Jul 17, 2019

Spider-Rama: Amazing Spider-Man #34

Welcome to Spider-Rama! Each Wednesday, Ben and Duy will look at a Spider-Man issue from the very beginning, in chronological order, and answer questions for various categories, inspired in large part by one of our favorite podcasts, The Rewatchables by The Ringer. Our goal is to make it to Amazing Spider-Man #200. Will we make it? Grab your Amazing Spider-Man Omnibus or crank up your tablet to Marvel Unlimited, and then tune in every Wednesday to find out!

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #34
Spider-Rama
by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko

Kraven the Hunter returns, impersonating Spider-Man!


POINTLESS TRIVIA

BEN: Villain appearance count:
  • Doctor Octopus: 5
  • Green Goblin: 5
  • Sandman: 4
  • The Vulture: 3
  • Mysterio: 3
  • The Enforcers: 3
  • Kraven the Hunter: 3
  • The Chameleon: 2
  • Electro: 2
  • The Ringmaster and the Circus of Crime: 2
  • Scorpion: 2
DUY: First appearance of Simba.



WHAT'S AGED THE BEST?

BEN: Kraven dressing up as Spider-Man is even more interesting many years later.

DUY: Kraven dressing up as Spider-Man, much like Ock using the word Superior, or any scene involving the Brooklyn Bridge, is kind of the mark that a story was a milestone. If you can't read a previous story without being reminded of that story that came afterwards, it's a landmark.

BEN: Really, any time Gwen appears it’s sort of like the specter of death is hanging over her. Sorry, spoilers. 47-year-old spoilers. Another milestone is whenever Mary Jane shows up in the shadows, you think of when she finally doesn't.

DUY: Peter thinking he wasn't at fault for looking like a snob to his peers is interesting. Because of course you were at fault. Being preoccupied doesn't mean you're blameless.

BEN: Especially when you just have to tell them your aunt is sick.

WHAT'S AGED THE WORST?

DUY: Peter can't have really been in love with Betty, right? He was eyeing Liz every chance he got and now he intends to move in on Gwen.

BEN: Yeah, it’s the way you think you love your eighth grade girlfriend.

NITPICKS

BEN:  Kraven supposedly negates Spider-Man’s spider-sense, but then it’s visibly working for the next three pages in a row.

DUY: Kraven is supposedly "as good as he says," but he's still clearly not a match for Spider-Man. A huge letdown from the prior three issues.

BEN: He’s probably the only villain that has given it his all in every matchup and not really come close.

FAVORITE PANEL

DUY: In the show, don't tell department, here's Gwen Stacy expressing interest in Peter.


DUY: You know what, we only have a handful of Ditkos here before he's gone forever, so I will just say I kind of love when he draws Spider-Man swinging straight-bodied, because it makes no sense.


BEN: I assumed that was him stretching out at the end of his swing before he descends and fires another web.

DUY: And this sequence has always had some impact on me . I think I saw it reprinted in one of those books about comics, and it looked so modern, so cinematic.



WHO WON THE COMIC?

BEN: Let’s assume I’m giving this to Gwen Stacy every time for the foreseeable future.

DUY: Yeah, probably Gwen by default. This issue isn't great for this category.

SEASON OPENER

BEN: To go with your television season analogy, this definitely feels like a season premiere episode. I’m calling it season three, with two running from #23 to #33. Season one was much more episodic and shall be known as “the season where the Human Torch guest-starred way too often.”.

DUY:  So Season 2 is the one where it really reaches another level?
.
BEN: Yes.

DUY: So Amazing Fantasy #15 is the pilot, then Season 1 is from that onto before the Green Goblin/Crime Master War, more episodic, quite formulaic. Then Season 2 opens with the Green Goblin/Crime Master War and ends with the Master Planner Saga, which means it peaks there. I'm fine with that.

BEN: That's it for Spider-Rama this week.

DUY: Thank you, Stan Lee and Steve Ditko—

BEN: —for telling us we aren't the only ones.

Leave us a comment below or on our Facebook page. See you next week!

Jul 15, 2019

Roundtable: Spider-Man: Far From Home

Spider-Man: Far From Home came out this on July 2nd, and you guys know what that means. It's time for The Comics Cube MCU Roundtable!

Spider-Man: Far From Home

Spider-Man: Far From Home opened to $93 million dollars domestic, and as of this writing, has made $622 million .



INITIAL REACTIONS

BEN: Far From Home is by far the best live-action Spider-Man movie, and I don’t want to fall prey to recency bias, but it might be my favorite MCU movie. I had no nitpicks or criticisms, it’s perfect.

MIGS: I love the movie as a whole. It was action packed, well written and the characters are very relatable. Not to mention several twists and turns. Peter and MJ have a great chemistry so does Ganke... errr Ned and Betty. It was a great superhero chick flick!

BEN: Homecoming wanted to be a superhero John Hughes teen comedy, and I don’t think it quite got there, but this did. It’s the only Spider-Man movie where the Peter Parker parts aren’t boring.

MICHAEL: I actually think Homecoming nailed the teen comedy/drama better.

DUY: I liked Homecoming, but I didn't really see anything special about it other than one truly great scene. It was, for my money, a by the numbers Spider-Man movie, which may make it better than every live action Spider-Man movie prior, but that bar was low. Far From Home felt like a direct sequel to Homecoming for the first half, and then when the big Mysterio twist happens, it reaches another level. The stakes go up. The idea of great power coming with great responsibility is foremost, even when it's never even mentioned. And I feel it's when Spider-Man really comes into his own.

MICHAEL: Just going to for the record disagree with the assertion that Homecoming was by-the-numbers, just for truth and justice's sake.

KARA: Overall thoughts: absolutely my favorite Spidey movie to date, and possibly my favorite MCU movie to date as well. It truly had some classic Peter Parker story elements that kept things interesting outside of the Spider-Man scenes, and I always love when we get scenes that remember to feature how incredibly smart Peter is.

DUY: Favorite even over Into the Spider-Verse?

THE BEST SPIDER-MAN MOVIE EVER?

KARA: Woof, that is hard to call. Spider-Verse is such a different kind of movie and that one is really more Miles's journey than Peter's. So I guess it's my favorite Peter Parker movie.

MIGS: I love 'em both.

DUY: The second half of Far From Home is better than any Peter Parker sequence in Spider-Verse, but I will admit that Peter B. Parker is closer to my ideal vision of Peter than Tom is.

BEN: Far From Home is a perfect Peter Parker Spider-Man movie while Spider-Verse is a perfect Spider-Man movie.

DUY: The thing I keep saying is, if I wanted to watch the best Spider-Man movie ever, I'm really glad Into the Spider-Verse is on Netflix, because otherwise I'd have to drop 10 bucks for a ticket.

MICHAEL: I don't really compare the two since they're different mediums. Now Far From Home versus Raimi's Spider-Man 2...

BEN: Easy choice for me. The superhero quitting or getting depowered trope is not something I find compelling in a movie.

DUY: Easy choice for me too, because I hate Tobey and Kirsten.

BEN: And yes, Tobey and Kirsten are terrible.

DUY: And I did love Doc Ock in Spider-Man 2, but I never really thought he was the gold standard that people made him out to be? I loved the PS2 game though.

BEN: He was the gold standard in 2004

DUY: This is gonna go off-topic, but I actually thought Defoe's Osborn was better. The Goblin suit was terrible, but I'd take Defoe as Norman over Molina's Ock.

BEN: He was good, but the armor was so bad.

MICHAEL: Raimi's Spider-Man 2 is still the quintessential Spider-Man film for me (in spite of Tobey) but the last 3 Spider-Man films we've gotten have been so close to taking that throne.

DUY: It's just the last two for me. Homecoming, as I've mentioned, never quite clicked for me, and I don't really know why. I think a big part of it is I was resistant to the idea of Spider-Man being a protege. But now, he has no choice but to not be.

BEN: It usually takes until the second one to get over the differences from the comics. Or if you’re a weirdo, you never do.

DUY: Also, this movie felt more like a coming of age movie than Homecoming to me. Homecoming focused on him trying to get with Liz, and the villain was Liz's dad. This still has him prioritizing getting together with a girl, but it's the moment where he realizes he screws up and has to set everything right that made me feel like he really came of age.

MICHAEL: I'd have to disagree just because the setting of Homecoming is a lot more relatable and it hits more of the teenage "rites-of-passage" - awkwardness of fitting in, first big crush, first big dance, first time you're almost crushed to death under tonnes of concrete and cement - all with the finale stripping him back to his base elements.

DUY: I see where you're coming from, so I think the distinction for me is that while Homecoming is a rite-of-passage for me, Far From Home is where he becomes an adult, or close to one anyway.

KATHERINE: I agree with Michael that to me, Homecoming feels like such a classic John Hughes-style teen movie in its themes (cliques, popularity, girl problems, figuring out your identity / self worth, even though they turn some of those things on their heads in really interesting ways, and with a superhero twist) and even in its basic construction that's all leading up to a big homecoming dance. I adore the teen movie genre, so I loved that about it! I think this one managed to feel distinctly different in a great way (which may simply have a lot to do with almost none of it taking place in an actual high school). This didn't feel as much like a "teen movie" to me, it felt more like a barely-coming-of-age/young adult dealing with real shit for the first time kind of story... like the ones that are told about that period between high school and college where people are in limbo. Less Breakfast Club, more Reality Bites. But with world-ending stakes!

PETER PARKER

BEN: One part I enjoyed was that Peter really messed up big in this one. The movies always get the money problems and the girl problems, the “I don’t want to do this” aspect, but they don’t always show how he messes up and has to fix it.

MAX: 100% this.

KARA: I agree. People do tend to forget that he's a teenager and is of course going to be prone to insecurity and bouts of selfishness, but the great thing about Peter is that he always gets up and fixes his mistakes and steps up to bat in a big way.

DUY: His most classic stories start with him really messing up. The Hobgoblin, for example, only happens because he (once again) lets a burglar go.

KARA: Yep, which is also what makes him so relatable to people. We can't all be Captain America perfect; we can only strive to be the best versions of ourselves. And I think that's something that has really been done well with Tom Holland's Spidey.

DUY: That's exactly why the stakes go up, and Holland really sold it.

BEN: Homecoming was almost too low stakes for me. While this had big enough stakes that they made sure to note that no Avengers were going to be able to interfere.

MICHAEL: I think Peter almost being buried and Vulture knowing his identity and threatening him during the car ride were pretty serious stakes on a personal level, but your mileage may vary.

DUY: I will say that as much as I felt skeptical about Tom Holland's Spider-Man taking on a more prominent role in the MCU, I do think this movie has brushed that skepticism away.

BEN: My problem was less about Holland and more about Spider-Man being the center of a team.

DUY: I think he can play him perfectly now as the outsider of the team who they have to turn to for genius stuff. You know, classic Spider-Man.

KARA: He's kicking ass, man. I'm so excited for what comes next.

PETER AND MJ

BEN: MCU MJ is better comic book MJ.

DUY: To that point, it's refreshing to see Tom and Zendaya acting like actual teenagers, right down to their super duper awkward first kiss, as opposed to 30 year olds acting like teenagers.

BEN: Are you suggesting a teenage girl wouldn’t pull down a stranger’s mask and give him a super passionate upside down kiss?

DUY: I keep thinking why Tobey and Kirsten annoy me so much, and Katherine pointed out to me that it's probably because they're adults. They're adults who are overdramatic and whiny. And yeah, if Tom and Zendaya played Peter and MJ as adults, I probably would find them annoying, what with Peter's neurotic overthinking and MJ's Daria-ness (which, apparently, was her main direction for the character), but that's the thing, they're not adults. They played them as teenagers. And they played them perfectly.

BEN: And most importantly, they don’t look their age, much less look 30

MICHAEL: MJ is actually a likable and believable girl here, unlike in the comics where she's a cipher for a reward trophy. Sorry Mary Jane fans.

DUY: She also reminded me of Mai, from Avatar: The Last Airbender, so that's a plus.

BEN: In that vein, I like how she hated web-swinging, because anybody would.

DUY: Yeah, I like that as weird as MJ was and how she liked depressing things, broken things, and whatnot, that she hated web swinging and had a strong reaction to it. It really rounds out her character.

MICHAEL: Yeah, that was perfect. Also draws a clear line between this MJ and Kirsten Dunst's one.

DUY: I also like how her red hair that she posted a week ago never showed up in the movie, because I'm sure the MJ fans are going nuts about it.

MICHAEL: Even better was how she was trolling people's reactions about it. I'm a fan.

BEN: They all love the romantic shots of him and MJ standing on top of a skyscraper, even though no one would ever want to do that.

BEN: I like that between Liz and MJ, MCU Peter has a type.

MICHAEL: Nerdy-smart and attractive?

DUY: The best thing about MCU Peter's type is that when he and Shuri finally meet each other, sparks will definitely fly.

THE SPECTRE OF TONY STARK

BEN: It was pointed out to me that the suitcase he takes and eventually gets destroyed was Uncle Ben’s.

DUY: Yeah, it says BFP on the handle.

BEN: He let go of all his Ben baggage.

DUY: Literally so. The movie was about him in fact letting go of the baggage of losing his father figure. I have seen the criticism — and I get it — that the movie relied too much on Tony Stark. It's personal between Beck and Stark. Spider-Man gets in the way. And I get it, but I think it works, thematically, and by the end of the movie, it is absolutely personal between Beck and Peter.

MICHAEL: I mean, how are you not going to have the spectre of Tony loom large over the film? They played it just the right amount, in my opinion.

DUY: That too, it's literally the first movie after Tony's death.

BEN: "Even dead I’m the hero."

MAX: I like the Tony stuff. The MCU is cohesive, and if you leave out all the reverence for the source material, it just makes sense to build it this way. Peter’s search for a replacement father figure from Tony to Beck to (fleetingly) Happy...works.

KATHERINE: I loved the Tony stuff! And it's not just about following Endgame. Even for people who don't care about the rest of the MCU at large (who are those people??), Tony Stark was a huge presence in Spidey's first movie and his origin story, it makes sense even within his mini-universe that his death would be affecting him deeply. Tony crawling out of his grave in the Mysterio sequence was both terrifying and heartbreaking. And Mysterio saying that maybe if Peter had been better, Tony would still be alive. My god. Bullet through the heart. Also, I cried during the conversation between Happy and Peter on the plane, and even more when they played "Back in Black" while Peter was working on his own suit.

BEN: A traumatized hero following an Avengers movie, a guy pretending to be in a flying suit when he isn’t, a guy pretending to be something he’s not. Iron Man 3 is underrated!

MICHAEL: A villain created by Tony Stark's more abrasive qualities...

MYSTERIO

KATHERINE: I loved Mysterio and I can see his performance gaining a Loki fan fave type of status. I honestly don't think I've enjoyed Jake Gyllenhaal more. I knew he had to be a bad guy, but he really got me trusting him! I originally thought it might end up being more of an earnest turn to the dark side, but his cheeky theatrical reveal was so good.

BEN: Apparently Jake Gyllenhaal was channeling David Fincher in his performance.

MAX: The director stuff? The scene with the choreography deffo felt like he was playing out a lived experience on set.

DUY: The Mysterio scene was perfect. It's the kind of visual experimentation in service of the storytelling I wish the MCU would do more of, and this movie delivered.

BEN: It was straight out of a Mysterio comic book, and it was the scene where I thought to myself “they got everything right”

DUY: I'm also going to add here that it's pretty much exactly what I want from a Dr. Strange movie.

MICHAEL: I actually wish they saved more of that big illusion set-piece for the last battle. It was a brilliant in itself; I just wanted more of that and was a little bit disappointed by comparison with the illusions Mysterio mustered up in their final confrontation. You can argue that it was on-the-spot improv on his part, though.

MAX: I feel like Mysterio has been used at just the right time in cinema, not only SFX-wise (could have been way wonkier in 2000s) but thematically. His words about fooling people who are fooling themselves and truth being dead are very current.

MICHAEL: Spidey going The Raid on the hallway of drones was the first time he's actually looked menacing.

DUY: Spider-Man is a badass, the way he should be if he decides to cut loose. Spider-Man closing his eyes and relying on his Spider-sense to beat Mysterio is such an old trick, dating all the way back to Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, and it gets me every time they do it. Once I realized that's what he was going to do (I caught myself yelling "CLOSE YOUR EYES!" during the Mysterio scene), I could not wait to see it. And of course it comes right after he uses a Captain America/Thor combo to get to Mysterio, and the fight is over right away. Spider-Man's rogues cannot take him hand to hand, and after just barely surviving the Vulture in the last movie, the decisiveness of this climax made the Spider-fan in me very happy.


KARA: I totally kept saying that too! CLOSE YOUR EYES, PETER. TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS.

KARA: We did watch this interesting video last night that talked about how Peter was likely afraid to trust his Spidey senses due to the trauma of having felt the Snapping before anybody else did. Like he purposely decided to turn it off. Which is a totally legitimate reaction for a teenager, I think. So he has to learn to trust that instinct again.

DUY: That would explain why he didn't sense Mysterio. Though I do think it wouldn't go off for the banana.

KARA: Yeah that banana ain't no threat!

DUY: Actually, I want to ask the longtime Spider-Man fans, Ben and I were talking about how beat for beat, this was pretty much exactly how you'd write a Mysterio story, to the point where it could be considered predictable for longtime fans. Did you also see everything coming? And did it matter?

BEN: The broad strokes of the plot are exactly what you would expect them to be.

MICHAEL: I think anyone who's familiar with the comics expected Mysterio would turn. Personally, I had speculated that the Elementals were grand illusions created to ingratiate himself as a hero from the first trailer. But I was still a bit surprised by the methodology, ie: that he wasn't actually in a suit, the specific drone tech he was using, and that part of it was a long-con to get his hands on Stark's AI defense system. The wider cast of disgruntled lackies he was using was a great unexpected touch too, which went well with his theatrical side, as if they were putting on a live play.

DUY: Speaking of, it was nice seeing that one random guy from the first Iron Man show up.

MICHAEL: And no, it didn't matter much at all - it was still great to see play out. But between figuring out the gist of a film and being surprised by some great subversion ala Mandarin in Iron Man 3, I'd prefer the latter.

MIGS: My coworkers and I kinda predicted that they were illusions made by Mysterio. We had a theory about it but then came the idea of the multiverse.

BEN: I figured the multiverse was a massive red herring.

DUY: I figured the multiverse was a red herring, but I thought it would play into the credits scene, to the point where I actually thought Tobey and/or Andrew and/or Shameik and/or Nick Miller would show up.

MIGS: There was an image of Tobey/Andrew/Tom together that is floating around the internet. I was hoping it was true.

KARA: I absolutely had it called from the trailers. But the way they executed it was absolutely perfect. I personally think the reveal happened early enough that old Spidey fans wouldn't continue to get frustrated at the deception and could just enjoy it for what it was. I did spend some time wondering if they were gonna pull a Captain Marvel Skrull turn on us, since Mysterio isn't generally one of Spidey's harder villains and twisting it that way could've worked. But I'm also glad that they kept him a villain and even boosted his motivation as being a psycho spurned Stark employee. And also using the hydroman molten man sandman and cyclone names in the marketing materials was smart; kept the public thinking that they were real villains that they would be going up against. Tricksy hobbitses!!

BEN: I want to say I called Hydro Man and Molten Man as illusions from the very first trailer. It’s really the best case scenario for Molten Man.

DUY: Ironically, he was one of the Spider-Rama guys on the week the movie debuted.

BEN: In which we briefly discussed his awfulness.

MICHAEL: I dunno, we've had Liz Allan already introduced into the universe so it seems like a waste of a villain character to slap the name on such a non-entity (along with Hydro-Man). The earth one definitely better not have been Sandman.

BEN: I hear you, and my counter is that Molten Man is the worst.

MAX: Best part was sitting with my partner who had no idea Mysterio was a villain and watching her be completely floored by the reveal, partly due to jake’s selling of his heroism. But then having her think back and piece together the little clues after the fact (meeting in the pub with masks off, “Don’t apologise for being the smartest person in the room”, etc). The interesting thing though, is that villains in both films have been disgruntled workers who have been unfairly displaced by the corporate machine. they have legitimate grievances even if they go about it the wrong way. it’s kinda...a mixed message.

DUY: It's very much the "I get you, but this isn't how you do it" train.

MAX: yeah, are there any examples on “how you do it right”? honest question, I’m having trouble thinking of one. so far, it’s been Peter stepping up to inherit the system in Tony’s absence and beating down those that have risen up to challenge tony’s hostile corporate actions. Which is a way of saying “the system is fine as long as a good person running it” and these exploited people are bound to turn bad.

MICHAEL: Vulture felt more menacing in a grounded way and actually elevated the villain for me (who's always been a bit of a knockover in the comics). Mysterio was just a great villain represented slightly differently but perfectly realised. Both great in their own ways.

DUY: I want to mention that I've never thought of comic or cartoon Mysterio as a great villain, ever. Rather, he more provides for opportunities for great visuals. The movie gave his character a believable motivation and actually made him compelling as a character.

BEN: I thought he was doing a bad job of acting at first, until I realized the character was doing a bad job of acting.

DUY: And yes, I hope his death is a fakeout.

BEN: Hopefully the comics adopt his illusion tech, because half his problem has been getting hung up on the former practical special effects background.

MICHAEL: I think Mysterio's last big reappearance at the beginning of Spencer's run actually him using drone/illusion tech to fake a city wide alien invasion. He gets whooped in short order though.

DUY: I thought the reveal that Mysterio didn't actually have any powers would disappoint people since it might be seen as lowering the stakes, but that's not the case at all; that's exactly where the stakes go up.

MICHAEL: I kind of wish he had a proper suit at least - I mean, it's not a huge leap that a former Stark employee also steals his suit tech - but that didn't take much away from the threat he posed. He was "just a guy", but also an incredibly devious mastermind, and that made the final confrontation both different and a bit more personal.


THE SUPPORTING CAST

MICHAEL: The thing I generally like about both films is just how fun the school cast can be and how deep that bench is.

DUY: So deep. It might actually be too deep because it felt like some characters were underexplored.

MICHAEL: And for me that some characters maybe ate up too much time. I like Martin Starr and all but I'm not sure if we needed his teacher character in as many scenes, while Flash somehow was less in less scenes. I generally feel the last film had a great balance with those characters, while this one was just a little uneven.

BEN: I don’t necessarily disagree about the teacher, but I’d also like to point out that JB Smoove rocks.

MICHAEL: I liked Betty Brant getting a larger role though.

DUY: I loved Ned and Betty, which, you'd think it would be obvious they'd get together at some point, but since he's actually Ganke, the thought never crossed my mind until it happened.

BEN: It didn’t even click with me until they broke up, because I think of him as Ganke.

DUY: I assume like you all, like me, lost it at the Whitney Houston tribute video. Which, by the way, Captain America is in it, so I assume the Avengers have made a public announcement by then that Sam is the new Cap.

KARA: We had an awesome audience that laughed and cheered so hard at the tribute. It was a beautiful thing to behold, complete with the comic sans text and watermarked stock images.

MICHAEL: That was so perfect. I generally just love the awkward school news show Betty runs with her co-anchor that always gets low-key dunked on.

BEN: I think we all forget Vision died too, but I love her co-anchor getting lost in the thought his younger brother is older than him now.

DUY: I love how her co-anchor is an actual comic book character, Jason Ionello, and none of you Spider-fans can be bothered to write his name.

BEN: I also appreciated how they immediately answered the five-year gap questions, if only so I don’t have to hear Duy whine about it.

DUY: I did too, because I didn't want to whine about it. But seriously, I love how Spider-Man is the civilian look at how superheroes change the world. I kinda wish they'd dropped by New Asgard...

KARA: They're clearly hinting at some future shit with Flash, and I'm really curious to see where they go with that. He sort of feels like an amalgamation of classic Flash Thompson and Harry Osborn, so who knows what's going on in there. But also Brad was the real villain. #fubrad

DUY: Yeah Brad, what a dick.

KATHERINE: It might be mean but I laughed when Peter was scanning everyone’s phones and Flash’s showed a text that said something like “have not heard from you or father in days.” Other funniest / meanest supporting cast moment was Mr. Harrington talking about how his wife pretended to blip but really just ran away with another man. Savage.

BEN: They may make Flash a goblin, but it would be stupid to make one of Peter’s friends a hero or villain... wouldn’t it? Wouldn’t it!

MICHAEL: That ending part with Flash was intriguing. It didn't feel like a gag at all, more hinting at how his home life may dictate his shitty attitude, but it kinda just ended there. I said it elsewhere but I loved all the moments with the various classmates and faculty in Homecoming and in this film that scope was more contracted since it the plot just focuses on a small group of them, and yet it feels like some get too much time and some too little.

BEN: I think the reason it worked better in this one was because they weren’t as prominent. And MJ is more interesting than Liz was in Homecoming. Michael is probably right in that Homecoming was more of a teen comedy, but I preferred the balance more in this one.

DUY: It's been too long since high school, but Flash Thompson being a nerd and a bully feels so genuine to me in today's day and age.

BEN: A meme bully.

MAX: This version of Flash is the most interesting to me by far. It really feels like a Spider-Man created in the 2010s instead of a transplanted 20th century story.

DUY: Yeah, this franchise involves at least three race bends, which of course gets hate from a certain contingent of the internet. But because Spider-Man was created in 1962 and it's now 2019, it's only realistic that a high school in New York would be this diverse. It does feel they started from scratch rather than try to transplant what was there decades ago.

BEN: I wonder at what point May found out his identity.

DUY: The end credits of Homecoming

BEN: Really? Have I completely forgotten this?

MICHAEL: Yes.

DUY: Homecoming ends with May going "What the f-" and then blacking out.

MICHAEL: I like that we're 2 for 2 now with characters ending a post credits sequence with "what the fu-"

DUY: Speaking of May, I completely ship her and Happy.

MICHAEL: I don't because Happy is a putz, but it was fun for what it was. I love that May was immediately "nah it's a fling" while Happy was talking about connections.

BEN: That saved it for me.

THE MID-CREDITS

MIGS: The mid-credits took me by surprise. I never expected Spidey's identity to be revealed to the world that soon. Nice to see JK Simmons back as J. Jonah Jameson. One of the best midcredits scene of the MCU.

BEN: JK being back makes me wonder why they ever let him “leave.” Batman used the same Alfred for four movies, Simmons should always be Jameson. It also got the biggest pop from the audience of the entire movie.

DUY: I honestly can't remember the last time when the credits scene by itself has made me want to watch the next movie immediately.

BEN: I kept thinking “are they going to do it, are they going to show his face? Oh, they did it.”

DUY: And it really does feel like it sets up the third movie as super-classic Spider-Man. The quintessential New York hero that New York hates.

MICHAEL: I liked that JJJ was familiar (due to J.K. Simmons) and yet slightly different in this iteration: bald on top, now a shock jock online radio show host/anchor evoking a certain far right conspiracy theorist rather than a newspaper publisher.

DUY: I'm really glad he's not a newspaper publisher, because it's 2019.

BEN: Like the PS4 game.

KARA: They had that in the Ultimate universe as well. they had the daily bugle start as a newspaper that's just starting to transition into an online format and Peter became their web designer rather than a photographer. Makes me think that if they try to sneak Peter into the Bugle to help clear his name, that would be the angle they go in from. BUT I literally. Screamed. I screamed YES when they showed JK Simmons because HELL YES. And also when they actually not only said his name but put in a picture of him I just turned to Katherine like OH GOD WHAT NOW.

MAX: I like that they’re happy to mess with the status quo.

DUY: On Spider-Rama the week before with Mysterio, we discussed how he makes for great visuals and a perfect match for JJJ.

MICHAEL: They do make a good match but there wasn't much of a connection between that in this film. More of a segueway, or baton passing. Mysterio was all about how easily people could be deceived and mislead by media (similar to Aldrich Killian's sentiments in a way), fittingly having his 'last moments' covered by J Jonah Jameson - who appears to be an Alex Jones-esque pastiche, the height of actual "fake news".

DUY: I didn't expect Jameson at all, so what we got was perfect enough. (Plus as cool as it'd have been, I don't think there was enough time.)

BEN: Mysterio and Jameson are the ideal conduits for a “fake news” theme.

THE END CREDITS

BEN: I was spoiled on this weeks before, but it was reported as being a sinister scene, setting up a Secret Invasion type of storyline, but it was mainly a joke. So I was a bit disappointed.

DUY: My big question is, where is Fury going? I want to say he's going to Vormir. Talos-as-Fury at one point says "No one gets left behind," and Widow is the number 1 SHIELD agent.

MICHAEL: It was nice seeing Talos again, I guess? I liked him in Captain Marvel but I don't know if I needed to see him again so soon. It's whatever.

BEN: I suppose they could still be working up to Secret Invasion, the Marvel event where it's revealed that the Skrulls have been infiltrating for a long time. They get mad about failing to find them a home.

MICHAEL: I'd like to think Fury being in space has something to do with forming SWORD, but who knows. "Fury" and "Maria Hill" do have an offhand line about Kree sleeper cells during the film, though.

MAX: i just love aliens with Aussie accents.

KATHERINE: When he said that it was time to get back to work, I figured he was going to get back to forming whatever the new Avengers are going to be... which maybe starts with recruiting people from space?

BEN: Adam Warlock!

KATHERINE: But is everyone assuming that the real Nick Fury has only been on vacation since Endgame or does anyone else think he may have been up there for much longer? I'm feeling like a conspiracy theorist thinking that he's been up there since he "retired" at the end of Winter Soldier, since he cut his toast diagonally in Age of Ultron. It's such a random piece of information he shared in Captain Marvel that it feels like it must mean something.

BEN: That’s what I was wondering, how long has he been gone?

DUY: We've only last seen him in Ultron, really, before Infinity War... so it's either Ultron or Endgame and I guess it doesn't really make that much of a difference.

THE FUTURE

DUY: They're apparently contracted for nine Spider-Man movies.  So we have a lot of time to get to the Sinister Six, Doc Ock, AND the Green Goblin. And he doesn't even need to be front and center for this next phase, or even phases. Also, due to his age, Spider-Man is really the one character you can go this long with. But also, he's freaking Spider-Man. Even after the last 10 years, he's still their biggest brand, their most recognizable, and even if he'd taken a backseat in the past decade, I think this movie has shown that you can easily put Spider-Man front and center any time you want.

BEN: It helps that Holland might look 16 forever. So what's next?

KARA: If we assume Miles Morales didn't get blipped than he'd be in the right age range now!! It sounded like he was really young in Homecoming, in the extended scene of Aaron stuck to the car trunk.

DUY: A part of me actually wants Miles (and Gwen) to come from different Earths...

KARA: I'd love if they did that, honestly. I mean they probably wouldn't be able to pull him in for a long time if Sony plans on doing any sequels to Spider-Verse.

MICHAEL: I would have loved to see a more faithful take on Scorpion now that I think about it, but they already introduced him in Homecoming.

BEN:  Maybe they have Jameson help turn him into the Scorpion to hunt down a fugitive Peter in the next one.

KARA: Homecoming did also introduce the Tinkerer. Curious to see where they take that, if they do anything with it.

BEN: I look forward to hopefully getting a good Green Goblin on screen.

MICHAEL: They'll definitely do Norman Osborn and that opens up a whole corner of Goblins.

DUY: I really wanna see Harry Goblin done right, but that takes up so much time.

KARA: They've been doing a great job of picking some of the lesser known villains from Spidey's rogues gallery, and I hope that keeps up. It's been awesome seeing these new takes on them and really elevating them into proper threats. It really makes me wonder who they're going to go with next!

DUY: Actually that brings up a good point. Mysterio is the best Spider-Man villain from a visual standpoint. Who would we go to next for someone who would look great in cinema? I would think that means someone like the Rhino is out... Would be cool to see someone like Speed Demon on screen, or even Boomerang.

MICHAEL: Boomerang would be a great Sinister Six/Seven/Syndicate addition. Rhino really needs to be done right but I think he'd be one of the hardest to translate on screen. I Wouldn't mind seeing a conglomerate of C list villains - think of all the organized crime types that have yet to be tapped in live action like Hammerhead, Silvermane, Owl, Tombstone... not prime villain material but neither was Shocker in Homecoming and yet he was still pretty fun on screen. I'd dig seeing Martin Li show up as a supporting cast member in May's orbit since she's doing FEAST stuff basically, slow burn his turn over a few films.

DUY: I wonder if they can use the Kingpin.

KARA: I wonder if they could find an excuse to get Kraven the Hunter in there!

MICHAEL: Kraven would be great for a slightly older Spidey. And that's the great thing — if Holland is in it for the long haul, we could.be planning out villains for most of his 20s.

DUY: So if you want to continue with the keeping secrets/ telling lies/ fake news theme, the obvious answer is the Chameleon.

KARA: I was thinking of him too.

MICHAEL: Chameleon and Kraven are kind of like a double act, so you could have one lead into then other.

DUY: But yeah I was thinking you do Chameleon and the credits scene introduces Kraven?

KARA: I think that would make sense for either of those two.

DUY: Not as a main villain but more of a nuisance to the theme of celebrity, I'd love to see Screwball. And Electro with his real costume? Please?

MICHAEL: Smythe and the Spider-Slayers could make sense for the next movie. Like a task force getting organized to catch him for "murdering Mysterio". You could also introduce the Jackal.

DUY: I think I would avoid the Clone Saga. That might be a little too much for the casual audience.

KARA: Clone saga is a mindfuck that is best left to comics. It's way too involved and crazy, whichever angle you look at it.

MICHAEL: Hate the Clone Saga, but Jackal is a worthy foe.

DUY: Spider-Man has so many options it's easier to name the ones I wouldn't go for.

KARA: Trying to dig way back through his rogues gallery right now and like... There are just so many. Enough material to last for as long as film can handle!

DUY: It's interesting that Peter doesn't really have that many A-level villains that the movies can really just pick one and cut loose. Like if they said, hey, let's make a big thing out of The Spot, we'd see it happen.

KARA: His A-lister has been done to death, so... Yeah, kind of leaves just the huge swath of B- and C-grade villains. To quote an old Spidey novel I have, "You threaten the world, you get the Fantastic Four or the Avengers. Rob a bank, you get Spider-Man."

DUY: And if they introduce the FF soon we can get Peter and Johnny...

KARA: Please please please please please.

MICHAEL: No one would have said Vulture was an A-level Spidey foe (despite being one of his first) but they made it work. I think the things they're looking at is a) who's a classic foe that has tenure and hasn't been done yet? b) is there a fresh way to make them work on screen? If they wanted, to I'm sure they'd have a great Vermin script to be honest.

DUY: Yeah it almost feels like they get more creative freedom this way.

MICHAEL: The more I think about it, the more I want a Gang War. I reckon Tombstone could even carry a film. He's basically freaky Kingpin. Have Black Cat be an ally/foil to Spidey. Print money.

DUY: Unfortunately i think Felicia and Sable are stuck with Sony proper.

MICHAEL: They got lucky with Venom. I hope it's not a case of them keeping them off the table for the MCU proper.

BEN: I’d like to see a better Lizard.

DUY: Also, the movie changes so much on the surface but feels so true to classic Spider-Man, and I actually think that helps the movie because while the major beats are predictable, all the smaller changes are a surprise.

MICHAEL: Gwen Stacy?

DUY: Spider-Gwen has changed Gwen's stock so much (for the better) that I wouldn't be surprised if we never see a version of Gwen from this Earth.

KARA: True true. I'd love to see her eventually, but who even knows.

DUY: What if the ninth movie is a live action Spider Verse???

KARA: DON'T TEASE ME WITH SUCH A CONCEPT.

DUY: All you really need is Peter and Gwen and Miles. And Andrew. Okay, that last one is just for me.

Jul 12, 2019

Spider-Rama: Amazing Spider-Man #33

Welcome to Spider-Rama! Each Wednesday, Ben and Duy will look at a Spider-Man issue from the very beginning, in chronological order, and answer questions for various categories, inspired in large part by one of our favorite podcasts, The Rewatchables by The Ringer. Our goal is to make it to Amazing Spider-Man #200. Will we make it? Grab your Amazing Spider-Man Omnibus or crank up your tablet to Marvel Unlimited, and then tune in every Wednesday to find out!

Except, in honor of the release of Spider-Man: Far From Home this past weekend, we went daily for Spider-Rama last week and will continue to do so this week! So tune in every day until Friday at the same time for your daily dose of Spider-Man retrospectives! We'll be back to our regular Wednesday schedule next week.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #33
Spider-Rama
by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko

The conclusion of The Master Planner Saga!



BEN: One of the greatest comic books ever created.

DUY: In the canon of most important Spider-Man work, three issues top the list: Amazing Fantasy #15, Amazing Spider-Man #122 (I think it's more important than 121), and this one. And I cannot decide what order they go in.

POINTLESS TRIVIA

DUY: Despite being the main villain of the story, Dr. Octopus does not show up.
    BEN: First acknowledgement of Uncle Ben as his motivation since the first annual.

    DUY: This is the final issue of the first official three-parter.

    WHAT'S AGED THE BEST?

    BEN:  “Within my body is the strength of many men...! And now I’ve got to call on all that strength - - all the power - - that I possess! I must prove equal to the task - - I must be worthy of that strength - - or else I don’t deserve it!” Ditko rightly gets most of the praise for this sequence, but Stan was throwing heat on the dialogue too.

    DUY: Good God, what didn't age well in this comic. You think it peaks at the debris-lifting sequence, and then he goes and fights Ock's men exhausted and just throwing punches around, and then he goes and saves May, and then he tells off Jameson, and then he breaks up with Betty, and then it ends with this decompressed sequence of him walking away from the hospital.  It’s even sort of anticlimactic, and that’s not a knock, but there’s no final battle.

    BEN: It’s even sort of anticlimactic, and that’s not a knock, but there’s no final battle. Is this the birth of the "Spider-Man won’t stop until he wins" bit?

    DUY: I think so. He's down and out, he doesn't even have the will to count on his brain anymore. At one point, he just goes limp and lets the water take him to where he needs to go because he can't move anymore. He has no hope of winning and he keeps going. Among other things, it's the template for Nothing Can Stop the Juggernaut.

    BEN: I don’t really want to bring up the dreaded OMD, but anyone that’s ever argued that Peter wouldn’t sacrifice absolutely anything to save his Aunt, needs to read this comic again. It doesn’t matter that she’s elderly and feeble, he’d die for her.

    DUY: There's a lot of decompression in this issue. The classic sequence is 5 pages that DC at the time would have done in 5 panels.It's just so good. And the classic sequence ages so well, obviously, that it's been homaged in so many places. I actually saw a tribute to it before I knew what it was. In the 30th anniversary issue of Amazing Spider-Man, Peter gets trapped under a train, and they re-enact this scene, drawn by Mark Bagley. Of course it's been interpreted in the Spectacular Spider-Man cartoon and the Spider-Man Homecoming movie and the PS4 game, but it's also been homaged in various non-Spidey comics, including an issue of Blue Beetle (also a Ditko creation), Walt Simonson's classic Frog Thor story, and a Captain Marvel adventure as drawn by Gil Kane. But you know what, let's just show it here:


    WHAT'S AGED THE WORST?

    DUY: I don't know if this aged badly necessarily, but it's really weird that Ock isn't here. In the most classic story featuring Dr. Octopus, he shows up in one issue out of three. That's really weird, right?

    BEN: I was trying to remember as I read it if he showed up again, but yeah, he’s just gone. They had been letting the villains escape to fight another day for a while now. They wisely decided they couldn’t keep having these guys get paroled or break out of prison. The Goblin has never been captured at this point. Was DC doing this, or did every villain have to get captured by the end of the comic?

    DUY: I don't know of any story that does it, and I'm not going to do the research to find out.

    NITPICKS

    BEN:  Good thing Peter wasn’t wearing his costume under his clothes when the doctor checked him out. Also, Betty suddenly realizes that Peter leads a dangerous life as a crime news photographer, but Ned Leeds in a crime reporter...

    DUY: Even Betty freaking out looks great though. Like you could really see the trauma all rushing back.




    FAVORITE PANEL

    BEN: Spider-Man lifting the machinery off his back deservedly gets the glory, but I’ve always found a barely conscious Spidey beating down Ock’s goons afterwards just as inspiring.



    DUY: That's actually mine too. But if I had to pick something from the machinery sequence, my favorite part is athe one right before he gets it off him. Where he goes "Anyone can win a fight -- when the odds are easy! It's when the going's tough -- when there seems to be no chance -- THAT'S when -- it counts!"
    .


    WHO WON THE COMIC?

    DUY: Spider-Man wins. The readers win. Stan Lee and Steve Ditko win. If you read Amazing Spider-Man #1-33, you got a full story. That's a whole season. The next issue is a new chapter.

    BEN: You’d think going to college would be a new season, but he hasn’t really been there yet mentally. So far it’s been an extension of his high school experience. But the answer is still Gwen Stacy.

    DUY: That's it for Spider-Rama this week.

    BEN: Thank you, Stan Lee and Steve Ditko—

    DUY: —for telling us we aren't the only ones.

    Leave us a comment below or on our Facebook page. See you guys on Monday for our Far From Home roundtable, and then next Wednesday for the next installment of Spider-Rama!

    Jul 11, 2019

    Spider-Rama: Amazing Spider-Man #32

    Welcome to Spider-Rama! Each Wednesday, Ben and Duy will look at a Spider-Man issue from the very beginning, in chronological order, and answer questions for various categories, inspired in large part by one of our favorite podcasts, The Rewatchables by The Ringer. Our goal is to make it to Amazing Spider-Man #200. Will we make it? Grab your Amazing Spider-Man Omnibus or crank up your tablet to Marvel Unlimited, and then tune in every Wednesday to find out!

    Except, in honor of the release of Spider-Man: Far From Home this past weekend, we went daily for Spider-Rama last week and will continue to do so this week! So tune in every day until Friday at the same time for your daily dose of Spider-Man retrospectives! We'll be back to our regular Wednesday schedule next week.

    AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #32
    Spider-Rama
    by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko

    The Master Planner Saga continues as the Master Planner is revealed to be none other than Dr. Octopus!




    POINTLESS TRIVIA

    BEN: Villain appearance count:
    • Doctor Octopus: 5
    • Green Goblin: 5
    • Sandman: 4
    • The Vulture: 3
    • Mysterio: 3
    • The Enforcers: 3
    • The Chameleon: 2
    • Electro: 2
    • Kraven the Hunter: 2
    • The Ringmaster: 2
    • Scorpion: 2
    BEN: First time Spider-Man asks Curt Connors for help.

    DUY: Spider-Man uses his scientific knowledge to help Connors find a cure for May.

    BEN: Doctor Octopus refers to himself as "Superior."


    DUY: Like the Brooklyn Bridge, because of more modern comics, the word "superior," especially in relation to Ock, has a completely new meaning. Thanks, Dan Slott!

    WHAT'S AGED THE BEST?

    BEN: An angry Spider-Man cutting loose is always a treat. Possibly the greatest cliffhanger ever. Or is that just because we know the next issue is one of the greatest moments in comics history?

    DUY: There's really no way to tell. But the fact is it does age well because the next issue exists and getting to the end of this comic means we can't wait to get to that one.

    WHAT'S AGED THE WORST?

    DUY: You know what, I'll use this issue to say it. The dialogue. It's already stilted and unnatural to begin with, but when Stan starts using contractions like "You've nothing to fear from me".... look, no one says "You've nothing" or any of that sentence structure, Stan, stop it.

    BEN: The unmitigated gall of you.

    DUY: You've no clue the limits of my gall.

    NITPICKS

    BEN:  Not only do Spider-Man and Doctor Octopus both happen to need the same serum, but Ock’s gang manages to find out about the shipment somehow.

    DUY: It sure is mighty convenient that Curt Connors just happened to move back to New York. 

    BEN: At least they didn’t have him become the Lizard again right away. They set it up for later.

    DUY: I'm pretty sure no scientist would ever call his work a "potion," as Connors does.

    FAVORITE PANEL

    BEN: I was amused by this.



    DUY: Angry Peter has the edge that's missing from a lot of "classic" Spider-Man reinterpretations. People think he's a nerd, but he's really more of an outsider/loner with anger issues. It's weird when there are interpretations that play off of this and fans complain, since it's baked into more than one of his most classic stories.




    WHO WON THE COMIC?

    DUY: This is Peter Parker's comic in every way. This is probably my favorite version of him.

    BEN: Gwen Stacy.

    PERSONAL CONNECTIONS WITH VILLAINS

    DUY:  So we could have this conversation in any of the three issues, but since I think there's a lot to talk about in the last one and he doesn't actually show up in the first one, one of the things that modern Spider-Man interpretations have done is given him a personal connection to Dr. Octopus prior to him becoming Dr. Octopus. Spider-Man 2 has him being Ock's student, the animated series Spectacular Spider-Man and Ultimate Spider-Man both have Ock working for Norman, who obviously has a personal connection to Peter, and the PS4 game basically mixes both. Even the main comics have developed an affectionate relationship between Otto and May, something that makes it so that this exact storyline can never happen again since Otto would never put May in danger. If Stan and Steve had more time to think about it, do you think they'd have given Ock a personal connection to Peter, and would that have cemented Ock as the top villain over Norman?



    BEN: It’s hard to say, because it would have been unprecedented at the time, right? The personal connection between hero and villain wasn’t a thing yet?

    DUY: Yes, unless you count Luthor hating Superman because he turned him bald. Which was not too long before this (1960).

    BEN: I wonder when Magneto and Xavier were established as former friends. But I’m not sure if I like them knowing each other before he breaks bad. It shows the influence of Spider-Man 2 though, with both the mentor aspect and the idea that the arms make him evil.

    DUY: Yeah, I think too many villains having personal ties to him is too convenient. They can get acquainted after.

    BEN: That's it for Spider-Rama this week.

    DUY: Thank you, Stan Lee and Steve Ditko—

    BEN: —for telling us we aren't the only ones.

    Leave us a comment below or on our Facebook page. See you tomorrow!

    Jul 10, 2019

    Spider-Rama: Amazing Spider-Man #31

    Welcome to Spider-Rama! Each Wednesday, Ben and Duy will look at a Spider-Man issue from the very beginning, in chronological order, and answer questions for various categories, inspired in large part by one of our favorite podcasts, The Rewatchables by The Ringer. Our goal is to make it to Amazing Spider-Man #200. Will we make it? Grab your Amazing Spider-Man Omnibus or crank up your tablet to Marvel Unlimited, and then tune in every Wednesday to find out!

    Except, in honor of the release of Spider-Man: Far From Home this past weekend, we went daily for Spider-Rama last week and will continue to do so this week! So tune in every day until Friday at the same time for your daily dose of Spider-Man retrospectives! We'll be back to our regular Wednesday schedule next week.

    AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #31
    Spider-Rama
    by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko

    Aunt May falls sick, and to save her, Spider-Man has to deal with the mysterious Master Planner! Also, Peter goes to college!



    POINTLESS TRIVIA

    BEN: First appearances of Gwen Stacy, Harry Osborn, and Professor Miles Warren. First mention of the Master Planner.

    DUY: Peter's first day at Empire State University, and Aunt May's third serious health condition in THIRTY-ONE ISSUES. Anyway, Spidey uses his scientific knowledge to filter out the gas.

    BEN: So, so much gas.

    WHAT'S AGED THE BEST?

    BEN: I like Gwen Stacy getting angry at Peter brushing her off over and over.

    DUY: The fact that Peter is basically the same person in college as he is in high school, once his aunt is in danger -- he pays no attention to anyone else. And obviously it backfires on him. He's self-absorbed and has a guilt complex, since at this point he's even saying he doesn't give enough time to May. He dedicates all his spare time to finding money for her!
    .
    BEN: Obviously a landmark issue in the history of Spider-Man comics. The beginning of the classic Master Planner Saga, which remains a fan favorite to this day. Peter begins college and (sort of) meets Gwen Stacy and Harry Osborn, two major characters over the course of the franchise.

    DUY: You know it's going to be big because not only do they say so in the splash, but they dedicate the issue to the reader, in the cover. To your point a couple of issues ago, this is his first issue in college, and it's dedicated to "the great new breed of Marvel reader," which was probably college students.


    BEN: You made it a point to highlight the pin-up of his supporting cast in the back of an issue a while back. Most superhero books would have stuck with Betty, Jameson, Flash, Liz, and Aunt May as a roster and been happy with that. But Spider-Man kept adding, with Gwen and Harry here, and eventually MJ, Robbie, and Joe Robertson.

    DUY: The only one they really write out is Liz, right? I don't remember if Betty and Ned stay on for long.

    BEN: I feel like he sees them around the Bugle, but I can’t remember. Then at some point he stops meeting new people and all his friends begin dying off.

    DUY: Here's a fun fact: the Spider-Man original graphic novel Parallel Lives very heavily plays on this story. Parallel Lives is about the evolution of the relationship of Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson. At this point, they haven't even met yet. That's how much of a landmark this story is.

    WHAT'S AGED THE WORST?

    DUY: The fact that Parallel Lives exists.

    BEN: There’s an old issue of Deadpool where they insert him as Peter Parker into a Romita Spider-Man comic, and he keeps making fun of how lame Harry Osborn looks, speaks, and acts. So ... Harry Osborn is my answer.



    DUY: I remember that Deadpool comic. That was fun. And yes, that hair. So much the hair.


    BEN: Was there ever a time period where Harry would have been popular?  I guess he is rich...

    DUY: Something that hasn't aged well: any mention of radioactive poisoning.

    BEN: And the phrase "given me a tumble."




    NITPICKS

    BEN:  Spider-Man’s arch-nemesis might be gas, at this point. Every villain has hit him with some indeterminate toxic vapor as of late. And how many tests does it take to discover someone has radiation poisoning in their blood?

    DUY: Dr. Octopus has only ever run into Spider-Man, but as he pulls off the biggest caper of his career, he "never expected to run into him."

    BEN:  I’m pretty sure you can go a whole day at a large college without seeing anyone you know, much less repeatedly seeing the same group of people.

    DUY: Also I'm fairly sure if I were in a new environment and I knew one guy from high school, I'd actually talk to him just to relieve some anxiety.

    BEN: Are you referring to Flash or Peter?

    DUY: I think both actually. Especially since at this point there have been multiple instances of them covering for each other or at least seeing the other one's good side.

    BEN: Especially now that Flash doesn’t have his high school buddies to impress. And before we end this section, I’ve always wondered how one builds a secret lair underwater.


    FAVORITE PANEL

    BEN: His one true love.



    DUY: Yes. Let's prepare for the hate comments now.


    WHO WON THE COMIC?

    DUY: Let's see, Harry sucks, Flash is just being Flash, Peter's being mopey, Aunt May is dying.... so the answer is Gwen Stacy. It's almost by default, but she comes on so strong here that it's a wonder how she's reinterpreted by later creators later on.

    BEN: I didn’t want to say Gwen because we already know I’m in the bag for her.

    DUY: Don't worry, I said it for you. I wonder if Gwen was an attempt to take the Liz archetype and give her a stronger personality.

    BEN: I’ve heard it said before that she was based on Stan’s wife.

    DUY: If that's the case then the two of them must still be talking at this point, right? But we already know from the last issue that at this point they weren't talking.

    BEN: She probably evolved into that after Steve left.

    DUY: That's it for Spider-Rama this week.

    BEN: Thank you, Stan Lee and Steve Ditko—

    DUY: —for telling us we aren't the only ones.

    Leave us a comment below or on our Facebook page. See you tomorrow!

    Jul 9, 2019

    Spider-Rama: Amazing Spider-Man #30

    Welcome to Spider-Rama! Each Wednesday, Ben and Duy will look at a Spider-Man issue from the very beginning, in chronological order, and answer questions for various categories, inspired in large part by one of our favorite podcasts, The Rewatchables by The Ringer. Our goal is to make it to Amazing Spider-Man #200. Will we make it? Grab your Amazing Spider-Man Omnibus or crank up your tablet to Marvel Unlimited, and then tune in every Wednesday to find out!

    Except, in honor of the release of Spider-Man: Far From Home this past weekend, we went daily for Spider-Rama last week and will continue to do so this week! So tune in every day until Friday at the same time for your daily dose of Spider-Man retrospectives! We'll be back to our regular Wednesday schedule next week.

    AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #30
    Spider-Rama
    by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko

    Spider-Man fights The Cat!


    POINTLESS TRIVIA

    BEN: First appearance of The Cat, and Ned proposes to Betty.

    DUY: Is this just a thing? proposing to someone where you've barely been dating? Also, isn't Betty underage?

    BEN: If Peter is 18, Betty might be 19. But yeah, the writing on this is very juvenile. Which would make sense if they were catering to kids still, but they’re clearly aiming at college students now. Betty clearly loves Peter, but Ned pays more attention to her. Ned knows she loves Peter, but wants to marry her anyway. And all this without even so much as a kiss, we assume.

    WHAT'S AGED THE BEST?

    BEN: Spidey taunting Jameson.

    DUY: I don't know if this ages well, but Peter being a dick to Betty in the wake of Ned's proposal is a pretty understandable reaction.

    WHAT'S AGED THE WORST?

    BEN: Flash stalking Liz Allen is really creepy.

    DUY:  I weirdly thought Liz had been written out after graduation. But apparently not. She doesn't stick around long, right? And Peter being a dick to Betty is a pretty understandable reaction... but now all of a sudden they say they love each other, even if it's only to themselves. Did they ever tell each other they actually love each other?

    BEN: Not that I actually recall.

    NITPICKS

    DUY: The Cat sucks. Seriously, what a terrible idea for a supervillain. Old dude who's really good at sneaking around. But there's a lot to nitpick here, such as the henchmen for the Master Planner (to be introduced in the next issue) being dialogued as working for The Cat. Here's a conversation between Kurt Busiek, Steven Grant, and Erik Larsen about why this comic barely made sense:







    BEN: I did notice the henchmen, but I assumed they were working for the Master Planner.

    DUY: It is weird that the stretch after the Goblin/CrimeMaster story all the way to the end produced the most clunkers, but it also produced the peak of the run, which is the next three issues.

    FAVORITE PANEL

    DUY: The last one, where Betty and Peter are divided by the specter of Spider-Man, is really powerful, and Gil Kane would do something similar to this 92 issues later.



    BEN: The stuff of nightmares.


    WHO WON THE COMIC?

    DUY: Ned Leeds again, apparently, just because Peter's being a dick.

    BEN: That's it for Spider-Rama this week.

    DUY: Thank you, Stan Lee and Steve Ditko—

    BEN: —for telling us we aren't the only ones.

    Leave us a comment below or on our Facebook page. See you tomorrow!

    Jul 8, 2019

    Spider-Rama: Amazing Spider-Man Annual #2

    Welcome to Spider-Rama! Each Wednesday, Ben and Duy will look at a Spider-Man issue from the very beginning, in chronological order, and answer questions for various categories, inspired in large part by one of our favorite podcasts, The Rewatchables by The Ringer. Our goal is to make it to Amazing Spider-Man #200. Will we make it? Grab your Amazing Spider-Man Omnibus or crank up your tablet to Marvel Unlimited, and then tune in every Wednesday to find out!

    Except, in honor of the release of Spider-Man: Far From Home this past weekend, we went daily for Spider-Rama last week and will continue to do so this week! So tune in every day until Friday at the same time for your daily dose of Spider-Man retrospectives! We'll be back to our regular Wednesday schedule next week.

    AMAZING SPIDER-MAN ANNUAL #2
    Spider-Rama
    by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko

    Spider-Man teams up with Dr. Strange to fight the sorceress Xandu across dimensions!


    POINTLESS TRIVIA

    DUY: The first of what would be many Spider-Man/Dr. Strange team-ups, a team-up I'm still kind of baffled by the fascination for. There's nothing to connect the two, other than who created them, but it's not like we get creators clamoring to team up The Demon Etrigan with Kamandi just because they're both Kirby characters.

    BEN: Fun fact, I’ve realized I don’t like Dr Strange. I’ve tried and I’ve tried his comics across every decade, he bores me. Even the movie is my least favorite MCU movie.

    DUY: I like Strange more in theory.

    BEN: Same. But nobody has come close to being able to unlock what Ditko unlocked there. There’s no evolutionary modern version of Ditko Strange.

    WHAT'S AGED THE BEST?

    DUY: I guess the combination of Spider-Man and Dr. Strange has taken on a new life since Infinity War.



    BEN: People seem to like Cumberbatch in the part, but to me if you were doing replacement levels, he’d be the median level.

    DUY: Cumberbatch plays him pretty much how I'd expect anyone to play him. So, passable, but replaceable.

    BEN: Maybe now that the character is established he’ll get to play with it more, like Hemsworth with Thor.

    WHAT'S AGED THE WORST?

    DUY: Xandu. Ugh, he just sucks.

    BEN: Xandu is like when they insert in a temporary character with the intent of inventing something better later, but didn’t.

    FAVORITE PANEL

    BEN: Trippy Ditko is so basic if you look at each shape, but it must be the way he puts it all together.


    DUY: That's mine too.

    WHO WON THE COMIC?

    DUY: No one wins this issue, unless you're on weed.

    BEN: As many college students reading this probably were.

    DUY: That's it for Spider-Rama this week.

    BEN: Thank you, Stan Lee and Steve Ditko—

    DUY: —for telling us we aren't the only ones.

    Leave us a comment below or on our Facebook page. See you tomorrow!

    Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...