Saturday, December 29, 2007

One More Day - Part 4 - A Review - Amazing Spider-Man #545

Amazing Spider-Man #545 - Story - J. Michael Straczynski & Joe Quesada, Art - Joe Quesada, Inker Danny Miki, Color - Richard Isanove and Dean White.

Rarely does a comic arc make me feel like writing about it more then once, but One More Day has to go down as the worst idea of all time and is the worst Spider-Man story ever done.

It is everything that I thought it was going to be and even more. Not only does Peter's life get reset so that he is not married to Mary Jane and never remembers it, he also gets his secret identity back and is turned into the sad sack loser boy that certain elements has always believed Spider-Man to be. (I have always believed Spider-Man to be a great hero because he would do the right thing even if it cost him personally - that is not a loser or Charlie Brown character, that is a hero). For good measure they now are saying Spider-Girl never happens and Mary Jane had some deep dark secret that she told Mephisto to put Peter's life back so he can be happy.

This reset has impact across so much of the Marvel Universe and of course can never be properly explained. So what stories did or did not happen, we will never know as it will be up to each writer to determine what the heck the actual history of the character is or is not.

The actual "story" this issue. Peter and MJ cry over their decision and MJ bribes the devil with a heretofore unknown secret to guarantee Peter a better life and then Peter wakes up with Aunt May making him breakfast. He acts like a dork and a kid of about 19 or 20 and rides his bike to Harry Osborne's breakfast surprise party with Flash and all the gang there. MJ is there and mad at him they toast a "Brand New Day". BLECHHHHHHHH

It really makes no sense at all. It is not dramatic, it is the worse retro-con ever. In DC they have messed up Superman's history again so we do not know what is or what is not his origin. Now in Spider-Man I have no clue how old he is or is not. How does this all fit in with all the past events, especially the whole Avengers/New Avengers thing and Civil War. In less then one year they have taken a major element from their biggest story line ever and wiped it out as an afterthought.

I thought that Mary Jane would ask the devil if he could fix that flat tire Peter had in 1994, when he missed a ball game because of it, or better yet to fix that one night when she got a little too drunk and slept with this guy she never really wanted to sleep with.

It is trash, it is an insult to the people who really cared about Spider-Man and to all Marvel fans. I say all fans as you have no idea what this impacts.

Many people have said, oh the story is horrible, but the art is good. Not to me and especially not this issue. Peter has looks on his face that he seems constipated, not devastated.

Finally as this is writer JMS swan song they added a page in the back about how JMS' run in Spider-Man apparently deserves the Nobel Prize in literature as apparently it rivals the works of Shakespeare and Hemingway.

Usually I feel no matter how bad of a story line has been produced as a reader you can close you eyes and pretend it never happened, this is such a core change that you can't do it. It is also so disingenuous to the "Civil War" story that I actually lauded for making a true change to the status quo of the Marvel Universe, that it now no longer matters. I'm very concerned about what the resolution of the Captain America saga will be with this type of tripe being produced.

Joe Quesada has been very innovative and very daring and has really made a lot of great comics and has done things that make Marvel the company DC has to try and beat. Occasionally once you become someone so big and so successful that no one is willing to tell you no or tell you that that you actually have no clothes on. This time Joe is naked and it is for all the world to see and this is a complete and utter failure.

We suspend disbelief to belief that a radioactive spider could turn us into Spider-Man, but even that suspension goes so far and now "poof" it is all changed. How dramatic can anything be when you can just wave your hand and make it magically change back?


  1. Rats! I just lost my comment! Oh well, no time to rewrite it...

  2. Well come back when you have time and share.

  3. There's a lot of problems with this story. BIG problems. Like you said, how old is Pete now? We all assumed he was closing in on 30, at least! (He really should be in his early 30's or so, but I was willing to hover around 29 for a while. Some people want to believe 25 or thereabouts, but that's too low considering the way the time line has been presented over the years.) If Pete's still supposed to (roughly) 25-30 then why is he suddenly acting like he's 16?

    Also, this story makes it impossible to be clear on what has, and hasn't, happened in Spider-man's history, which only serves to distance the reader from the material.

    Plus, it makes me wonder why anyone should care about ANYTHING that happens to Spidey, in the past, present, or ever again???? Anything... ANYTHING... can be potentially wiped away, and even if they take out a legal contract saying they'll never do something like this again, it still makes everything feel "Less real," "less important," less consequential.

    The key thing here... and something I haven't heard anyone voice yet... is that this story didn't kill Aunt May or Mary Jane as feared, but in effect, it killed ALL THREE OF THEM!!!!! Peter, Mary Jane, and Aunt May have all been replaced with "parallel universe" versions of themselves, no matter HOW Marvel tries to spin it.

    You can ret-con a small story with something like this, MAYBE... but to wipe out all that history... no, no, no.

    Joe Q. would probably shudder at the suggestion... but they did it again. In effect, Spider-Man has been replaced with a "clone" of himself. Only this one isn't from a test tube, he's from a paralell reality. And we all know how people took that last time.

    Awful. Terrible decision. I've been willing to go along with a lot of stuff at Marvel in the last few years, but THIS... holy god.

    Joe may think he's doing well because sales are up, but I'm really beginning to think it is the car-accident effect... people just can't look away while innocents are slaughtered.

    The sad thing is, I think at some level, MJS really "got it," and that's probably why he considered taking his name of the last 2 issues.

    Some of the final scenes with Peter and MJ are well-written and can't help but resonante with the people who cared about these characters.

    In a way, I think his having Pete wake up singing a silly song like "Feeling Groovy" was his own subtle way of saying this is corny, this is too much, this is stupid. It was, possibly, a middle finger to Joe Q. It was JMS saying, you want a happy Pete??? Here's a happy Pete for ya.

    Anyway, the whole thing is disgusting. You're right, it's a slap in the face to readers everywhere.


  4. Cuzzino - Good points. You're right they killed all three of them.

  5. Okay, Let's try this again (I'm going to write my comment down in Word and then cut and paste it over, so I can retrieve it, if Google “eats” it again.)

    I flipped through this book at the store yesterday and the only positive thing I can say about it was the nice two-page spread of MJ/Peter flashbacks. Other than that, you’ve pretty much summed up the “awfulness” of it all. From what I could gather, Peter and MJ were taking Mephisto’s deal, thinking that they’d somehow still win-out in the end, since they were meant to be together. I know it’s terrible to lose someone you love*, but come on! Why take that risk with your beloved wife? I guess the characters themselves know that this is only a temporary story.

    It’s the temporary/what-if/parallel universe nature of the whole thing that probably gave TPTB confidence to let Quesada try this out. Joe gets his wish to tell Spidey stories without the marriage and after a few HC’s and TPB’s, the fan’s outrage will bring everything back to normal. The trick will be how it’s integrated into the regular Skrull-invasion Marvel U. However, given the fact that Peter has apparently regressed in age with Harry Osborn still alive – maybe this will not even reach the regular Marvel U timeline (guess I’ll have to check the solicitations again). Rather than breaking Peter and MJ up, this could be a way to tell the story of them falling in love again.

    I’m not saying it’s a good idea and OMD has certainly been poor storytelling, but it’s an innovative gimmick. If you still read Spider-man (and I haven’t for years), it may be an entertaining ride. As a big fan of Dark Shadows (once upon a time), I actually like the parallel universe notion, because then you can always go back to the real universe and pick up where you left off. And, if the parallel or alternate universe is better like the one portrayed in Spider-Girl or Ultimate Spider-man, then you can embrace that one and abandon the regular. The MC2 universe is the real Marvel Universe to me, everything else is just interesting (or uninteresting) stories, since continuity has been shattered and issues have been relaunched with new number ones. I can now pick and choose what I want to read. Marvel made that break for me a long time ago. I still read Spidey until the Gwen Stacy affair – that I could NOT accept in any fashion. Thanks again JMS!

    So, I don’t buy that it’s even remotely permanent or intended to be so. It’s just another HC for someone’s shelf. The other important thing, which I just remembered from my eaten comment from earlier this morning is that you don’t appreciate the value for something until you lose it or are threatened to lose it. I can remember many a time where my mother would mention that we needed to get rid of the dog, which made us all step up to the plate to take care of it better. “No!!! We can’t give up the dog, we love the dog, etc., etc.” I think her reasons were valid (cost), but the effect had a positive impact on our attitude toward the dog. So, I think this is another aspect to the getting rid of MJ storyline. There have been a percentage of fans that don’t like her, but probably a larger percentage that does like her. So, by taking her away or their marriage away – the fans will get more adamant about keeping the marriage and when they get it back they’ll embrace the restored storyline even more. Think about when most of us killed off Robin, it wasn’t long before we got a new Robin back. Yeah, there is an aspect of the fan base that thinks Batman works better as a loner, but most of us like him having a sidekick.

    I have much more confidence in the Captain America storyline. Although, the floating, fighting, cybernetic arm was kind of silly this past issue (at least Doc Ock’s arms have to hold onto something to move). I still think Steve Rogers could return someday, either through the cosmic cube or Arnim Zola’s manipulation of the stem cells of Sharon’s baby (He is a murderous Nazi you know). I would actually like to see Cap’s son live myself (I suppose it could be a girl too). Anyway, I’m totally onboard with Bucky being the new Cap and there is a potential for years of good stories and if they had the guts they could never bring back Rogers and that would be okay. The Bucky storyline has really developed naturally.

    I recommend writing real letters to Marvel, polite but insistent, asking them to bring back Peter and MJ’s marriage. It worked with Spider-Girl multiple times and it might get things back to “normal” quicker.

    *I will go on record that Amazing Spider-Man #400 the issue where Aunt May dies and Ben Reilly is crying on top of their Forest Hills home, because he can’t be at her side in the end, is one of the BEST Spidey stories of all time. It had a real emotional impact and they threw it all away when they revealed she was just an actor – ridiculous. It’s time for Aunt May to move on and Peter to deal with life without her.

  6. JMS made it quite clear recently he was not ok with where the story went.

    It was late not because of the art but because the last couple issues were re-written.


    Spider-Man was my favorite growing up.

    With this decision making process I've finally out grew him.

    Oh well.

    On ward and Up ward.


  7. Matt - nice post, but I think we are stuck with this version of Spider-Man until Joe. Q. is gone.

    Shawn - Shame that you had to outgrow him.

  8. Matt,
    You can blame Joe Q. for the Gwen sleeps with Norman thing too. JMS originally wanted the kids to be Pete's, but again, Joe Q. thought that would "age" Pete too much and so Joe Q. decided it would be better if it was Norman's kids. Of course, no thought was given to what that would say about GWEN'S character... who cares about Pete's dead girlfriend anyway??? As long as Pete is still perceived as the hip, swingin, single guy, who never had kids, who cares, right??? God, the more I think about this thing the angrier I get.

    And it would be one thing if this was all temporary, but there is an indication this is meant to be status quo.

    Also, this is not a limited thing... you have to think about the tons and tons and tons of events in the MU at LARGE that Peter and MJ have been intrinsically involved with over the years. NONE of those events are real anymore. Anything that has happened involving MJ and Spider-Man.. no matter how small... has been changed somehow.

    Their presence has reverberated through tons of comics, even if it's just as small as Spidey saying, "I gotta get home to MJ." NOPE! NO MORE! Didn't happen! Think of a creative alternative for how that specific scenario went down, cause the one you remember ain't it.

    UGH!!!! This sucks!!!!!!

  9. I have not had a chance to read this yet, but we ALL knew this was coming, thanks to you Jim.

    Cheers on the call.

    I know Matthew must be displeased that Spider-Girl is essentially gone from the Marvel universe.

    I also think that the suck up to JMS in the last few pages was done by Quesada as an "FU" to him for wanting to take his name off of this abortion and going public with it. I mean, does anyone really think that crap? An award?

    I think JMS needs to stay off the nerd tours (conventions) for at least a year so everyone can direct all the venom at Joe.

    Speaking of Venom, does this mean that he forgot all about MJ too? This will be effing with continunity for years to come.

  10. Ron - The continuity is now officially FUBAR.

  11. Continuity?

    They know not of this thing you call...continuity.

    Is it a recipe for soup? Or perhaps that thing you drink to clean out your bowels?

  12. Cuzzino - I would have stopped reading Spider-man if Peter had been the father, so I'm glad they didn't go that way with the Sins Past storyline. I actually thought they were going to say that Gwen had been raped but had gone to England to have the babies. That would've been awful, but her integrity would've been intact. Regardless of who was responsible, that storyline should never have been green-lighted.

  13. I dropped Amazing after the first part of the story. OMD did what the clone saga did not, make me stop caring about Spider-Man. I have virtually dropped all Marvel Titles and now give DC most of my money. Marvel has forgotten what they are about in terms of heroes, they think reality equals the idealistic elements that made their product appealling. If I had the money I would go to the next stock hloders meeting an use my small amount to ask questions of the Board. It would do nothing, but I would feel better. I think that organized protest and quiet peaceful in your face tactics should be used at all conventions to disrupt Marvel Panels. That's just me.

  14. While reading OMD I thought this about PETER: "I haven't seen this much whining and pathetic explanation since SUPERBOY PRIME."

    616 Peter Parker and Superboy Prime are now my least favorite characters of all time.

    And yes, it was worse than the Clone Saga.

    It's so bad it is almost funny. Like Battlefield Earth.

  15. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.