Monday, March 14, 2016

Real Name: Peter Parker
First Appearance: Amazing Fantasy #15 (August, 1962)
Fight Club Ranking: #2

Featured Fights:
- vs WIZARD & MYSTERIO: Amazing Spider-man Annual #4 (1967)
- vs DR. DORCAS & TIGERSHARK: Marvel Team-Up #14 (Oct 1973)
- vs TRAPSTER: Marvel Team-Up #58 (Jun 1977)
- vs GREEN GOBLIN: Amazing Spider-man #176 (Jan 1978)
- vs HULK: Marvel Treasury Edition #25 (1980)
- vs JUGGERNAUT: Amazing Spider-man #230 (Jul 1982)
- vs BLACKLASH: Marvel Team-Up #145 (Sep 1984)
- vs TOMBSTONE: Spectacular Spider-man #142 (Sep 1988)
- vs MAGNETO: Amazing Spider-man #327 (Dec 1989)
- vs TRI-SENTINEL: Amazing Spider-man #329 (Feb 1990)
- vs ELECTRO: Marvel Holiday Special '92 (Jan 1993)
- vs DOPPELGANGER & SHRIEK: Spider-man Unlimited #1 (May 1993)
- vs CARNAGE: Spider-man Unlimited #2 (Aug 1993)
- vs MEPHISTO: Marvel Holiday Special '93 (Jan 1994)
- vs SCORPION: Spectacular Spider-man #215 (Aug 1994)
- vs GREY GARGOYLE: Marvel: Heroes & Legends #1 (Oct 1996)
- vs RHINO: Spider-man: Blue #2 (Aug 2002)
- vs GREEN GOBLIN: Marvel Knights: Spider-man #1 (Jun 2004)
- vs SINISTER TWELVE: Marvel Knights: Spider-man #11 (Apr 2005)
- vs SECRET AVENGERS: Civil War #3 (Sep 2006)
- vs MAN-APE: Black Panther #18 (Sep 2006)
- vs HUMAN TORCH: Amazing Spider-man #543 (Jan 2007)
- vs THE HAND: New Avengers #27 (Apr 2007)
- vs SANDMAN: Spider-man Family #1 (Apr 2007)
- vs VENOM: Spider-man Family #2 (Jun 2007)
- vs GOMDULLA: Spider-man Family #3 (Aug 2007)
- vs MIGHTY AVENGERS: New Avengers #36 (Jan 2008)
- vs MENACE: Amazing Spider-man #585 (Apr 2009)
- vs SPOT: Amazing Spider-man #589 (May 2009)
- vs THE HOOD & DORMAMMU: New Avengers #54 (Aug 2009)
- vs DR. OCTOPUS: Amazing Spider-man #600 (Sep 2009)

Could there possibly be any doubts about the Hero of the Week of the last seven days? You'd have to have been living under a rock to have avoided the first-look at Marvel's co-produced revamp of Spider-man -- appearing in the latest trailer for Captain America: Civil War!

It's the long awaited introduction of 19 year old actor Tom Holland, who takes up the role from departing star Andrew Garfield, in the first partnership between Marvel Studios and Spider-movie license holders: Sony Pictures.

Holland has one line in the trailer after Tony Stark summons him to steal Cap's shield: "Hey, guys". Reactions to the character's new voice have been a bigger talking point than the line itself, but the real feature of the trailer is Spidey's latest film design [seen below], and the animation of the character.

For the most part it's the classic Spider-man attire you know and love - which is always good to see! I like that they've deviated from Sony's approach to the webbing motif, making it part of the costume, as opposed to separate three-dimensional piping. The challenge will be how well the exceptionally thin lines read on film. The vertical array of the classic webbed motif is actually two sets of thin lines meeting side-by-side. I wonder if that's to help the visual consistency in longer shots. I do wonder if thicker black lines might have been better, but it's no real complaint.

The biggest change is probably the eye lenses, which appear to have some range of movement in the black frame! It's always been a stylistic conceit of the comics that the expressionless mask would be allowed to emote for the reader. I'm surprised to see an attempt to translate the idea to the reality of live-action film. It seems unnecessary, even if it's visually interesting. On closer inspection, it seems mechanical layered shutters create the effect, rather than actual emoting.

Given Spidey's position on Team Iron Man, and Peter Parker's interest in photography, you could speculate about an innovative explanation that builds the relationship. In the comics, Civil War's Spidey/Iron Man team-up gave us red and gold "Iron Spider" armor. Hi-tech lenses pale in comparison, but I'm not sure how I feel yet. It seems early in the life of the character, who's effectively starting over, to establish a relationship. The visual feels John Romita accurate. Smaller than the giant eyes of the eighties and nineties that I slightly prefer, but clean and visually appealing.

About the only real complaint I could register based on the brief preview are the go-faster stripes. The inclusion of thick blue bars that break-up the red sections of the classic costume seems odd, to me. The kind of arbitrary flourish Hollywood likes. A reason for somebody to feel like they did their job "designing" the new look? I don't know. It seems counter-productive to finally deliver a more comic accurate design, only to add an arbitrary new element. It gives it a look of off-the-shelf sports gear. That played into the last generation of the film origin. Maybe it will play in the third, too.

What ever the case: the trailer has given me things to think about, and shown me enough to know I want to see more. Which is generally the purpose of a trailer...

For every unqualified raving lunatic with an axe to grind, there is the inevitable equal opposite, who insists nothing can be gleaned from a three minute clip.

It pays to remember trailers are released for public scrutiny, and are by definition there to be judged. Previews are usually arranged carefully and released by the studio to garner interest in purchasing the movie. Established licenses and properties give studios built-in interest to work with (or against), but this self-perpetuating fan culture should never extinguish the need for film makers to impress, excite, or entice. If you're following pre-release material, but leaving all critical thinking until the moment you've left the theatre, you may want to reconsider brain function linked to basic human survival.

Of course, there's no denying the Sony/Marvel deal makes reality most fanboy's dreams to see the comics come to life.

It feels right to see the company mascot at home in the middle of the action. His original Civil War role seems largely unnecessary for a successful adaptation, but it hardly even seems to be about that.

It's another phase in the unprecedented assembly of a live-action universe. One still brimming with promise: to be tapped next July (2017) in the first Spider-man solo movie under the studio partnership. Where things go after that is anyone's guess!

I'd love to see the classic Spidey/Daredevil New York dynamic explored, but tonally the two properties seem incompatible in their current states. Re-casting Tom Holland as the young Peter Parker seems limiting in ways Andrew Garfield avoided, but with news he successfully auditioned opposite Marvel's newest Punisher - Jon Bernthal [HOTW 01/11/2016] -- anything seems possible!

Bernthal says the Spidey/Punisher tapes exist, and it's hard not to get a buzz out of the thought Marvel executives have a reference for their chemistry on film. Punisher's expected to get his own Netflix series spinning out of the Daredevil Season 2 appearance, but the idea of a touring character doing guest spots in various projects is a twist yet to be fully broached. A frontier Spidey opens.

Captain America: Civil War is officially in wide theatrical release May 6, 2016. Rest assured there'll be plenty of action inspired by the movie right here in May! March belongs to another hero-on-hero rivalry, but be here during the week for more from the Marvel House of Ideas!

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