Robot 6

The Fifth Color | Omit Everything

sing it, Whitney!

sing it, Whitney!

I guess it’s all we could talk about. Over and over and over, Joe Quesada had to bear the unbelievable weight of his “One More Day” storyline. Fans would not stop their onslaught of questions and demands at each and every convention since, shaking their fists and arming themselves with pitchforks and torches at panels and demanding to know the whole story.

Just imagine how the editor-in-chief would toss and turn at night, staring up at the ceiling as sad indie rock would play, the camera panning away from him. What can I do, he might think to himself. How can I lay my burden down?

And here is that burden: The Nixon Tapes of Amazing Spider-Man as released this week in The Amazing Spider-Man #638, starting the storyline “One Moment in Time.” And while you may think this is only the humble chart-topping hit of Whitney Houston for the 1988 Summer Olympics, you’d be right. AND WRONG! For “One Moment in Time” takes us back to that fateful day where Mephisto got up all in Spidey’s business and destroyed the one thing that was holding his life together — what might seem like, in the aftermath of its destruction, the holiest of holy bonds.

Peter Parker’s marriage to Mary Jane.

I know! I can almost hear the teeth grind at the very sight of those words, the fury unleashed at remembering that infamous “deal with the Devil.” Oh, sweet merciful God, why hast thou taken away my hot red-headed wife?

Quesada has finally had enough of the hiding and evasion. He wants “One Moment in Time” — when I’m more than I thought I could be — to explain the truth behind what happened to MJ and Peter so we might be let in on the secrets of an audacious editorial stunt.

No one needs to read this. Some secrets are better taken to the grave, and just because “we demand it” doesn’t mean you should print it.

This can only end in tears.

WARNING:  Spoilers for “One More Day,” Redwing’s secret past and how many lumps of super Peter Parker takes in his coffee.  SHOCK!

This can only end in tears?  Yep, that is a little harsh.  After all, just one issue has come out and he’s supplying the reader’s demand to know what happened in the last story he wrote. What could Mary Jane have possibly whispered in Mephisto’s ear to force them apart? What was the one thing that snowballed into so much change?

BONG!

BONG!

From the looks of The Amazing Spider-Man #638, you got answers. Mary Jane says she’ll make the deal with Mephisto under the condition that the devil leaves Peter alone. Oh. No secret message to make this reversible? No “but meet us in a couple years and then we’ll defeat you”? No “Just wait until I go above your head and fix all of this”?

Having Mephisto leave Spider-Man alone after all of this is honestly kind of a given. The whole point of the bargain — I apologize for dredging this all up — was that Peter Parker’s marriage was the best marriage in the whole wide world, so Mephisto wanted it. He didn’t add anything about liking anything else about Peter Parker or that, hey, the dinette set looks nice, too. He wasn’t window shopping: He came for one thing and one thing only, and that was the marriage. So why would he come back if the most beautiful thing in Peter Parker’s life already belonged to him? Yes, he is the devil and he could think up something to come back for, maybe one of those double deals, but really. Mary Jane is honestly not a superhero or a secret mastermind, so maybe the lackluster “leave him alone” is true to character. But why make it a secret? Wouldn’t that have made better sense, and perhaps impacted the story, to reveal it back in “One More Day,” adding a little extra to the theme? Only one more day of Mephisto …?

Back to the issue for less speculating, more answers! MJ comes with a bottle of wine to unemployed Peter Parker’s shared apartment. And Peter makes tea. Oh, that’s Aunt May’s little boy! Peter tries to apologize, and Mary Jane seems to sort of poke at the idea of what could have been. Then they reminisce right into Amazing Spider-Man Annual #21. Panels have been flipped, dialogue adjusted and all-new artwork included to show how one thug who gets away (with help from … Redwing?) ends up, well, squishing Spider-Man the night before his wedding, causing him to be late and feelings to be crushed.

ignore Exlectro's rippling muscles and check out blondie on the left...

ignore Exlectro's rippling muscles and check out blondie on the left...

We’re no strangers to retcons, but you know the rules and so do I: If you’re going to retroactively change continuity, there’s ways to do so that don’t change the general silhouette of the story or character. Take, for example, The Immortal Iron Fist. Seeing a lack of information on Danny Rand’s past, Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction kept the essentials of his family murder trail to K’un-L’un but added depth to K’un-L’un itself and a legacy to Danny Rand. Bucky just used to be a boy sidekick for an American hero until Brubaker added in a dark element to having a teenage boy amongst the soldiers of World War II, then used the time he was never seen again to give him a terrible trial and rebirth as the Winter Soldier. You can change history all you like, just leave the bones of what you started with.

Taking an established issue, one that honestly got a lot of press and a good many people should have tucked away in their basements, and rewriting the actual book seems a little off to me. Like there’s a certain amount of respect missing. And it doesn’t go as smoothly as Quesada might believe: “If you’re not an astute comic book reader, you may not be able to tell the difference,” he told Comic Book Resources back in April. And maybe I’m not the astutest, but there is a major coloring problem as we go from “original work” to “never-before-seen footage.” Instead of recoloring the original work or returning to those tones used before, we get a hodgepodge that goes from Peter Parker starkly alone in a small bed, surrounded by white to him in the darkness of his apartment. Nitpicking? Why, yes! But it does show that every element of the comic is there to tell a story. Even empty white space.

... that can't be the same guy anymore.

... that can't be the same guy anymore.

The original story was written in 1987, so it has a very dated feel. Characters are drawn a certain way with certain fashions that let you know it was a long time ago when Peter Parker and Mary Jane were going to get married. Does this date or age them? Not really, since I remember Parker’s white disco leisure suit fondly but know that he still appears in his mid- to late 20s because this is comics. If you can have two Darrens on Bewitched, you can have Spider-Man remain youthful through the decades. So enjoy the dated feel! Put on that old black costume, shoulder-padded dresses and … a cell phone? Yeah, MJ borrows a cell phone from ol’ J. Jonah Jameson on the steps of the courthouse to try to find out whether Peter is home. Again, nitpicking at its finest, but if there is a visual that shakes me out of the narrative, it’s probably not a good idea. Take this and, say, the colors, the switch in styles when  Harry Osborn is around, the fact that the now-infamous thug goes from being a blond muscle dude to being a dark-haired sadsack, and this whole idea doesn’t seem to be worth it.

Some secrets are better left kept, and if this continues, Quesada may have unburdened himself from his magnum opus, but left us with a lot more retconned baggage to carry.

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Comments

9 Comments

If the Shocker or whomever else made this same exact deal, how long before Dr. Strange (or Dr. Voodoo now), Mr. Fantastic, Tony Stark, and everyone else with a brain or magical knowledge figure out someone messed with reality and kick his butt half way to the moon and get it all changed back?

I’ve read Marvel for a long time and this it the most empty promise among an empty ‘story’ that I have ever seen. I could never imagine any more empty promise to the readers that have been made. The only promise that was fulfilled was the one the EIC made that he would undo the marriage years ago, thus meaning all the other promises of stories involving Spider-man involved in a ‘war’ and revealing his identity to the world was a big sham. Why is it Marvel’s most defining characteristic became about introducing storylines and concepts that were either ignored or just left to fall flat as they introduced another ‘story’ just to distract fans from the fact that they never finished the last idea they put forth?

I can’t imagine a worse Spider-man idea than this, to promise readers something and never deliver on it so you can introduce a supremely horrific idea because you think that Spider-man should be single. What can possibly happen now? Are they going to actually do a story about the world fining out Peter Parker is Spider-man with a plot an ending, with character’s relationships explored so that when it it taken away you see these characters in a new light perhaps? Is Spider-man going to get new powers… again and have them explained.

Better yet, can we have the old Spider-man back

Fans are trying to read Amazing Spider-man without thinking of those horrible ideas and I imagine the writers are trying to write without referencing all that trash, but it isn’t going to work especially when the EIC keeps putting out this garbage. I’m sure one guy at Marvel actually has the bravery to get up and tell Joe (in a polite manner) that it was a bad idea and that they just try to move on and not reference it all anymore. I guess Joe didn’t listen, but it’s kind of like hiring a new Captain for the Titanic after you’ve intentionally rammed it into the Ice berg and sunk it.

Someday a new EIC will try to give us an Amazing Spider-man #1 with the words ‘Return of Spider-man’ again just like two years ago and those Ben Reilly issues I was looking over the other day (which was actually really cool). Hey, that’s an idea…

We have the old Spider-man back

I’m sure one guy at Marvel actually has the bravery to get up and tell Jim Shooter (in a polite manner) that it was a bad idea and that they just try to move on and not reference it all anymore. I guess Jim Shooter didn’t listen, but it’s kind of like hiring a new Captain for the Titanic after you’ve intentionally rammed it into the Ice berg and sunk it.

Thankfully, one day we got a new EIC who gave us back the single Spider-Man who appeals to people who don’t take to the idea of him marrying a model and having a relatively perfect life, because in real life MOST PEOPLE DO NOT MARRY MODELS, and most people have lives of quiet desperation, which is what Peter Parker’s life should be, I’m sorry, I know the misguided fans of the marriage think it’s the Best Idea Ever.

But they’re wrong. Just really god-damned wrong. Peter Parker’s life is not supposed to end in a ‘win’, he’s supposed to struggle, like most people do. And he is too smart to marry MJ, who is not the marrying type in the first place, it goes against her character, and it goes against Peter’s character to marry someone so utterly helpless and ‘damsel in distress’ ridden. If he must marry it should probably be to someone he wouldn’t have to worry about, he already has Aunt May to worry about, why add to the burden?

I repeat: Spider-Man’s Marriage was the Stupidest Idea In History.

I refuse to argue this, it’s a fact, Spider-Man didn’t have a single decent story for years after the marriage, because the marriage f’d it all up, they took a great formula and f’d it all up. It was so bad they had to do the Clone Saga as a half assed way out of it. Ben Reilly? The character so many netfans would prefer over Peter Parker?

That’s just a god-damned Peter Parker who IS NOT MARRIED.

I have a simple question.

What story arc besides “every hot woman in NYC wants to bag Peter Parker” that’s been done post marriage dissolution could have ONLY been done with a single Peter Parker? What issue numbers, what plot line, was made impossible by a married Peter Parker?

Because that was the entire reason for the breakup, apparently, there were thousands of stories made impossible by a married Peter Parker. So tell me, what new, awesome story has Marvel published to prove their point?

DetectiveDupin

July 23, 2010 at 2:43 pm

I hope they leave things alone after this. Let’s move on. I just want to read ASM.

DetectiveDupin

July 23, 2010 at 2:43 pm

DrunkJack said everything perfectly.

“DrunkJack said everything perfectly.”

And I perfectly disagree with that statement. And DrunkJack’s.

To hell with Spider-Man, and to hell with Quesada. Not that I really care anymore… I think that may be worse than actively railing against the stupidity that was One More Day: Not caring about it. Stunts like OMD have just made me care less about reading comics anymore.

But, hey, YMMV. Those of you loving the new continuity, more power to you. I just can’t be bothered with it.

Suckie McSuck

July 23, 2010 at 5:16 pm

I just started reading ASM again with the Shed arc (I’m a sucker for The Lizard) and I was fine with Grim Hunt but the whole reason I waited that long to start reading it again was because I didn’t want to read anything about The Mephisto-annulment. The bam, as soon as I’m getting into the series again, they do this. I’m fine ignoring that whole story so please, PLEASE stop forcing it into the books.

One More Day and what proceeded it was the most idiotic thing I’d ever seen in a Marvel comic. It was so dishonest in its execution. We’re told repeatedly about these new things we’re going to get, but I think a lot of us knew what a put on it was. What can happen now? We already got the ‘magic Spidey gets killed comes back to life with new powers and a new job with costume then he reveals his identity to the world’, now its about more promises they don’t intend to pay off? IT wasn’t a story back then, it was a concept and a promise, and big promises at that. We should of got the big story of J Jonah Jameson being mad about his star photographer actually being Spider-man, not just a few pages. I don’t care about the New Avengers, and I want ALL the Spider-man books in it. Not Peter Parker at a teaching job? What the hell! My point being, they intentionally just ignored Spider-man’s biggest story of all time. So, again, Kraven’s back, huh? Pardon my yawn. Dumbest thing ever.

The EIC produces the ‘worst issue of all time’ and then goes back to it to remind us how bad it is. I don’t care about all that idoitic stuff, it was stupid to begin with.

I read the new Spider-man a few times after that thing and I have to say this guy in the book seems nothing like Spider-man I ever read. He doesn’t seem to know anything, even for a new guy. THis guy seems nothing like Spider-man before or after he got married.

Needless to say I am out.

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