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Monday, January 06, 2020 

CBR thinks this past decade's Spidey stories were that important

Here's a CBR list from last November where they gush over some of the worst Spider-Man tales Joe Quesada and Axel Alonso led to:
Spider-Man has had an incredibly huge decade, both on the big screen and in the comics, and as we near the beginning of a new decade it's time to look back at one of our favorite characters and his growth over the last few years.

Peter Parker entered the 2010s fresh from his "Brand New Day" under the watch of Dan Slott, who guided the character for most of the decade until Nick Spencer recently took the reigns of Amazing Spider-Man. Today we are going to re-examine some of Spider-Man's most influential storylines from the last decade that have kept him in the hearts of Marvel fans everywhere. Here are the webslinger's 10 most important stories of the decade, ranked.
As if this trash article couldn't have begun badly enough. What "growth" did Spidey have either? Soon after Brand New Day began in 2008, Peter Parker was depicted as a slacker. And all the while, Mary Jane Watson suffered worse than being kicked to the curb for nearly a dozen years - she was slighted at every opportunity the writers saw, including - but not limited to - Slott. That MJ was finally brought back into Spidey's life 2 years ago was not so much a form of growth as it was an attempt to mend damage and ostensibly build confidence with a core audience that was slapped in face repeatedly by writers, editors and artists who were trolling the fans deliberately. Presumably however, it was Spencer's way of trying to mend his own reputation after the shoddy atrocity that was Captain America as a Hydra-nazi agent. Now, let's see what they say about one of Slott's "contributions", the storyline called "Big Time":
"Big Time" was a larger event that took place in Amazing Spider-Man in 2010 that elevated Peter Parker to new heights as he began a new job with Horizon Labs and finally put his brilliant intellect to use, both as a scientist and a superhero. Peter developed a number of new costumes during this time period thanks to the resources of Horizon.

Spider-Man dealt with a number of huge events, including the evolution of the heroic Phil Urich into the villainous Hobgoblin, the death of Marla Jameson at the hands of Alistair Smythe, and Peter's resulting vow that from that moment on, as long as he's around "no one dies."
So this was what this yarn was all about? I'm sorry, but this doesn't improve on any questionable step taken in the past. Killing off JJJ's wife and turning Urich into another Hobgoblin is just sad abuse of the franchise. "Evolution"? My foot. Next comes the Ultimate line, and the one character who carried over from it:
While Slott was steering the mainstream Peter Parker's adventures, Brian Michael Bendis was still telling his own version of the story in Ultimate Spider-Man, which updated the hero for the modern day in an alternate Marvel universe. However, Bendis had just killed the fan-favorite Peter Parker in the Ultimate Universe following the devastating Ultimatum event.

However, fans were soon rewarded with a brand new Spider-Man who would quickly become one of the biggest breakout stars from Marvel Comics in the last 10 years, Miles Morales. Morales would become the new Ultimate Spider-Man and begin his own adventures with Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man.
And all because he was supposed to fill a diversity quota, not because he was ever introduced for the sake of story merit. I remember when Bendis made sleazy, childish statements to the press that he'd sobbed "like a big baby" as he etched out the story where Ultimate Peter would perish so his social justice creation could take his place. At least Morales didn't end up replacing Universe 616 Peter wholesale. Next is "Spider-island":
Miles Warren/Jackal returned to Spider-Man's life during the "Spider-Island" event, when he infected the citizens of Manhattan with a virus that gave them all spider-powers just like Peter Parker. Spider-Man teamed up with the Avengers to deal with the situation as those infected began to transform further into monstrous spider-creatures.

"Spider-Island" was one of the biggest Spidey events in the early decade that brought in the rest of the Marvel Universe, and included other related characters like Flash Thompson/Agent Venom, Eddie Brock/Anti-Venom, and Kaine Parker, who would become the new Scarlet Spider due to the events of "Spider-Island." Plus, we got to see Mary Jane with powers for the first time!
But we didn't get to see her and Peter reunited, did we? Again, it wasn't until about 2 years ago, when C.B. Cebulski took up the EIC standing, that finally, after all those overrated snoozers, we finally get to see MJ restored to a serious connection with Peter. I know there was one book published nearly a decade ago spotlighting MJ's modeling/acting career, but it clearly led nowhere, because nobody approved of Quesada's mandate. "Big" event, my foot. Next comes a plural-spelled spinoff:
Miles Morales had established himself as the new Spider-Man in the Ultimate universe and started his rise in popularity among the fans when Bendis and Sara Pichelli introduced the mainstream Peter Parker to his alternate reality successor in Spider-Men.

Spider-Men was the first crossover between the mainstream and Ultimate Marvel universes and would herald the beginning of the end for Miles Morales' universe. Thankfully the character would survive and join the mainstream Marvel universe after Ultimate End and Secret Wars erased his reality.
Of course, no questions raised about whether this reduces the significance of 616 Spidey, nor whether such diversity pandering is merit-based. Next comes "Ends of the Earth":
Peter Parker's elevation of his Spider-Man gear and mission led to a similar escalation with his greatest enemies, the Sinister Six. During the "Ends of the Earth" storyline, Otto Octavius/Doctor Octopus re-assembles the team he initially founded in one of his final missions to hold the Earth ransom.

However, when it is revealed that Octavius is dying and the Sinister Six were being used as pawns, Spidey is able to eke out a win by commanding a global team of Avengers and creating a new Spider-Armor specifically tasked with neutralizing the Six's abilities. Unfortunately, this storyline saw the loss of Silver Sable, a longtime friend and ally of Spider-Man.
Some time later, Sable's death was reversed, and so was Rhino's, he being the one who tried to murder her in the dumb story. In any event, since they mention the alleged demise of Doc Ock, what comes next is that most notorious switcheroo story:
"Dying Wish" would feature the biggest moment in Spider-Man's entire decade as Doc Ock manages to swap bodies with Peter Parker, becoming Spider-Man as Peter was trapped in Otto's dying body. Peter died in Otto's body, though not before he managed to inject Otto's mind with all the lessons he had learned as Parker/Spider-Man.

Otto set out to outdo his old foe and become a Superior Spider-Man, which ended up improving both of their lives. Otto found love and responsibility while also earning a doctorate and founding Parker Industries before Peter inevitably regained control thanks to a heroic sacrifice from Otto to save his new love, Maria.
Wow, they sure turn sugarcoated here, don't they? This is atrocious. How does it improve Peter's life, when he's all but thrown out of it? And how does de facto murder of Peter make Otto's new position earned? What right did he have to body-rob? But then, you just can't expect the embarrassments who bought out CBR to be any more objective than their predecessors. Next up is Spider-verse:
The biggest Spider-Man crossover fans had ever seen occurred in 2014 as Spider-Verse claimed to feature every Spider-Man ever, which was quite a statement considering the numerous versions of the character that existed across the Marvel multiverse. The Spider-Verse event loosely inspired the Oscar-winning Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse animated film.

Spider-Verse managed to gather them all in a reality-spanning battle for survival against the incredibly powerful and demented Inheritors. This epic crossover saw Peter Parker work together alongside a time-displaced Superior Spider-Man, Miles Morales, Spider-Gwen, Spider-Woman, Scarlet Spider, and almost every other Spidey you can think of.
And this was just one more example of something diminishing the uniqueness of Spider-Man more than need be. This is not the DCU, where they built on the concept of successors far better, and certainly with talent and merit. The only other Spider-whatever that's really needed besides Peter is Spider-Woman, whose powers weren't exactly the same as his anyways. I wonder if this storyline was meant to serve a purpose not unlike the Onslaught event of 1996, which ended up providing the designers of Marvel vs. Capcom with a boss character the following year? That's exactly what I find irritating about how some characters have been introduced since the 1990s - it's more for merchandise potential than merit. Next is Slott's last storyline, "Go Down Swinging":
Dan Slott wrapped up a decade with Spider-Man with his monumental "Go Down Swinging" storyline, which effectively tied up a few of the threads of his run with the return of Norman Osborn/Green Goblin, who bonded with the Carnage symbiote to become the deadly Red Goblin.

Norman's attack on Spider-Man and New York saw the return of a number of characters who had factored into Slott's run, including the returned Otto in his new cloned Superior Octopus body as he saved Aunt May from a Carnage-possessed Normie Osborn/Goblin Childe. While Spider-Man would rebond with the Venom symbiote to save the day, Flash Thompson's story would end in sacrifice.
Well if Doc Ock could figure out how to clone himself back into the living world, much like the Jackal cloned Gwen Stacy in the mid-70s, what was the whole point of body-snatching Peter in the first place? Spiting the Spider-fans, what else? If Flash Thompson was knocked off, that's another minus. Next is Spencer's restoration of MJ to Peter's world:
When Nick Spencer took over Spidey after Slott, it was with the storyline "Back To Basics" that appeared to return Peter Parker to some semblance of his status quo prior to the events of "One More Day." This meant that Peter was again struggling for work, his doctorate was in question, and he was once again in a relationship with Mary Jane, though their marriage was not restored.

While we had all gotten used to the idea of a solo Peter Parker and Mary Jane when the two reunited it seemed to close off a chapter of their lives and move forward in an exciting new way while still maintaining the comfort and familiarity of their former married selves. "Back To Basics" was a breath of fresh air long-time Spidey fans had been waiting a long time for.
I don't deny it was relieving for Spider-fans to see MJ finally brought back into the Spider-franchise after nearly a dozen years. But does that mean we don't want the marriage restored as well? I'm sure there's plenty who'd be glad if that too were. I'd read the whole One More Day atrocity was allegedly going to be re-explored soon, but so far, it doesn't seem like it has been yet, or I missed it? If they do intend to or have, I'll try to comment on it in time. For now, let's be clear about something else: we hadn't "gotten used to" Peter and MJ solo. We just lost interest as a once entertaining comic fell victim to politically correct editors. Last in line is "My Dinner With Jonah":
However, while much of Peter Parker's life was returning to normal in Amazing Spider-Man, Chip Zdarksy was changing things up in a big way in the relaunched Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man. Not only had Peter's sister Teresa returned (first introduced in the Family Business graphic novel) but Spider-Man and J. Jonah Jameson's relationship took a massive step.

In "My Dinner With Jonah," Spider-Man finally agrees to an interview with his long-time hater and rival. Surprisingly, the meeting turns into an emotional back and forth that ultimately results in Peter revealing his identity to the shocked Jameson. The two have only just begun to move forward and work together, though this spectacular reveal is undoubtedly one of the most important storylines of the last decade.
Do I get the vibe they're at least half trying to imitate DC's direction with Superman? Maybe it was played for laughs, but so was Peter David's storyline in Action Comics Weekly where Green Lantern "discovers" Abin Sur modified his mind so he'd be brave enough for the task, and look how successful that was. It wasn't as awful as Christopher Priest's stories, but it was dreadful all the same. And why must they bring back Mark Waid's contrived addition of a sister for Peter, in a GN the overrated James Robinson was also involved with? With those kind of stilted elements, I don't think this can be considered important either. The sad reality is Quesada ruined Spidey long ago.

And that's why CBR's merely reduced themselves to a dull excuse for a specialty news site. They may as well stop updating and close down if this is all they can offer. They're as unimportant as the Spidey stories of the past decade.

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  • I'm Avi Green
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