Fish-Flavored Baseball Bat

It's a John Cleese reference.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

What If...I Started Posting Again?

Wow, it really has been a long time since I've last posted. My apologies...I've had a bit of an increased workload in my day job, I've become more active with Dad's Garage Theatre Company (where I just finished a two-month run of a new improv-show format), and, well...I've gotten addicted to FarmVille, so that's eating up my free time. (I'm ashamed, but I admit it.)

However, I'm on vacation this week, so I've got a little more time to post. So, I'll share an idea that's been rattling around my head for a while.

I was a big fan of Marvel's What If? series (the original one, and to a lesser extent, the '90s revival). Currently, I'm getting a lot of enjoyment from Siskoid's recap/reviews of the series. But there's an idea I've had for a What If story of my own...and I'm finally going to put it down on paper (okay, on a computer screen).


Returning home after capturing the burglar, and contemplating his guilt and responsibility...

...What if, instead of hiding is secret, Peter Parker went to his Aunt May and tearfully confessed how his inaction led to Uncle Ben's death? Surprisingly, she does NOT keel over (as Stan Lee probably would have had her do at the time), but reiterates the famous lesson in that final panel, adding that responsibility doesn't just mean doing the right thing, but also taking the consequences of your mistakes.

The next time Spider-Man appears on TV to perform his stunts, he concludes his act with an important announcement...he is retiring from performing. With that, he unmasks and tells his story, explaining that he will be using his powers for the greater good, rather than personal glory.

At school the next day, Peter is approached by an awestruck Flash Thompson, who asks for an autograph. Peter is taken aback, not only by the change in Flash's attitude, but because this sort of adulation was exactly what he was trying to avoid. He asks Flash if he'd actually listened to what he was saying on TV, but Flash doesn't get it.

Much of Spidey's early adventures proceed as in mainstream continuity; he still saves John Jameson's capsule, but J. Jonah Jameson still considers him a publicity-seeker, even moreso since his identity is public. Photography is out as a potential career for Peter, since he's known to be Spider-Man. (On the other hand, he is able to cash that check from his last TV appearance, since it's been made out to Peter Parker instead of "Spider-Man"...but that one payment won't last forever.)

Interlude: Norman Osborn, having adopted the identity of the Green Goblin, is contemplating his next move to impress the underworld and establish his reputation. He considers targeting Spider-Man, but despite Spidey's crimefighting record, Osborn ultimately dismisses him as an insignificant child. He instead decides that Daredevil would be a worthy opponent.

Peter Parker is frustrated and discouraged, feeling that he's getting all of the drawbacks of "celebrity" (loss of privacy, threatened lawsuits, plus the added fear for Aunt May's safety) with none of its advantages. Then, one night he returns home and finds Aunt May entertaining a guest...retired police Captain George Stacy. Without wishing to belittle Peter's accomplishments as a costumed crimefighter, Captain Stacy suggests that he could do much more as an actual police officer (with a few special allowances to make best use of his particular abilities). As a further incentive, Stacy mentions that he's heard a great deal from May about Peter's scientific interests, and refers him to the police academy's forensic training (while assuring him he can also work his way through college).

Cut to some time later: Officer Peter Parker reports for his first day on duty. Donning his uniform (mostly standard-issue, except he's been permitted to replace his regulation shoes with footwear that will allow his wall-crawling ability), he meets his new partner: Officer Jean De Wolff. As they drive off, Peter expresses hopeful enthusiasm for his new career. De Wolff responds "Face it, tiger, you just hit the jackpot." (I know, it's not her line, but I had to use it.)

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