Trouble #1-5 (Spoilers)


Excelsior Club
May 17, 2004
Trouble #1-5

The Marvel/Epic five issue miniseries Trouble ended recently, and ideas of how this fits into Marvel continuity are starting to pop up. The more interesting theory is that this is not a Marvel story, but an Ultimate one.

For those who are unfamiliar with the series, Trouble was the first book released under Marvel's short-lived Epic imprint. The book dealt with four teenagers, best friends Mary and May, Ben, and Ben's brother Richie, who meet while working for the summer at a resort. Former Marvel president Bill Jemas was frank from the initial press conference for the book that it originated as the origin of Spider-Man, or more accurately, Peter Parker, but said,

"In the beginning, over a year ago, this project was called Parents. At its inception, this was intended to be the story of Parker's conception. But the focus goes from being on the baby to be, to four teenagers who are living the lives of four teenagers. Now the story [revolves] around May and Mary, who make enormous sacrifices in order to do what they need to do. We shifted the name of the book to reflect that. This is a very good book. I think it's going to turn out to be a great series. It stands on its own. It still leaves the question, is it the origin of Spider-Man? Right now, we don't know. I don't think the answer to that question should be up to Joe, or Mark, or Terry, or Axel, or me. We think the final answer ought to come from the comic book community, based on the acceptance of the story.

"That's not to say that we don't want this to be the origin of Spider-Man, speaking for Marvel's editorial group and the creative team, we hope that the happy ending to this story will be that there will be millions of teenagers all over the world who read this book as they face simliar situations like the kids in this book face, and that they have some sense how older more experienced people deal with situations like this. We hope that this brings our wonderful graphic stoytelling artwork to to new readers who'd otherwise never read a Spider-Man book, and we hope that the Marvel community will back us on this and be with us every step of the way, and that's why we're leaving this open-ended. I hope that Marvel readers will be proud to call Trouble the origin of Spider-Man.

"That's where we are. There have been a lot of half-rumors and mis-reported stories to the tune that this is really Aunt May, etc, but that's not confirmed because frankly, we don't know for sure. We know it's a great book.

"This policy of not deciding about continuity leaves some enormous problems for our business partners. If you're a retailer, you can't really order Trouble like it's the origin of Wolverine, because we're not calling it the offical origin of Spider-Man, which means that a retailer could get stuck with returnable inventory."

His reluctance in calling it the origin of Spider-Man is understandable; in the book, May and Ben hook up, as do Mary and Richard. But May cheats on Ben with Richard and gets pregnant, eventually skipping town after everyone finds out. Mary and Richard break up, and Richard writes constant letters to Mary begging him to come back. When May finally gets the courage to confront Mary, they devise a scheme where Mary tells Richard that the baby, named Peter, is theirs in order to find out if he really wants to be with her. Richard buys it and they get back together, eventually getting married. May meets back up with Ben at the wedding (telling him she miscarried) and he leaves her his number. May and Mary know the truth about who his mother is, Ben and Richard don't.

So while the possibility of this being the origin of Spider-Man wasn't a secret, it was never uncovered which Spider-Man…until the end of issue five, when Richard's dad introduces him to his father's Army pal Bucky Barnes, assumed to be the legendary Captain America sidekick who is still alive in Ultimate continuity, but died at the end of World War 2 in regular Marvel (a.k.a. "616") continuity. In a series that was not only spoiled from the start but quite predictable, the appearance of Bucky was quite a surprise - even though Trouble writer Mark Millar is also the writer of 'The Ultimates,' which Bucky has appeared in a few times.


But does it fit? Well…sort of. In the Ultimate universe, Peter Parker is 15 years old and still in high school. Aunt May, while much younger than in her Marvel universe counterpart (especially compared with her debut in Amazing Fantasy #15), certainly appears to be older than the 33-34 year old range she would be if 'Trouble' stuck; May and Mary were just out of high school in 'Trouble,' putting them at about 18 years old. Add Peter's age of 15 and give nine months for the pregnancy (allowing that May could conceivably be 19 when Peter was born) and that would put May's age "today" at 34 - probably too young to have a head full of grey hair, but not impossibly inconceivable.

Given the lack of success for 'Trouble' sales-wise, the death of the Epic imprint, and the removal from power of supporter Bill Jemas, the question of how 'Trouble' ties into Marvel or Ultimate Marvel continuity may never be answered. Like the infamous "Clone Saga" and "Heroes Reborn" stories, it is possible that 'Trouble' may be considered by Marvel brass to be something they never want to touch again, leaving fans to wonder.

Feel free to post your thoughts!

Related link: Newsarama coverage of the 'Trouble' press conference -
Dosen't look good, not in my Ultimate continuity. Maybe an alternate ultimate universe timeline, anything that has to have 3 adjectives is probbaly bad though.
Unless real evidence appears, I will assume that this is not the continuity of any recognizable Marvel universe. Millar probably just wanted to play with our heads by using Marvel references for the names of their characters.
cmdrjanjalani said:
Unless real evidence appears, I will assume that this is not the continuity of any recognizable Marvel universe. Millar probably just wanted to play with our heads by using Marvel references for the names of their characters.

Millar has since said that it is not part of any continuity. This was a simple sales ploy; if readers accepted it, it would be canon. If they didn't, it wouldn't.

They didn't. :wink:
If it is not part of Peter Parker's close family in either 616 or Ultimate, (and can I just point out that there are other alternate universes within the multiverse that is Marvel such as the one containing Mojoworld which stars a character that... bugger I can't remember his name... anyway), then could it be possible that these characters could be the predecesors of a different hero/villian. Somebody with either a very similiar life to Peter or someone who is the total opposite?
I read this at around one in the morning. It was pretty good. I got a bit confused with which character was who at the beginning, but by the end it all made sense. Terry Dodson always impresses.

May being the mother of Peter makes a lot more sense too.

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