Some days ago, I decided not to blog except on weekends - starting from next week - but after being pumped up by this story, I just have to write about this.
Previously, Marvel Team-Up #75 was my greatest read of the series, yet, but it was still a routine 'superhero team-up' story that's not that significant or innovative.
This time, however, I've just read MTU Annual #2 (1979) with Spider-Man and Hulk... and it was awesome. I mean, almost as awesome as any average ASM/PPSSM story or ASM Annual #1. I expected a rather boring read due to it being an annual story with 36 pages (a standard for any ASM issue, but) - without the ads - so it was going to be a long read as well. But once it picked up with Bruce turning into The Hulk, it really picks up. Just as with the writing (excellent descriptions of the emotions felt when the Anti-Matter bomb went off), the action was just as good (with Hulk displaying one of his strongest moments in Marvel history). The formula of the story, though easy enough to understand, was not empty or pointless like many of the previous MTU stories (very ironically).
Best of all, what I love about this issue is that there's a great message at the end regarding humanity and bombs. It's a common message we've heard many times. Bombs are bad. Humans are stupid. Humans will use the bombs to destroy each other. But, it's still quite relevant today, and the exact message wasn't as preachy as it is prophesying.
Spider-Man: "Will it change anything, doctor?" Bruce Banner:(as the panels zoom out from the scene) "Not really. So long as the bombs exist, they'll get bigger and better. There will be more of them and more countries will have them. And we'll live in mortal terror that one day, they might be used. To change things, Spider-Man, humanity - as a whole - would have to rise up and say "No more bombs." We'd have to learn to live in peace with one another. Frankly, my friend, I don't think we have that kind of courage."
I don't know my American history as much as the next foreigner, but I'll say that the people, not just Americans but the world, sort of lived in a period of peace for a while - 22 years from 1979, on September 11.
And then of course, there's this in another 5 years later, the FOAB. Tested in 2007 by the Russians (the same people depicted as the antagonists in this story), it's described with the quote, "all that is alive merely evaporates."
So, I just finished ASM #188, and in the midst of reading it, there was a part of it when Jigsaw described Spider-Man as a demon, a 'forsaken demon' in the night that haunts the shadows with his demonic eyes. There were times when Spider-Man utilizes stealth effectively (note Spider-Man Noir), especially with the existence of his Spider-Sense. I had a really great time reading this part of the issue, laughing out loud several times at how pathetic Jigsaw seems to be, and how hilariously ironic this situation is. Let me explain.
I'm a huge fan of the anime, Detective Conan, of which its English dub is known as Case Closed in the States. And in the anime, there is this ongoing joke where Conan keeps popping up everywhere a crime scene occurs (though that blame is put on Kogorou/Richard Moore who brings Conan to every of the crime scene he investigates). This is a reoccurring aspect of the fictional universe I haven't got to see much myself - heroes popping up wherever any (and I emphasize on any)villain resides.
So, I got to thinking, Spider-Man (and just about any Marvel superhero) will nail their bad guy without fail. Marvel won't kill off a profitable titular character, least of all the Spider-Man. So, if he will succeed in kicking any bad guy's ass, I seriously feel sorry for the bad guys who will encounter him every single time, wherever they hide, wherever they are. Perhaps saying that every villain will encounter him is a stretch. But for those who are picked (cursed) to encounter him... lol
And the other thing is Spider-Man's stealthiness. I read #188, and you should've seen his eyes: Yeah.
So, after reading through these panels, and with the word, "night," placed throughout them like some sort of propaganda brainwash influence, you know what popped into my head. Caped Crusader. Dark Knight. Bats. Whatever you call him. Damn, I can't wait till I read the Spider-Man/Batman crossover someday.
But anyway, I think that's what makes Spider-Man Noir so effective as a superhero. Hell, even 616 Spider-Man. He's like Batman with superpowers. He could become the 'Creature of the Night' of New York, terrorizing the villains with his horrible eyes and his camouflage into the shadows. I'm not saying he's able to by today's standards of villains, but it's a good angle to work with, and that's probably what makes me like Noir Spidey that much. Even if Noir Spidey's bitter personality doesn't reflect that well with what Spider-Man stands for, he really reflects what Spider-Man, with his powers, can be capable of.
And I still can't get over how super-pwnage Spider-Man has in this issue.
Masked Marauder: "Surrender New York to the Maggia now or I'll destroy it!" Mayor: "Go ahead. See if I care." MM: "Very well." (orders his Tri-Man to blow up) MM: "Now, surrender America to me or you'll pay for your insolence." The United Nation: "Boo hoo. We're not going to surrender to terrorists!" MM: "Why you... insolent..." (Tri-Man blows up the continent) MM: "This is your last chance to surrender. Give the Maggia the world or..." Superman: "SCREW YOU!" (KABOOMMMMM)
Superman: "HA-HA! You lose! Nyah nyah! Now there's nothing left for you to conquer!"
So, I just finished watching Hard Candy, and while watching Hayley torturing poor little ol' Jeff, a thought popped into my head; Hayley had the same amount of chances to kill Jeff as any supervillain in the world. Even if she did hope for Jeff to learn a hard lesson, she could had skip all the 'Have a drink, you're going to get dehydrated' crap and get on with it. But she didn't. Why?
As far as I'm aware of, most psychopaths like to toy with their victims before slowly skinning them, removing their organs, or taunting them about their pitiful lives. The last example applies mostly suitably for supervillains, of course, but the gradual speed of their elimination methods also apply here. Now, I know most villains who pulled a death trap cliche weren't insane, but think about it. Could the killing methods of real life psychopaths have somewhat influenced the writers into incorporating this concept?
Naturally, superheroes being superheroes, aren't helpless victims waiting for Buffalo Bill to skin their costume, making Death Traps rather silly at best. But I personally feel this plot-device could have been utilized much more effectively in reflecting just how twisted a psychopath's mind could be, that he would rather offer the superhero some water before eliminating the threat. It would definitely turn this whole Death Trap concept around. And as I wrote above, most death-trap setting villains aren't anymore insane than they are plain greedy for the money, but I feel it would kinda give it a more realistic tone, if anything, to base some of these owners of traps on real life psychopaths, incorporating their killing methods (or, better, innovating them) to give villain a better excuse to set a death trap. The villain wanting a slow death for the hero as he was slowly tortured as a child. The villain wanting to make a centerpiece out of the hero's flesh. Anything.
Confession time: I haven't got to the '90s era of Spider-Man comics (or any comic at all), where all the gritty stuff happened, so I don't really have the right to criticize here. These are just some of my thoughts thrown out there, hopefully giving the writers some idea if they are ever to spot this blog in the one in a million chances.
Hard Candy was a little bit overrated, but it's still a breathtaking movie - the first time you watch it. Most of its entertainment comes from its shock values. BUT, don't get me wrong. I'm not implying that it has low cinematic values. It has an excellent script, and is every bit of what a thriller should be. Definitely worth a rewatch, even if it, like sex (ironically enough), won't be as amazing as the first time. :)
Wow, a personal blog in a comic book forum. How much better could it get? I could update my daily readings of ASM/PPSSM/MTU and blog about it. Seems kinda neat. :) But what is with this tagging thing, this "Type pages on the site you feel this post is relevant to" feature? I've been trying to link this blog post to the Spider-Man forum/board like some of the users seems capable of doing, but the window that hovered down when I type "Spider-Man" didn't really give me results that seem like the board. Instead, I got these two results that said, "Spider-Man (topic)" and "Spider-man (topic)". Am I going to link this blog post to someone else's topic/thread in the forum instead? Apologies to the thread creator if I do.
Well, that could've gone better. Let's get this started. New forum. Decided to join this one when I felt I could use another Spider-Man discussion community, even though I'm still lacking behind on PPSSM #24... Yes, #24. If you know your issues, you'll know my exact feeling reading this right now. Man...
Well, the image alignment tool couldn't have been more awkward.
Now that I got over inserting the cover (phew), let's get down to my thoughts on the issue. Contrary to what I believe, I actually had a lot more fun reading this guy's background from reviews on other sites. He actually reminded me of those cheesy, utterly corny villains you see on Saturday morning cartoons that are fun enough to watch, yet not lame enough to make you cringe in your seat (note villains of Super Spidey Stories). And there's the beginning of the issue. With its enter into the dawn of the '80s with its 'hip' and 'jazzy' disco appearance, it's actually quite a fun read. In fact, I love how they had introduce the depiction of the interior of these subways. I'm no American myself, but I had learn that shady business goes on even in these sections of the city, a moving underground vehicle. And it just has that whole dirty look in the train at the splash page. To a fellow foreigner living outside the States, this is quite an interesting drawing. So, overall, this issue is not as bad as an experience as everyone seemed to made it out to be... or maybe I was just being over-paranoid.
Considering the events that unfolded in the issue that was chronologically placed before this one, ASM (Vol. 1) #186, the next few Spider-Man issues should be a fun read, considering how Spidey is now off the hook in the books of the 'Boys in Blues.' I'm not one to approve Peter's life getting easier, as I share Ditko's thought on Spider-Man being meant to be an eternal lone wolf, but this is definitely a sight that gave me a short breath of relief, and I couldn't have felt happier (for Spidey anyway) reading this.
Well, that's two awkward image alignments. My first blog post sure looks great. <_<
I sure can't wait to get to the '80s. It's no gritty '90s, but from what I've heard, it's a real Elm Street compared to what the ever peace-loving '70s offered (except for the death of a certain major character, of course). And of course, a certain costume-change would occur in this forthcoming era, beginning probably the most significant Spider-Man event... as of 1978 anyway. But it still remains one of the biggest event today, with its aftermath and ripples lashing out even till modern day. Wish I could say I can't wait to get to the '90s, but not only is that 22 years more ahead of my reading, but it also contains some of the worst Spider-Man storylines yet, not counting the worst of them all which only came in the late 2000s. A no-prize for guessing what it is.
Wow, 22 years. Counting the year when Amazing Fantasy #15 came out till today, that's like, what... *Googles the calculation* Oh. My. God. The next year's Spidey's 50th birthday? Far out! Well, guess that explains the reboot... I think. Wait, no, that would make the whole reboot idea make less sense if Spider-Man's 50th anniversary is next year. I mean, it's like, the entire 40 years of Peter Parker's life has now been erased now, hasn't it? What is there left to celebrate about?!
CURSE YOU JOE QUESADA!!!! And FYI, I haven't gotten over OMD!!! Especially not now! Ugh.
And I once (emphasis on 'once') thought Marv Wolfman was a bad writer (in his early run). Guess I need to remember the worst has yet to come.
Well, I better go read up what is left of #24 and post my thoughts as the rest of this post.
~~~ Minutes Later ~~~
Playing the voice of Peter Parker is, as usual, our fan favorite all time star, Christopher Daniel Barnes, while the voice of the Hypno Hustler fabricated in my mind belongs to Eddie Griffin. I remember him from Undercover Brothers. I chose the voice of Elizabeth Banks for the voice of Betty Brant as she's the only incarnation of the character I could remember. Bill Nunn plays Robbie Robertson in my head, as I find Rodney Saulsberry's voice in the '90s animated series to be less stern, something I expected from Robbie's personality. Rosemary Harris plays a good Aunt May. Joe Manganiello, oddly enough, plays Flash Thompson in my readings, as I find his voice to be the most mature rendition of the character, something that's effective in Thompson's later years as an army veteran. J. K. Simmons aced the role for JJJ, naturally. No questions were asked. But it was Sara Ballantine who got the voice role for Mary Jane Watson, not Kirsten 'fugly' Dunst. I honestly don't know what they were thinking when they cast Dunst and Mcguire in the movie, especially considering how much uglier they look in the later installments of the movie franchise. But I still love the first two movies, nonetheless. I might consider using Vanessa Marshall from Spectacular to play MJ, though, after I review how her voice played out in the series after I finish watching Season 4 and 5 of TAS. No plans on watching the MTV series or the old series before the '90s were made. Discussions are still being made across the board of directors (B.R.A.I.N.) whether Ultimate Spider-Man should be watched.
And while we're at it, let's add a few more of those voices in my head. Dawn Lewis from TAS' Terri Lee plays voice for Captain Jean DeWolff (an effective choice), Nell Carter from TAS plays Glory Grant (though this has been switched around a number of times because I felt that NC's voice doesn't suit the face of Grant in the comics), and of course, nobody else but Gary Imhoff from TAS should get to play Harry Osborn (Franco was a realistic Harry, but his version was not true enough to the comic counterpart). Oh, and Robert Downey Jr. guest stars from time to time in Marvel Team-Up as Iron Man. His voice was the easiest to imagine without the use of YouTube videos (I had to leave a video of Spider-Man's funny quippage to remind me of CDB's voice), not to mention my favorite voice to listen to (CDB's simply my favorite rendition of Spidey).
I simply love how they insert pop culture references in Spider-Man's comic book. Even in these old issues from the '70s, it's nice looking out for them, such as the mention of Gone with the Wind, The Thing (the other Thing) (the old B&W version), and in this issue itself, John Travolta, who happened to star in a 1978 released movie we all could relate with this particular issue and its featured villain (though Goldmember probably relate better).
"Music... the Hustler's voice... flashing lights... everything contributes to the hypnotic effect! It-it's almost... overpowering!" I've heard of mesmerizing music, but this is ridiculous. I keep finding myself trying to hold myself back to mock or laugh about it.
"I'll borrow a trick from Ulysses, and stuff-balled up webbing into my ears to cut out the sounds." Many years later, Rowan Atkinson will follow this example in Mr. Bean, and it worked just as well for him. Who says this little trick would never work?
"Bereft of his protective headphones, the Hustler is left wide open to the mesmerizing song of his compatriots in crime... The Mercy Killers!" Somehow, I imagine The Mercy Killers having to hold some kind of grudge against our brotherman here to have continued their singing even after the Hustler's muffs were off. Perhaps were all cheated in an affair once?
"Next Issue: Carrion, My Wayward Son!" Carrion? Isn't that a villain that had something to do with Carnage?
Well, that wasn't so bad. It could've been a lot worse, and in my mind, most MTU issues and The Big Wheel story were still much more boring than this. Oh, and those Chinese Kung-Fooey stories with Spidey. I can't really stand those, even though I'm of the same race myself. At least this has a sort of... sizzle to it, in a corny way. It's quite the fun if you're the type to enjoy brainless fun that isn't fixated on common sense and logic.
One of the worst stories, though? Come on. It isn't so bad. It's fun. Like in a 'Powerpuff Girls Meets Spider-Man' way. Hm. Better not take up that idea, Disney.
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