Is the Spider-man comic currently "broken"?

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Is the Spider-man comic currently "broken"?

Post by Cheesedique » Thu Dec 04, 2014 12:43 pm

Was reading through JR's write up of "Bland New Day", came across this:

http://www.spideykicksbutt.com/YearinReview/BlandNewDay
Now, I’m sure that most good Spidey fans have been following the debate during the last few months over Spidey’s status, and if you haven’t been – well then you’re probably one of the smart ones who’s paying attention to the more important things in life, that’s for sure. But for those of us who live our lives vicariously through superheroes – let me toss a few quotes at you from the powers that be:

”Meanwhile, Peter’s life will be going through some changes as well. There will be a re-exploration of some of the old Daily Bugle supporting cast and an introduction of some of the new supporting cast members.”
”The Spider-Man books need an influx of new blood in terms of villains that Spidey goes up against, and we’ve got a storyline cooking that will give us just that.”
”I want readers to put down the first couple of issues and say “This is fun again.” That’s pretty much it. I want it to be fun. I want to put back in the sense of wonder.”
”So we’re trying to get back to the essence of who the character is. We’ve had a lot of distractions over the past bunch of years. It’s not really a reboot or a revamp, but a refocus. Refocusing on what made Spider-Man Spider-Man.”
”Re-reading the earliest issues of Spider-Man, the thing that always made Spider-Man unique was that so much of it was about Peter Parker. Three quarters of the book was just Peter Parker soap opera stuff with high school or Aunt May, and then Spider-Man had to get into the costume, pop off and do the superhero thing.”
”I think marriage aged Peter and MJ instantly. They’re suddenly being portrayed as a married couple, as opposed to a young couple. It took away the chances for any sort of romantic tension. That’s part of what defines Peter Parker.”
Who said this?
(a) Joe Quesada in 2007

(b) Steve Wacker in 2007

(c) Dan Slott in 2008

(d) Tom Breevort in his “manifesto” in the Swing Shift Director’s Cut, or

(e) Howard Mackie in 1998.

The winner is…..

Drum roll please…..

HOWARD MACKIE IN 1998!

Yes, that’s right boys and girls. The first three quotes were from the November 1998 issue of Marvel Magazine, and the latter three were from the Wizard Spider-Man Special issued around that same time, 10 years ago!.

Oh, and let’s try this on for shits and giggles:

”The biggest problem with Spider-Man is that he’s been broken for so long there’s a whole generation that doesn’t know he’s been broken. That’s been the real challenge of doing this – fixing a character that current readers don’t realize isn’t what he was intended to be.”
That, my friends was from John Byrne, in the same aforementioned Wizard special.
I find this all pretty interesting in light of the last few years of Amazing Spider-man, since Slott took over and it became 2 times a month.

- The series became overrun by guest stars, from the Avengers to the Fantastic Four to Avengers Academy.
- Peter, his 50th anniversary and his story were brushed aside for the likes of Alpha, SpOck, Silk and now "every Spider-man EVAH!!!".
- Peter is now often acknowledged by readers as acting like an incompetent, immature buffoon. Not unlike the very start of BND and Slott's first Mr Negative arc.
- Mary Jane appears sporadically, if at all.

So, I ask--is ASM really any better over six years on from OMD/BND/OMIT? Is the franchise any less "broken" now than it was? Is the focus really on Peter Parker as Spider-man, and has he shown any significant character growth or been affected by anything he's gone through?

I'd be interested to hear your opinions.

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Re: Is the Spider-man comic currently "broken"?

Post by MC3 » Tue Dec 09, 2014 9:25 am

It says a lot when the one comic that still "gets" Peter is a three to six panel strip you can read for free online so you need not pay for the book-length s*ite on the stands

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Re: Is the Spider-man comic currently "broken"?

Post by Mister Sinister » Thu Dec 18, 2014 3:20 pm

It might be that my opinion doesn't match up with the rest of the readership, but it was Civil War that got me to read Spider-Man consistently again. And Brand New Day kept me. I even got my girlfriend into Spider-Man with that stuff.

That doesn't excuse OMD, of course, but I've been enjoying this era of Spidey.

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Re: Is the Spider-man comic currently "broken"?

Post by MC3 » Sat Dec 20, 2014 1:43 pm

Mister Sinister wrote:It might be that my opinion doesn't match up with the rest of the readership.
Oh you'll find plenty who agree with you. God knows why.

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Re: Is the Spider-man comic currently "broken"?

Post by Cheesedique » Sat Jan 03, 2015 11:26 pm

Mister Sinister wrote:It might be that my opinion doesn't match up with the rest of the readership, but it was Civil War that got me to read Spider-Man consistently again. And Brand New Day kept me. I even got my girlfriend into Spider-Man with that stuff.

That doesn't excuse OMD, of course, but I've been enjoying this era of Spidey.
Same here exactly, Mister Sinister. Civil War got me back in, and I generally enjoyed BND, though there were lots of dud issues.

But you're still enjoying the current era? Cool if you are, but it just seems to me, more than ever, that Amazing Spider-man exists to now shill and spin-off secondhand knockoffs of Spider-man.

The ASM annual #1 was nothing great, but it was an honest-to-God Peter Parker Spider-man only story for once. The kind he doesn't get in his own book that much.

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Re: Is the Spider-man comic currently "broken"?

Post by tcp0522 » Mon Jan 05, 2015 11:13 am

Cheesedique wrote:The ASM annual #1 was nothing great, but it was an honest-to-God Peter Parker Spider-man only story for once. The kind he doesn't get in his own book that much.
[smilie=spidey_yeah_that.gif] I have still been enjoying Spider-Verse overall, but the stories in this year's Annual were definitely breaths of fresh air for what they were. More tales like these would definitely be welcome once things in the main book calm down, but I seriously doubt that is what we will be getting.

I am really hyped to see what Gerry Conway will do in his upcoming mini-run, though. Should help take things back down to earth for a bit.

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Re: Is the Spider-man comic currently "broken"?

Post by Cheesedique » Mon Jan 05, 2015 1:13 pm

tcp0522 wrote:
Cheesedique wrote:The ASM annual #1 was nothing great, but it was an honest-to-God Peter Parker Spider-man only story for once. The kind he doesn't get in his own book that much.
[smilie=spidey_yeah_that.gif] I have still been enjoying Spider-Verse overall, but the stories in this year's Annual were definitely breaths of fresh air for what they were. More tales like these would definitely be welcome once things in the main book calm down, but I seriously doubt that is what we will be getting.

I am really hyped to see what Gerry Conway will do in his upcoming mini-run, though. Should help take things back down to earth for a bit.
Yeah, I grabbed the first three issues of Spider-Verse as well, after a self-imposed embargo on Amazing Spider-man of sorts.

Decent overall, and I loved the art compared to what we had been getting. But between Silk, the Ms Marvel teamup and Clash from Learning to Crawl appearing, the alt-Spider-men and SpOck still running around with such a prominent role, it still feels like Spidey is sharing the spotlight far, far too much.

If Amazing has to be the title to spin-off and guest star characters ad nauseum, then I wish there was a side-title available that was far more Peter / supporting cast specific.

Hopefully the Gerry Conway issues can fulfill that role. Looking forward to reading them.

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Re: Is the Spider-man comic currently "broken"?

Post by Spideydude » Tue Jan 13, 2015 12:13 pm

I think the focus being off of Peter, and more on the people around him tends to upset people because it to me is a massive over correction from the JMS era.
That said, I still believe that Slott could impress me with his Renew Your Vows storyline, but I'm still ready for someone new to take over Peter's story. Slott has been at the helm for now 8 years. (2007-2010 with BND where he was the 'lead' writer) and 2010-Present by himself with some Christos Gage. I'm ready for him to pass the baton. I don't know who would do as good of a job, or better that is a power player at Marvel.

But I'm ready.
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Re: Is the Spider-man comic currently "broken"?

Post by Big Al » Sat Feb 21, 2015 9:26 am

No, Spider-Man is categorically NOT any better than it was before OMD. In fact 90% of the problems of pre-OMD Spider-Man were conspired to justify OMD and consequently BND.

But the question itself is flawed because it presumes Spider-Man WAS broken. He wasn’t. Spider-Man before OMD wasn’t broken. Spider-Man before Mackie’s run wasn’t broken. It was the runs that tried to fix him which were the aberrations.

I respect if someone has a preference for BND. I like Revenge of the Sith even though all the original SW films are clearly better. But the era itself was at best flawed for the simple reason that the stories published didn’t require the extreme measures that it took to get to them. That is to say one could have concealed Peter’s identity whilst at the same time keeping him married to MJ and healed Aunt May and told 99% of the Brand New Day stories with at best minor tweaks. Few of the BND stories relied upon Spider-Man’s single status which was entirely the point and those few which did require it were abominable.

At worst BND was, as I’ve said, and aberration which misunderstood Spider-Man at his core, proliferating juvenile/offensive sexcapades, a manchild of a main character, rewriting the supporting cast and delivering generally mediocre stories with few good ones and several atrocious exercises such as Shed and One Moment in Time.

As for Spider-Verse...apart from the fanservice of so many different Spider-Heroes I honestly (in all sincereity) must ask why people enjoyed it? I mean I get you maybe enjoying the tie-ins like Scarlet Spdiers, 2099, Team-up etc but the main story itself? What was it that was appealing to you guys about it?

I hold no hopes for Renew Your Vows because from 2008 onwards Slott has proven to me he is an incompetent storyteller .

As for power player replacement writers, Peter David or Charles Soule.
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Re: Is the Spider-man comic currently "broken"?

Post by Antiyonder » Wed Feb 25, 2015 4:14 pm

The fact that they had to put more focus on a villain with his mind in Spider-Man's body (Superior SM) and a bunch of alternate reality Spider-People rather than having more back to basic stories of The Misadventures of Peter Parker suggests that without the growth had before OMD that Peter's too stale as is to remain the focus.

Even if folks like Quesada and Slott boast about how growth is a poison to attracting, their reliance on events focusing more on other characters pretty much is an admission of sort that they are wrong. Afterall, if they were right in the first place, wouldn't events be unnecessary for ASM?
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Re: Is the Spider-man comic currently "broken"?

Post by Cheesedique » Tue Mar 03, 2015 6:02 pm

Big Al wrote:No, Spider-Man is categorically NOT any better than it was before OMD. In fact 90% of the problems of pre-OMD Spider-Man were conspired to justify OMD and consequently BND.

But the question itself is flawed because it presumes Spider-Man WAS broken. He wasn’t. Spider-Man before OMD wasn’t broken. Spider-Man before Mackie’s run wasn’t broken. It was the runs that tried to fix him which were the aberrations.

I respect if someone has a preference for BND. I like Revenge of the Sith even though all the original SW films are clearly better. But the era itself was at best flawed for the simple reason that the stories published didn’t require the extreme measures that it took to get to them. That is to say one could have concealed Peter’s identity whilst at the same time keeping him married to MJ and healed Aunt May and told 99% of the Brand New Day stories with at best minor tweaks. Few of the BND stories relied upon Spider-Man’s single status which was entirely the point and those few which did require it were abominable.

At worst BND was, as I’ve said, and aberration which misunderstood Spider-Man at his core, proliferating juvenile/offensive sexcapades, a manchild of a main character, rewriting the supporting cast and delivering generally mediocre stories with few good ones and several atrocious exercises such as Shed and One Moment in Time.

As for Spider-Verse...apart from the fanservice of so many different Spider-Heroes I honestly (in all sincereity) must ask why people enjoyed it? I mean I get you maybe enjoying the tie-ins like Scarlet Spdiers, 2099, Team-up etc but the main story itself? What was it that was appealing to you guys about it?

I hold no hopes for Renew Your Vows because from 2008 onwards Slott has proven to me he is an incompetent storyteller .

As for power player replacement writers, Peter David or Charles Soule.
I suppose you could make an argument for Peter / Spider-man being a bit "broken" after the events of the 90's Clone Saga, but I don't know what it would be. We've talked about this at length before, but if anything, the books after the 90's Clone Saga were just a bit boring at worst.

I also don't hold out much hope that "Renew Your Vows" will be any good under Slott's pen. I really wish he wasn't the one writing it, since I don't want to contribute one more single cent to his dubious take on Spider-man.
Antiyonder wrote:The fact that they had to put more focus on a villain with his mind in Spider-Man's body (Superior SM) and a bunch of alternate reality Spider-People rather than having more back to basic stories of The Misadventures of Peter Parker suggests that without the growth had before OMD that Peter's too stale as is to remain the focus.

Even if folks like Quesada and Slott boast about how growth is a poison to attracting, their reliance on events focusing more on other characters pretty much is an admission of sort that they are wrong. Afterall, if they were right in the first place, wouldn't events be unnecessary for ASM?
It's certainly a preferential thing, but I like writers like JMS' approach, where something like the Totem stuff in regards to the origin could either be interpreted as literal or not. What I know about the concluding chapters of Spider-Verse, it seems that his (and Silk's) origins are now indeed somehow tied to this mystical web of life stuff.

Does this make Peter more interesting? Not to me, and especially when you have x number of ersatz Parker / Spider-people running around.

They've been all too happy to now dillute the shit out of Spider-man because, you know, sales or something.

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Re: Is the Spider-man comic currently "broken"?

Post by Big Al » Tue Mar 03, 2015 7:27 pm

Cheesedique wrote:
Big Al wrote:No, Spider-Man is categorically NOT any better than it was before OMD. In fact 90% of the problems of pre-OMD Spider-Man were conspired to justify OMD and consequently BND.

But the question itself is flawed because it presumes Spider-Man WAS broken. He wasn’t. Spider-Man before OMD wasn’t broken. Spider-Man before Mackie’s run wasn’t broken. It was the runs that tried to fix him which were the aberrations.

I respect if someone has a preference for BND. I like Revenge of the Sith even though all the original SW films are clearly better. But the era itself was at best flawed for the simple reason that the stories published didn’t require the extreme measures that it took to get to them. That is to say one could have concealed Peter’s identity whilst at the same time keeping him married to MJ and healed Aunt May and told 99% of the Brand New Day stories with at best minor tweaks. Few of the BND stories relied upon Spider-Man’s single status which was entirely the point and those few which did require it were abominable.

At worst BND was, as I’ve said, and aberration which misunderstood Spider-Man at his core, proliferating juvenile/offensive sexcapades, a manchild of a main character, rewriting the supporting cast and delivering generally mediocre stories with few good ones and several atrocious exercises such as Shed and One Moment in Time.

As for Spider-Verse...apart from the fanservice of so many different Spider-Heroes I honestly (in all sincereity) must ask why people enjoyed it? I mean I get you maybe enjoying the tie-ins like Scarlet Spdiers, 2099, Team-up etc but the main story itself? What was it that was appealing to you guys about it?

I hold no hopes for Renew Your Vows because from 2008 onwards Slott has proven to me he is an incompetent storyteller .

As for power player replacement writers, Peter David or Charles Soule.
I suppose you could make an argument for Peter / Spider-man being a bit "broken" after the events of the 90's Clone Saga, but I don't know what it would be. We've talked about this at length before, but if anything, the books after the 90's Clone Saga were just a bit boring at worst.

I also don't hold out much hope that "Renew Your Vows" will be any good under Slott's pen. I really wish he wasn't the one writing it, since I don't want to contribute one more single cent to his dubious take on Spider-man.
Antiyonder wrote:The fact that they had to put more focus on a villain with his mind in Spider-Man's body (Superior SM) and a bunch of alternate reality Spider-People rather than having more back to basic stories of The Misadventures of Peter Parker suggests that without the growth had before OMD that Peter's too stale as is to remain the focus.

Even if folks like Quesada and Slott boast about how growth is a poison to attracting, their reliance on events focusing more on other characters pretty much is an admission of sort that they are wrong. Afterall, if they were right in the first place, wouldn't events be unnecessary for ASM?
It's certainly a preferential thing, but I like writers like JMS' approach, where something like the Totem stuff in regards to the origin could either be interpreted as literal or not. What I know about the concluding chapters of Spider-Verse, it seems that his (and Silk's) origins are now indeed somehow tied to this mystical web of life stuff.

Does this make Peter more interesting? Not to me, and especially when you have x number of ersatz Parker / Spider-people running around.

They've been all too happy to now dillute the shit out of Spider-man because, you know, sales or something.
I don’t think you could make that argument whatsoever. I think the fanbase was fractured and needed repairing, but the series itself wasn’t broken at all in 1997. Peterwas Spider-Man, MJ was his wife, we had an old woman to fill a quota, all the major supporting characters and villains were available for use the exceptions being Venom and Doc Ock, but even those guys got put back on the table not long after. Someone picking up the writing chores of Spider-Man in that period of time wouldn’t have found anything fundamentally wrong with the franchise as has been the case since 2007 or as was the case in the 1998 Reboot. Plus the quality was actually an improvement. Again it was the fanbase and marketplace which was fractured and broken and needed to recover.

As of right now Spider-Man hasn’t had many street level stories, he’s running a company as a famous world genius, Mary Jane is off the table, Venom is neither a Spider-Man character, a villain or even on Earth itself (Flash is by extension nowhere to be seen), Carnage is off somewhere else with his own series, Rhino is dead, Jameson is a cartoon, the Bugle staff are absent, Doc Ock is either dead or redeemed but either way he’s off the table, Norman Osborn is depowered, Hobgoblin isn’t on the table, Black Cat is a villain again and Spider-Man himself has been consistently undermined and marginalised as the lead character. And evewhen he is onthe page he’s a manchild. Nothing even remotely like that was the case after the Clone Saga. Now DURING the Clone Saga that’s a different issue.

In that case Peter Parker wasn’t even Spider-Man. looking at it from the POV of the story of Ben Reilly it wasn’t a bad era. From the POV of Peter Parker needing to be Spider-Man for Spider-Man to be true to the franchise, then it was broken. And even moreso in 1995 with Maximum Clonage.

For a franchise to be broken you need consistently truly BAD stories, which was not thr case in the late 90s where the quality was generally much improved from the mid clone saga or the years preceding it...Or the Denny O’Neil era for that matter. Plus a broken era to me isn’t just an era where a new writer comes along and tells better stories with what’s there, they need to actually FIX the problems that are there. E.g. in the JMS run he didn’t just tell good stories he went in put the focus back onto Peter, developed Aunt May, developed MJ and put them back together, and got into the heart and soul of Spider-Man as a character, fixing the damage which Mackie had wrought. If anything the franchise (sales notwithstanding) was actually BEING fixed in 1997-1998 not presenting something which unto itself was broken.

RYV as a piece of writing will probably suck. I hope not, but I have little hope.

I wasn’t the biggest fan of the totem stuff but yes it was nice that it wasn’t confirming or denying anything. In JMS’ run he spoke about a ‘chosen one’ or something like that and now we can retroactively explain that maybe that was Peter Parker in reference to his participation in Spider-Verse.

You can have multiple versions of Spider-Man running around but you need to make them unique to one another, which includes Peter himself. Peter isn’t going to be overshadowed if he’s in a room with just Ben Reilly, or with Spider-Gwen and Kaine.
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Re: Is the Spider-man comic currently "broken"?

Post by Cheesedique » Sat Mar 07, 2015 6:41 am

Big Al wrote:As of right now Spider-Man hasn’t had many street level stories, he’s running a company as a famous world genius, Mary Jane is off the table, Venom is neither a Spider-Man character, a villain or even on Earth itself (Flash is by extension nowhere to be seen), Carnage is off somewhere else with his own series, Rhino is dead, Jameson is a cartoon, the Bugle staff are absent, Doc Ock is either dead or redeemed but either way he’s off the table, Norman Osborn is depowered, Hobgoblin isn’t on the table, Black Cat is a villain again and Spider-Man himself has been consistently undermined and marginalised as the lead character. And evewhen he is onthe page he’s a manchild. Nothing even remotely like that was the case after the Clone Saga. Now DURING the Clone Saga that’s a different issue.
This is a good summary of the series right now. Is Norman really depowered? WTF?

And it's not like Hobgoblin is off the table--it just seems that Slott doesn't want to do anything with Kingsley.

The Venom stuff bugs me in particular. It's no fun not having him around as a Spidey villain anymore.

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Re: Is the Spider-man comic currently "broken"?

Post by Big Al » Sun Mar 08, 2015 3:10 pm

Cheesedique wrote:
Big Al wrote:As of right now Spider-Man hasn’t had many street level stories, he’s running a company as a famous world genius, Mary Jane is off the table, Venom is neither a Spider-Man character, a villain or even on Earth itself (Flash is by extension nowhere to be seen), Carnage is off somewhere else with his own series, Rhino is dead, Jameson is a cartoon, the Bugle staff are absent, Doc Ock is either dead or redeemed but either way he’s off the table, Norman Osborn is depowered, Hobgoblin isn’t on the table, Black Cat is a villain again and Spider-Man himself has been consistently undermined and marginalised as the lead character. And evewhen he is onthe page he’s a manchild. Nothing even remotely like that was the case after the Clone Saga. Now DURING the Clone Saga that’s a different issue.
This is a good summary of the series right now. Is Norman really depowered? WTF?

And it's not like Hobgoblin is off the table--it just seems that Slott doesn't want to do anything with Kingsley.

The Venom stuff bugs me in particular. It's no fun not having him around as a Spidey villain anymore.
He was given a ‘cure’ for his Goblin powers in Superior #31 which apparently cured his insanity. Because Norman wasn’t insane or sadistic before he got the formula obviously.

Didn’t Hobgoblin become a good guy and join the Avengers in AXIS?

The Flash as Venom concept is one I see the appeal in. I get why it works but if he hasn’t got an ongoing he should either be a Black Cat/Daredevil esque ally to Spidey or go back to being a supporting character. Don’t make him into a cosmic character and wholesale remove him from even tangential connection to Spider-Man’s world. I mean Flash himself is a down to Earth character who works best in a grounded environment. He’s a Spider-Man fanboy, who struggled with alcoholism, cheated on his girlfriend, abused people, was abused, had to cope with losing his legs, post traumatic stress from being a soldier and the realisation that he peaked in high school.

All that obviously makes him the best character to hang out with Rocket Raccoon...

Personally I’ve disliked Flash as Venom for the same reason (well one of them) that I dislike Superior Spider-Man. It takes a Spider-Man villain and casts them as a good guy/protagonist character, when good villains (especially villains as good as Doc Ock or Venom) are hard to come by and gold dust. So many villains are gimmicks with costumes and often the gimmicks are lame. But when you strike gold you don’t throw that away. Spider-Man deserves/needs villains to battle because...well...he is a super hero. The hero/villain conflict is what drives this genre at its core. When you take away villains by killing them or redeeming them you undermine that and cheapen Spider-Man’s world. Yeah maybe there are now more creative opportunities for Venom as a heroic character, but those opportunities are for his character exclusively, not for Spider-Man’s character or his series. And why should Venom benefit at Spider-Man’s expense? Spidey is Marvel’s most popular and profitable character and without him there wouldn’t even be a Venom. His creative needs and considerations should supersede if not any other Marvel character, then at least other characters who fall under his jurisdiction. It’s like how Silk #1 made Cindy Moon more appealing but cast Spider-Man in a bad light. If you absolutely NEED to cast Cindy, or Norman, or MJ, or Jonah or anyone else in a bad light for Spider-Man’s sake then so be it. But it doesn’t cut the other way because they are inherently not as important.
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Joined: Wed Oct 29, 2014 12:19 pm
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Re: Is the Spider-man comic currently "broken"?

Post by Cheesedique » Mon Mar 09, 2015 9:26 am

^ I didn't actually read any of Axis, but that was the story implication I got from reading the Hobgoblin mini.

As for Agent Venom, I read the first four issues or so of the Remender / Moore series--it wasn't that bad actually, a lot more grounded. Even if I don't care for the concept a lot. But making him a cosmic character now takes both Flash and Venom further away from Spider-man's world.

I like the idea of the symbiote, despite its cosmic origins, being involved in street-level crime stories, kinda like when Gargan ended up with it after the auction in Marvel Knights. Again, a compelling and grounded take on a fantastical concept.

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