Wednesday, May 13, 2015

31 Days of Comics: Day 13 – A Great Plot Twist

ROB'S NOTE: May has become the go-to month of the Comic’s Industry (even though National Superhero Day is late April, but whatever… Congress… pshaw).  It is when Marvel drops their big movie of the year.  May also sees the annual Free Comic Book Day celebration take place on the first Saturday of the Month, so I hope you all got to check that out.  May also has 31 days of the month so what better way to celebrate the wonderful world of sequential art with the 31 Days of Comics?

Seth Hahne, who runs the blog GoodOkBad, has put together the 31 Days of Comics challenge.  A daily challenge in which you are given a category and you have to fill it with a comic that you think fits it the best.  You’re all on the internet, I shouldn’t have to explain it to you.  For the rest of the month I will be taking this challenge.  It is my hope it encourages others to make and share their own lists either in the comments here or on their own websites.  The sharing not only might turn comic fans on to works they have yet to sample but maybe catch the eye of a few non-comic fans and highlight the diversity of the form. 

Out prompt for Day 13 is "A Great Plot Twist"

The Amazing Spider-Man #700 "Dying Wish"
Written by Dan Slott
Pencils by Humberto Ramos and Richard Elson
Inks by Victor Olozaba
Colors by Edgar Delgado and Antonio Fabela

DIEGO'S NOTE (PLOT TWIST): For this edition of 31 Days of Comics, I, Diego Crespo, will be taking over for Rob in a plot twist of our own! My pick is a reflection on everything that came after and a re-evaluation of the original text. It will also make the less open minded fanboys mad. Fuck it, if you're willing to give this series a shot, you won't be disappointed. 

Superior Spider-Man is the best thing to happen to Spider-Man since Spider-Man: Blue (aka the best Spider-Man comic). The comics revolving around the big 2 companies (DC + Marvel) is the stories never really give their creators room to breathe. The writing may be good, sure. But there's rarely a comic series that feels like it's playing outside the box of editor demands. What I love about Dan Slott's run on Spider-Man (still going strong) is it's one of the few mainstream titles that isn't just a good read, it's redefined the character for a modern era. He's the only writer who's fully cracked the code on writing an adult Spider-Man as he continues to struggle into adulthood.

But what Slott did with the last few issues of Amazing Spider-Man are more than just a look at what Peter Parker means to people, it's a deconstruction of the famous line, "With great power, comes great responsibility."

After a dying Doctor Otto "Octopus" Octavius swapped bodies with Peter Parker, the nefarious villain finally defeats our hero (classic Parker luck, ain't it?). Peter Parker is dead but not before leaving Otto with an understanding of what Spider-Man is. Like Inception, the ideals of Spider-Man have been successfully implanted into the mind of Peter's second-best villain.

Fans were outraged with some even sending death threats (go fuck yourself if you did this). I still know people who won't even touch this 31-33 issues of Spider-Man's run. To be honest, I wasn't happy about it either. It's not like it was the first time Spider-Man died (and how many love interests have died for the sake of his man-pain?) but this one felt different. It felt final.

A few issues of Superior came out and I was told from a good friend how great the writing was on the series. But Peter Parker was dead, so why should I care? I was morbidly curious and asked if I could borrow the first volume.

Fuck. Me. Silly.

Slott's Spider-Man run had been good, borderline great, with a few lulls here and there. Superior Spider-Man is like the equivalent of Breaking Bad for comics. Bad people are being bad. Good people are being hurt. And Otto is just trying to be the best Spider-Man he can be. It's a beautifully constructed disaster of an arc that will live beyond original infamy.

I know I just spent most of this choice talking about everything that came AFTER issue #700, but it's necessary. After seeing Slott's analysis of what great power/responsibility mean to a man who spent his life as a villain, it all fit into a bigger picture for me.

A revaluation of the final run on Amazing wasn't an option. It was mandatory. Lo and behold, it all fit perfectly. A tragic puzzle piece revealing a painting of beautiful thematic webbing. Killing off Peter Parker in the 616 universe was the best decision Dan Slott could have made.

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