As most people know from my previous entries, I have been a fan of Spiderman for years. Actually, I’ve been a fan of his since I was in the third grade, so around twenty-two years. I read the comics regularly until I was in college, then stopped during the whole clone saga. For those of you who don’t know, Peter Parker had a clone who was created by a vengeful professor-super-villain name: the Jackal-who blamed Spidey for the death of Peter’s girlfriend, Gwen Stacy. The Jackal was infatuated with her, too. This clone returned years later and Peter retired from crime fighting while Mary Jane was pregnant and the clone took over, since he-given name: Ben Reilly-and Peter were now convinced that Peter (the one that I had been reading about, by then, for over ten years) was really the clone. In disgust, I quit buying the comics.
Some time later, I found out that they had brought Peter back, killed Ben and shown that Peter had been the real clone. I decided to pick up an issue of the comic.
Mary Jane died in a plane explosion. In disgust, I put it down.
Some time later, I found an annual issue and, out of curiosity, started thumbing through it. Mary Jane was back. My elation was short-lived, however. I put the comic down in disgust when I saw the last page.
Mary Jane left Peter.
Some time later, I picked up an issue of Amazing Spiderman and read about Peter and Mary Jane running into each other at an airport in (I think) Colorado. Doctor Doom was there and a grand assault-in several waves-of various “freedom fighters” from Doom’s home country kept trying to kill him. Captain America showed up and he and Spidey found themselves having to protect Doom. At the end of the comic, Spiderman introduced Mary Jane to Captain America and Cap gave one of the most memorable lines in comics history. He said to Spiderman, “The mask is supposed to hide your face. Don’t let it hide your heart.” Wow.
And Peter and Mary Jane got back together.
Unfortunately, the comics store from which I had been buying comic books closed down and I just kind of slacked off.
Fast-forward to last week. I saw the second issue of a comic called Civil War in a store here in Springfield and I picked it up. I got to the last page and threw the comic down in disgust. At a press conference sponsored by Tony Starks, Spiderman revealed his identity to the world.
I went home and did some research online. Apparently, a group of teenage superheroes called the New Warriors had chased a super-villain named Nitro, who set off an explosion that killed most of the Warriors and also destroyed an elementary school building, killing most of the children. According to what I’ve read, the Bush Administration enacted a law that would require all super-powered beings to unmask themselves and submit themselves to government control. Of all superheroes, Captain America was against this law. Tony Starks, who unmasked himself as being Iron Man some time back, was for it.
Let’s get political here. Obviously, we have no way of knowing how political parties would really act in this situation. Well, except for one thing. I’ll liken this to gun control. If we were to outlaw guns, only the lawful citizens would obey it. Since criminals are criminals because they break the law, what is one more broken law to them? The only thing that we would do by outlawing guns is take them away from the people who would use them for self-defense. The Republicans realize this, which is why they are against gun control. That I way I also feel that they would be against this comic universe law, too. I mean, unmasking the super heroes is going to accomplish nothing but allow the villains to know who they are so that their families are now in danger. I mean, why would a super-villain obey the law? What is one more broken law to him? This makes the enactment of such a law, at least due to the Bush Administration, rather unrealistic-even in a universe where man can stick to walls and others can disappear in clouds of sulfur-smelling smoke.
Off the political issue, I looked over what I’ve discovered and seen Spiderman’s new costume. It’s red and yellow. He looks like Iron Man. He’s acting like Iron Man. He has become Tony Starks’s lapdog, and I’m definitely not comfortable with that. Spiderman has always been his own person and the thought of him submitting to Tony Starks just really disturbs me.
Let’s look back at the bad things that have happened to unmasked heroes. The Gwen Stacy death mentioned above happened when the Green Goblin discovered Spiderman’s secret identity. The public knew the identity of the Fantastic Four, yet still attacked the Human Torch and beat him until he was hospitalized. Peter Parker is supposed to be smarter than this. He’s supposed to realize that letting all of his villains know who he is will endanger him, his Aunt May, his wife and the students that he teaches at the high school. This Peter Parker-the one who revealed his identity to the world-is not the one I’ve grown to know over the years. He’s just as much of a fraud as the clone was. And, of all of the dumb mistakes that Marvel has made with him over the years, this is the biggest. There’s no realistic way for them to get out of this one, either.
Captain America is on the run because of all of this. Though I will not pick up another Marvel comic to find out, I pray that they don’t catch him.