by Nevs Coleman

Unreasonable Disappointments of 2008

(Note. i wrote the DAY BEFORE Secret Invasion 8 shipped. Who knew?)
Top Stuff Awards: Unreasonable Disappointments of 2008

Unreasonable Disappointments of 2008.

(In which I get a bit upset about things I hoped to happen with no just cause nor evidence to suggest that said things would happen in the first place.)

It’s the 2nd of December. We’re now friends with Sophie Howard via Myspace. Thus far, she hasn’t asked either of us if we want to go for a beer with her yet.

I don’t own a pair of Hulk Hands. I don’t ask for much. But I don’t own a pair of Hulk Hands. How this is fair is beyond me.

Spider-Man is still a Mary with a mother complex trapped in a crap comic overseen by a smug twat with good talent wasted on it, rather than the heroic bloke who fights crime despite having bugger all beyond a gorgeous wife and somewhere to live. Apparently, some people at Marvel think that comic fans couldn’t possibly relate to a hero who gets a shag with someone attractive. Some people at Marvel can fuck right off.

Primal Scream’s Japanese only compliation ‘Shoot Speed: More Dirty Hits’ is still only avaliable in Japan.

Kill Your Boyfriend hasn’t been turned into a film with Hannah Murray and him who plays Sid in Skins yet. Except with Hannah playing Boy’s part of bringing Sid out of his shell as he’s trapped with a boring girlfriend who read SFX and drags him to Sci-Fi gatherings like the League of The Non Aligned and such-like gatherings for the damaged. Said girlfriend is probably played by her out of Harry Potter that you fucking nutters created a website to count down the day she was legal go mental about. The soundtrack is the 1st Sonic Mook Experiment compilation and Crystal Castles. I can’t work out who Ray Winstone could play. But he’s in it anyway. And Gary Oldman too. Guy Ritchie is banned from the country whilst the film is being shot, edited and sorted out. Right up until the premiere. So is Georgina Bailey.

Speaking of which: I have never slept with your granddaughter, Mr Goldman. But I would. Jane’s bloody lush.

But the main thing that bugged me takes a bit of explanation. Go get a cup of tea and a fag. If you don’t smoke, start. I know it’s raining. You can get electronic cigarettes that let you smoke indoors now and make you look like you’re in the future! I know! It’s brilliant! And you can programme your telly so you can go to the pub while that Paul Weller live show is on BBC and then watch it the next morning when you’re meant to be getting ready for work! George Orwell was talking out of his Nineteen EightyArse!

Spider-Man’s life has two defining moments. The first one is him being a telly star and letting a fella run past him on set. That fella breaks into Spidey’s house the next night and kills Uncle Ben while our hero is out on the piss or something. Uncle Ben is the father figure of the tale, and his death teaches our web-spinning hero that Great Power means you can’t go on telly but instead have to spend your night lamping various animal motifed spoon benders at three in the morning.

The second is the death of his girlfriend. Later down the line, Norman Osborn, otherwise known as The Green Goblin, decided that it was Spidey’s fault that his son, Harry Osborn was an acid crazed nervous breakdown and that Gobby’s business was falling apart. In revenge, knowing Spider-Man was in fact Peter Parker, he kidnapped said girlfriend, Gwen Stacey and knocked her off a bridge.

Despite Spidey’s efforts, Gwen dies. Spidey goes bollocks mental and beats the blue monkeys out of Norman, but stopping himself before actually killing him. As a last act, Gobby activates his Goblin Glider, a front spiked remote control bat glider that normally allows him to fly about slinging pumpkin bombs at people. The glider, meant to impale Spidey, misses and slams straight into Norman’s heart instead, apparently killing him instantly.

I read this story in the pub with my Dad when I was about eight years old. I now cannot drink Harp Lager as I assosicate it with falling blondes in green skirts and shouting red-haired men in spandex.

Fast Fwd about twenty years, and Marvel has pulled off either it’s bravest or just plain wrong stunt ever. In a story that involves evil robot parents, an evil giant serial killer clone of Pete called Kaine, the death of Harry Osborn, the clone of Gwen Stacey. and the death of Pete’s mother figure, Aunt May. Mary Jane Watson (Peter’s wife, who he blatantly married on the rebound off Gwen’s death. He should have gone with The Black Cat), is now pregnant with Pete’s child. Oh, and some bloke called Ben keeps showing up at The Parker house, freaking out everyone.

The climax of all this revealed that Peter Parker is, in fact, a clone. And has been since Spider-Man comics that were published in the 1970’s. Furthermore, the REAL Peter Parker (previously known as Ben Reilly) is back, and wants his life back. Ben had been knocking about as The Scarlet Spider, in a brilliant costume that had purple trousers and a hoodie. At the end, FakePete decides to give up superheroing and fucks off to go raise his kid with Mary Jane while Ben gets to be Spider-Man with a whole new group of villians, supporting cast and adventures, even meeting up with the daughter of the burglar who shot Uncle Ben in the first place.

Fans absolutely shat on it. From a great height. If there were message boards back then, they would have been on fire every week. People were so angry, I’m surprised nobody actually firebombed the Marvel offices.

Even to this day, if you want to get a nervous reaction out of someone who works in a comic shop, ask them to explain ‘The Clone Saga’.
With sales plumetting, the regular staff of the Spider-Books were booted off and new people rushed in, and told, very simply, ‘Fix This. Make Peter Parker Spider-Man again. NOW.’

The solution was, erm…

You might want to get another cup of tea.

Mary Jane goes into labour. FakePete and Ben get into a row about the fact that FakePete is twatting about playing superhero when he doesn’t have his powers anymore. Then it turns out he does! Yay FakePete! Mary Jane gives birth but Baby May is kidnapped. This all culminates in Spider-Man (vol 2) 75. FakePete shows up at some building to discover his Aunt May is actually alive.

And then Norman Osborn shows up. Bear in mind we haven’t seen him in about twenty years real time. And there he is. Alive.

He then delivers two of the greatest explanations for anything EVER.

1) He didn’t really die at the hands of the Goblin Glider. He only pretended to be dead until Spidey left the room. Then he fucked off, killed some homeless bloke. And then fucked off to Europe. Europe! Were there no coroners in New York back then with any competence? Someone willing to say ‘Erm, this isn’t that famous bloke at all. It’s a homeless fella!’? And having gone to Europe, what did he do? No idea! Biking? Planning to make his greatest enemy think he was a clone? Kidnap his justborn child? What for? Why? One must ask that even though it was the seventies, grief-crazed as Spidey may have been after that fight back then, you’d think he’d be able to see if someone was either:

A) Breathing. or
B) Not Breathing.

2) Aunt May DIDN’T really die. Oh yes, they may have been there to watch her die. They may have buried a body. They may have signed the death certificate. Mourned, Grieved. The Like. But they were TWATS! Because the person they put in the ground,who looked just like Aunt May, acted like Aunt May and even sounded like Aunt May…

Was not, in fact, Aunt May.

Inbetween periods of going to Euro-Disney, strawberry picking and messing around with the homeless, Norman discovered a breakthrough in cosmetic surgery. What he did was hold a casting audition for Women of A Certain Age. Having found the one who most resembled Aunt May, he went to work. Having her rebuilt as a perfect copy of our favourite elderly heart attack waiting to happen, he then uploaded her brain with all kinds of personality implants so she really believed that she WAS May Parker, teenage skank (don’t look at me, it was Mark Millar who wrote the Marvel mini series ‘Trouble’) to wheatcake offering pensioner memories and everything.

So, given the opportunity, Norm kidnapped the real thing and replaced her with his Argos copy. Obviously, Pete’s Spider-Sense, a SIXTH SENSE THAT WARNS HIM OF THINGS THAT COULD BE DANGEROUS was broken that day. WHY this struck Norm as a important element of a plan designed to utterly fuck up his nemesis’s life is never explained, and in fact, had the adverse effect. ‘You know that relative who you really cared about and thought they were dead? Well they’re ALIVE! MOOO HAHAHAHA! Have a TENNER as well, You utter FUCKER! And a PONY, TOO!’

The real May was alive. There’s lots of shouting. Norman tries to kill all of FakePete’s friends. Spider-Ben saves them, but dies in the effort. What happens to Baby May is never explained and she’s never been seen since, except as one last kick in the bollocks for Peter during One More Day. Pete, being revealed to have been the one true Spidey all along, returns to business.

Obviously, even in terms of nineties Marvel comics, the above is utter bollocks. It makes no sense. Dead, Norm was THE Spidey- Villian. So deranged, he abandoned his child, created a criminal empire, killed a defenceless woman and scared the bloody shit out of anyone unlucky enough to face him. Marvel spent a good twenty years trying to come up with a villian that good until finally hitting gold with Venom. Alive?

Well….

Norman’s popped up a few times since then. not least having turned about to have shagged Gwen on the side (before he killed her, at least I think so), being caught in public as raving nutter The Green Goblin and been put in charge of government sponsored baddie-team, The Thunderbolts.

And here, FINALLY, is the thing that could have happened that would have me happy.

After the whole One More Day bollocks, one of the effects of the deal is that NO ONE (except possibly, Mary Jane) knows who Spider-Man is. Not Aunt May. Not Iron Man, Not Captain America. And certainly not Norman Osborn. And this is retroactive. Not only they not know now, but more importantly, THEY NEVER DID.

Which means there’s no way The Clone Saga could have taken place.

Norman’s plan is entirely based on his knowledge of Peter’s private life. The fact that he was married, that his wife was pregnant, that he had an aunt, that someone had tried cloning him. But if he never knew any of that stuff, there’s no way he could have done any of the things he did when he turned out not to be dead.

But Norman was still running around after One More Day.

You may have heard of this thing called Secret Invasion that happened this year. It involved a bunch of space monsters with the power to pretend that they were people when they were in fact alien sleeper agents. They made things difficult by not being people they were assumed to be.

The previous mandate set by Bendis was that only comics created on the run up to the whole event (roughly Avengers 500 upwards) would be affected and previous work by other creators would be left alone. I’m reasonably sure, though, that if you asked Jim Shooter what the Beyonder was back in the Eighties, the words ‘Loony Mutant Inhuman’ wouldn’t have come up. Therefore, everything would seem to be fair game.

So, what if Norman Osborn had actually died all those years ago? And the Skrulls realising that, for some reason, Spidey tends to be one more of the significant humans on Earth (Otherwise, why would Mephisto gone to such lengths to stealing the love he had for his wife?) decided that that their very first strike on the way to Global Domination..

Would be to resurrect the ghost of his most feared enemy and utterly fuck with him. And then be in charge of one of the most dangerous teams on the planet.

And that’s what I wanted: Norman Osborn to be a Skrull.

Hope you enjoyed your tea.

(Notes. Since I wrote this, I got a pair Of Hulk Hands.Hannah Murray seems to have vanished off the face of the planet and Norman Osborn became a serial shagging maniac. No sign of that bloody Scream CD either)

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