Rave : 2004 : Are Villains Still Villains?
Sub-Editor's Note: This came as a letter but was deemed worthy of a Rave slot.
Hi! First time caller, long time listner! I'd just like to say that you have created one of the best (if not the best) Spidey fan sites I've ever seen!
Except for one, tiny detail...
Looking through all the past issues of P.P.P., I've noticed that not a single person has submitted a Rave about the poor treatment of Doc Ock by J.M.S., as well as Kingpin by Bruce Jones. This shocks me, to say the least. Don't get me wrong; I love Straczynski's works (although I can't say the same thing about Jones, no offence meant). But every time I think about the fact that two of my favourite villains have been given an almost care-bear mentality, I cringe.
Let me explain.
It started with Amazing Spider-Man, Volume 2, Issue 37 (I think): Straczynski's famous 9/11 issue. It was a splendid issue, don't get me wrong, and it probably helped millions of people cope with the issue. It showed the reactions of Spider-Man to the tragedy, as well as attempts to save any survivors by Captain America, Wolverine, Scarlet Witch, Magneto, Juggernaut, Doctor Doom, Doctor Octopus...
Stop right there.
Magneto's grief is justiiable, as I remember a scene in the Secret Wars when Wolverine mentioned Magneto didn't like even homo sapiens to be "trapped to die like rats". I don't know much about Juggernaut, but I'm positive Doctor Doom isn't supposed to be there! However, what I really want to know is what the heck is Doc Ock doing there?! Since when does he care about saving people? Ock only cares about himself, May Parker, Stunner, and his ex-girlfriend who died of AIDS in one issue, none of whom worked in the World Trade Center at the time of the blast.
A bit later, in Stracyzynski's Amazing Spider-Man, Volume 2, Issue 44, Doc Ock made another appearance. In his fight with Carlyle and Spidey in the Hollywood hotel, the latter caused the walls to fall down upon bystanders, buying Carlyle a distraction to make his getaway. Spider-Man, holding up the walls, pleads to Doc Ock to help, which is the dumbest idea the web-slinger has ever come up with. Amazingly, it works. Doc Ock holds up the wall till the civilians can get out, then lets go so that it falls on Spider-Man. "You are not a civilian. Goodbye," Ock says as he crashes through the window.
When did Doctor Octopus care about civilian lives before? In his first appearance, he threatens to harm one of his hostages, who dares to question him, and is stopped just in the nick of time by Spider-Man. In the "Return of the Sinister Six" saga, he snapped the neck of at least one NASA scientist before they complied with his demands. In Amazing Spider-Man Annual, Issue 15, he plotted to kill millions by poisoning the Daily Bugle's printing press. And now he's apparently trying to win the Samaritan of the Year Award. Does anyone else see anything wrong with this?
Now, about the Kingpin. In Issue 1 of the new miniseries aptly titled Kingpin, we see Kingpin saving a kid from being hit by a car. Uh-huh. Right. Suuuuuuure. I don't think I need to describe the absurdity of the ruthless criminal Kingpin saving kids from being run over. Later, in Issue 5, Kingpin is seen nuturing Gradon Bianco, a drug addict. Look, this is a bit ridiculous. I remember a scene in Ultimate Spider-Man, Issue 12, when Spidey accuses Fisk of selling drugs to children. I know the mainstream MU and the Ultimate MU are different, but the Kingpin has the same personality in both MUs, so it can be assumed he sells drugs to children, so WHY IS HE TRYING TO CURE BIANCO??!!
I just hope these bad-guys-are-really-good-guys stories aren't going to be a habit amongst these writers, because this could really mess up continuity, even more so than Zimmerman did (no offence to him; I mean, he's funny and all, but listen, he brough Chameleon back from the grave with no adequate explanation, ruining Jenkin's fantastic telling of the Master of Disguise's death). Next thing I know, Carnage will be donating to charity.