Monday, March 25, 2013

Mistaken Identity


Good grief! All this fuss about snatching Spider-Man's mask off. What gives?



Jeez, who's banging on the front door of Avengers Mansion trying to unmask Hawkeye? Nobody, that's who. I think Hawkeye would be offended at the lack of attention.

Anyway, if you're looking for someone to blame for winding up these rabid loonies, maybe we can just point the finger at Marvel itself for stoking this fire in the first place. Look at all of these issues making a big deal out of it:




It looks like Peter Parker has gotten away at least four times with being exposed as Spider-Man. I'd sure like to know how he pulled that off so many times without anyone connecting the dots. So let's examine the circumstances of each and see how this guy (forgive me) saved face.



First off, we see that Dr. Octopus has the honor of being the first villain to ever unmask Spider-Man--even though he didn't realize he was doing so, nor did the witnesses to the scene. As to how Peter got in such a helpless position, a nasty 24-hour virus was the culprit:



And so, when he engaged Doc Ock, he was a shadow of his usual formidable self. Albeit a brave shadow:



It isn't long until Ock has his weakened enemy ready for the unveiling. But this is Peter's lucky day--or his most humiliating one, depending on how you look at it, since it never crosses anyone's mind that Spider-Man and a laid back bookworm like Peter could be one and the same:




Score one for keeping a low profile, Peter. Let's move on to your arch-enemy, the Green Goblin, who's found a way to secretly nullify your spider-sense and thus become your new stalker:



The Goblin follows Peter back to his Aunt's house, and decides that if he's going to sink to stalking, he might as well add eavesdropping to the list:



A chilling moment for readers, as Peter's dilemma is clear: his greatest enemy knows his secret identity, and even his defeat wouldn't help matters. The Goblin manages to kidnap Peter and haul him back to his hideout, where the two have it out in one of their most heated battles to date. But the Goblin falls victim to an explosion, which has an adverse effect on his memory:



Which makes Peter's day--not only is the Goblin effectively crossed off Peter's villain list, but his secret I.D. is included in Osborn's memory lapse. You can't write this stuff. Oh, wait, you can.

Next, we find Peter late for the birthday party of his girlfriend, Gwen Stacy. But to make up for it, he brings her a gift guaranteed to top anyone else's present by a longshot:



Prior to arriving, Peter had been dealing with symptoms of weakness and dizziness brought on by what he assumed was his body losing the radiation that was giving him his powers; and in his delirium, he concluded that his career as Spider-Man was over and that he should admit everything to his friends. So how the heck is he going to get out of this one? Easy. First he discovers that all he was suffering from was the flu; then, when he realizes what he's done, he asks a friend (Hobie Brown, a/k/a the Prowler) to impersonate him and show up at the same time he's visiting said friends and telling them how sick he was at the time:



Bullet #3 dodged.

By the way, this is the woman that Marvel saw as wife material for Peter?



Finally, let's check in on Professor Smythe, who's talked the NYPD into mounting rooftop surveillance cameras, but hasn't told anyone that he can tap into their controls. And just look at what priceless scene his monitoring has led him to:



Apparently, spider-sense is a little slow when it's technology that's sneaking up behind you:



Peter has no idea who's seen his face, but he comes up with a plan that might throw that person off the track:



Meanwhile, Smythe is cozying up to some criminal underworld associates and briefing them on the cameras in order to assist them in their heists without the NYPD's knowledge, and decides to track Spider-Man for them as a demonstration. But he's in for a surprise when he boasts about knowing what the web-slinger looks like:




And the deception is enough to make Smythe drop the matter. (Though it doesn't occur to anyone to wonder why Spider-Man would bother wearing a mask underneath his costume mask. I don't even know why that would make sense to Peter.)

I haven't kept up with Spider-Man for a long time, so I don't know if the Mephisto thing was ever resolved and Peter's identity is again practically common knowledge amongst his peers--but in any event, I think Marvel has gotten all the mileage it can out of this particular cover seller. I think Peter even had a heart-to-heart with Aunt May about it, at one time. And Octopus obviously knows. That leaves Jonah Jameson and maybe Oprah Winfrey who would possibly warrant cover treatment. Perhaps Peter should just call People magazine and be done with it.


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