Wednesday, December 16, 2015
Bernie America! Marvel Comics Group 1983: Captain America by J.M.DeMatteis and Mike Zeck with John Beatty
Sunday, December 13, 2015
Thursday, December 3, 2015
This is part of an alternative storyline, reworking the end of Gerry Conway's run up to #150 with some ideas of mine. #147 Imprisoned, the Tarantula creates new razor pointed shoes and uses them in a murderous break-out. A drug tunnel provides him access back to the United States, where he gets a lift back to NYC, where he's picked up by another bus, driven by the Jackal, who is no one, as he says. The planned rendezvous provides the money forward on the job to cover Tarantula's ride handsomely. As Anna and Mary Jane Watson escort the newly-discharged Aunt May from the hospital, she talks to Mary Jane about Peter. Upset, Mary Jane says she hasn't seen Peter since Gwen Stacy's impossible return, which feels all wrong. Aunt May lets MJ know she appreciates and understands her and her feelings for Peter, so don't give up: love can be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Speaking of Gwen, she's preparing to leave Betty Brant's apartment, where she's a guest. Betty herself is leaving for work and asks Gwen where she's going. Gwen says she's asking for help on campus, to get her in touch with someone who can help her get a fix on exactly what's happened to her. Betty asks if she means a therapist. Gwen laughs a little laugh. Betty laughs a little, too. “I'm nosey. Newsroom rubbing off on me. But you can see why a person would worry for you. I'm actually glad you're interested in getting out...for your own sake.” “I don't see how a person could put themselves out like you're doing for me,” says Gwen, “and NOT wonder. I appreciate your concern more than I can say. The one person I trust the most won't even darken this door. Not that I completely blame him.” “You mean Peter?” Betty asks. “I admit, I am surprised he's not here, myself. Yet...I'm not. Can I level with you?” “What could be worse than death? Shoot.” “He's a really sincere guy. But he's not boring. I wish he was. I have never known if he could get the thrill of trying to photograph Spider-Man out of his lifestyle long enough to just...be there.” “Do you have that problem with Ned?” “With us both working, it takes a special effort...but no. I guess that's why I tolerate the lifestyle that goes with his passion for the real story. And look, I'd be happy to go along with you for one of these meetings, if you like. I just happen to be now about three minutes behind, getting to work...so good luck, Gwen.” “Thanks.” Incidentally, we join Peter as he heads to E.S. U. Campus, via webline as Spider-Man, to get some kind of grounding for these notions he's having: what if this is a genetic clone? He's so torn by the desire he feels, to accept the relief that Gwen Stacy is, against the odds, alive. But he feels a terrible, aching paranoia about her missing time. He held her in his own arms, the day she died; she was unresponsive. But he didn't take the time to attempt a resuscitation. He isn't a trained physician. He only knows that, while all of the answers surely lie somehow with this woman, even while he's seen so many impossible things, even the police on the scene said she was gone. He was there. There was no way a person comes back from that. It's just too bizarre. Worse, he can't think of a soul with whom to begin figuring it out. Then, he thinks of Professor Warren and Professor Schmidt, from his biology and chemistry studies, and recalls lectures about clones, grown from living cells, replicas of the original organism---a common practice with plants, studied now with animal cells. In fact, human cells might hold the key to re-creating lost or non-functional body parts, even limbs, just as Dr. Curt Connors explored. Dr. Connors' identity as the Lizard is a reminder of what the dark side of science holds, too. A human clone. Is it even possible? And who could even do such a thing, with what resources? What if there's multiple “Gwens” out there? Horrified, he heads now to the first place he ever participated in genetic studies, the Harinton Building on ESU Campus. In this version, the Jackal doesn't know Peter's Spider-Man. Gwen comes to him while he is simply Professor Warren. In our story, Gwen watched the Jackal, followed him, saw him change to Professor Warren. She wants to know the rest of his secrets, and he wants to tell her. First he seems nearly ready to pass out, himself, a reaction she's come to expect. We know it's because he's been growing her replacement in his spare time. His expression reveals a moment of dark thought; what is not yet revealed is that he is the Jackal, that Gwen knows this, and what he's thinking right now is, “did the clone somehow become free of her gestation chamber?” So he's pretty much GOT to go check that out on the double. He seems manic enough to actually take her there, too; after all, if the cocoon is undisturbed, there's no need to alarm the real Gwen. And he would be glad to get a tissue sample and help her work on her enigma. He expresses he's very glad she's alive, overjoyed, to a degree that she finds awkward. From here in, she seems to willingly stick with him whether he's Warren or the Jackal, which plays right into Mr. Conway's character's wildest dreams. Only, he didn't originate this Gwen Stacy, so now, it's surreal for him in a way it also is for Spider-Man. Spider-Man arrives and sees Gwen with Professor Warren. He slips off to change, to engage them as Peter Parker, lost in what to say. In the artist's best idea of an out-of-the-way place on the way into the laboratory, before he can change, he's attacked by the Tarantula. The two fight across the city streets, soon smashing into a city bus. Everyone aboard flees in panic, except for Gwen Stacy. The bus driver leads her off the bus, and reveals he is the Jackal. Distracted, Spider-Man fails to dodge a toxin-tipped razor boot. When Spidey revives, he finds himself taken to the Brooklyn Bridge. Bound in chains, Spidey hears the Jackal rant about the miracle: Gwen Stacy has returned, as an instrument to destroy Spider-Man, whom he blames for her death. The Tarantula now throws the bound web-slinger off the bridge, as per the Jackal's sick revenge. As Spider-Man shoots a web-line to save himself, the Jackal, Tarantula and Gwen Stacy get away. Before the NYPD take him into custody, a police officer unchains Spider-Man to unmasking him in front of the cameras. This is all the pause Spider-Man needs to rapidly escape. Changing back into Peter Parker, Peter returns to his apartment to find that Mary Jane is waiting for him outside. She tries to talk to Peter – unaware his day has been a macabre, surreal nightmare -- so she makes an ultimatum to him: Choose between her or "Gwen." Spaced-out, exhausted, Peter closes his apartment door on her. By the time his sinking gut tells him to reconsider, he opens the door to find no one there.