Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Brand New Day - Two Years Later

Today we'll quickly look over the last two years of Spider-Man under the editorially-mandated "Brand New Day" which saw Peter trade his marriage to the Devil and a whole new status quo, which is really just the early 1980s status quo. I'm just going focus on a few facets of the stories as they were presented and reactions.

-Jackpot: Holy Hell was this an epic clusterfuck. A "mystery" with no real clues, and a solution that left me going "Who cares?" rather than "Ok, that's cool".

-The Parker Luck: I think the writers are confused by this one - it's not that bad shit happens to Peter because bad shit happens to him or it's funny (I'm looking at you, Waid). The "Parker Luck" is an attempt at irony - bad things happen to Peter (late for a date, can't get his homework done) as a direct consequence of something GOOD he does as Spider-Man. It's a really easy way of relating to the character ("Well, Debbie thinks I'm a deadbeat, but I saved that busload of Nuns from being fried by Electro! The old Parker Luck strikes again, I suppose.") that I think the writers are grossly misusing.
-Flash Thompson: Either this is going to get retconned or made into an albatross by the writers. Neither of which is good.

-The New Villains: Look, I tried, and I honestly wanted to like these new guys, and a few of them even look like the creators put a lot of effort into them (i.e. Mr. Negative). The problem here is that because of the choppy nature of the format - with the writer relay going off every month - there's no momentum of the story to begin exploring the character of these villains as they show up, then go away, and then they show up in another arc a few months later and lather, rinse and repeat. Hell, in the worst case (again, Mr. Negative), their entire arc is shuffled out of the book and into some side miniseries? Fuck that noise - that kills any interest I have in learning about the character.
-The new supporting cast: See the villains.

-Aunt May and Jonah Senior: I'm not the first to say it, but it's really rather creepy that everyone else in the supporting cast is moving forward in their lives at a breakneck pace while Peter is perpetually stuck in time. Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't the whole point of the "Marvel Age" when they first started was that they weren't going to become static unchanging and unrelatable cardboard cut-outs like the DC characters of the Silver Age? How times have changed.
-Old Villains, New Looks: Does this ever stick? The only villain I seem to recall that has managed to maintain any kind of "changing his look" from age to age is Lex Luthor (which I think says something about the robustness of Lex, but that's another story).
-The Gauntlet: And here we are, at last, the "big story" that is going to see Spider-Man face off against a mysterious mastermind who is amping up all his old badguys.
Oh, wait, that's "HUSH", the Jeph Loeb Batman story. Well, I can understand you wanting to go after something that was that commercially successful. Of course, the fact that the fanbase has become so jaded that you have to run a non-stop "Greatest Hits" album in order to keep them anywhere near the level you had before the retcon...well, that's not great news, is it?

Conclusions: Sorry, but yeah, Brand New Day? It's 1982, but with more unclear art, little narrative direction, and an inability to hook a reader on an endless loop. That's not good. And the fact that Marvel EIC Joe Quesada can't get that someone is going to come in and re-retcon it, or retcon it a different way, is both sad and funny.
Your thoughts?


Phil Watts, Jr. said...


I look at that scene were two worthless, ignorant chicks were fighting over Pete (neither of which whose names I could remember, nor care to), and two things crossed my mind:

1) This is what Pete traded his marraige for.

2) This is the kind of crap that they believe a REAL SPIDERMAN STORY should be like?

It's incredibly stupid for Joe and Company to think that this One More/Brand New Day foolishness is bulletproof. I know of a very easy way to undo every single Marvel story from DISASSEMBLED forward. It sucks that it's come to this, since Marvel used to pride themselves in never needing to undo storylines like they do in DC. Those bragging rights were killed two years ago.

Barrel Jumper said...

Well said! BND almost made me give up all comics entirely.

John's Green Lantern kept me around.

But, I haven't (and will not) buy an issue of Spider-Man. It's just turned into an embarassing retro-recycle-mishmash-handoff-piece of trite.

In this economy I'm "amazed" anyone would want to spend their money on this utter turd of a comic.

Barrel Jumper

Greg Manuel said...

This was positiviely fantastic - I write a column at and I have to link readers to this piece. Way to keep it real, my friend!

Anonymous said...

I like how 20% of the art you used to make your points were written by one of the current writers on AMAZING SPIDER-MAN.

MrCynical said...

The reason there isn't much post-OMD art in the posters I use is that I don't find much in the "Brand New Day" to be memorable or iconic or interesting enough. I mean, yes, I could just make dozens of posters directly mocking every single development, but I make these posters to help make me (and hopefully others) feel better, not worse.

MrCynical said...

oh, and it's 40% - two out of five posters.

Anonymous said...

Your third poster doesn't make sense. Johnny doesn't mention the marriage. In fact, Johnny says he envies Spidey for having someone like Aunt May in his life and he values all the women he's seen Spidey date over the years. Going by that line of thinking, Johnny probably thinks that Peter has it pretty good in Brand New Day.

MrCynical said...

Peter has it good in Brand New Day with women? Given how he's been shown as an object of revulsion or pity by every femaled character he's come into contact with? Sorry, don't see it.

Whereas married to a supermodel? Yeah, Johnny Storm would be envious of that.

Anonymous said...

You should read more of BND then. He's hooked up with his roommate and he has a "friends with benefits" deal going on with the Black Cat. Also, in the poster you made, you showed how Johnny appreciates how Pete has someone like Aunt May in his life. So are you saying Johnny would be happier with Aunt May six feet under? :) Johnny got out of his marriage when his wife wound up being a skrull, now he gets to sleep around too. So given his situation, he'd probably like BND more. Sorry, but your poster still doesn't make sense.

Anonymous said...

"He's hooked up with his roommate and he has a "friends with benefits" deal going on with the Black Cat."

He "hooked up" with his roommate who basically DATE-RAPED him, by tricking him into thinking that he was drunk, and who then became a total psycho over him, both when she wanted to be with him AND now that she DOESN'T want to be with him, to the point that it's ruining his already made-worthless life even further. In fact, I'll go ahead and say it - if you find the character of Michelle Gonzales entertaining or worthwhile in any way whatsoever, you're a racist and a misogynist, since she's a total hot-tempered Latina stereotype and a complete shrill harpy.

Also, his relationship with the Black Cat is so "great" that she's lost 99.9999 percent of her character growth, and they're both so shallow that he demands that she not look at her face while they're fucking. There's "friends with benefits," of which I've had more than a few, and then, there's using a woman as a glorified cock-sleeve, and if you honestly can't tell the fucking difference, you should cut off your own penis to avoid inflicting yourself on the female gender, you woman-hating douchebag.

People like you don't deserve to have "heroes" with whom you can identify.

MrCynical said...

"You should read more of BND then."

No, actually, I don't. I tried, I despised it, found insulting to my intelligence after multiple attempts, and am not under any obligation to do so. I normally operate under Fabian Nicieza's old "two issue rule" - after two comics, if it ain't working for you, you quit. Vote with your wallet, that sort of thing. I gave this status quo much more leeway and have been rewarded with nothing but wasted time, thus I've ended it until such time as the editorial changes (and make no mistake it will - I guarantee you there is a modern Joe Quesada right now who grew up fondly remembering the Pete/MJ marriage from the 80s and 90s who will wipe this away).

"Also, in the poster you made, you showed how Johnny appreciates how Pete has someone like Aunt May in his life. So are you saying Johnny would be happier with Aunt May six feet under?"

Hardly, but given that Parker is married to a supermodel, I'm sure that would be on the list of things Johnny storm would envy.

"Johnny got out of his marriage when his wife wound up being a skrull, now he gets to sleep around too. So given his situation, he'd probably like BND more."

Actually having read all of Lyja's major appearances in the FF, Johnny has been consistently depicted as still retaining a great deal of feeling for her, so that arguement holds no water. In point of fact, Johnny's continued attempts at "high profile dating" have universally ended in disappointment for him, has, by his own admission, shown that it's a hollow persuit, whereas Peter Parker has had several long-term, meaningful and fulfilling relationships culminating in his marriage. No, Johnny Storm, in every appearance not written by Mark Millar that I've read in my entire life, would envy the hell out of Parker's marriage.

"Sorry, but your poster still doesn't make sense."

I think I've elaborated my points, if you don't agree, then I wish you well in your search to find a blog that is more in line with your expectations.

Barrel Jumper said...

"You should read more BND then."


Love it how the PRO-BND people need to be "Anonymous".

Way to represent!