The GeeksverseTom DeFalco’s World: MC2

Tom DeFalco’s World: MC2
Published on Friday, August 17, 2012 by

Recently, I’ve used the Marvel Digests to return to Tom DeFalco’s world: Marvel Comics 2.Tom DeFalco is a writer/editor for Marvel Comics, but I was not surprised to see he had a history at Archie Comics. In Marvel’s now defunked MC2 Universe, Earth 986,  Marvel Next world the stories follow the future generation of crime fighters. The series allowed the clock to roll forward, Peter Parker and Mary Jane Parker had a daughter and she is now in high school.  Instead of resetting the clock and ret-conning after the marriage the world is allowed to progress.The secondary creation builds based on the Marvel Universe with plenty of allusions.

DeFalco fought to keep this world going even against poor sales. In the end only Spider-Girl was able to make it long term but those poor sales do not speak to poorly crafted comics. Instead, these are great comics that have been overlooked by many.

Overview:

Re-reading the first seven volumes of the digest (38+ issues collected) Archie Comics came to mind more than once. Spider-Girl’s alternate identity, May Parker, is a high school student. Like the early days of Spider-Man the high school drama is an integral part of the story. May winds up in love triangles, unlikely friendships, and other peer situations. That part of the book felt like Archie Comics which is one of the only places to find the consistent teen romance vibe in the past decade.

May’s high school, Mid-Town High, must be a great school or perhaps an unlucky school. Besides May/Spider-Girl, at least two other New York based heroes attend classes there. Overly conveniently the heroes know each other in and out of masks but do not make the connection between their friend sets.

Like Batman Beyond before it, outside of Tom DeFalco’s MC2 also features older heroes training the next generation. In A-Next Jubilee has grown into the adult of the new Avengers. In Fantastic Five Ben Grimm and Johnny Storm are now being led by young Franklin Richards. Both Jubilee and Franklin are eternally stuck in youth in the regular Marvel world. In Tom DeFalco’s world these heroes have finally aged into being leaders. Tony Stark and other familiar faces are moving beyond the scene. Phil Ulrich and Peter Parker both work to help train the next web swinger.

Spider-Girl was the title that struggled to hold on and is the central title of the entire world. The Buzz, Darkdevil, J2, A-Next, Wild Thing and Fantastic Five all had short lived series that revolved around Spider-Girl’s corner of New York. Together these build a completely fleshed out world. This world is not only accessible to new readers but also builds on Marvel’s history. This series of titles had the potential to be a gateway for new readers, but poor sales speak to it not finding it’s niche with readers old or new.

Luckily, a large chunk of this universe did make it to collections so it still has a chance to find its audience at comic shops and book stores.

A Few Key Characters

While most of the characters are “son of” characters that are tied to the past of Marvel, a few characters are unique and created by Tom DeFalco and Ron Frenz. Even the “son of” characters are interesting variations, like Raptor who is the daughter of the second Vulture and wants to try the non-villain life.

Spider-Gril was created by Tom DeFalco and Ron Frenz. After a What If… appearance, she carried Spider-Girl, written by DeFalco and drawn by Frenz and Pat Oliffe, which was the longest-running superhero book with a lead female character ever published by Marvel before being relaunched as The Amazing Spider-Girl, and later The Spectacular Spider-Girl.

Darkdevil was also created for the universe by Tom DeFalco and Pat Oliffe. Darkdevil, Reilly Tyne, is tied to the history of Spider-Man by connecting to the weird clone history of the character. The character is not a straight “child of” character. Instead he seems to fit as an Amalgam comics style character. Besides being tied to the clonning of Spider-Man, he is also related to Daredevil and the Ghost Rider. After first appearing in Spider-Girl #2, he had his own short lived series exploring his past and relationship to Uncle Kaine, he also appeared as a regular in Spider-Girl.

The Buzz was a short lived title that carried the mark of being created by Ron Frenz and tom DeFalco in the credits. The Buzz is an accidental hero trying to avenge the death of the intended hero. The Buzz was supposed to be a hero created and funded by J.J. Jameson and company. When the intended hero died, the publisher’s grandson took up the mantle to avenge the death. The suit bears a resemblance to Hank Pym’s Yellowjacket, but his title reminds me of !mpact Comics’ The Fly.

The Collections

Spider-Girl has 12 volumes of digest trade paperbacks that are compact and easy to handle in hands of all sizes. Unfortunately, the word balloons and narration boxes are often in the crack of the book.  Overall the series is easy to read and accessible in this format. The best part is that each digest has 5-6 comic issues collected for the price of $7.99.

Emphasizing the importance of Spider-Girl in this new corner of Marvel’s future is that The Buzz, Darkdevil, and A-Next, and Fantastic Five are Spider-Girl Presents.  Again the $7.99 price tag makes this an accessible corner of the world. The Buzz, Darkdevil, and Wild Thing are completely preserved in trade since they were short lived titles. A-Next and Fantastic Five had other issues that are not collected in trade. Like Spider-Girl, these should be to complete the series.

Future?

If Marvel wants to hop back into cartoon worlds with a show that can compete with Young Justice then Spider-Girl is the perfect title to model that world. Instead of side kicks, these titles are Marvel: The Next Generation. Although the future is most likely to be uneventful for these characters, they have a potential that has yet to be tapped. Sadly poor sales will probably keep these shelved. Most of these titles were short lived besides the 100+ issue Spider-Girl.

Reminder

Some comic shops are still stocking these digests. All of them should be able to order them. Book stores with Graphic Novel sections also tend to carry these along with other trades. The price point makes this an accessible world to jump into. Pick these up for any reader, young or new, that is looking for a fun light-hearted action oriented series.

5 Responses
    • I always thought Buzz was just a new take on The Hornet, one of Spidey’s alternate IDs during Identity Crisis (of which DeFalco was involved), or of Slingers “fame.”

    • I always thought Buzz was just a new take on The Hornet, one of Spidey’s
      alternate IDs during Identity Crisis (of which DeFalco was involved),
      or of Slingers “fame.”

      • I can see Hornet. I can see Yellowjacket. Costume wise I can see it both ways.

        Slingers/Identity Crisis connections could be possible.

        In the comic, JJ Jameson described the project as Human Fly. Human Fly was a minor spider-villain. Human Fly has been revived by Rick Remender in Venom’s on-going title to create a grim looking villain from a goofy history.

        The suit has lasers (stunners), goop shooters (fly paper), flies and magnifies strength. That is a fairly generic list of powers but a nice grouping. The helmet allows him to see all the way around which would be disorienting. The suit has technology from Stark Industries and Iron Man which has echoes of Armor Wars but that isn’t explored too far.

        The young kid trying to be accepted as a hero angle is what reminds me of 90s !mpact The Fly.

        The Buzz is a nice supporting cast member for Spider-Girl. His limited three solo issues were decent. I wonder what would have happened next for the small time hero.

    • I remember when Spider-Girl had all these grass-roots campaigns to keep it in publication. Sort of like a proto-Kickstarter thing, almost. It was the little title that could, getting enough commitments month to month so it wouldn’t get the Diamond axe. Never got into it myself, but reading about how it would beat Diamond’s (quarterly?) projections and live on for another month was almost a sport in itself.

    • I bought a great stack of comics this week. The book that I picked up to read first on Wed evening was volume 8 of the Spider-Girl trades. I read up through issue 43 last night. Issue #40 was a silent issue, “Funeral for a Fiend” which was a great issue to follow #39 “Death in the Family.” It was time for the new hero to lose someone and this was a nice twist on that tradition.

      This was a fun series.

      It was fun when a former Spider-Woman and Parker were strolling through the park chatting about the old days and mentioned Mattie Franklin only because Mattie is my favorite Spider-Woman and is rarely mentioned.

      This series is rooted in clone sagas but it is not nearly as complicated as one might expect. It is fun and easy to follow.

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