Tag Archives: Aunt May

What If Spider-Man Died And Still Ruined Everything?

This week we revisit a favourite of mine, Kraven’s Last Hunt. In the original story, Great White Hunter and Owner Of A Lion Vest Kraven the Hunter goes insane, kidnaps Spider-Man, buries him alive, beats the shit out of people and then blows his own head off with a shotgun. It’s AMAZING.

Look at that giant fat fucking head! This is my new favourite Watcher for anyone wondering.
Look at that giant fat fucking head! This is my new favourite Watcher for anyone wondering.

This story is… less of that. We open on Spidey swinging home one night when Kraven shoots him with a blow dart, immobilizing him. But instead of just tying Spidey up and burying him, Kraven does what super villains should have been doing for years and shoots Spidey in the fucking head. It’s the smartest thing a Spider-Man villain has ever done but it’s not what you’d call dramatically satisfying.

"Man, that was really easy. I should have shot this asshole back in the sixties."
“Man, that was really easy. I should have shot this asshole back in the sixties.”

Kraven and his lackeys bring the spectacular Spider-Corpse to a graveyard where they bury it with a custom gravestone, after which Kraven literally dances on the grave. After a quick trip to his back to his mansion to devour massive handfuls of spiders, I vomit, I mean he swipes Spidey’s costume and heads out on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge™ against… random street crime. Hey, thanks, Kraven. You’re doing… well, the Punisher’s work anyway.

OM NOM NOM NOM NOM!
OM NOM NOM NOM NOM!

Back at Peter Parker’s Peter aparkment (sorry), Mary Jane Watson-Parker-Bouvier-Terwilliger-Hutz-McClure-Nahasapeemapetilon waits by the window and mostly frets. She eventually goes out into the rain to find her husband and is immediately cat called by street douches. This issue is a real winner for MJ. Luckily, Spider-Kraven shows up literally foaming at the mouth and rescues her. MJ sees how brutal Spider-Man acts, how he didn’t even notice her and most importantly how he kept his mouth shut for the entire battle.

“That is definitely not my Peter.” She thinks.

This is pretty much all Mary Jane does for the entire comic so drink it in, I guess.
This is pretty much all Mary Jane does for the entire comic so drink it in, I guess.

MJ starts visiting the usual Spidey cast for help. Eventually, Flash Thompson takes her to the Baxter Building where they meet with the Human Torch who… I guess is still friends with Spidey but doesn’t know who he is yet? Anyway, the Torch has been watching the news and seeing all these brutal attacks by Spider-Man and figures something isn’t exactly kosher. He calls two friends and they call two friends and eventually the Torch pulls together Spidey’s other closest friends in the Marvel Universe, Daredevil and… Captain America? Fine.

Specifically, let's find his half-eaten rotted corpse!
Specifically, let’s find his half-eaten rotted corpse!

The three heroes split up to look for this new Spidey and they eventually all find him. Seperately. Which is weird. Anyway, they figure out that this isn’t Spidey pretty quickly as he endangers a baby and throws bricks at the Human Torch. No spider in history has ever thrown a brick at anyone. (If you have knowledge of spiders hurling bricks at you or a friend, please post your story in the comments.)

Does whatever a spider can.
Does whatever a spider can.

Spidey’s Amazing Friends meet up at the Baxter Building where MJ continues to wait and cry. They tell her that they believe her about the new brutal Spider-Man being an imposter and she tells them that she’s actually Mrs. Spider-Man. (You know, I would kill for some Golden Age Spider-Man stories where MJ tries to trick Spider-Man into marrying her.)

Meanwhile, New York is having bigger problems as a gross rat monster known as the Vermin has been dragging folks into the sewer and eating them. Trust me, this is a bigger deal in the original story. The Vermin attacks J Jonah Jameson while he’s waiting for a cab and is about to drag him into the sewer to make J Jonah Jibblets when Spider-Kraven arrives.

"Somebody grabbed me! It must be that fucker Spider-Man!"
“Somebody grabbed me! It must be that fucker Spider-Man!”

This, of course, results in a rant of “Help! Spider-Man and his best friend this giant rat were going to eat me!” which is definitely newsworthy.

The Torch, Cap and Daredevil arrive and then everyone beats the shit out of each other for a while. Beaten, Kraven flees and the heroes follow him back to the cemetery where the find he has dug up Peter’s grave and is now eating him. Which is all sorts of disgusting. The Torch finally beats Kraven while Cap puts a tarp over the devoured remains of Peter Parker. Who was eaten. By a silver age villain in a lion vest.

"That's weird. There's a giant pile of mouldy ground beef wrapped in a Spider-Man costume in here!"
“That’s weird. There’s a giant pile of mouldy ground beef wrapped in a Spider-Man costume in here!”

Everyone heads back to Mary Jane’s place where she cries a lot more but at least can stop standing by windows now. Kraven gets carted to a mental institution where he can eat all the spiders he wants and maybe eventually work for Dracula which I am now realizing is a comic I absolutely want to read.

Uatu, did you turn him into Wolverine? Did you turn him into Wolverine because you sent Wolverine back in time because you are a total ass bucket?
Uatu, did you turn him into Wolverine? Did you turn him into Wolverine because you sent Wolverine back in time because you are a total ass bucket?

Meanwhile, MJ goes to tell Aunt May what’s happened to her nephew but this is mean crotchety Aunt May who doesn’t believe her and is mostly just a jerk. Thanks for nothing, Aunt May! Now who’s going to lift machinery to get you your heart medication?! You dick!

Aunt May here played by Almira Gulch.
Aunt May here played by Almira Gulch.

At the funeral, Mary Jane has the bright idea to hold a press conference at the Baxter Building telling the world what a hero Spider-Man actually was. In life, wealth and fame he may have ignore, but in death he should at least get some praise. Unfortunately, Jameson shows up to present his yelling, hysterical side of the story. Everyone latches on a picture of the Torch trying to get JJJ to leave and ignores the whole “abusing a grieving widow” angle. All of this results in a world much less trusting of super-heroes. The president bans super heroes from meeting and the Avengers and the FF close up shop. So look forward to that next Skrull invasion, folks! Meanwhile, Mary Jane apologizes to Peter’s grave for screwing up his death worse than he screwed up his life!

Old People: Heroes or Menaceses? Menasees? Menses? Whatever.
Old People: Heroes or Menaceses? Menasees? Menses? Whatever.

What If Comics: A Fun Super Powered Romp For Everyone!

What If Aunt May Actually Died Like She’s Been Threatening To For Fifty Years?

Here’s an unfamiliar scene: Peter Parker AKA The Amazing Spider-Man weeping over his dead relative’s tombstone in the rain. “If only I’d been more responsible! If only I hadn’t thought of myself! If only I’d stopped that burglar… Aunt May would still be alive!” Wait, what? Then Peter dries his eyes, stands up and returns to his waiting Uncle Ben.

The only scene I've watched replicated more often than this in comics is Martha Wayne's pearls hitting the ground.
The only scene I’ve watched replicated more often than this in comics is Martha Wayne’s pearls hitting the ground.

“It’s true”, says Uatu, watching from Heaven. Where I guess he lives. “It took us forty-six issues but we finally realized we hadn’t had Uncle Ben live.” Actually, they did but no matter. We begin our tale when Ben Parker wakes up in the middle of the night with old man problems. After peeing for five straight minutes and falling down in the shower, Uncle Ben hears a noise and wanders downstairs, encountering the burglar. Ben starts to launch into a homespun tale about what comes with great power* when the burglar shoots him. Thus begins a tale of guilt, tragedy, and evil black costumes from space.

whatif4602
Oh, I see. And I think you’d better drop it. I SAID DROP IT!

 

But what if ‘twere not Uncle Ben who died but Aunt May, who was well on her way to her fifteenth stroke anyway? Well, to start, not a whole lot. Mostly events continue pretty much as they have before as Peter becomes Spider-Man and takes out his aggression beating up guys dressed like animals. And sand people. Unfortunately for Pete, Uncle Ben’s a little sharper than Aunt May (This is not difficult. Silver Age Aunt May is like the female Mr. Magoo.) and he soon figures out what Peter’s afterschool activities are.

This picture really captures Peter as a giant fucking dork.
This picture really captures Peter as a giant fucking dork.

As they’re preparing for dinner, Ben asks Pete to change the tablecloth, revealing Peter’s Spider-Man costume underneath. Dude springs this shit on Peter like he found his little box of weed. The two of them sit down and get all their various guilts off their various chests. While Ben doesn’t think Peter is responsible for May’s death, he does like the idea of Spider-Man so the two of them start working together to stop crime.

Could have been worse. His porn could have been under there.
Could have been worse. His porn could have been under there.

Meanwhile, shocking nobody, J. Jonah Jameson has hair up his ass about Spider-Man. The attack pieces he publishes in the Daily Bugle are getting really bad and Ben is fed up with them. He storms into the Bugle offices and start chewing Jonah out. At this point, Spider-Man (who is always around Jonah’s offices at 4:15 for some good natured webbing-feet-to-the-floor.) comes by and finds the two old men fighting. He swings in and then Ben forces Peter to reveal his identity to Jameson which is a fucking terrible idea.

"AND DON'T TRACK MUD ON THE CEILING!"
“AND DON’T TRACK MUD ON THE CEILING!”

As Spider-Man carries his angry, elderly uncle out the window, Jonah fumes, trying to  make a decision about whether or not to reveal Spidey’s identity. On the one hand, Peter Parker is a brave teenager who’s trying to do the right thing and make up for his aunt’s death while keeping his uncle safe. On the other hand, there’s money to be made. After working his way through every expression the Grinch ever had, Jonah reaches a decision. He starts getting tips from Spidey about what crimes Spidey will foil and sending in photographers. He also challenges Spidey to an interview in the Bugle to defend his views. This is not a great idea in my opinion. I feel like the public can really get behind Spidey’s philosophy of “fuck crime and throwing blondes off bridges.”

Spidey quickly gets fed up with the combined old white guy power of Ben and now Jameson always telling him what to do. Especially when Jameson orders Peter to start tailing his secretary and Pete’s sort of girlfriend Betty Brant. If you recall the old sixties comics, you’ll remember that Betty’s brother Bennett was kind of a mob screw up. Always working for mobsters with names like Blackie. She’s been acting weird and Jameson thinks she might be in deep with the mob.And then Ben agrees which really sets Spidey off.. “Oooh, those guys… always telling me what to do!” Peter grumbles. “I’ll show them. I’ll do it just to spite them.”

"Nobody tells Spider-Man what to do!"
“Nobody tells Spider-Man what to do!”

Sure enough, Spidey finds Betty working for the smuggest Doctor Octopus that has ever appeared in a Spider-Man comic.

Asshole.
Asshole.

After angrily shit-kicking everyone around, Spidey yells at Betty and Bennett and then fucks off. He’s so completely done with everything that he goes and lives on the street for a few days, sleeping in web hammocks and stealing pies from Mysterio’s windowsill.

"Spare some change for web fluid, buddy?"
“Spare some change for web fluid, buddy?”

Eventually Jameson’s trained bum, Patch finds Peter and delivers a message. “Surrender, Dorothy.” I mean, “Come Back To The Bugle, Or I Reveal Your Identity.” Worried that having his ID leaked might still somehow hurt Uncle Ben, Peter meets with him only to get yelled at some more. The Jameson of this reality is somehow more of a jerk than other realities.

Next Jameson hurries to the local hospital where his son, astronaut and future werewolf John Jameson is recovering from a mission to outer space. It seems that John’s been hospitalized since he was bombarded by space spore, something I am not entirely convinced is a real thing. The doctors think he’ll recover and are just observing him when the Green Goblin busts the fuck in.

Not real clear what this guy's problem is with astronauts.
Not real clear what this guy’s problem is with astronauts.

Turns out the Goblin regularly follows one-eyed homeless people around New York and caught Spider-Man and Patch’s discussion. He realized that Jameson knows who Spider-Man really is and kidnaps him. Peter sees this as his chance to finally be rid of Jameson, knowing the Goblin will kill him and solving all his problem. Fortunately his friendly neighborhood conscious kicks in , but not before the Space Spores have an effect on John, changing him into a glowing giant muscle man.**

Giant Dude In A Hospital Gown: The Spectacular Character Find of 1984!
Giant Dude In A Hospital Gown: The Spectacular Character Find of 1984!

Space Spore Man follows the Goblin Glider’s contrails to whatever abandoned Oscorp building the Goblin is hiding out in this time. Fed up with the Goblin’s bullshit, John follows a recent What If  tradition and snaps the Goblin’s neck. That asshole taken care of, Space Spore Man turns his attention to beating the everloving crap out of his dad.

Honestly, this solves a lot of problems.
Honestly, this solves a lot of problems.

Luckily, Spidey arrives at the last possible second, saving Jonah from his son’s weird space illness. Mostly by tossing John at some electrical wire which should kill the poor bastard but really just makes all the spore fall off for no reason. As he leaves with John, he turns to Jonah and whispers “you fucking owe me”, finally putting an end to Jonah’s harassment. Uncle Ben still rides his ass from here to Eternity though. FAMILY.

*Great responsibility. Jeez, man, have you ever even read a Marvel comic?

**Absolutely happened in real Spidey comics from the 60s!

 

What If Everyone At Marvel Decided To Make My Life Difficult For a Week?

I can honestly say I’ve been dreading this one since I started Forbidden to Interfere all those months ago. I used to look at that number. Thirty-four. “Well, it’s so far off. I wouldn’t worry, you’ll likely never even get there.” Which is a fair estimate based on any project I do that doesn’t include a co-host to yell at you. But here we are. What If 34: What If The Watcher Was A Stand-Up Comedian? Well, from what I can tell, it’s a dark, terrifying reality where this hideous monstrosity tells bad jokes and not nearly enough of it is drawn by Fred “I wrote ‘Fantastic Four Roast’ and will always have a soft spot in Matt’s heart for that” Hembeck.

AAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!
AAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!

Anyway, we open on the Watcher explaining the difference between an alternate universe story (a reality identical to our own that veered off from a specific point) and an imaginary story (literally all of fiction.). He then gives us some examples from both camps, including two jokes that get repeated later in the issue. Marvel must have thought that comparing Ant Man to Aunt May was HILARIOUS. Well, listen, bud. She’s no Spider-May, I’ll tell you that.

None of this is directed at you, Fred Hembeck. You're alright in my book.
None of this is directed at you, Fred Hembeck. You’re alright in my book.

After that, we get “What If Everyone Who Was An Avenger Stayed An Avenger” which I’m pretty sure is the actual philosophy behind the six hundred Avengers books published at Marvel these days. The only thing missing is casting non-Wolverine X-Men as bad guys.

Everyone pictured here is currently an active Avenger. Including that chair.
Everyone pictured here is currently an active Avenger.

Then there’s… this which… Well, moving on.

Is he even white? What is wrong with the colouring here?
Is he even white? What is wrong with the colouring here?

What If Dazzler Was A Stand-Up Comedian follows, as if this issue didn’t have enough terrible jokes in it.

Alright! More crappy jokes within the crappy jokes! It's an Inception of crappy jokes!
Alright! More crappy jokes within the crappy jokes! It’s an Inception of crappy jokes!

Next we have “Spidey Intellectual Stories”. See, the gag here is that they’re overly wordy but they still feel less talky than the average Bendis comic.

Less wordy than early issues of Powers.
Also less wordy than Claremont’s X-Men at their Claremontiest.

This one’s just about Watchers from different realities watching each other and… hey, how come there are no realities where the Watchers aren’t all just white guys? Listen, What If, I wouldn’t have even thought if it if you hadn’t done that Power Man gag. This one’s on you.

Get it? Do you get it?
Get it? Do you get it?

What If Black Bolt Were A Rock Star? Apparently he’d look almost as terrifying as Wacky Watcher.

I feel like the tongue is accurately portrayed actually.
I feel like the tongue is accurately portrayed actually.

I’m pretty sure “What If Daredevil Were Deaf Instead Of Blind” uses old Frank Miller art from his actual run on the book. I can’t say for sure because, man, I have seen a lot of panels of Frank Miller’s Daredevil beating up random dudes.

whatif3409
Get it? Get it? Because he’s deaf now! Get it?

Then there’s this. Now, let’s be very clear. I hate this because it’s lazy. Not because it’s more shitty Canadian jokes I’ve heard a billion times.

whatif3410
Now if they were battling Max Von Sydow, that would be different.

Speaking of lazy…

DO. YOU. GET. IT?
DO. YOU. GET. IT?

And if the other Power Man stuff wasn’t bad enough…

whatif3412
Actually, I would probably read this comic. It looks amazing.

And so on in that fashion… Feel free to come back next week when I can get back to friggin’ work.

 

What If the Hulk Just Fucking LIED Right To My Face?

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So I was damn excited for this one. Look at that cover. What If the Hulk Had Become A Barbarian? That looks amazing. The Hulk’s wailing away on some monsters, he’s got a battle axe, he clearly stole Cerebus’ wardrobe. This looks incredible. So we crack it open and…

image

the fuck is this?

So, I know my Hulk pretty well. I’ve got most of a complete collection of Peter David’s decade long run on the book, but I don’t know the Jarella’s World story that well. From what I picked up, the Hulk gets shrunk down so small that he drops into another tiny reality. In this tiny reality, his intelligence returns, he hooks up with the local hot green queen Jarella and lives happily ever after. Until they both get deshrunk back to normal sized and a building falls on Jarella. Because if there is anyone in the entire Marvel Universe who can’t have nice things, it’s the Hulk. And possibly the Punisher.

So instead of the actual stated question of What If the Hulk Was a Barbarian (Not to be confused with the wonderful “Planet Hulk” which is basically the same but the Hulk is a gladiator instead), the book asks us what would happen if Jarella lived. You know, it genuinely shocks me that we’re tackling the question of whether a famous Marvel superheroes one true love didn’t die and it isn’t Gwen fucking Stacy.*

Anyway, Jarella lives and she and the now stupid Hulk wander off. They have no way to return home since some idiot dropped the microscope slide that contained Jarella’s planet, K’ai. (Seriously.)

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So mostly they sit by a lake while Jarella tries to ignore the Hulk begging her to tell him about the rabbits.

Just then, SHIELD arrives with Agent Clay Quartermain looking like King Megaphone Douchebag of Stupid Orange Jumpsuit Mountain. Look at this prick.

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He tells Hulk and J. Rel that he’s got good news. Specifically, Hank Pym’s taken some time off from being insane to figure out a way to get the two green guys home. It involves shrinking them again. Trust me here, the science makes perfect sense. Anyway, Hank sends them off to leave the Earth forever. “So long, Marvel Universe!” Hulk calls. “You won’t have Old Tricky-Dick Banner to chase around the desert with tanks any more!”

The trip to Jarella’s world is harder than she or the Hulk expected, taking them through the various tiny realms of the Marvel Universe, including the Microverse, Tarraconia and the musky space beneath Ben Grimm’s couch. Finally, they return to K’ai, arriving at her weird castle full of green people. Home at last, the happy couple is wed beneath a fishing rod holding some firecrackers. As is the local tradition.

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That night, as Hulk ponders his new status as King of Tinytown, Jarella is attacked by an octopus assassin.

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With a mighty smash, Hulk renders the octopus so much unsightly carpet stain and then he and some guards follow the octopus’ trail to the basement. Behind a locked door, they discover a green vampire in a hood worshipping dark gods. Hulk grabs him, but Hoody melts into a pile of goo, giving the castle cleaning staff even more crap to scrub out of the royal carpets.

A few days later, Hulk and Jarella gather together a council of war to discuss the attack. Apparently, K’ai has been under attack all over by various degrees of weirdness ranging from giant robots to fungal attacks. Yuck. Jarella summons the K’ai Justice League, a bunch of green hero guys who fight evil and make the Hulk feel inadequate. I mean, sure. The guy smashes well, but will he ever be as cool as Glunno the Winged One? No. Because nobody will.

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Jarella’s wise mustache man tries to figure out where all this evil could be coming from. He’s not sure… but there IS a place nearby called Wol Ulrai: The Heart of Darkness where All Evil Comes From. Might be worth a peek. Hulk and the K’ai L A. hop on some of Glunno the Winged One’s giant birds and head off to investigate. Is there nothing you can’t do, Glunno?

Once they arrive, they are attacked by shadow monsters and some rotting zombie guy I’ve never heard of called Lord Visis. Sometimes I think I should try reading the comics these What If are based on. But then, instead I don’t do that. Lord Visis tells Hulk about the Dark Evil Gods who live in the reality next door. If he can pierce the barrier between here and there, he can send the Dark Gods into all other realities, without shrinking or growing them. Which is a welcome change after the rest of the issue. Then Visis attacks Hulk with a Hulk duplicate, containing all of Hulk’s rage. Hulk looks deep inside of himself, remembers his love and then looks at the cover of this issue. Overcome with anger at not having a giant axe, Hulk tears a mountain down on Visis and Second Hulk, saving the day and ending the story rather abruptly.

This is followed a short story about the Celestials coming to Earth in prehistoric times to do experiments on cavemen. It’s actually pretty cool and gorgeously drawn, but it ain’t a What If story so moving on.

Then shit gets NUTS. In a follow-up to the now-classic What If 7 (featuring the first appearance of fan favourite character Spider Jameson.), we get “What if Aunt May Was Bitten by a Radioactive Spider.” Dan Slott, I know you read this column. If Aunt Spider-May does not appear in your upcoming “Spider-Verse” crossover, please unsubscribe me from your newsletter. Also I love your run on Silver Surfer.

So, while going about her daily routine of not dying of a heart attack, Aunt May realizes that Peter Parker has forgotten his bag lunch and rushes to the local science center where he’s viewing radiation in all its glory. Unluckily for what precious little remains of Pete’s social life, his 90 plus year old Aunt arrives to present him with a still warm bag of cottage cheese and mashed string-beans. Since, in this world, Peter never gets spider powers, we are viewing a world where the guy has literally NOTHING on Earth going for him. Meanwhile, May gets bit by a radioactive spider.

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On the walk home, May dodges a car full of troublesome teenagers with her new spider agility and realizes she has super powers. She then decides to try to figure out a way to make some money off it. She returns home (ignoring Uncle Ben passed out on the couch) and sews herself… uh… this.

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Which doesn’t actually make a whole lot of sense since she seems to think she got her powers from a vitamin supplement. Anyway, Aunt May tries to figure out a weapon she can use… to fight crime, I guess. I seriously have no idea how she arrives at this conclusion. She smells the bread she was baking earlier and forgot about and head to the kitchen to investigate. She finds the oven full of sticky bread dough, expanded from too much yeast and then shoves it into a pastry bag to… spray at foes?

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Next on the old insanity parade, May sees that the villainous Leap Frog (Guy in a frog costume on springs, a worthy foe for Aunt Spider-May.) has robbed a jewellery store and swings to the rescue. On sewing thread. Leap Frog takes a swing at the ninety year old woman because he’s a piece of shit and then the fight ends up in the Parker’s back yard because why the fuck not?

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Hearing the noise, Peter comes outside to find an old woman fighting Spring Heeled Kermit the Frog in his Aunt’s gazebo and faints because Peter Parker sucks in this universe. Aunt Spider-May finishes her fight with Leap Frog by spraying him with bread dough. She then takes the unconscious Peter inside where she can coddle him for the rest of his sad, sad, sad life.

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Look at that expression on Pete’s face. This is a man who knows he will be a virgin until he is twenty-seven.

*Come back next week, True Believers!