Jim wades into our Rave Torrent that began with Niles Day's recent rave: Spider-Man Unmasked? No Way! and continued with Jonathan's counter-rave: Spider-Man Unmasked? Well, Maybe!. Without further ado, Jim takes the soapbox.
I have been reading a LOT of negative stuff on your website from other Spidey "fans" about the unmasked storyline as well as the general quality of the writing in the past few story arcs.
I have to say that I have been a big fan of the Spider-man comics since the early 90's and that I feel the writing is stronger and more thought provoking now than ever. Ok, so it goes against the history of the character to have him unmask. But, the reasons given are very well thought out.
This decision was not a spur of the moment type of thing in issue #532. This goes as far back as the Sins past storyline. Once their houses were burned down and Spider-man joined the Avengers, his family, team, doctor, and other allies all knew his identity. Over the past few story arcs it has become apparent that his unmasking was going to be a natural progression.
In the day and age where everything is on the internet, there are cameras everywhere from traffic lights to cell phones. Having a secret identity and changing costume in a dark alleyway seems as cliché as getting super powers from radiation.
I for one LOVE the fact that recent stories (yes, even "The Other") have tried to re-invent and better explain the source of Spider-man's power as being something a little more mystical.
But let me get back to my point. For a character to be relative to its day and age, it has to evolve. Spider-Man needed to evolve to keep him relative. The concept of Civil War is very thought provoking, especially with Terrorism being used in everyday politics in real life.
The heroes should be known. One of the factors towards Peter's decision has been the theme that keeps him strong. He is a responsible person, and registering is the responsible thing to do. It gains him public trust as a hero.
As far as having his enemies know, the bad guys have been finding out Spidey's identity for years, but at least now there are other superheroes that know who he is. With a community, Peter's marriage will be stronger, there will be emotional and physical support from allies when needed, and he will finally get the respect he deserves.
Now let me get to the bad part of all of this. I do not now, nor have I ever trusted Tony Stark. Peter SHOULD register and be legal. But he IS on the wrong side of this Civil War. I want to see him as a good guy who does what is right, but he should also support the ability of a person to choose their own destiny. The government should not have the right to make anyone do anything they don't want to.
Tony Stark has been spying on Spider-man, whether it is through a statue's eyes in his bedroom, sensors spying on him in the new costume, or testing his blood after his re-birth.
No ally should have this information on you, and even though Tony has been good to Peter and his family, Peter really needs to use his common sense before blindly following Tony into this war.
You can argue the basis of his decision all you want to, but I don't think you can argue the quality of the writing happening here. A writer cannot be afraid to take chances with a character and always play it safe. Good writing comes from testing a character, doing the unexpected, and challenging the audience to think. Good writing is usually controversial. THIS IS GOOD WRITING!
So in summary, LOVE the storylines, LOVE the writing, LOVE the concept of him being unmasked, HATE Iron Man, HATE having Spidey follow him blindly.
Thanks for your time!