Stay Away from ‘One More Day’

Amazing_Spider-Man_545
Amazing Spider-Man 
#544-545, Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #24, and Spectacular Spider-Man (Vol. 2) #41 (2007-08)
Written by J, Michael Strazcynski
Penciled by Joe Quesada
Inked by Danny Miki and Joe Quesada
Colored by Richard Isanove and Joe Quesada
Published by Marvel Comics

For some reason, Marvel Comics has always treated Spider-Man a lot like the Knicks treated Patrick Ewing.  In Spider-Man, Marvel has their most iconic and globally recognized property, yet they seem to do everything humaely possible to undermine the character’s appeal and success.  At times, it almost appears that Marvel is content to surround the Spider-Man franchise with mediocrity and controversy.  From trying to convince readers that Peter Parker was actually a clone and replacing him as Spider-Man with Ben Reilly, to turning him into a giant spider every 8 years or so, Marvel can’t help but fuck up the Spider-Man mythos every once and a while.  There was that time Peter’s long-thought-dead parents returned, when in actuality they were robots programmed to kill him, there was also The Gathering of Five storyline where some kind of cultish gathering happens, but doesn’t really, and then there was Spider-Man: Chapter One, which is so bad that even DC pretends that it doesn’t exist.  The one thing that all of these stories have in common is that they were released during the 1990s, or as comic book fans like to call it: “The Dark Years”.

Enter J. Michael Straczynski of Babylon 5 fame.  It’s 2000, and Editor-in-chief Joe Quesada is desperately looking to inject new blood into such critically floundering titles like X-Men and Amazing Spider-Man.  With the option of writing either title, JMS responds “I want the Spider”, and soon thereafter, he began his seven year tenure on Amazing Spider-Man, restoring the title to commercial and critical acclaim.

one more day 2

Anyway you cut it, that cannot be good for Spider-Man’s fertility.

 

Although history has been kind to Straczynski’s run, there were quite a number of controversial story arcs.  Some, like “The Other”, were just baffling and superfluous; others were flat out offensive and destructive to the Spider-Man canon and mythos.  For example, in the Sins Past storyline, readers found out that while she was dating Peter, Gwen Stacy was also screwing Norman Osborne for some reason.  He knocked her up with super-human, borderline neo-Nazi twins, and then killed her, not just to hurt Spider-Man, but to eliminate her from having access to their children.  Oh, and Mary Jane knew about this the entire time but NEVER told her husband.  Besides, the incongruencies such as how Peter could have known that his girlfriend was pregnant, “Sins Past” takes a giant shit on the memory of Gwen Stacy and her importance to Peter Parker.

However, that isn’t the most egregious thing that Marvel has ever done to Spider-Man.  Ironically enough, the biggest sin against the wall crawler occurred during JMS’s run on the series; in fact it was his last story, the deplorable and unforgivable “One More Day”.  Whereas “Sins Past” takes a dump on the continuity and ethos of Spider-Man, “One More Day” spends $25 worth of Taco Bell, gets explosive diarrhea for 36 hours, and then proceeds to wipe its ass with the canon.  “One More Day” does a huge disservice to Spider-Man and Mary Jane, and pays nothing but disrespect to anyone who reads it.  What it comes down to is that this is a bad comic that reeks of editorial mandates and a comically flawed plot.

On “One More Day”, it seems like Joe Quesada (who forced the project on JMS) forgot two crucial aspects of Amazing Spider-Man: 1) it’s a science based book that doesn’t really do mysticism well, and 2) Peter Parker is probably the most morally sound character that has ever been created by Marvel.  The plot of “One More Day” is that Joe Quesada doesn’t want Peter to be married anymore, and literally takes the most ridiculous route to breaking them up.[1]  Aunt May lays dying from being shot in a previous story arc, and nothing can save her.  For some reason, Peter’s marriage to Mary Jane offends Mephisto, the Marvel equivalent of the devil, and so he proposes a deal with the Parkers.  He’ll save Aunt May, and erase everyone’s memory regarding Peter’s public unmasking, in exchange for their marriage.  And, like a bunch of weak-willed jerkoffs, they agree.

In other words, a happily married couple, whose love has survived everything short of a nuclear winter, decided to sacrifice their love and their unborn child to save an old woman who’s had more than enough time on this planet.  And again, they agree to this deal with Mephisto.  One More Day is the story of how Peter Parker makes a deal with the devil.  Just to reiterate, Peter Parker makes a deal with the devil and sacrifices MJ and his future daughter because Joe Quesada said so.  Having Spider-Man deal with magic or mysticism would be like Dr. Strange having to stop a nuclear meltdown with a screwdriver and a yardstick.

One More Day

“I want your love” is the dumbest line ever uttered in a Spider-Man comic

 

Despite this obvious disservice to the character, what makes “One More Day” even more unforgivable is that it’s the biggest example of Joe Quesada abusing his power as Editor-in-chief.  He is a self-professed detractor of a married Peter Parker, and forced his own personal wishes for the character into the story.  His vision caused so much controversy within Marvel that JMS originally wanted his name taken off the final two issues of the series.  Also, bear in mind that things could have been much, much worse, as Quesada originally wanted to resurrect Gwen Stacy as well.[2]

“One More Day” is a blatant attempt to breakup Peter Parker and Mary Jane for no logical reason.  Instead of constructing plot points around a narrative or structured story, as most good stories are, “One More Day” is a story that was crafted around one particular action, and was created to simply serve as a narrative to that one plot point.  In fact, it’s so distasteful a story that its pungency seeps into the exceptional Civil War story arc preceding it.  Many parts of Civil War, like Aunt May getting shot, and Spider-Man going on the lam, seem to only serve the purpose of moving the pieces into place for “One More Day”.

The entire allure of Peter Parker is that he’s a regular guy, someone people can relate to.  He has financial problems, his love life isn’t to be envied, and he gets into arguments with friends and family.  Joe Quesada must have forgotten that normal people don’t make Faustian pacts, or sacrifice their eternal love for someone else.  Most people even accept the passing of an elderly loved one.  But because he didn’t like a married Peter Parker, the decision was made to break up Marvel’s premier couple in the cheapest, sleaziest way possible.  Not only is “One More Day” the most insulting Spider-Man story ever written, it was conceived for all the wrong reasons.  Originally, The Clone Saga was created as a means of breaking up Peter and MJ, (an ever popular sentiment with no one save Marvel apparently), but even The Clone Saga took dozens upon dozens of issues to ruin the franchise.  “One More Day” did it in only four.


 

[1] I really wish I was kidding.

[2] Rumor has it that took literally everyone who’s ever worked at Marvel to get Quesada to discard this idea.




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