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Spider-Man, 7/2/09

After a few terrifying and disorienting days in which super-powered characters were locked in something resembling combat, Spider-Man has returned to its more reassuringly typical fare of whining and overblown anxiety. Like many a disappointed visitor, Wolverine is discovering that there are literally only two entertainment options in New York: feeding pigeons or seeing plays featuring the stars of direct-to-DVD superheroine films.

Meanwhile, Spidey is worried about Wolverine discovering that he’s married to Mary Jane for reasons that he can’t even bring himself to speak aloud as he web-slings his way aimlessly through Manhattan. Honest question, from someone less conversant in the superhero genre than you might think: do superheroes need to hide their secret identities even from … each other? I mean, did Superman and Batman hang around the Justice League and Batman would say, “You know what really bugs me? The liberal media! Like, have you read that Clark Kent guy? He’s so obviously biased!” and then Superman would say “Well, what about that jerk Bruce Wayne? Inherited all that money and is he doing anything worthwhile with it? He’s probably putting most of it into overseas tax dodges!” That all just seems awkward.

On the other hand, Spidey may just be worried that Wolverine will figure things out, and after seeing MJ’s latest wooden, unlikable performance, think, “Geez, Spider-Man married that no-talent hack? I think so much less of him now!” Don’t worry, Spidey: he can’t possibly think any less of you than he already does.

Apartment 3-G, 7/2/09

OK, Nora, we know it’s a woman’s prerogative to tweak her both the style and color of her hair on a whim, and normally I’d say that I like what those highlights are doing for you. But look, hair is literally the only way we have to tell Apartment 3-G characters apart, and so when a single character goes from a Marilyn Quayle flip to something short and spunky to this shaggy number with bangs here, it makes it hard for us readers to get our grip. Please, the men are already a lost cause; don’t encourage the women to become wholly unrecognizable as well!

Crankshaft, 7/2/09

Aww, did someone’s editor finally get a complaint from the syndicate’s legal department about his main character’s pyromaniacal tendencies? I think that, rather than annoy us with this pissy, passive-aggressive caption, the strip should have taught us a valuable lesson by showing us the consequences of violence, particularly if those consequences include the horrible, hateful Crankshaft being blinded, or at least losing a hand.