Welcome to the fifteenth installment in my series using only Spider-Man comics to explore the variety of romantic archetypes we find in literature (illustrating the variety of romantic experiences we find in life)! This time we’re looking at one of the most prominent themes around romantic love – how love heals, how the right person’s love can save us. When I began this series I made myself a promise. No alternate reality Peter Parkers. No movies. No TV shows. No other comic universes. I’d explore Peter Parker’s romantic exploits in Marvel’s main 616 universe and when I had exhausted those relationships, the series would end. Anna Maria Marconi will date Peter Parker in the 616 universe…but she dates “Peter” when he’s dead and his archenemy Otto Octavius/Dr. Octopus is controlling his body. So she dated Doc Ock even though she thought she was dating Peter. I’m including their relationship as a) it’s a significant one in the 616, b) the reader alone knows it isn’t Peter, and c) most important of all, their relationship illustrates something about love Peter Parker himself isn’t yet mature enough to find on his own. It’s a trope that can’t be ignored when writing about love so here we are. Otto’s time as the Superior Spider-Man is one of comics’ greatest redemption stories. Reflecting on the role romantic love plays in his salvation helps us consider the role such love plays in our own healing and growth, too.
With The Rise of Skywalker just weeks away, speculation is rampant. Will Rey turn to the Dark Side? How the heck could the Emperor have survived the destruction of the second Death Star? How much of the film do Rey, Finn, and Poe really get to be together? How will Leia’s character be handled with Carrie Fisher gone? What role will Luke’s Force ghost play? Will Anakin return in some form?!? Of all the questions vexing Star Wars fans, perhaps none are so divisive nor as heatedly debated as the issues of Reylo and Rendemption. Given the prevalence and the passion for and against each, I wanted to explore them more closely. Continue reading
Sergei Kravinoff, a.k.a. Kraven the Hunter, was created in 1964 by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko for The Amazing Spider-Man #15. The son of a Russian noble family who fled to America in 1917 in the wake of the February Revolution, Kraven’s self-identity was defined by being a big game hunter. In an attempt to prove he was the world’s greatest hunter, Kraven became obsessed with defeating Spider-Man. He hunted the web-head from his creation in ’64 until his death in 1987’s critically acclaimed “Kraven’s Last Hunt” story arc. As with many comic characters Kraven would ultimately be resurrected, in this case by his family in 2010’s “Grim Hunt” storyline. In the fifty-four years since his creation, Kraven has featured in some of Spider-Man’s most iconic storylines and stood among the web-slinger’s fiercest foes. But which is the greatest Kraven story ever told? To my mind, dear reader, there is only one answer. (Oh, there will be spoilers, obvs.) Continue reading
I’ve been thinking a lot about evil and redemption lately. The first principle of Catholic Social Teaching affirms every human being is deserving of life and dignity because they are made in the image and likeness of God. Nothing can take that right away, not even their own destructive actions. So there is always a line, theologically, between sinner and sin. While the idea of redemption is theologically vital, we often struggle with it in the face of real world evil. At least I know I do. This cognitive dissonance begs the question is there a line, an evil act or actions we can’t return from? Doctor Doom is a character uniquely suited to explore this question. For decades he was the most evil villain in the Marvel Universe. But over the last few years, in both Invincible Iron Man and Infamous Iron Man, Brian Michael Bendis put a newly reformed Victor Von Doom inside Tony Stark’s armor in an attempt to atone for all he’s done. Now Fantastic Four has returned to the comic shelves and Doom’s future is a question mark once again. Can someone like Doctor Doom ever truly be redeemed? Continue reading