'The Amazing Spider-Man' (Photo: Columbia Pictures)
There's a lot more to Peter Parker than just teen angst, romantic entanglements and "with great power comes great responsibility." Spidey has a long and storied history in the pages of Marvel comic books -- and, if this new pic tweeted by director Marc Webb is any indication, "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" will be exploring a somewhat obscure chapter of Marvel mythology.
Photo: twitter.com/MarcWThe latest pic to be tweeted from the set of the "Spider-Man" sequel features a fractured image of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the 32nd President of the United States. The President's visage is made up of several printed pieces of paper, creating a sort of broken jigsaw image that's rather cryptic ... and has Marvel Comics scholars buzzing.
The first thing that comes to mind might be that the pic is a reference to Roosevelt Island, where Spider-Man and the Green Goblin faced off in Sam Raimi's original "Spider-Man" (2002). However, as we're apparently not supposed to acknowledge the existence of the Raimi movies any more, one might have to go deeper -- and geekier -- in finding the possible meaning of it all.
FDR is known for a lot of things during the twelve years of his U.S. Presidency -- repealing Prohibition, his Fireside Chats, his New Deal Coalition and his vision of the United States as an "Arsenal of Democracy" during World War II. However, FDR has another impressive legacy in the alternate world of Marvel Comics, one that may hint at the central mystery going on in the new "Spider-Man" movie series.
"Okay Axis -- Here we come!"
That was the battle cry of the Invaders, a group of superheroes assembled to fight the forces of evil -- specifically, Nazism. The original Invaders were Captain America, Bucky Barnes, the original android Human Torch, the Torch's sidekick Toro and Namor the Sub-Mariner; their team name was suggested by Britain's Prime Minister Winston Churchill after they rescued him from the villainous Master Man.
The Invaders were born of FDR's "Operation Rebirth," a project designed to create an army of American super-soldiers. The first of these super-soldiers was Captain America, who was given his costume and shield by the U.S. President himself.
The Invaders were affiliated with both the U.S. and British governments during World War II, battling such threats to freedom and democracy as The Third Reich, Red Skull, Baron Blood, Iron Cross, the Firebrand Squadron and Battle-Axis. They were also on hand to protect Roosevelt and Churchill during a private meeting in June 1942 from an attack by two Nazi agents using an experimental growth formula.
Now, some of this contradicts the mythology portrayed in the films of Marvel Studios, specifically "Captain America: The First Avenger." However, the concept of The Invaders might be exclusive to Sony's "Spider-Man" movies ... and might Peter Parker's missing mystery-shrouded parents, Richard and Mary Parker, perhaps have ties to this organization?
Yeah, it might be stretch. It also seems a bit too "smart" for the "Spider-Man" movies, if last summer's by-the-numbers reboot is any indication of where the series is going (or, rather, not going). The FDR pic might just end up being a reference to a post-script for the ever-tiresome "Spider-Man" motto: "With great power comes great responsibility ... and we have nothing to fear but fear itself."
Still ... even the vaguest connection to The Invaders would give the "Spider-Man" series the credibility it currently lacks compared to the mythology-rich Marvel Studios films. We'll have to wait and see what kind of web Sony is weaving.
"The Amazing Spider-Man 2" opens May 2, 2014.