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The Engineer

The Life and Times of Donald F. Simmons

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Worst Spider-Man retcons

I haven't purchased a Spider-Man comic in well over a decade, but I try to keep up with what's going on (which, as Diesel Sweeties put it recently, is like reading an ex's blog).

Peter and MJ just agreed to have their marriage (which happened twenty years ago in real time) erased from existence by Mephisto, in exchange for him saving Aunt May's life (putting aside the fact that she's 137 and could kneel over any time now).

The worst thing is this is merely in the running for the worst retcon in Spider-Man history, as shown by the following (thanks to box_in_the_box):

  • Gwen Stacy had consensual sex with Norman Osborn and gave birth to hyper-age-accelerated twins, whom Norman raised in Europe, and who recently returned to hassle Peter.Thus, Gwen was abducted by the Green Goblin because of their connection to one another, rather than because of her connection to Spider-Man.

  • Aunt May tells Peter Parker that Uncle Ben had left the house the night he was killed by the burglar that Spider-Man had let go, because she and Ben had gotten into a fight. Thus, even after Peter tells May that he had let the burglar go, she considers herself just as responsible for Ben's death as Peter does.

  • The radioactive spider that bit Peter Parker was actually acting on behalf of a magical "Spider-Totem," that chose Peter because he was picked on by his peers, which therefore made him "a predator."

  • Mary-Jane is killed off for a while in a plane explosion, but they bring her back when Spider-Man rescues her from a kidnapper who's actually been keeping her captive for months.

  • Aunt May actually dies in Amazing Spider-Man #400, but it turns out she wasn't actually Aunt May but a "genetically modified actress" who was paid by Norman Osborn to die. No, really.

  • Norman Osborn dies, then comes back and explains that he'd faked his death and just gone off to live in Europe for a while.

  • Peter is revealed not actually to be the original Peter Parker, but a clone of the original, who has been going by the name of Ben Reilly and staying out of New York for years. Then the writers come to their senses and make Ben the clone and kill him off.

  • Peter Parker's secret agent parents, whom we'd been told were dead since Amazing Fantasy #15, turn out to have been overseas instead - and let me just add, that seems to happen a lot to people who know Spider-Man - except, no, wait, THEY WERE ROBOTS CREATED BY HARRY OSBORN ALL ALONG!!! DOUBLE-RETCON!!!

And the capstone is the five-issue mini Trouble from 2003, which was the teenage adventures of Aunt May, Uncle Ben, and Peter's parents, which revealed that Aunt May was actually Peter's birth mother! Yes, she was supposed to have Peter when she was 17, so the Aunt May from the original issues of Spider-Man was only 34, and she's probably only in her early 50s today. Needless to say Trouble did so poorly the whole idea was scrapped.

The really sad thing it that this still isn't as screwed up as X-Men.

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Re Worst Spiderman retcons.

I've flipped through this latest piece of Marvel "road accident theatre' a couple of times, apparently JMS, who wrote it as his last issue, was told by the higher ups to do it but at the end found it as stoopid as everybody else (he did however say it VERY diplomatically). The level of phony visual tension the art in the issue attempts to create is so cheesy it's laughable.


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