Spider-Man’s sidekick Virtue, Pt. 1Posted: 07/02/2012
The movie comes out today, so let’s do a Spider-Man article! Also, I’m always looking for an excuse to do a Spider-Man article – he’s simply delightful.
This story first appears in Marvel Knights: Spider-Man #13 through #18, written by Reginald Hudlin. Poor Peter Parker just got fired from his day job as a high school science teacher. The same Parker who created web fluid as a teenager, can follow Mr. Fantastic’s invention descriptions, and married actual supermodel Mary Jane Watson. Alas, a constant theme in Spider-Man’s life is that his costumed persona interferes with his potential as a civilian, always keeping him underutilized in society. Fortunately, starting in the Spider-Man arc Big Time about a year or two ago, Parker gets employed as a super scientist in a super scientist laboratory.
Back to his penniless days, his paycheck will have to come from the one man he knows he can count on for abuse/money. He bumps into a new reporter on the way into J. Jonah Jameson’s office and our story begins here.
Notice anything familiar? Did you say a Superman parody? And trust me, this is a parody, because Ethan Edwards has only appeared in eight comic book issues total. But besides a good time, this arc demonstrates the absurdity of Superman’s secret identity in the Marvel universe.
Look, we know that glasses don’t disguise anybody. The readers and writers have an understanding that because Superman was created 70 years ago, we have to suspend our disbelief for the sake of storytelling. I mean, the DC universe’s greatest superhero took up until last year to finally wear his underwear inside his pants – we can handle that Clark Kent’s nearsightedness fogs up everyone’s Superman/Clark Kent epiphany. But not in the Marvel universe. They’re all edgy or something.
In a neat little twist, Edwards has one more personality trait sorely lacking from most superheroes.
The religious thing, not the healing. Anyway, in a shocking twist, the two head to a news story when a bad guy attacks the city! Spider-Man certainly shows up to save the day, but who is this mysterious new superhero?
Nope, that’s not the leader of a train robbers gang. Can you guess the identity of this stranger? Of course you can. Also, he called Spider-Man Peter, which happens to be his biggest pet peeve after high school bullies.
You know the best part of new characters? Origin stories! How did Edwards become New York’s newest superhero? Are you sitting down? Buckled in? Get ready, this will shock you.
Any lack of doubt to the Superman comparison has been completely wiped out. Throw in brown hair and less religious talk, and Edwards has just married a sassy reporter, punched a bald billionaire, and teamed up with Batman. While not the world’s greatest detective, Spider-Man possesses enough sense to realize that maybe Edwards should be tested, in case his powers come from being Magneto’s secret love child or born on an Indian burial ground. Who do you go to when you need testing? The world’s smartest man, of course.
Oh, and finally I can call him Virtue. Edwards is a terrible name for a superhero. Oh, Virtue’s powers?
Want to know Virtue’s actual past? Too bad, I have more story to tell first.
Kind of nice that Spider-Man gets a crime fighting buddy, right? I mean, Daredevil is a terrible conversationalist, the Punisher ain’t up Spider-Man’s moral alley, the Human Torch’s busy with the Fantastic Four, and Wolverine spends most of his time at the Avengers tower hitting on Mary Jane. Virtue may be a crazy enigma, but they work together at the Daily Bugle and Edwards needs to kill some time. Perfect combination for a sidekick. Y’know, except for one tiny problem.
Don’t worry, Virtue’s got this.
Oops. I read once that Clark Kent’s secret involves not only glasses, but also bad posture and he raises his voice an octave. So as you can tell, Edwards made some big mistakes by not being a hunchback. No worries, Virtue can fix his blunder.
Okay, I should stop being so optimistic. But most importantly, the Fantastic Four’s curiosity led them to Edwards’ space pod in the heart of Iowa. Spider-Man gets a call on his spider-phone.
We finally get the big reveal! Unfortunately, you’ll have to wait until tomorrow because this article’s super long already and I still have like fourteen pictures left. I can feel the suspense building.