You know, I can remember subplots that took place in Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) twenty years ago, but I can't seem to recall the things that have taken place in the last year of this latest reboot. How did Spidey defeat the Blob again? Who the heck was Captain Power? What was that Eighth Day stuff all about? What's the deal with this Hunger guy? Now it could just be that my short-term memory is failing me but I think it's more likely that I blocked this stuff out because the recent stories have been, well, terrible. And, let's face it, following the spider-books month by month has been an exercise in dedication and masochism.
A couple of months ago, doing my duty, I was reading Amazing Spider-Man #12. It featured more of the Senator Ward nonsense, the tiresome MJ stalker story, the annoyingly two-dimensional evil Sandman. I hated it. When I got to page eight and Mary Jane said "I'm just too young..." for the millionth time (a continually emphasized point that drives me crazy), I felt like throwing the comic across the room. But then I got ahold of myself and I wondered, "am I reading these things to enjoy myself or to bring on a debilitating stroke?" If it's the former, I thought, then maybe I'd better relax and let them happen. So I read the issue again. Then I read part two in Peter Parker: Spider-Man #12. And you know what? In spite of moments like Senator Ward's kooky energy powers... I liked them. And, you know what else? I've liked every issue since.
In the last several months, I have been moved, intrigued, and amused by the core spider-books. (Spoilers coming!) I got a kick out of the new Rocket Racer getting beaten by an open door in ASM #13 (as cheap a gimmick as that is). I thought Carnage painting himself red to simulate his costume in PP #13 was a hoot. Spider-Woman's appearance in ASM #14 was the first time I've liked her character. (Though the story unfortunately fizzled in Spider-Woman #9.) When the Hulk said "Bug Man's wife dead? Hulk's wife dead, too." in PP #14, I was actually moved. I was right with the whole Dr. Doom story in ASM and PP #15 (and I think Peter's denial of MJ's death... after all, Aunt May came back twice... is just the right character touch.) ASM #16, with the loss of the penthouse apartment, loss of all the money MJ earned, and the loss of Peter's Tricorp job, made all the right decisions. (But one false note here. This subplot of "did J. Jonah Jameson look under an unconscious Spidey's mask?"... a subplot that began, not surprisingly, before all the interesting stuff... has been seen before. Check out ASM #192 through to #201 for the previous story of when JJJ could have looked under the mask. Admittedly, that subplot turned into a bust but the only reason to repeat this nonsense is if, this time, he actually looked! And if he didn't, we'd better have a much better explanation than last time.)
So, suddenly, amazingly, I'm a Mackie booster. But I can't help but note the coincidence of my new attitude and my new appreciation. So I ask myself... have I just gotten mellow or is this stuff actually better? What do the rest of you think?