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To read or not to read Spider-man? That is the question, sticking in every web head’s mind. It’s been a couple of years since One More Day changed the status quo of the Spider books and Brand New Day tried to inject a much needed youthful new direction to a new and Amazing Spider-man. But what did Brand New Day bring us? More quantity and less stories? Has Peter Parker, changed his motto from with “great powers comes great responsibility” to with “great power comes great irresponsibility?” Are the writers at fault for trying something new or is the fans fault for denying this character the ability to grow up? Was it really worth it to changed the status quo at all?
If we go back to the One More Day storyline Peter Parker, made the biggest blunder of his life by bringing Aunt May back to life. I mean c’mon Aunt May was shot and about to die, there was no escape this time the final curtain was calling. What was Peter, going to do? Let her die because the bullet was meant for him? Of course not. Because Peter couldn’t live with the fact that it was his fault. So he did what any other super hero would do, he made a deal with the Devil to save this very old lady’s life and thus changing the world and tormenting his unborn child to hell. Yeah that was very responsible, Peter. no wonder Mary Jane is no longer married to you.
This story made Peter look out of character because this event could’ve run like this: he saves Aunt May’s life, his baby is in hell and three moths later Aunt May dies of old age and Peter would’ve been ok with that? But I guess that would have pissed fans off more. Of course the follow up to this story was Brand New Day. The so called “new direction” making Peter single again, a poor photographer and a freeloader. Still a genius unable to get a job with a lot of girls after him and hey, nobody knows his secret identity and to throw a little icing on the cake his best friend is back from the dead!
Ok this put Spidey back on the map and I bought every book from that point on. Yes, I knew this was a gimmick but Straczynski’s spidey felt old and boring at times and this was new yet a re-packaged version of the old in modern times.The first few issues were fun and surely kept me interested in them. Yet as the books continued with a lot of creative teams and shipping nearly every week, the stories became a hit or miss.
Let’s start with the misses. Right from the start we get introduced to a new Spidey fodder, a character named Overdrive. His powers? he can pimp any ride. Another failed villain was Freak. An anoying drug adict that got his powers because he was looking for his next fix. This wasn’t a bad concept but the character was obnoxious, ridiculous and he looked like like somebody went number 2 on his face!
After a couple of story arcs later aunt May meets J. Jonah Jameson’s dad, they get married and May leaves Peter on his own. After all his work to save her Aunt Mays gets married and moves away. Then in another out of character move, Peter doctors a photo to save J.J.J. C’mon! In this series Peter saved J.J.J when he had a stroke and J.J.J. was still ungrateful, then after he doctors this picture J.J.J. black lists Peter for doing it. Why does Peter keep trying to save a man that wants him killed? Does anyone remember the Spider Slayers? Scorpion? C’mon Peter wake up and smell the roses J.J.J. is a bad guy he should get punished not saved.
The Gauntlet storyline was a long running arc that reintroduced a lot of Spidey’s rogue villains and looked promising. Like it was going to built something big out all this month of build up. Maybe it was building up to the comeback of the Sinister Six, but instead it was just a build up for the return of Kraven the Hunter; who is now a zombie and kills like half of his family in an attempt to cement him as a major villain. But nothing major gets done except for a couple of z-list characters getting killed.
As for Spidey’s cast of friends, they keep changing all the time. Harry was brought back but they don’t act as if they are best friends as they claime to be. Mary Jane and Peter act more like a divorced couple and some of the supporting characters come and go (like Jackpot another good idea gone bad). After all his Avengers connections Peter lived with a roomate that hated him, sells his stuff and leaves him on the street. Even with his Avengers connections, Peter is still unable to get a job. Peter, is smart but for some reason he is either lazy and very irresponsible or the stupidest person in the world!
But after all of this, I think that the book stills tries to find direction and there lies the potential. Spider man is funny. it has a lot of good ideas like bringing back a big supporting cast that prior to this was non existent. Menace, Anti-venom, the whole Norman Osborn Dark Reign deal. The new Vulture, heck even Mr. Negative and the new Doc Ock worked great giving Spidey a run for his money. Yet, is wan’t until the Big Time storyline where we see the true potential of this radical continuity changed paradox. When finally Peter gets a chance to grow with a new job, new supporting cast and one writer.
The first few years of Brand New Day Spider-man suffered from too many writers. As too many ideas were thrown at the wall to see what sticks, but they didnt follow a core direction but hopefully this will change as Dan Slott prepares his solo run on Amazing Spider-man. Big Time offers a radical new direction as Peter becomes a scientist, using this job to invent new gadgets for spidey to use. This story also introduced the new Hobgoblin, that ironically mirrors Peter Parker’s old life as a bugle photographer. I think this could be the bold new direction that One More Day failed to actually achieve.
If anything Brand New Day let us know that Peter Parker’s deal with the Devil was useless, first Peter could’ve simply divorced MJ. In the current story lines they acted like a divorced couple anyway. Aunt May could’ve died, in the current storyline she’s married living away from Peter. How about the secret identity? Well Aunt May is now well looked after, MJ lives her successful actress life. Peter is alone fighting as Spider-man and an Avenger more than what he does as a civilian. So at the end of the day Peter, doomed his daughter to hell for nothing. But don’t let the companies blunders keep you from checking this book out. Dan Slott’s scripts are funny and clever, the art has always been consistanly good and there’s always hope that the book gets back on track. What are you web heads waiting for? Big Time is the best jumping on point for what looks to be a new and Amazing Spider-man.
If you have trouble getting these issues, you can get the Big Time collected edition or wait for the release on Marvel’s comixology app in the near future.