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Monday, April 09, 2018 

CBR fawned over Spider-Man/Mockingbird affair

It may be a few months old, but it's still worth commenting on, seeing as I hadn't before. One of CBR's most biased contributors sugarcoated Dan Slott's contrived romance between Spider-Man and Mockingbird, claiming it's just what Marvel "needs" and doing no favors for fandom:
Fans may not always give it much thought, but a superhero’s job consists of more than just stopping bad guys and saving the world from total destruction. If they’re lucky, these costumed figures can have healthy relationships filled with love and happiness. Even a hero like Spider-Man, who’s experienced more than his fair share of heartbreak and loss, has had memorable relationships in his personal life, relationships that at one point even included marriage.

Of course, this is a sore spot for many Spider-Man fans who have never gotten past Peter Parker’s marriage to Mary Jane Watson being magically nullified in 2008’s controversial storyline, “One More Day.” Though Peter and MJ remained friends in the aftermath, they went on to date other people, and none of the subsequent pairings were intriguing enough to really wash the taste of OMD from fandom’s mouth. One could argue the success rate of each individual relationship, but the overall feeling seems to be that Marvel should find a way to get Peter and MJ back together.
Better still, they need to get rid of Joe Quesada, because he's the main barricade to Peter/MJ reuniting, and wants it to remain that way till the end of time. But don't expect these groveling fools to ever say so in their own words that Quesada has to go already. Say, how come no mention here just how revolting the Mephisto pact was?
For years, fans have hoped to see Spidey and MJ reunite and reforge their love. But what if instead of looking to the past, Marvel was able to introduce a new love interest for the wall-crawler, one that had the potential to make fans forget all about “One More Day?” Well, it looks like longtime Amazing Spider-Man writer Dan Slott may have found the perfect formula with Spider-Man’s current girlfriend, Mockingbird.
Nope, if they think most Spider-fans are so easily, deceived, they're throughly mistaken. Besides, if this had remained in place, it would only reduce Bobbi Morse to less than her own agency, not unlike Ron Marz's use of Donna Troy and Jade as girlfriends for Kyle Rayner in Green Lantern.
The super spy became a fixture in Spidey’s life when Amazing relaunched following 2015’s reality-shifting Secret Wars event. The rebooted series presented Peter Parker as the billionaire head of Parker Industries, with his new company building tech for S.H.I.E.L.D. Bobbi Morse, aka Mockingbird, was S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Parker Industries liaison, a situation which found Mockingbird and Spider-Man working side-by-side on many occasions. It’s not uncommon to see Spidey involved in a team-up adventure with a fellow superhero, but he and Mockingbird displayed obvious chemistry from the start of their working partnership.
And the CBR writer displays obvious bias in favor of anything Marvel's staff decide to do, as part of the long alliance between industry and press. Of course it's not uncommon for Spidey to team up with various other heroes - something Marvel Team-Up was particularly famous for - but how common was it in the past for editors to mandate solely according to their visions of how it should be done while shutting out the audience's opinions?
What began as innocent flirting while beating up bad guys slowly evolved to Peter and Bobbi as a legitimate item. Perhaps what makes ‘Spockingbird,’ a celebrity-style nickname Peter came up with (to Bobbi’s dismay), feel more organic than a typical superhero pairing is that Marvel hasn’t overtly publicized it. Spider-Man and Mockingbird began without much fanfare, but they really seem like a perfect fit for one another. This is what Spidey’s needed for years to finally get over the lingering bad will left by “One More Day.”
Sorry, but whether or not they gave it much fanfare, that doesn't make it any more organic than Spidey and Mary Jane making a deal with Mephisto and insulting Aunt May in the process. Man, this is just dripping with bias.
Don’t get me wrong — I, like many fans, loved Peter and MJ as a couple! But one downside of their relationship was Peter always fearing for MJ’s safety. If any supervillains ever learned of Spider-Man’s secret identity, those he loved and cared for would be in jeopardy, MJ included. Mockingbird, however, is a superhero and super-spy in her own right. While Peter would no doubt have some of the same worries with Bobbi as he did with Mary Jane, he knows Bobbi has the necessary skills to fend for herself. Plus, relationships between superheroes tend to make for more entertaining comics, scenes like the one below, where Peter and Bobbi trade crazy scenarios that only a fellow hero would understand.
Oh, so Superman never worried about Lois Lane for the same reasons? What a laugh riot. I seriously doubt the guy's a Superfan either. This is a cliche that superhero comics have to let go of for a change. There have been superheroes who went without or abandoned a secret identity, and the writers figured out how to tell an entertaining story regardless. The justification the columnist resorts to for why Peter and Bobbi belong together is just why superhero comics stopped being organic, with Kyle Rayner as GL being a standout example. Of course, there's reasonable arguments you could make that team titles have long suffered the same problem - did Scarlet Witch ever have a civilian boyfriend? Unless there's an Avengers-related story I missed, not to my knowledge. But, there do seem to be quite a few mainstream team books where the heroes date each other, and too few date civilians, with two exceptions I can think of now being when Cyborg dated Sarah Simms in New Teen Titans, and Angel dating Candy Southern in X-Men.
“One More Day” left a bad impression with Spider-Man fans, but Spockingbird is proving compelling tales can be told, not only with the wall-crawler having a significant other, even if it’s not Mary Jane. We’ll have to wait and see if Spockingbird has a happy ending that includes wedding bells for Spider-Man and Mockingbird, but until we get there — if we get there — it looks as though “One More Day” might finally be able to be left in the past.
Except that the fire has since been extinguished, as the editors haven't a clue how to make Spidey work. They may still keep Peter/MJ separate, but even if they do reunite them, there's little chance Nick Spencer will prove worthy of writing Spidey either. "Fresh Start" has not equaled fresh talent, and editorial mandates have only proven the undoing of superhero comics.

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