is a tired plot.  Pardon my pandiculation.

The same goes for Kang, the Conqueror.  The guy rules the fortieth century and can’t keep his greedy mitts off of ours, whether it’s the twentieth century or the twenty-first.  He has tech beyond even Tony Stark’s most delicious dreams, yet he can’t defeat one little band of determined ‘primitives.’  Way to go, Avengers!!!

Still, it’s a little tiresome right now to have them dodging the futuristic emperor of a galaxy only their farthest descendants will know.  Does he have to keep coming back right now (literally)?

I for one am fed up with the Phoenix Force coming to harangue the X-Men, and now the Avengers, over and over again.  Give it a rest, please!!!  The Phoenix is almost as trite an enemy now as a simple bank robber.  We’ve seen enough.

There are better villains to throw at the X-Men.  I am really, really tired of the Phoenix Force.

Apocalypse and Mr. Sinister have also lost their edge.  Apocalypse has nearly the same m.o. as Kang and Ultron while Mr. Sinister is trying to outdo Dr. Frankenstein.  These guys, apparently, never think that they’re stretching themselves too thin.  But there’s literally nothing new in the plots that have the X-Men or members of the team facing off against either of them over some diabolical plan they haven’t already tried in past arcs.  Why not send them to the beach to catch a few rays and give the heroes a few years’ breather?

As for Norman Osborne – why isn’t he dead now?  Or at least in an insane asylum?  I know he makes a great Green Goblin, but he’s gotten awfully tedious.  Retiring him for a few years and giving the suit to some other villain (preferably not to Harry Osborne, poor kid!) would be a refreshing twist.

Can some other, less used villains, get a chance back in the limelight for a few years?  Ultron, Kang, the Phoenix, Apocalypse, Mr. Sinister, and Norman Osborne have been used so much lately that they’re downright boring.

What about Trickshot, Atlas, Moonstone, and the other evil members of the Thunderbolts?  They could make an entirely new cabal of villains who would at least give the heroes some exercise.  It would be interesting to see the Cain/Abel relationship between Trickshot and Hawkeye developed a little further; the World’s Greatest Marksman is definitely hurting from his brother’s change of heart.  Having him and Mockingbird go up against Barney Barton would be exciting; it could certainly re-launch their romance.

What about the Shadow King?  Isn’t he still floating around somewhere?  It’s been a while since Deathbird dropped by the X-Mansion, too (guess she’s still embarrassed about being defeated by a lone archer when the entire team of X-Men had trouble thwarting her).  Juggernaut’s been away for some time, as have Toad, Blob, Avalanche, and Pyro.  Now those guys knew how to wreck stuff!

Doc Ock is currently residing in Spider-Man’s head.  How soon can we have him back in tentacles trying to shish-kabob the Wallcrawler, and getting webbed up for his pains?  The Kingpin’s been laying low these days, too, as have Spidey regulars Hobgoblin, Electro, and the Lizard.

Did Venom and Carnage finally leave on a rocket into deep space?  Those two gave Spidey a run for his money, and it wouldn’t be hard for them to do it again.

Then there’s the Red Skull, the Mandarin, Baron Zemo, Zodiac, Red Hulk (who really, really shouldn’t be an Avenger), the Scorpion, the Grizzly, the Rhino, Sandman, Crossfire, the Ghost, Mystique – when can she, Rogue, and Nightcrawler have another hash-out fight?  It’s been some time since they did that.

Where have Loki, the Enchantress, and Skurge been?  And the Kree?  Then there’s The Leader, Crimson Dynamo, and the Abomination.  Are they all on vacation in the Bahamas?

The Serpent Society and the Wrecking Crew could do with some attention.  It would be interesting to see Natasha Romanoff facing off with her ex, Alexai Shostakov (a.k.a. the Red Guardian turned ‘new’ Ronin).  Mole Man is still alive, isn’t he?  Even if all he did was give the FF a case of the giggles, it would be nice to see him again.

The heroes don’t need ‘shaking up,’ fellow writers.  If anything, they need a breather.  Sending the less-than-Earth-shattering villains to harass them would be a nice change of pace.  Who knows, maybe it would be just as exciting as watching the big guys who’ve been hounding them.

Sincerely,

Mithril (A Bored, Tired, and Troubled True Believer)

All Webbed Up

Spider-Man

Hello, Marvel Writers!

Amazing!  Spectacular!  Scarlet!  Iron!  Superior!  Ultimate!

How many other superlatives are going to fit in front of Spider-Man?  Personally, I was quite satisfied with ‘amazing.’ 

Adjectives aside, Peter Parker’s life has hit the ditch.  He and M.J. are no longer married (why?), Aunt May has gone and married J. Jonah Jamieson (!! 😛 !!!), and recently, Doc Ock took over Spidey’s body and appears to have killed him.

That’s not going to last, I’m sure.

I don’t know about anyone else, but I really liked the thought of ol’ Webhead and Mary Jane getting married.  You say you guys split them up because she was more of a confidante for him.  What better confidante can he have other than a wife?  After all the pain he’s been through (and continues to endure), the unluckiest hero’s personal life was at least looking a little brighter than it had previously while he and M.J. were together.  He deserved it, I believe; especially when everyone else in his life was getting battered to pieces. 

I’m talking about Norman Osborne, who refuses to leave for the great beyond. Harry Osborne – I don’t even know what’s happened to him lately, other than he’s been killed and brought back to life.  Flash has suddenly become a double amputee. Aunt May has married J. Jonah Jamieson (fixing her up with Phil Coulson was less disgusting).  And Madame Web is dead, with former super-heroine Arachne taking her place (and what about Arachne’s daughter?  NCIS isn’t a nursery, after all).

With all this going on, it’s a wonder Pete’s not in hiding.  Not to mention his new responsibilities as an Avenger, and he’s not on the best of terms with several of his teammates right now.

It’s like Spidey’s whole world – not to mention the world of all the other super heroes – has spun out of orbit (oops, pardon the pun).  His life’s begun pinballing in a thousand different, crazy, illogical directions all at once. 

What happened, not just to Spidey, but to all the heroes?  Everything was going just fine, and then some sort of crazy bomb went off and the Marvel Universe was torn to tatters.  Friendships broke, characters were shattered, disasters erupted, and all the good guys suddenly developed nearly psychotic dark sides that they can’t seem to keep in check.

Real life doesn’t work like that.  People don’t just abruptly cut loose into insanity en masse.  If they did, we’d be in the middle of a Zombie Apocalypse right now.  Why should the Marvel Universe suddenly develop this unreasonable tilt to its axis?

Yes, I know our Webslinger is traditionally thrown into the meat grinder.  He really ought to be inducted into the “Most Tortured Superhero” Hall of Fame.  That’s not the issue here.  The problem is that this isn’t the meat grinder; this is the shredder.  Spider-Man and many others are being shredded and then taped back together improperly.

They don’t deserve this.  More importantly, the fans and readers-in-passing don’t deserve this.  It has got to stop, and soon, or the Wallcrawler and several of his contemporaries are barely going to be salvageable.  Spidey’s too good to die off completely in the hearts of fans.

That doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll be remembered well once the shredder has been unplugged and he’s been put back together.

Sincerely,

Mithril (A Troubled and Frustrated True Believer)