Have you ever walked in on your mom and dad having sex? Luckily I’ve never had that experience, but I’m sure we’ve all at least had that awkward moment when we think about the fact that at least once (depending on how many siblings you have) our parents did the wild thing.
Well, that’s how I felt reading writer Mark Millar, Terry and Rachel Dodson’s 2003 mini-series Trouble.
There’s actually nothing really stomach churning about Trouble. Essentially, it is the story of four teens on summer vacation before college and the copious amounts of sex that that entails. There’s no nudity, and the actual sex is kept to a very minimum with conversations during foreplay and post coital taking up most of the pages.
The problem is that these are not four strangers to most of us. While their last names are never revealed it is pretty clear that the star quartet are Peter Parker’s mom, dad, Aunt May and Uncle Ben. Peter himself even shows up as a baby and then toddler near the end.
I only recently discovered this series, so missed any of the controversy that surrounded it in 2003. That was a time when I was really out of comics all together. What was so controversial you ask? Well, (and here’s your small spoiler alert for a 14 year old comic series), let me tell you.
Long story short, May cheats on Ben with his brother Richie and becomes pregnant with the future Spider-Man. After running away from home, May eventually makes a pact with Mary to take Peter and tell Richie that it is his son (which it technically is) and raise him as their own. Which they do. Only May and Mary (and maybe May’s parents) know the truth.
That’s a pretty radical retcon for Peter Parker and Aunt May. Never heard of it? Well, that’s likely because since then, Marvel seems to have done everything they can to distance themselves from it.
The series has some issues with continuity if it is trying to play the retcon card. I found a nice little article that breaks down many of them. The biggest stand out to me, besides all of May’s whoring around which seemed completely out of character, was that May and Ben were established previously to be much older than Mary and Richard. Not of similar ages. That said, if this was a true retcon, they could throw previous continuity out the window and do whatever they wanted.
I know very little else about this book, and I do find it hard to believe that the powers that be had this in mind as the status quo for Peter and Aunt May moving forward. (There is even a throwaway line in one of the last issues that talks about alternate realities, which read to me like Millar was pointing out that this was more a What If? type story.) But these were the Marvel chiefs that would ultimately decide that One More Day was a good idea, so we can’t put anything past them.
This is not a super hero story. None appear, nor are mentioned. (Actually, Superman gets mentioned as Richie and Ben complain about a recent price increase of his comic.) And it you read it without the shadow of Spider-Man hanging over it, you’d probably not think too much of it after the fact.
I’m still working on the next actual update of the Spider-Man Chronology. Fittingly, I just finished reading the Lifetheft storyline centered around the return of Peter’s long thought dead parents. When that update is eventually done, as you can imagine, it won’t be including Trouble.