Spider-Gwen #21 (Marvel Comics)
So, I was riding with a friend the other day and we got to talking about comics. It happens. We’re adults and geeks and it’s a thing we do.
“Yeah, they just introduced their Wolverine-analogue in Spider-Gwen,” I said. This took him off guard – I don’t really preview or review Marvel Comics these days because they turned Captain America in a Nazi and then said the Nazis actually won the war and the Allies had to cheat to win. Also, Magneto, a Holocaust Survivor, is also being turned into a Nazi because the people running Marvel Comics desperately want their company to go out of business.
“What do you mean, Wolverine-analogue?” he asked.
So I had to explain that Spider-Gwen takes place in its own reality and has its own continuity that doesn’t connect to anything, giving writer Jason Latour a chance to explore the Marvel Universe in a completely different way. The world Spider-Gwen inhabits is very different than the one we’re used to, with the inciting incident of that difference having taken place long before Gwen Stacy got the spider-powers instead of Peter Parker.
That’s why Captain America is a black woman, why Matt Murdock is the leader of the Hand and the Kingpin of Crime, why Norman Osborne is a good person and philanthropist and his son Harry is part of a super soldier program.
“So, Wolverine…?” my friend asked.
“Oh, in this world they call him something different.”
“What do they call him?”
My friend had to pull over until the laughter stopped.
I explained that Logan, in this world, is living with a curse – he bears the life of every person he’s killed. He’s also an agent of SHIELD, their specialist when it comes to acquisitions and retrieval, and he works with the analogue of Kitty Pryde, who is a scary ninja person who walks through walls and also has claws because why not? Currently, they’re trying to get Harry Osborne away from Gwen, who is trying to rescue him from an overdose of the same formula that turned Peter Parker into the Lizard and eventually killed him.
“That sounds awesome,” my friend said.
“It is,” I answered.
Then we drove to Big Pete’s and he bought all the Spider-Gwen trades, because how do you not?
“Why aren’t you talking about this?” he asked.
So then we got into a conversation about Captain America being a Nazi and all the stuff that goes with it. He didn’t believe me and had to look at those comics himself, finally throwing down the comic in disgust when he got to the thing about Naziism being an offshoot of Hydra rather than the other way around.
“That’s some bullshit, right there.”
“They actually expect me to buy that Hydra isn’t Nazis?” he asked. “I’m not five.”
“I’d like to say that’s the most insulting part of it, but…” I trailed off and he nodded in sympathy.
“Kids are going to grow up with this,” he said. “As we get real life Nazis running America, they guy Jews created to shame America into fighting Nazis gets turned into one.”
“That’s pretty much it, yes,” I answered.
“Does this Nick Spencer guy think we’re idiots?”
“Well, he was a failed Republican politician who advocated for the school-to-prison pipeline, so there’s that,” I said. My friend looked at me like I was insane, but it’s the truth. He checked, shook his head as he got back into his car.
“The CEO of Marvel Comics is a friend of Donald Trump and Steven Bannon?” he asked.
“You mean Ike?” I asked. “Yep. He gave a million dollars of Marvel’s money to the Trump campaign via Bannon, and that’s why I can’t give Marvel any of my money.”
“Spider-Gwen is pretty great, though,” he said. “Why not talk about Spider-Gwen and mention the whole Nazi America First thing in the same article?”
“What, like transcribe our conversation?” I asked. He nodded. “I could do that.”
And now I have.