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50. The Amazing Spiderman: Worldwide by Dan Slott and Christos Gage - When a Marvel executive blamed their low sales on diversity there was an outcry from various factions. But one of the most painful outcries to endure was from the neckbeard contingent who decided to crow about how Marvel's diverse titles are just no damn good and Marvel should stop bowing to the SJWs who want stories about people who aren't white dudes. This is a bullshit claim for many reasons but the main reason is the fact that the diverse titles are the best titles that Marvel is putting out. Ms. Marvel, Squirrel Girl and Wolverine (the female version. The male version is still dead) are really expanding on what comic book writing can be about even in the mainstream.

No more is this obvious bullshit than when you read the titles that are what the fanboys supposedly want. These are the titles that are showing the same signs of wear that they were showing when I was in high school. When I was proudly declaring that I was sick of comic books, especially superhero comics, I was thinking of titles like this one. I thought that Dan Slott was the same shitty writer who was making Captain America the Hydra agent, but nope, he's just the guy who had Doctor Octopus take over Spiderman's body for a time in what had to have been one of the stupidest stories coming out from Marvel that year (Marvel is full of stupid stories). So Dan Slott works really hard. He writes a lot of books and that can be commended. He is living the dream.

But holy fuck, what a boring dream. Peter Parker is no longer a struggling college student like he has been for the run of the series, but now he's a high powered CEO. I suppose one of the parts about the Spiderman myth was that he was a genius who invented neat shit so why wouldn't he eventually make a fortune out of all those inventions. Of course, that begs the question of what the fuck he's still doing swinging around if he's got a major business to run? The rest of this story is about some guy who is bringing people back from the dead and how he wants to make a deal with Parker. But these are not clones. I think that's important to state in any Spiderman titles. These are NOT clones. Also Doctor Octopus shows up as a robot or the consciousness of a robot who goes a little crazy when the love of his life is not eager to get back with him.

51. The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Beats up the Marvel Universe by Ryan North & Erica Henderson - This is obviously a take on Punisher kills the Marvel Universe but also Spiderman is on hand to remind everyone that clones are really stupid. But that doesn't stop Tony Stark from cloning Squirrel Girl and producing a clone who just wants to beat up everyone in the Marvel universe. But it takes a long time for the clone to start beating on everyone (this is a one shot) and the joke about how a black out causing chaos until a rider on a horse comes to the dump and impresses everyone by break a rifle in half made me laugh. Also the fact that the Hulk is beaten by an adorable squirrel getting in his eyesight and making him all gooey was awesome. There's not much to this book (sadly it's not worth the $25 Marvel is asking for it), but it's so worth reading.

52. The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: I Kissed a Squirrel and I liked it by Ryan North and Erica Henderson - There are two standalone stories in this one. The first story is a choose-your-own adventure that somehow fits in comic format (assuming that everyone read Choose Your Own Adventure to get to all the possible stories) and the last one is Squirrel Girl vs. Nightmare who is trying to drive her crazy but she keeps using computer programming language to thwart his evil designs. The best part of course is where she teaches Count Nefaria to count binary. But the main story is about poor Mole Man and how he's a creepy stalker. This is the story that feels like Squirrel Girl got serious (kind of like how Ms. Marvel was trying to get everyone to vote a couple months back) and it does handle the stalker attitude to some warmth and empathy. It's very easy to think that someone is nice to you so they must REALLY be in love with you, especially for particularly emotional fragile people. But of course, that's wrong and creepy and Mole Man has always been the loser nerd of the Marvel Universe from his first introduction in Fantastic Four.

Adding a dimension of Nice Guy personality is definitely true to that kind of character. This is wrapped up a little too neatly as the dragon who hangs out with Mole Man (is it a dragon) is really in love with him, but most of the time this is sticky and while it is terrible that a man is going to sink buildings in order to get a woman to go out with him (all the while believe that she REALLY wants him), it can be so so much worse. Usually it doesn't get worse but there are enough men killing women that they think are in love with them outside the domestic violence sphere to make this story a little less fun than usual (it's still fun but brings up a lot of issue).

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Tim Lieder

July 2017

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