Friday, January 06, 2006

2006: The year ahead

January

Spider-Man: The Other, a storyline with the premise that Peter Parker is dying, finishes in the most dramatic way: Spider-Man dies.

Marvel immediately cancels Amazing Spider-Man, Marvel Knights Spider-Man, Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man, Ultimate Spider-Man, thirty-six mini-series, the movie Spider-Man 3 and its complete range of Spider-Man merchandising, up to and including children's bedspreads, egg-timers and its exclusive Come Hither, Mary Jane range of men's lingerie.

"Hey, dead means dead at Marvel," says an unrepentant Joe Quesada. "And Spider-Man's old hat now we've got the Sentry."

February

"Sick puppies" is how Frank Miller describe those critics who see something disturbing in his portrayal of Bruce Wayne in All-Star Robin and Batman the Scary Old Bloke Who Likes To Keep an Eye on Twelve Year Old Boys. Artist Jim Lee is unable to comment as his tongue now permanently hangs out of his mouth, having drawn one too many women in their underwear.

March

Infinite Crisis reaches its climax amid allegations that it's just a bloated, incomprehensible, cosmologically ridiculous rehash of an old Marv Wolfman plot. DC strikes back by insisting that potential buyers pass a DC continuity entrance exam before being allowed to have a copy. "They should have been paying attention, but they weren't, and now they're going to suffer," says Geoff Johns before a massed army of dedicated, Aquaman T-Shirt-clad fans chanting, "Fuck the mainstream."

April

The number of mutants in the Marvel Universe, stuck at 198 after the really long House of M crossover, rises to 212 after Joss Whedon resurrects several popular mutants from the early 1980's. Yes, Jean Grey is one of them.

May

Writer Brian Michael Bendis is rushed to hospital having been completely motionless for fifty-six hours. He is later released after they discover he was just in an extended dramatic pause.

June

England fans, upset at their side's unexpected 6-1 defeat in the World Cup, respond in traditional fashion by chasing the Trinidad and Tobago around Nuremberg. Writer Gail Simone is unimpressed: "If you want gratuitous violence, you should read Birds of Prey. You'll see more faces smashed up in twelve panels than those jessies managed in a whole evening."

July

Following extensive internet lobbying campaigns by X-Men fans disappointed at their favourite heroes losing their powers, Marvel relents and allows a number of mutants to return. Within three months there are 1397 mutants, including Illyana Rasputin, Ugly John and Maggott.

August

Marvel denies it is desperately pillaging its 1970's back catalogue as it announces new series of The Champions: Ice and Feathers, Living Mummy: Bandages of Death, Black Goliath: Glocks in da Hood and Human Fly: Back and Buzzin'.

"We're not scraping the bottom of the barrel yet," says Joe Quesada. "That won't happen till next year's Brother Voodoo meets Werewolf By Night maxi-series.

September

Michael J Straczyski takes over the writing duties at Daredevil, and starts his traditional reinterpretation of his hero's origin, examining why the radioactive flask chose to crash into Matt Murdock's face and revealing the billy club to be an ancient, profoundly powerful weapon from the Flarg galaxy. Galactus stars.

October

The latest issue of Spider-Man/Black Cat fails to appear after writer Kevin Smith sleeps in. For the 1286th day running.

November

Writer Grant Morrison takes over the duties at Cable and Deadpool. The number of mutants rises to 356 million.

December

Ebenezer Byrne, the grumpiest grump in all London town, experiences an epiphany when he is visited on Christmas Eve by his old partner, Jacob Claremont, and three time-travelling, heavily sarcastic phantasms. Overnight, he learns how to keep Christmas in his heart, not only in December but throughout the year, and becomes the kindliest, gentlest soul in the whole kindly, gentle country. God bless us, everyone.

Sadly, his writing gets even worse.