I know what you’re thinking. “Hey, where did my Things I Learned While Buying Plastic Men go?” Or maybe you’re not thinking that. I don’t know. Regardless if you are or you’re not, the weekly column by comedian Gavin Stephens has not gone away. It’s just not happening this week. Gavin will return next week with tales of victory and defeat….just you wait. But for now, it’s the return of everybody’s favourite occasional fill-in column, Ranting on a Wednesday! And it appears that these days, there’s lots to rant about. But what shall I choose?

I could rant about how trumped-up allegations and twisted half-truths caused the end of a talented puppeteer’s near thirty year career with the same company. I don’t think I will though because I don’t think my insights would really add anything to such a serious situation. Then there’s the whole “nerd poser” controversy that started up from a facebook status of all things. I think I’ll stay away from that one as there’s been more than enough talk about it already. So what does that leave us? Well how about the “pending doom” with the changes coming in the Spider-Man franchise? That’s probably one I have something to say about.

It seems that change in the comic universes has been very popular these past few years.  New #1 issues have become the norm for the weekly comic shelves. In the past few years, we’ve witnessed the Godzilla of the market that was the New 52 from DC, a G.I.Joe relauch at IDW for the second time with Cobra Civil War and even Marvel’s Ultimate Universe restarted about a year ago with a small 3 comic line. And now, beginning last month with Uncanny Avengers, comes Marvel Now.  What can be said about it so far? Not a lot. Some of the new titles have been good, some have been just okay. The only really book that’s doing anything different is All New X-Men. With that book, you get to have your cake and eat it to. All current continuity of the original X-Men (Cyclops, Beast, Iceman, Jean Grey and Angel) is left untouched. Cyclops is still the new Magneto. Jean Grey is still dead. Angel is still….whatever the hell he is now. But with a little bit of time travel, we get those same 5 characters back to being teenagers with the world infront of them. New stories with old characters in a revamp that while it may end up causing tons of continuity errors during it’s run, has opened the door to new experiences without having to reboot the system. A soft reboot if you will. In the end, it’s not really a drastic change. And that’s pretty much the norm for most of these upcoming books. That is, except for Superior Spider-Man.

Coming in January, not only will there be  a new Spider-Man book but there will also be a new Spider-Man. Peter Parker’s out. Somebody new is in. There are strong speculations that Miguel O’Hara, aka Spider-Man 2099, is the replacement. A slip up on Dan Slott’s twitter feed supports that theory. But I don’t know. I don’t care. Not until the book comes out will I be interested in the identity of this new wallcrawler. But it begs the question: Why introduce a New Spider-Man in the first place?

The fact of the matter is that when you introduce a new character in place of the old one in an existing continuity, it very seldom works. Spider-Man has tried before with Ben Reilly. That was a clone of Peter Parker and it didn’t work. So substituting someone again seems dumb. You could argue that Miles Morales in the Ultimate line proves that Peter Parker doesn’t need to be under the mask. But that just brings up the fact that we already have one universe that is Peter Parker-less. Why do we need two? It’s reminscent of the choices made with Nick Fury over the past year. The son of Nick Fury, Marcus Johnson, was introduced in the Battle Scars mini series and by the end of that tale, had taken his father’s spot in S.H.I.E.L.D. (not his exact spot – he’s not in charge). Marcus has a passing ressemblance to Samuel L. Jackson’s portrayal of the character in the Marvel movies. But that was unnecessary because there was already a Sam Jackson look-a-like in the Ultimate universe. So far, the change has done nothing to prove to me that the old Nick couldn’t stick around. Time may tell on that when Secret Avengers relaunches next year.

What I’m trying to say here is that as a fan, I have been let down before when they’ve gone and messed with my superheroes. There have been instances when the opposite has been the case as well. The G.I.Joe relanch being the prime example. It’s not the comic or t.v. show from when I was a kid but IDW has been able to revamp some of my favourites and bring us new Joes and Cobras that we actually care about. So I’m not saying that it can’t be done. I would just like to make sure that it’s done correctly and for the right reasons. Too often, decisions are made for a quick sales boost and can’t be sustained in the long run. Also, I’m pretty sure that they will most likely bring back Peter Parker before Amazing Spider-Man 2 comes out so I hope this is all worth it.

That’s enough ranting for today. If you would like to comment and perhaps enlighten me as to why all these changes must happen, please do so below.

And if you’re gonna geek out, GEEK HARD!