Hank McCoy (Before the Fur)

I’m really iffy about this whole Spider-man reboot thing.

I could look back at the three Spider-man movies and see some good and some bad…but mostly just good. If the Spider-man movies got one thing right, it was the ‘feel’ of the comic: the comedy, the sensitivity…I just wouldn’t change that and I’m surprised to hear they intend to!

I really think the cast was great too. Kirsten Dunst, Toby Maguire, Willem Defoe- would have liked to see even more of Topher Grace, actually. And J.K. Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson. I love this part so much and I couldn’t have asked someone else to play it better.

I love J.J. as a mostly benign obstacle in Spider-man’s life. He thinks he’s publishing the New York Times but really his stories are more comparable to the National Inquirer. STILL, people read them- and some even believe them, making Spidey’s life difficult.

But there’s something…helpful, about his relationship with Spider-man.

Okay, I know that sounds bizarre- but I swear, Peter needs J.J. as much as he needs Aunt May to keep going. I don’t even know WHY exactly; just, something isn’t quite right if J.J. ISN’T publishing loaded headlines about Spider-man. Somehow, it’s like that opposition keeps Spider-man going- maybe even keeps him honest.

So, I like J.J. As a really, REALLY deluded good guy in Spider-man who doesn’t even recognize how much of what he does actually helps keep Spider-man around (in this very counterintuitive way). I DON’T like the stories where J.J. is the bad guy. Spider-slayers, hired goons, etc…something about making J.J. this dangerous and deluded just doesn’t fit with the incarnation of the character that I like. He’s more like a really pathetic Lex Luthor, in these moments.

And…it just doesn’t work for me! I don’t think J.J. should be the villain in Spider-man…at least not one that threatens Peter’s life. It’s just a little over the top here. BUT, when I look at the list of Spider-man villains that are unused and movie-worthy, Mac Gargan (A.K.A. the Scorpion…or Venom, if you’re reading these days, but that’s a whole other long story) comes to mind.

Scorpions and spiders are natural enemies- and I love that Scorpion is all over Spider-man when it comes to agility and moves. He’s fast, got a prehensile tail that he can whomp spidey with…great villain. Of course, Scorpion is a product of one of those ‘J.J. is actually a terrible villain’ stories that I was just putting down. The irony is, I LOVE that Mac really was just a guy who made a bad decision- a P.I. who got involved with some half finished DNA splicing experiment funded by Jonah. The end result was a bunch of superpowers and a gradually degrading, delusional mind.

You really FEEL for Gargan sometimes- well, if he wasn’t some insane, animalistic killer you would, anyway. But he blames Spidey and J.J. for his state and he’s not totally in the wrong. Well, okay, it isn’t Spider-man’s fault- but you can kind of understand how a guy turned into a monster like this is going to lash out against the thing that hurt him. And the suit? At one point, Gargan’s story was headed in a certain direction- namely, the idea that the treatment he had received hadn’t just changed his DNA, it had also begun to permanently bond him to the battle armor J.J. had given him to wear.

This didn’t make a terrible amount of sense to me- the idea that a suit would begin to ‘bond’ with Gargan’s DNA over time. It was interesting though. Of course, it all turned out to be in Mac’s head. The whole thing was a delusion- but I loved it. It just showed you how messed and confused this guy was becoming.

Recently, Gargan had the Venom symbiote forcibly removed (i.e. Siege) from his being. This could mean that the Scorpion’s days in Spider-man comics are not over. Good movie villain material though, right? I’d be reluctant to see J.J. and Spidey clash like this (and ultimately ruin a man’s life in the process), but if nothing else, it’d be a different kind of Spider-man story to tell. Still, I like Scorpion’s story without J.J. involved. But then again, what’s the point of a villain who doesn’t hit close enough home to really get under the hero (and your) skin?