Saturday, December 01, 2007

The Sensational Spider-Man #41 – One More Day Part 3 (of 4) – A Review

The Sensational Spider-Man #41

Writer J. Michael Straczynski, Pencil Art Joe Quesada, Ink Art Danny Miki, Colorist Richard Isanove

Alright the cat is officially out of the bag and the god that is being descended by wires from above is Mephisto. Yes the Devil has come to make a bargain with Mary Jane and Peter Parker to exchange their marriage in order to save Aunt May’s life.

Say what? Yes no longer are souls the currency in trade as JMS explains to us there is no fun in taking souls, instead the devil loves the sound of a soul in pain. The actual dialogue is too much unbelievable tripe to quote word for word, but the book ends with Mary Jane asking “What is the bargain?” Mephisto says you have one more day, at the end of the day you must say if you want Aunt May to live or continue your marriage. If I end your marriage you will not remember this bargain, this moment or the life that you lived, but there will be a small part of your soul that will remember and will know what you lost. My joy will be to listen to that part of your soul screaming. No seriously that highlighted part is almost a verbatim quote.

I really think the true joy for the devil is listening to the comic fans across the country screaming I paid $4 for 23 pages to get to this lame a** crap. At least they took out all the ads so the “story” read better.

I don’t really care because I haven’t followed Spider-Man religiously for years as I’m tired of no growth in a character after 40 plus years. Occasionally I pick up a few adventures here and there and read them, but essentially unless they are willing to let Peter grow up a little more and move on I have lost the affection I had for the character.

This is obviously Joe. Q.’s wet dream as he has hated Spider-Man being married for years. The image he wants is Spider-Man as the loveable loser, where I always felt that growth would have Peter as a confident and mature hero who knows how to do the right thing.

So now we get a magical fix and we have a thousand questions as to what is canon and what is not canon. The reset button has been pushed and I may still follow the character for a few issues, but what has been gained by doing this, except to muddle up things even more and to leave one of the super-star characters in your universe with their feet stuck firmly in cement.

This is a constant theme for me and one that I know I blather on about incessantly, but why can’t we move on. If Bruce isn’t Batman the fans want to cancel their comics and quit buying DC. If Captain America is dead, then Marvel is dead to me and I won’t read their comics.

These are all fictional characters and yet as the fan base has shrunk and gotten increasing older everyone wants to play nostalgia games. I rather read about the new kids on the block. Invincible, Blue Beetle, Dynamo 5, JSA (is full of next generation heroes). Give me Donna as Wonder Woman, Dick as Batman and Clark still as Superman – whatever let’s turn the page.

Spider-Man as the eternal teen-ager is being done in Ultimate Spider-Man, do something different with this book. Or at least end the marriage by divorce, have Mary Jane die in a car crash, don’t confuse the story for people who have invested in your character. Make it an honest ending not this made up tripe.

At least DC has a bunch of second and even third generation characters running around and if you count Wally’s kids you have Jay Garrick, Barry Allen, Wally West, Bart Allen and Jai and Iris West as a fifth generation. Almost every Marvel character is 40 years old and is still playing the same damn role. We have told every story we can about these characters, but still we just go on and on.

No wonder Gwen, Lee and I have more interest in the smaller press stuff. Left on Mission, Bad Planet, Wormwood Gentleman Corpse, Wasteland, Local, Fell, Fear Agent, Criminal Macabre, 30 Days, Atomic Robo, Neozoic, Black Summer, Killer, Gutsville, Proof and on and on have fresh faces.

Bottom Line this book is the poster child for why characters have to get older and grow up and move on, otherwise we get the magical reset button that makes us un-suspend the suspension of disbelief we have when we read a comic.

A travesty.


  1. I know you tried Spider-Girl and you then dropped it (Thanks for trying though). But, it really is the best way to see Peter move on and their marriage stays intact! I still think Amazing Spider-Girl is a really good book. I think next month, she'll celebrate her 10th anniversary as a character. Try reading it again.

  2. I forgot that I had been getting Spider-Girl. I had fun with that book, but I get tired of all the What If type stories - they should use those for what could have happened if Marvel refused to ever change anything... and move the characters along for real. ><

    I'd like to point out that if I was Peter I'd let Aunt May die. She's old and she's going to die eventually anyway. I mean, how many of these Aunt May is gonna die stories can we possibly have?!? Next time what's Peter gonna do, hook up with Ras and throw May into the Lazarus pit? Seriously, this is just stupid.

  3. What a great way to save Aunt May. The next big inter-company cross-over.

  4. Gwen, your What-If idea is excellent!

    I actually don't think Peter is going to choose Aunt May over MJ -- at least not intentionally. One, because it is a really dumb idea. I mean in the real MC2 universe she died in Amazing 400 (not the Osborn hired actress). He's grieved for her before. I only skimmed thru this issue in the store, but given that it's Mephisto calling the shots, I think something like this may occur. May dies right before the day ends and in his grief he shouts out "No" or something, before he realizes it - BOOM - day ends and then he goes thru the torment of MJ and his memories of her slipping away. So, it should really be torturous then he's back to "normal". It could be neat in a way, but I'm really glad I don't read Spider-man anymore. Given that this is a magical fix, I don't think it would be permanent either. Maybe Mephisto can't really change the past, but can just block everyone's memories of the present - then they just need to find one another again.

    Despite the horrible end of the clone saga, having Ben Reilly come and take over the Spider-man role was a great idea. (I know I'll lose more points with Shawn saying this). He had his own supporting cast (the coffee shop), could date new people, etc. The mistake they made was trying to pass him off as the real Peter - it was too much for fans to take that they had the fake for 20 years. Then the Maximum Clonage stuff just got ridiculous. Really, reread Dan Jurgens first issues of Sensational Spider-man - there was a lot of potential there in a non-What-if setting. I think Peter was even powerless for a time. I would have just liked seeing him and MJ in regular life too.

  5. I hate to say it, Jim but your email to me at the beginning of this is turning out to be dead on.

    On second thought, I don't hate to say it. It just sucks that you were right and once again, they've screwed Spidey's canon. Why is it that Marvel continues to mess with their most recognizable character?

  6. please join the group "I hate One more day"