Why take Credit when it’s Unneccasary?
April 20, 2003
By Avi Green
In the past 2 years since Marvel put out to press ASM #36,
questionable at best as it was, one of the most interesting
developments was when artist John Romita Jr, son of the famed John
Sr, one of the first of Amazing Spider-Man’s notable artists
back in the 60’s, claimed that he was the one who thought up the
scene with four of the leading villains in the MCU appearing at the
scene of the crime on 9-11.
I myself hadn’t paid full attention to this, but what really baffles
me now that I have is why on earth Romita Jr. would want to take
credit for that very distasteful scene when he was under no
obligation to do so.
The answer to the quibble is two-fold: either he really did think it
up, and there are more than plenty of comic book artists who aren’t
actually doing the scriptwriting who’ve thought up some of their own
details for the script that the writer is more than pleased to add
to the script (not always for the better, if we were to refer to
this case), or, he was deliberately trying to take some of heat of
JMS’ detractors away from the latter so that he wouldn’t have to
bear too much of the embarrassment due to those who disliked the
issue in question, myself included.
If the answer is indeed the latter, than I must say that it
surprises me very much that Romita would want to take away some of
the heat when he didn’t have to. Unfortunately, as I’ve discovered
in past months when turning to examine ASM #47, there is,
alas, evidence to suggest that he may have indeed thought up that
whole idea himself.
Now forget that the whole notion of the forgettable villianess named
Shathra trying to defame our friendly, neighborhood Spider-Man was
just as forced and iffy as the aforementioned character herself. And
never mind that Shathra’s claiming that Spidey just “staged his
fights” would’ve blown her whole sham to MJ, who was watching some
of that on TV in her LA hotel room. And maybe the rather forced
notion of Spidey smashing a woman in the head, as alarming as it was
to see, even though this was a villainess, isn’t so important
either. What I’m wondering is why the news ticker at the bottom of
the TV screens contained mention of 9-11 related details – again!
Romita told in somewhere, either in press statements or on a message
board somewhere, that he put that ticker text in there -"because
it's still something very near and foremost in [my] thoughts, and
Spider-man is very much a part of New York, and I'll continue to
show it so."
While Romita’s feelings about 9-11 are
certainly to be applauded in words, such intentions do not always
translate well into deeds. And to say the least, by putting those
details into a scene that takes place directly within Marvel
continuity (or what’s left of it, considering their very
questionable stance on it today), Romita’s done little more than to
insult the victims of 9-11 even more, especially considering the
wholly questionable premise of having something like this air with a
disaster like 9-11 being mentioned at the same time.
Here it was said that ASM #36 was not within the regular
Marvel continuity, and now, Romita very irresponsibly goes and puts
the whole matter surrounding 9-11 directly within the MCU proper.
Talk about moral irresonsiblity indeed.
I won’t say that it’s presented as atrociously and blatantly as ASM
#36 was. But, while it may be just some minor nitpicking, it
was still in very judgement to have done something like that.
Anyway, to steer away from all that for now, the rest of the issue
wasn’t much better for me when I read it. It was little more than an
attempt to buy time until the 50th issue, when here, JMS had every
opportunity to do something more brightening, like using Spidey’s
own supporting cast members, such as Flash Thompson and the Stacy
family. As in the case surrounding the death of Morlun, Spidey here
too finds himself in a bind as to whether he should kill or not,
which is actually very ludicrous considering that he's never done so
before, at least not intentionally, and I don’t expect him to
actually kill anyone intentionally in the future either, but is
luckily saved from this dilemma by having Shathra offed by someone
other than himself without having to take things into his own hands
himself. I wasn’t particularly impressed with how she referred to
him as “little spider” either. And why, when as most
Spider-Fans agree, Peter Parker functions best in city-bound stories
on earth, must these tales involving Shathra and even the previous
villain, Shade, be taking place on the astral plane rather
than back in New York City?
Overall, if it matters at all, JMS’ run has been all over the place
for me, maybe not entirely his fault, but even so, he could still
have proven himself capable of better. Sadly, things just don’t
always turn out the way we all want, so I guess I just can’t expect
Until things can really turn out for the better…
Copyright 2003 Avi Green. All rights reserved.
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