Mary Jane Iron Man 5

Invincible Iron Man #5 is an issue Mary Jane fans need to read, if for no other reason than to remind themselves just how bizarre it is for Dan Slott not to utilize her in The Amazing Spider-Man.

Regular readers of the book know that Tony Stark has been trying to figure out why Madam Masque is on a hunt for mystical artifacts. He eventually tracks her down inside MJ’s new nightclub, “Jackpot,” in Chicago on its opening night.

The verdict: Madam Masque is possessed by a demon, which will require a team effort between Tony and Doctor Doom to save her life.

“Jackpot” is predictably destroyed before the confrontation is over.

Madam Masque

As many fans expected, Tony offers to pay for the damage incurred during his fight. MJ, however, says the “P.R. nightmare” has rendered her club-owning days “kablooey.”

While this is a specious claim in a universe where superheroes and supervillains exist, Bendis does a good job selling it to the reader. Tony finds MJ in a park and offers her a job as his über-assistant/life coach.

This is a bit more problematic given MJ’s first line of dialogue in the issue:

“Superheroes. Again. Every time. Every time a superhero shows up in my life, I have to start over.”

Would a woman who resents the impact superheroes have on her life become Tony Stark’s personal assistant? Perhaps — if she thought about it for a long time and decided that her fate was intrinsically linked with superheroes. But it would take a skilled writer to pull off the idea. Luckily for Bendis, he fits the bill.

MJ Tony Stark

Spider-Man fans will also find MJ’s assertion that she is at her “lowest point” in life rather dubious. When Tony questions the validity of her claim, she replies, “Well, tell that to my soul.”

Was Bendis alluding to the infamous One More Day storyline? Indeed, MJ’s “soul” would agree with Tony — it lost its mate, Peter Parker.

In short, Bendis’ handling of MJ in this issue is proof once again that the devil-dealing “medicine” supported by Tom Brevoort was poison.

Seeing MJ well-written in Invincible Iron Man is a bitter pill to swallow, but it most certainly is not poison.

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About the Author Douglas Ernst

I'm a former Army guy who believes success comes through hard work, honesty, optimism, and perseverance. I believe seeing yourself as a victim creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. I believe in God. I'm a USC Trojan with an MA in Political Science from American University.

56 comments

  1. I agree with what you said 100% Douglas, while it’s a shame that we can’t see this Mary Jane in the ASM book, I am very happy that she is under a writer of Bendis’s calibre and away from Slott. and the position the Tony offering here would really suit her skill set. and my god was I happy when she let go with that mic stand.

    One other thing I’m very happy about, is that there’s no mention of that “Place Holder” boyfriend Slott tried to sell us on, in fact she doesn’t even mention having a boyfriend when she thought Tony was hitting on her, actually it was Tony that says that he’s seeing some one.

    On a side note, I made a few predictions on what will happen to her and how she ends up working for Tony, I’m to say that I was on button, maybe not what she ends up doing for Tony, but on the button non the less.

    1. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment, Animehunter. I really appreciate it.

      It’s funny you mentioned the “placeholder” boyfriend. Wasn’t it fireman Pedro Olivera? Dan Slott actually got paid to come up with that character…

      Anyway, feel free to share your ASM predictions here anytime. You’re always welcome.

    2. Thanks and yes, his name was Pedro, and I’m happy that it looks like Bendis has decided to do away with him. and Slott being paid for him, talk about despicable, Marvel really did not want any chance for Peter and MJ to get back together did they. Well it looks like Bendis either wasn’t instructed as Slott was, or was and he refused to do so, either way I’m happy that Bendis is writing her, it’s been a long time since I’ve seen THE Mary Jane again and I couldn’t be happier, so happy I went onto Tumblr and thanked Bendis directly on page.

      Regarding ASM, too be honest I have no love for ASM right now, not while Slott’s writing it,as noticed by me refusing to even say the name in full, so I’m not really reading it, just what I can gather from spoiler reviews, at least not unless the story happens to have something to do with the ever so terrible Mephisto deal. But if I do have any predictions I’ll let you know.

    3. Just wanted to add something about the art, I found it simply breath-taking especially Mary jane, the way Marquez drew was beautiful, there was the textless page that Bendis released on his tumble and you can feel the emotion come out of, you certainly don’t get that from ASM, to me that one textless page is worth an entire issue of ASM. If they would I would love to see an issue of Invincible Iron Man with Mary Jane being the focus, where the whole story is told with just Marquez’s art.

    4. Just wanted to add something about the art, I found it simply breath-taking especially Mary jane, the way Marquez drew was beautiful.

      The picture of her with the mic stand says so much, doesn’t it? I totally agree with you on the art.

      I enjoy Giuseppe Camuncoli’s work on The Amazing Spider-Man, but I admit that it can be a bit…subdued. I think he comes up with creative shots, but for whatever reason it doesn’t have the same life we see Marquez bringing here to Invincible Iron Man.

  2. A fine commentary Doug. It’s good seeing Mary Jane handled in a flawed yet approachable manner, capable of great courage. Bendis’ acknowledgement of her as the “real deal” is a very BIG deal for Spider-fans . MJ moving firmly back into her the role of a mentor and organizer is something that could fit so perfectly into Peter’s current world…yet Marvel continue to spite fans by going the opposite end, largely in part to enforce Dan Slott’s “evil master plan” for Peter Parker. I find it very hard to believe Bendis when he says Marvel had no plans for MJ, and yet here she is attaining a job that will put her at the heart of operations for Peter’s business rival just as we are steadily approaching the sequel to Civil War, which Bendis and Marquez are handling. Putting Peter and Tony at odds is one thing, but Peter and MJ at odds is probably the most bitter curveball Marvel can pitch to us.

    Peter is said to be making an apperance in the “War Machines” storyline at some point, and that arc will sow the seeds for what will become the Civil War II event. Stay tuned.

    For now, it’s a compelling first step for MJ into a bigger world that puts her just as close to her soul mate as ever, and that, my friend, Marvel do love it when a plan comes together.

    1. Thanks as always for reading, zariusii. I’m really looking forward to seeing how many levels of complexity Bendis can add to MJ’s character. I don’t want her to end up in any kind of relationship with Tony, but I think her new job has plenty of potential.

      It will be fun to compare how Bendis handles Spider-Man during “War Machines” with whatever is going on with Slott and ASM at the time. 😉

  3. When Tony Stark and MJ inevitably become an item I think I will finally be finished with Marvel forever. I mean, I am already just about there. These days I have more exposure to Marvel through this fine blog than I do through any actual Marvel comics, movies or TV series, but an MJ/Tony Stark romance would probably be the moment I decide to just go ahead and sell all my comics and move on.

    It’s beginning to feel like in order to be a Spider-Man fan you must also be some sort of masochist. Marvel has already gone far out of their way to disappoint and ignore the wishes of Spidey’s long-term fans. For some reason, according to Marvel Editorial, a married Peter Parker is so removed from the original Spider-Man concept that he was nearly impossible for children to identify with (this comment strangely less than a year before they pit Spidey against a villain who got his powers by injecting something he’d hoped was crystal meth during that wretched Brand New Day era), yet Pete-O Parktavius: The Sadistic Spider-Man and a globe-trotting, billionaire, debutante version of Peter are all supposedly right in-line with Stan & Steve’s original vision. I’m sorry, but if after dragging us through all of that they take arguably the greatest supporting female in all of comic book history and turn her legacy into another notch on Tony’s bedpost…well, at this point that would be blatant disrespect and I’ll be out for good.

    To make matters worse, I’m a life-long Flash fan as well and the disrespect shown to us in recent years by DC is so similar to the Spider-Fan disrespect it’s actually kind of spooky. Doug, I’ve been meaning to leave a comment over on your Flashpoint review but as of yet have been unable to write anything that doesn’t eventually ramp up and evolve into an overly-extended rant about how unbearable I find the mind of Geoff Johns to be. At any rate, it looks like I’ll soon be completely “grown-out” of super hero comics as I’ve received several, very clear, “F You!”s in regards to my two favorite characters from their publishers and no longer feel very welcome. Anyway…keep a look out for a late comment on your Flash review and sorry for the negativity on the review of what sounds like a pretty good thing.

    P.S. (I’m aware that the word “debutante” refers to a female. I purposefully used that word because I find Slott’s Parker to be near entirely devoid of any masculinity.)

    1. It’s true–it’s seemingly gotten to the point where being a Spidey fan is to be a masochist of sorts. When this feeling last reared its ugly head for me, it was during the “no end in sight” days of the 1990’s Clone Saga. I walked away then (to where I didn’t even learn Norman Osborn had come back at the end until I read about it online in like 2005), and I’ve all but stopped buying Spider-Man now (I did purchase Renew Your Vows). It’s just astounding that Marvel can’t or won’t get some talent on Spider-Man that respects or enhances the character. Their idea of being “edgy” or relevant is to completely deconstruct the character, to where it’s just a facsimile of the Peter Parker we knew. I fear we will have to deal with this until Breevort and Alonso are both gone or reassigned.

      Funny you bring up parallels with Flash. The Flash TV series may as well basically have Peter Parker in the suit (what I saw of the Supergirl TV series has the same Parker-y vibe to her secret identity).

  4. In short, Bendis’ handling of MJ in this issue is proof once again that the devil-dealing “medicine” supported by Tom Brevoort was poison.

    Wasn’t that little bit of libel originally applied to the idea of a married Spider-Man? Yes, Mary Jane has been throughly character assassinated. In fact the last two people I think handled her with any respect in the comics were Brian Michael Bendis in “Ultimate Spider-Man” and Dan Slott himself (ironically enough) in the “Renew Your Vows” story.

    I always got the impression, though, that Joe Quesada, Slott, and company didn’t object to Peter being married to MJ specifically, but just him being married period. That it wouldn’t have mattered if the wife was MJ, Gwen Stacy, or any other character invented over the years, they still would’ve taken steps to retcon it out of existence.

    But who knows? Marvel is really schizophrenic on the whole marriage in the first place. They publish the “One More Day” comics that claim that it was a mistake and that the couple don’t work together, all while making other comics (like “Spider-Girl,” “Ultimate Spider-Man,” “Renew Your Vows”) that prove otherwise. Then the reference material usually presents them as star-crossed lovers; for example, I recall seeing a flowchart book for Marvel characters (unfortunately, I can’t remember the title), but it included little paragraph summaries of important Marvel characters.

    In MJ’s entry, she was given the title of Peter’s “one true love.” Bear in mind this was written well after “One More Day” (I checked). Another example: a DK Spider-Man character reference book in MJ’s entry (while skipping the who married/unmarried thing entirely), pretty bluntly pointed out that she’s the most important person in Peter’s life. So, her being Peter’s wife was a “mistake,” expect it was not, and she’s a central figure in the mythology, so she’s shuffled off to “Iron Man?” What. The. Heck?

    When people tell me how great it is that Marvel is working on the next “Spider-Man” movie, since they know how to do their characters right, I have to laugh. Right now, I have more trust in Sony to do that, and I’m speaking as someone who thought that Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man was a pretty poor representation of the character.

    “Was Bendis alluding to the infamous One More Day storyline? Indeed, MJ’s “soul” would agree with Tony — it lost its mate, Peter Parker.”

    I remember hearing a rumor somewhere that in one of his other 616 Marvel comics, Bendis tried to include an element that would’ve undermined “One More Day” in some way and was told by the powers that be to knock it off. I don’t know the alleged element was or how it would’ve even worked in the first place, given that Marvel probably would’ve just ignored it.

    I can’t verify the story (so I won’t swear in court about it, or anything), but it does leave one wondering how sympathetic Bendis is to the married Parkers. The way he handled their teenage counterparts in USM could be taken as evidence that he’s in favor of them together, but, as Slott proved with RYV, an author can write about something they don’t care about and present it respectfully and even make arguments in its favor.

    Since Marvel’s policy about the marriage seems to be “pretend that we never wrote about it in the first place,” I’m kind of wondering if it’s a coincidence that the dialogue would tie into the deal in some fashion. It also a really interesting thing to point out. I could be wrong, but I’ve never really gotten the impression that the post-“One More Day” versions of Peter and MJ are truly happy. I mean, in RYV, even considering that they were living under a dictator, that version of the Parkers seemed to have be happier (check the scene where the whole family is walking to work/school). By comparison, what I’ve seen post-“One More Day” makes the character look like they just coasting aimlessly through life.

    I don’t think Marvel’s intentionally making the married Spider-Man iterations have happier lives, since Marvel has basically been singing “Ding-Dong, the Witch’s dead” since 2007 (Me? I think “More Than a Feeling” fits a whole lot better), but there it is nonetheless. I wonder sometimes if the pre-“One More Day” 616 Peter Parker, the RYV Peter Parker, maybe the Ultimate Peter Paker, were to meet the Iron Man clone Peter Parker that Slott created, they’d say the exact same thing that Dr. Yinsen said to Tony Stark: “So you’re a man who has everything… and nothing.”

    1. As I recall, Bendis was actively trying to undermine the effects of OMD by having Jessica Drew ask Peter if he had ever been married, as she was sure he was. Keep in mind this was just after the real Jessica had returned to Earth after being freed from Skrull enslavement. Bendis was trying to imply the Mephisto spell had altered memories and not time, something later contradicted in OMIT where it’s clearly shown that Mephisto did use the deal to time travel.

      Deadpool also knows Peter made the deal, via his ability to look past the fourth wall (though that’s been contradicted by this week’s issue of Spidey/Deadpool, where Deadpool does not seem to know Peter is Spider-Man)

    2. At no time in his history that I’m aware of has Mephisto been shown able to time-travel and alter history. It would be Irrelevant that he is an immortal being; he would simply move along in history with everything else, but do it without aging. If Mephisto could alter history, the MU should all be speaking German and saluting the Nazi flag (or something akin). So Bendis’ effort at undermining makes more logical sense to me, and consistent with what Mephisto can and cannot do. Imagine that, Bendis staying in step with established continuity!

    3. I think of Mephisto more like Professor Woland (i.e., Satan in disguise) in Mikhail Bulgakov’s “The Master and Margarita.” He is capable of some incredibly impressive acts, but he is limited in how he brings his desires to fruition. I love how Marvel thought that fans would just get over it…but it’s not happening. 🙂

      “As I recall, Bendis was actively trying to undermine the effects of OMD by having Jessica Drew ask Peter if he had ever been married, as she was sure he was.”

      I totally forgot about that, which is weird because I’m pretty sure that issue is in a box at my parents’ place. I should really take my old comics off their hands at some point…

    4. “As I recall, Bendis was actively trying to undermine the effects of OMD by having Jessica Drew ask Peter if he had ever been married, as she was sure he was.”

      I seem to recall something like that, but I can’t seem to recall the issue it was in. any chance you remember?

    5. As far as I know, Mephisto can’t time travel. To me, that sounds like some nonsensical plot point Marvel threw out there to try and further justify OMD’s erasure of Peter and MJ’s marriage. That whole story was just Quesada projecting his personal problems onto Spider-Man.

  5. I’m almost done with Marvel comics. The only Marvel titles on my pull list right now are “Iron Man”, “Squadron Supreme” & the decimal point ASM issues.

    I’m sure I can find other Marvel titles I may like, but comics are more expensive in Australia and who can keep up let alone afford all that is happening in the ANAD Marvel universe, when there are better products by other publishers to enjoy.

    Great to finally see MJ treated with the respect she deserves and by a competent writer who understands the character.

    Marvel’s print division may boast about representing diversity in their comics but they sure do discriminate against marriage.

    1. I’m almost done with Marvel comics. The only Marvel titles on my pull list right now are “Iron Man”, “Squadron Supreme” & the decimal point ASM issues.

      I love that you only collect the decimal point issues. Haha! 🙂 That says it all right there, doesn’t it? I was going to buy ASM 1.2 this week and then when I got to the comic shop the owner said Marvel’s distribution was screwed up for the second week in a row. Unreal. At least Invincible Iron man was available.

      I totally hear you on the prices being too high. If they’re higher in Australia than the U.S., then that really is a big hit to the wallet each month for anyone trying to collect multiple titles. There has to be a better way. I’d love to get an inside look at how Marvel’s comics division is being run. My guess is that there is a lot of fat that could be cut from the budget.

  6. A bit off-topic Doug, but I found out yesterday that DC may cancel “Lois and Clark” the pro-marriage Superman ongoing featuring the pre-new 52 versions of the characters raising a son in the world of the New 52, due to sagging sales. A shame, the premise of the book is something we all would have liked to have seen from a Renew Your Vows spin-off book where the Parkers would hide out on the reconstituted Marvel world and eventually meet their devil-dealing 616 counterparts. Indeed, Superman’s 50th issue this March will see New 52 Superman team with pre-flashpoint Superman to avert a threat…just wondered what your take on this was and if you’d been reading it.

    1. That did look interesting to me, but I’ve tried really hard not to get sucked back into buying too many comics. I agree with you that the premise was interesting, but I wonder how the actual writing turned out. If the writing was solid and it still failed, then that’s a shame.

      If there is a trade paper back you think I should read then let me know and I may pick it up on one of my bookstore runs. Those are fun to knock out on a lazy Sunday night, especially if my wife is on the night shift at work.

    2. Hmm…maybe the ol’ Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane series? The whole McKeever run, not the lame “second season” written in 2008 by someone else which killed interest in the run. I have both volumes and they are really cute, it mostly follows MJ’s perspective as she deals with former boyfriends, Peter’s crush on her, Gwen getting involved in his life, and having a crush on Spider-Man, who gets a lot of attention from Firestar of the Amazing Friends. It’s a great little soap drawn in a psudeo-manga style, and written at the height of the Quesada era’s more kinder years to the MJ character.

    3. Thanks for the suggestion! If the “impulse buy” hits me one of these days while up in the comic shop or a book store, then there’s a good chance I’ll pick it up.

  7. Isn’t it amazing, Doug? Marvel owns one of the most recognized and well-liked fictional female characters in the history of action literature, and all they can do is obsess about how to get the buying public not to like her and not want to buy things with her in it. They are so wrapped up inside their common-sense-free mental bubble.

    1. And here is where Marvel crosses over into your other career, Doug. The people running Marvel are liberals, which means they are driven by internalized ideology, without regard to pragmatic, empirical, IRL facts.

      “The spider-marriage was a disaster from day one.”

      “But, here are 25 years of positive sales reports, plus piles of positive fan feedback…”

      “Doesn’t matter. The spider-marriage was a disaster from day one. That is reality. Now, having established that to be reality (by saying it), we will generate some facts to illuminate your stupid head.”

    2. If you listen to some of the editors long enough and compare all their contradictory statements it basically boils down to: “I, [insert Marvel editor or writer], just want to do whatever the heck I want to do as the feeling suits me.”

      Whereas you and I will get a feeling and think, “Okay, is that what I should do?” these guys just run with their feelings in any particular moment with no consideration of the long-term consequences to the character or the quality of the book in general.

  8. I just might have to check out this Iron Man run. Bendis, for all his faults (in my opinion at least) seems to have a much better handle on MJ than say, Dan Slott. Plus he seems to have written an interesting Iron Man story, one that might make me forget Kieron Gillen’s idiotic “Iron man is not really Howard and Maria Stark’s son” storyline and also pretty much everything Marvel did with Stark during and after “Civil War.”

    1. Bendis has not forgotten Keiron’s little “twist”, it will be forming a big part of the second Iron Man book coming out this year “International Iron Man”, also by Bendis

    2. “Bendis has not forgotten Keiron’s little “twist”, it will be forming a big part of the second Iron Man book coming out this year “International Iron Man”, also by Bendis.”

      Nooooooooo!

    3. “I just might have to check out this Iron Man run. Bendis, for all his faults (in my opinion at least) seems to have a much better handle on MJ than say, Dan Slott.”

      I’m a little worried how the next round of “Civil War” will be handled since the original was what helped push me past the point of no return with Marvel. I’d hate it if you picked up the book after reading good reviews here just in time for Bendis to go off the deep end.

  9. The top 10 sales for December are out

    TOP 10 COMIC BOOKS

    ***1. SECRET WARS #8 ($3.99, MAR)
    2. DARK KNIGHT III: THE MASTER RACE #2 ($5.99, DC)
    3. STAR WARS #13 ($3.99, MAR)
    4. BATMAN/TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES #1 ($3.99, DC)
    5. BATMAN #47 ($3.99, DC)
    6. GUARDIANS OF INFINITY #1 ($4.99, MAR)
    7. DARTH VADER #14 ($3.99, MAR)
    8. HARLEY’S LITTLE BLACK BOOK #1 ($4.99, DC)
    9. STAR WARS ANNUAL #1 ($4.99, MAR)
    10. DARTH VADER ANNUAL #1 ($4.99, MAR)

    TOP 10 GRAPHIC NOVELS & TRADE PAPERBACKS

    1. THE PRIVATE EYE DELUXE EDITION HC (MR) ($49.99, MAR)
    2. HARLEY QUINN VOLUME 2: POWER OUTAGE TP 16.99, DC)
    3. AVATAR THE LAST AIRBENDER VOLUME 11: SMOKE & SHADOW PART 2 TP ($10.99, DAR)
    4. BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN TP ($9.99, DC)
    5. SAGA VOLUME 5 TP (MR) ($14.99, MAR)
    6. WE CAN NEVER GO HOME TP (MR) ($9.99, BLA)
    7. HARLEY QUINN VOLUME 3: KISS KISS BANG STAB HC ($24.99, DC)
    8. STAR WARS: DARTH VADER VOLUME 1: VADER TP ($19.99, MAR)
    9. CIVIL WAR TP ($24.99, MAR)
    ***10. AMAZING SPIDER-MAN: RENEW YOUR VOWS TP ($17.99, MAR)

    1. I was kind of wondered if the RYV story was one things that burned bright then disappeared with little fanfare. When it started, it seems like it was one of, if not the most, well-received and sold titles in the Secret Wars event. As it came out, most reviews I’ve seen remained positive, a lot of them saying that it was the best Spider-Man-centric entry in Secret Wars.

      However, it seems like after it ended, it kind of went out of sight, out of mind, like it never happened. Nice to see that it’s still making a mark and one of the top Marvel sellers. I’ve been told that comic book sales can be very misleading, because there are factors that determine sales beyond the quality of the product itself, like economy, but I’ll think it’ll be very interesting to see how the Iron Man clone Spider-Man comics and trade paperbacks sell in comparison to RYV’s.

      There could be legitimate reasons, but I’m really surprised that they haven’t even considered doing more with the comic. A RYV continuation would seem to be a safer gamble then other stuff they’ve done recently, like “Silk” (an unpopular character being given an ongoing comic series), “Spider-Gwen” (deciding to make an ongoing comic series based on a character that hadn’t even been written about yet), and “Gwen-Pool” (deciding to create comics, albeit bonus stories in other issues, based on a joke cover.) If some of these long shots have sold, why not RYV?

      Besides, the main criteria for a lot of this new stuff is that “the fans want it” (that how “Silk” was explained, although I’m skeptical that Marvel was accurately reading their audience here) and it needs should turn a profit. New Spider-Man material in the spirit of pre-“One More Day” stuff (like RYV), is something the fans have wanted and been asking for for years, and it’s shown to turn a profit. On top of that, it offers the most viable basis for future stories and would fill in a glaring hole in the “Spider” lineup; today, you can read about the wackiest versions of the character possible, but there’s no representation for the version that defined “Spider-Man” for a whole generation, including the majority of people who’re actually buying this stuff. By the standards Marvel’s used in the past for new series, RYV overqualified and could even exist along the Iron Man clone they’re jonesing over for some reason. What more do they need to decide to “make our’s Marvel” here?

  10. Marvel will eventually captalize on Renew Your Vows, Regent was teased as having become part of the regular Marvel universe, and many fans believe the man in red is Mephisto…I say we keep our eyes trained specifically on 2017, which will mark ten years since OMD, but 30 years of Peter and MJ’s marriage, and given the marriage has’nt actually went away entirely all decade so far thanks to material like Spider-Girl, RYV, and the ongoing newspaper strip, something is going to be a-stirring in no short order

  11. The marriage will never return as long as Brevoort is in control. Now they can point at Slott’s sales, and MJ’s departure from ASM, as proof that she isn’t needed.

    1. And again, I point out that the marriage hasn’t gone anywhere all decade in various other publications, just in the regular books, if they wanted it gone, it’d be gone entirely. It is’nt. They’re stuck with it, and Dan’s sales haven’t been as sturdy as you’d think. Issue one sold well, but both it and Iron Man have been slipping since.

    2. And in addition to that, if we’rev pointing out Slott’s high sales as proof MJ isn’t needed, what about the sales of RYV as a title and a trade which show she’s not only still desired, but so is the concept of Peter as a father? Do you seriously think RYV was just done as a one-off favour to marriage fans? They were testing the market to see if it would still fly, the same reason they published 2009’s “Real Clone Saga” with the intention of doing an ongoing later if it sold well (it did’nt on that occasion, because DeFalco and Mackie were considered too old-school by current readers). It’s worked this time because it was part of a big time event for the company, written by a top seller and a more contemporary and “hip” writer, and worked with an element carried over from OMD (Annie). The stars aligned properly for it.

      Slott once private messaged me and told me I needed to wait out his plan for the series rather than criticize it, and RYV is very much a part of this plan given the Regent has carried over, and that he ended RYV with that Parker family surviving and saying their story always continues. Call me naive or something, but I like joining dots here and there

  12. “Do you seriously think RYV was just done as a one-off favour to marriage fans?”

    Actually, I could believe that. While RYV turned out well (thank goodness!), Marvel has remained unrepentant over OMD and usually goes out of their way to argue how much better the comic is now that Peter is single. In fact when the comic was announced on their site, Slott was quoted as saying: “As a Spidey writer, the Spider-Marriage has been a locked off part of the Spidey U. toy box. It’s taken something as big as Secret Wars—an event where every rule can be broken, where nothing is off limits—it’s taken something this epic to give me the freedom to go to the Powers That Be and ask, ‘Can we bust the lock?’” (taken from http://marvel.com/news/comics/24269/secret_wars_correspondence_renew_your_vows).

    I do take everything Slott says with a spoonful of salt; he did say in one interview that he enjoyed writing Mary Jane as Peter’s wife, but, as Doug Ernst pointed out in another essay, has also indicated that he thinks the Peter/MJ relationship is “anti-Marvel.” Because of all that, I would be curious to know whose idea RYV originally was and how onboard Slott really was with the idea. (If he wasn’t a fan, he sure fooled me by how he wrote it.)

    Times do change, so it’s possible that Marvel was testing the waters. However, I think it’s more likely that Marvel was throwing fans a bone, out of kindness or otherwise, simply on their previous track record and the lack of any hype for RYV having a future.

    “Slott once private messaged me and told me I needed to wait out his plan for the series rather than criticize it…”

    We’ve seen Slott plan(s) unfold over the past decade, so we have a very good idea of the kinds of stories he tells and what they’re like. So, I it’s completely fair to offer criticism, even if the end isn’t in sight yet. As an analogy, I didn’t need to read “Lord of the Rings” to the last page to know it was a good book, I could tell halfway through. By know, we have enough data to know whether Slott’s “Spider-Man” is good or not. Even if he ends his run very well, it won’t change the fact that the good and bad stuff he’s already written is good and bad.

    The whole “I know what I’m doing and this’ll all make sense, so wait until I’ve finished” is fair if there’s trust, but Slott has done almost nothing to gain trust and a lot to lose it from out corner of the fandom. RYV was a respectable show of good faith (if I ever meet Slott in person, I would sincerely thank him for writing it and could list quite a few things I like about it), but at this point, I need more good faith before I could say: “Okay, let’s see where Slott’s this is going before we call foul.”

    Now, if Slott specifically told you that he left RYV on a “to be continued…” because he is planning on revisiting it in some form (either by actually continuing it, pulling elements into his 616 writings, or making new stuff inspired by it), then, okay, we’ll have to see what happens and judge it by the quality of work he produces. But at this point, given how much disconnect and vitriol there is between Slott and the “married Spider-Man” fans, I think that he needs to do more than just say: “Trust me.” At least explaining what kinds of things we can expect to see RYV used for and how long we’re going to need to wait would be a start.

    1. Fair point. And I definitely haven’t stopped criticizing the book even when Dan’s told me not to, he likes to play both sides of the coin a lot, manipulating factions into constantly quoting him to serve the ends of their own arguments, and I think I’ve fallen for that a good couple of times, so long as he’s the one being discussed by the warring parties, or like-minded parties who disagree on whether the marriage is or is’nt a priority, the goal is to get them constantly discussing HIM, HIS plans, HIS outlines, whether we have faith in it or not, patience or not.

  13. I don’t mind Bendis’s work, Like I don’t hate it or love it, but at least I can feel safe knowing that MJ is in good hands. She was treated awful when Slott was writing her. Most of the time she was hardly doing Jack and Shit. I don’t read Iron Man since I’m no fan of him but I’m glad it’s going okay.

    1. It never ceases to amazing me how those with considerable sway at the company make a habit of spitting in the fans’ faces. There are ways to diplomatically handle criticism and for whatever reason Marvel developed a bizarre addiction to taking the low road.

    1. “I’ve been given the great task on Spider-Man Crawlspace to review Invincible Iron Man from a Mary Jane centric point of view.”

      This is great news, Animehunter! I’m really happy for you. This is a great opportunity and I’m glad that you now have a bigger megaphone with which to share your love of comics. Congrats! I’ll make sure to check out your reviews for sure. I’m not sure if I’m allowed to commend over at Crawlspace. A year or two ago it appeared as though my IP address was blocked. I’m not sure. I emailed them and asked why but never received a response. I’m assuming they didn’t want my comics attracting Slottian drama. Who knows.

      “This is how Bendis works, he simmers the story and then when it’s ready, places it the oven for the final serving.”

      I think that’s a great way to describe Bendis’ style. Very astute observation.

      “[I was] so happy that I finally get to see the Mary Jane I grew up with, the strong, the take no (use your imagination here) from anybody, especially not Madame Masque, and when I read this page (left) I simply lost it, to the point I had to put the book down and compose myself.

      It is quite telling that it took Bendis almost no time at all to write a believable scene that really highlighted MJ’s potential, isn’t it? Marvel would have us believe that she drags down ASM, and yet someone like Bendis easily proves those talking points to be a lie. MJ belongs in ASM, and when done right she is a force to be reckoned with.

      If you want added comment on the technical aspects I can do that, although I think as time goes on you will naturally find your voice and figure out what works for you and what doesn’t. Regardless, I’m always happy to give constructive criticism. My knee-jerk reaction is that it’s obvious you have a zest for the new job and the character that carries over into the reviews, and that will always make for a more enjoyable read. If you’re having a good time, then it’s likely your readers will too.

    2. Apologies for the delay in getting back to you.

      Thanks for all you said, I’ll definitely try to make good use of this great opportunity I’ve been given. And thanks for the offer to comment on the technical aspects of it, but I think you’re right, I feel that if I added a more technical twist to it I could lose what made those two reviews fun to write. what I’ve found when I was writing them is that I really enjoyed it due to that fact that it was based on my reactions to reading them the first time. especially the “My losing it” part for issue #5, which I wasn’t sure about adding, but it felt right to do so.

      Thank you again for your words, and please feel free to let know your thoughts on my future reviews.

  14. “Hey Doug, you read Tom Brevoort’s aggressive comments about people still using the term 616…which extends to the Spider-Offices?”

    “It never ceases to amazing me how those with considerable sway at the company make a habit of spitting in the fans’ faces.”

    I’m kind of surprised that both sides are getting really worked up over something that’s not really worth fighting over. I also think that both sides got kind of obnoxious over it, if that article is to be beleived.

    I do follow Brevoort’s reasoning that “Prime Earth” is the “official” title for their primary comic continuity, so that’s what should be used in their official media, but telling readers they have to use the new terminology or they’ll look like idiots makes zero sense. For example, the terms “Earth 1610” and the “Ultimate Universe” have and are used interchangeably to refer to the world that Marvel’s “Ultimate” line took place in, so it’s not like using different terms is unheard of. Besides, why does it matter what fans call it?

    And as far as fans “accepting the new normal,” why do we have to? I don’t and won’t be accepting the “new normal” for Spider-Man, simply because the “new normal” tore out everything that made it worth anything to me in the first place. To make an analogy, it’d be like if DC stopped published “Superman” comics, replaced then with Bizarro comics, and then insisted to “Superman” fans that it was exactly the same thing they had been reading before. I’ll concede that in many cases like this it’s unfair for fans to reject something without trying it, just because it’s new (a la “Star Wars Legends” fans and “The Force Awakens”). But those in creative power should respect that there’s a point where stuff gets altered too much for some people that it doesn’t matter how many chances they give it: they simply won’t like it.

    (Incidentally, “Prime Earth” really isn’t a good name and sounds like it was stolen from DC’s multiverse classification. That might be kind of fitting, given that “Secret Wars” seem to be Marvel jumping on the “Crisis on Infinite Earths”/“New 52” rebooting scheme. However, I’ve gathered that DC’s constant reboots have not exactly worked the way they were supposed to — much less been well-received or internally coherent — so why the heck would Marvel even want their own version?)

    I am drawing two implications from all this. One, is that it suggests that that Marvel wants their “mainstream” comics to be perceived as the “real” reality of their comics continuity (which, if I understand correctly, contradicts the whole point of the original 616 classification; that the mainstream comic’s reality was just another universe in a sea of universes and it’s only importance was that you were reading a story set in it). I don’t think that going to work, since the fans already know what’s the “real” version is and official verdict doesn’t really factor in.

    Case in point, when the phrase “the real Spider-Man” comes up, I will be thinking of Ultimate Peter Parker (as far as comics go; the original movies are the absolute real deal for me). The original “real” 616/Earth Prime/whatever Spider-Man is simply another parallel universe that’s interesting to know about, but has little impact on what actually happened. I mean, if asked, I’d swear in court that Mary Jane Watson got dropped off Queensborough Bridge and nearly died, and that Gwen Stacy was killed by Carnage (and then got an unneeded resurrection that didn’t make as much sense as it should’ve). In other words, with something like this, you really can’t say: “This’s the real version,” since no one will agree on what that means.

    The second point is that I suspect that no one in Marvel really knows what “Secret Wars” and “All New, All Different” are anymore. The original announcement was that the comics were going to be completely rebooted, then they backtracked and said that it was up to fans to decide whether it was an actually reboot or a continuation (which makes no sense; a reboot and a continuation are mutually exclusive).

    The official story was that Marvel’s multiverse was completely destroyed, with noting left but the Battleworld, despite the fact that the MCU (a parallel universe in the official multiverse) still exists and is continuing — not to mention that other official realities, like the the “X-Men” movies, the Sam Raimi and Mark Webb Spider-Man movies, the two “Fantastic Four” movie series, the “Ultimate Spider-Man” cartoon, the “X-Men: Evolution” cartoon, etc. could not have been affected either. So, some of the old multiverse is still around.

    Then there was the fact that the actual comics were released in haphazard order and lots of delays with no clear “this’s how to read it all” order. If it’s so important, shouldn’t they have been more careful about this?

    And now, they’re disagreeing in-house what the new rules are. I can understand that with a big company that communication problems can happen. But still, given that how important Marvel thinks it is, shouldn’t questions like this have already been settled? For all the insistence that “this’s important,” I think at the end of the day, “Secret Wars”/“All New, All Different” was just an excuse to go hog-wild with crossover stories and bizarre stuff and then reshuffle the deck with changes across the board (most of which I don’t think have a long-term future since they go fundamentally against the characters and settings). Well, I got a good “Spider-Man” comic (“Renew Your Vows”) out of it, so it’s not a total loss, but Marvel also convinced me that that comic should be the last new one I buy

    (Quite a wall of text for one little thing, huh? Hopefully there’s something of interest in there.)

    1. On the subject of “real” Spider-Man, Marvel writers seem to constantly be in a state of revolt about that. Stan calls his daily strip Peter the “real” one (which it might as well be, given it’s the only one currently going that represents the traditional elements of the character), the very pro-marriage 2009 Clone Saga rewrite was labelled “The Real Clone Saga” in the trade, Dan Slott also gave that infamous interview about Spider-Verse where he decreed that every Spidey you care about is the real one…and then went on a spiel to John Byrne that the All-Different Mephistoverse Peter was the same one from Amazing Fantasy. Surely most of the Spiders we’ve read about are too.

      For me, the traditionalist Spider-Men are definitely the real ones, and since MC2 Peter was older than most of them in the ongoings back in the 2000s, that makes him the more valid one by default…of course he’s dead so that’s a bummer (unless you go by Tom D’s little trick in Spider-Verse where the seeds of doubt were placed as to whether that was an alternate universe version of MC2)

    2. “…the very pro-marriage 2009 Clone Saga rewrite was labelled “The Real Clone Saga” in the trade…”

      I never read the original ’90s Clone Saga and don’t really care to, although the “Ultimate Spider-Man” Clone Saga is one of my favorite comics (it’s also a prime example of how to do a “dark” Spider-Man story without loosing sight of the fact that Spider-Man is ultimately an optimistic story). I’ve been curious about the “Real Clone Saga” ever since I heard of it. Is worth reading if you just want to read a Spider-Man comic and how lost will you be without knowing much about the original Clone Saga?

      “…Dan Slott also gave that infamous interview about Spider-Verse where he decreed that every Spidey you care about is the real one…”

      I think I kind of understand where Slott’s coming from (since I never saw 616 as being anything more than an alternate universe, and as I’ve stated before, different story matter more to different people). But, if he’s using it to justify making any changes he jolly well pleases, then I don’t think it means what he thinks it means.

      “…and then [Slott] went on a spiel to John Byrne that the All-Different Mephistoverse Peter was the same one from Amazing Fantasy…”

      Did Byrne disagree about on that? If so, I think he’s right. How could the post-“One More Day” version be the same character? By definition and design, the post-“One More Day” Spider-Man had a different history than the one that debuted back in the ’60s, not to mention a different personality. In other words, he’s a different character with the same name and gig, and random background details.

      “For me, the traditionalist Spider-Men are definitely the real ones…”

      Although there are other versions and specific stories I’d consider reading, my list for the real ones is the original movie trilogy, the Ultimate comics, the RYV comic, the “Spectacular Spider-Man” cartoon, and I suppose the newspaper comic (I’m not a big fan of the looser storytelling and cheesy writing, although it does treat the characters with more respect than they’ve been given in 616 since 2007).
      The reason they works for me is that the characterizations are generally similar (or at least along the same spectrum). For example, even if we never saw Peter and Mary Jane as adults in USM, I could see them being something like their RYV counterparts.

      “…since MC2 Peter was older than most of them in the ongoings back in the 2000s, that makes him the more valid one by default…”

      I could even see one arguing that the RYV Spider-Man is a contender for being the “real” one (or at least one as legitimate as anything else published under the “Amazing Spider-Man” banner), since, like “Spider-Girl,” it branches off from the actual original 616 comics (and at an earlier point than “Spider-Girl”), meaning that the characters we meet are the same ones that appeared in the original comics (not to mention the fact that it actually reads like a continuation of the original iteration and is consistent enough to be such).
      That said, I do follow your reasoning for “Spider-Girl” being the “real” continuation of the 616 timeline (since it also branches off the the original timeline). I do have “Spider-Girl” (pre-“Spider-Verse,” mind you) on my Spider-Man reading list, although I think I’d slightly prefer a “Spider-Man family” comic that centers around Peter rather than the kid (like RYV did).

      “…unless you go by Tom D’s little trick in Spider-Verse where the seeds of doubt were placed as to whether that was an alternate universe version of MC2…”

      How’d that work?

    3. It was done in a very “take it or leave” kind of way, but it was based off things Ron Frenz had complained about in an interview after Slott had killed off MC2 Peter..like how he had a robotic leg instead of a prosthetic and that MJ’s hair color was dark instead of dyed red, so Tom wrote a short story in Spider-Verse Team-Up where Mayday called her brother a different nickname instead of “Benjy” (Benny) and then said she sincerely hoped there were millions of alternate realitys out there where she and her family were all intact. He followed that up in Secret Wars revealing Mayday now knew Darkdevil was her cousin and bringing a previously deceased character back from the dead without explanation.

      If you choose, the changes are minimal and can be easily explained by passage of time, but if you read between the lines, it was seen as a “take that” to what had been done and to try and hold the readers hands. I know there are other versions of Mayday in the multiverse and have read stories with them (such as the UK Spidey comics) so I’ve taken to beleive the “real” Mayday is safe but will likely never be seen again while the one affected by Spider-Verse will be used from here on out.

  15. “It was done in a very ‘take it or leave’ kind of way, but it was based off things Ron Frenz had complained about in an interview after Slott had killed off MC2 Peter…”

    So, you’re saying that the original idea wasn’t to protect the original comic, but to explain some minor errors in another story that used the setting? Well, guess it worked out for everyone. Well, except for Slott, maybe; I kind of recall, now that I think about it, that I’d heard something about the theory that the MC2 used in “Spider-Verse” was universe MC2-B instead of MC2-A that the original comics were set in (yeah, I’m a “Back to the Future” fan). Slott apparently didn’t like that for some reason. Don’t really know why.

    “…so I’ve taken to beleive the “real” Mayday is safe but will likely never be seen again…”

    Assuming that MC2-A wasn’t destroyed in “Secret Wars. However, given that the “Secret Wars” even clearly did not destroy every single reality in the Marvel multiverse, despite statements to the contrary, there’s enough wiggle-room for us to believe that it wasn’t caught up in the insanity of it all.

    Never did get an answer if “The Real Clone Saga” was worth reading or not.

  16. The preview for Invincible Iron #7 has been released

    From reading it, you find out that, one, she’s hasn’t spoken to Peter since, I’m assuming, Superior, which is odd because she still has his “Emergency Number”, she seems surprised to hear he has a company, maybe not surprised that he has one, but that he’s doing better than Tony, and, two, they might not even meet up since she’s in Chicago and he’s in Tokyo.

    I guess we’ll have to wait and see if they talk to each other over the phone when the issue’s released.

    http://www.newsarama.com/28151-tony-uses-mj-to-get-to-spider-man-in-invincible-iron-man-7-preview.html
    Newsarama – TONY Uses MJ To Get To SPIDER-MAN – Mephisto’s curse runs deep — as does, apparently, Tony Stark’s animosity towards Peter Parker.

    1. Also about me saying about Mary Jane being Surprised

      Actually, I’m not that surprised she didn’t know about what what was happening to Peter and his company, it more than likely ever since Superior, she’s done everything not to be involved with Peter and his world as Spider-Man again and one of those is avoiding anything on the news to do with him, it’s like if you see an article in the Paper you want nothing to do with and you skip it or if something about him or Spider-man comes on the news channel you change the it to a different one.

      And Newsarama stating “Mephisto’s curse runs deep”

      I think it’s both a statement and a joke, a statement saying that the thing Mephisto did is still in effect and the fact the haven’t spoken since superior, I’m assuming, even more so, add to that, it’s something to really poke fun at Marvel with

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