Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Uncanny Spider-Man

So Marvel Comics has offered picture previews for their X-Men line of comics for July. Basically they’re pictures of characters saying “We Are the X-Men”. They’ve been doing similar things with the Avengers recently as well, but the roster shake-up with Marvel’s Marry Band of Mutants is a bit more….radical? If these previews can be considered actual roster changes than new X-Men may well include Magneto, despite being the X-Men’s arch enemy, the new She-Hulk, and Electra for reasons that I cannot really understand. But most confusing is Spider-Man, who was on the first released preview.

You know, because Marvel wants your money.

Soon Spider-Man's plot to star in every Marvel book will be complete!

Now I am a comic book nerd, I won’t lie about that. However when you have a blog and are a nerd it can be really easy, and tempting, to be one of those guys who just moans and complains about Marvel (Or whatever) making decision that make me angry and being long winded about it to the very few people who read what I have to say. No one likes that guy. So let me briefly say these two things: 1) I think if Marvel puts too many non-mutant superheroes on the X-Men then the lines between that team and any other group of crime fighters will blur. There’s a difference between the New Warriors or Alpha Flight and the X-Men. 2) Like with my hated Wolverine Spider-Man is really starting to become really annoying with overuse. On top of being in a weekly (Not monthly like other comics) book and being on not one but two squads of the Avengers if Spidey were to also star in an X-Men book wouldn’t it become tiresome? How many times do we need to see the web slinger a month? While he might be my friendly neighborhood wall crawler he’s not a side dish that goes great with everything.

Okay, it’s out of my system. What I really want to talk about is Spider-Man and the X-Men as a pairing. Technically I don’t mind Peter Parker alongside the likes of Cyclops and The Beast on regular basis. In fact I had a great crossover idea that I’m saving for a day when I can trick Marvel into hiring me. Spidey has crossed paths with Xavier’s mutants many times over their long history; more so than I could keep up with. However I often have thought what it’d be like if he joined on a permanent basis.

When Spider-Man replaced Wolverine murders committed by X-Men went down 89%

Although deals with the devil went up 400%

The first time the X-Men ever met Spider-Man this very idea came up. This was an early issue of The X-Men, but I can’t remember the number I‘m sorry to say. Iceman and The Beast were on a double date, or something, when they saw that there was crime afoot. Like all good superheroes they ditched their lady friends and changed into costumes to put a stop to it but by the time they got to the crime scene Spider-Man had already taken care of business and was none too humble about it (Spider-Man in the 60’s was significantly more of little punk than today). Before the Beast and Iceman could walk off with their bruised egos their leader, Professor Xavier, telepathically communicated an urgent need for them to ask the Web-Head to join their team, but would offer no immediate explanation as to why. Spider-Man turned Beast down hard, enough so that I think he’d be justified in hold a grudge should he and the webslinger ever cross paths again. The reasoning, as explained by Spidey’s thought bubbles, was that he was still pretty bummed out from his recent, and disastrous, attempt at joining the Avengers and didn’t want to go through the process again with another team. The next time they met a now more calm Spider-Man tried to explain he was having a bad week, but the X-Men as a four man unit decided instead of listening to his apology they would beat the crap out of him for half an issue because they mistakenly thought that he was a “spider menace” (Because presumably they were loyal readers of the Daily Bugle).

So there you go: Spider-Man, in storyline, turned down a chance to join the X-Men early on in his career as a superhero. I don’t think it was ever explained why Professor X wanted Spider-Man on the team, but the guy’s a mind reader so maybe he peeked into his brain and realize that he was actually shy teenager Peter Parker and wanted to help the young man adapt to his still kind of new super powers (Seeing as teaching teens to use powers responsibly is his only real job). Of course if that’s true Xavier put zero real effort into a follow-up since I don’t think it ever came up again. But wouldn’t that have been something if Spider-Man had said “yes”? The whole scope of the Marvel Universe would have been different today. Spider-Man hanging out with The Beast in the science lab. Spider-Man nursing a crush on Marvel Girl/Jean Grey. Spider-Man, who is always pretty broke, in a rivalry with Angel, who is rich as hell. Spider-Man clashing with team leader Cyclops due to his being an obvious loner. The stories write themselves.

So in a way Spider-Man joining the X-Men seems kind of right to me, if well past its expiration date. I assume the story will play out with Spidey coming into the X-Mansion and saying “Hey guys, remember a while back when you asked me to join the team. Well I’ve had about 43 years to think about it and I’ve decided to take you up on it, seeing as I’ve disgraced myself in the eyes of actual superheroes when I made that deal with a being of pure evil a few years ago never been tied down by the burden of marriage.”

This was just a dream you had

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