Posted - June 15, 2013 | Updated : August 24, 2015
Spider-Man : One More Day
The last time we saw Spider-Man he had committed a series of felonies - including assaulting an officer - in order to keep Aunt May in hospital care. Since then, things have gotten worst.
Aunt May's impending death is the worst of all, but looking back at the panels talking about how Peter doesn't have insurance and how Aunt May has to be moved to the charity ward, these kind of problems are real world problems, not comicbook problems, and they're every bit as terrifying and upsetting in the comics as they are in real life. You can just imagine what Pete is like inside.
What happens next I've been waiting to see since Civil War: Amazing Spider-Man. A confrontation between Tony Stark and Peter Parker. What we had before in Civil War was a confrontation between Iron Man and Spider-Man, all fisticuffs and action. What we have now is the men behind the masks talking - and there is something to talk about. If you recall, it was Tony who convinced Peter to unmask. This single act resulted in the shooting of May Parker and the hounding of Peter, MJ and May. If you were Peter, what do you say to Tony? What do you think of Tony? Tony the so-called 'victor' of Civil War. Tony in his high-rise with all his money and you are Peter with nothing in your pocket, a fugitive from justice, and the woman who raised you dying. What do you say to Tony Stark? Let's find out what Peter says.
Peter breaks into Stark Tower and Iron Man rams right into him.
Peter takes out Iron Man's boot jets.
Peter trusted Tony and Peter followed Tony. It was always Peter's decision for which he should ultimately blame no one. Or is it? Tony Stark blithely told Peter that he, Tony, would, take care of things; that he would take care of May and MJ. In retrospect, Tony Stark's promises are full of conditions. It was the promise of a rich and powerful man : I will take care of you as long as you remain under my thumb. Peter is boiling mad and so am I. This punch is so called for.
Tony uses his Uni-Beam to blind Peter.
Peter responds with an unprecedented, all out, use of his webs. The result is surprising and satisfying.
Now take the mask off and punch this bastard again Peter. Mask off.
But no punching the face from Peter. Spider-strength could kill an unprotected Tony Stark. So Peter finally gets to say his piece.
Just as I'm prepared to hate Stark . . .
. . . he apologizes. But, not to worry, this is Tony Stark after all - the a-hole returns.
I am boiling mad at Tony again. And again he does the right thing.
Now that was a roller coaster ride. Effing Tony Stark.
The money problems are resolved but Aunt May is still dying. Peter, ever the logical scientist, knows that science can do no more. It's time to go to Dr. Strange - the one Marvel character who can pretty much deliver anything. On the way, Quesada gives us a very nice Spider-Man panel.
Dr. Strange comes up with an impressive piece of magic called the Hands of the Dead.
The Hands of the Dead allow Spidey to be everywhere at once, an a ability he uses to ask everybody if they can prevent Aunt May from dying. This two page layout by Quesada is absolutely gorgeous.
As you can see, Peter is so desperate he even asks help from Luke Cage. At that time, Cage was a guy who has a policy of NOT giving any help - for free.
To many, Dr. Strange is the most powerful Marvel hero of them all, but he has this to say about Peter's request.
Dr. Strange also says something terribly important about his own power.
I think this is brilliant. That there are natural limitations to the power of a Sorcerer Supreme. I've noticed that, for some time now, Marvel seems to be struggling with Dr. Strange stories because of the limitless potential of Strange's power. But what he says here is key; this is the limit, the power cap, that lets the Doctor be a 'writeable' character again. By "he could not fix my hands", Stephen strange means his hands - the hands of the surgeon, the man he once was. By "he", Strange is referring to the Ancient One, his mentor and the former Sorcerer Supreme.
Against the Doctor's orders (pun intended), Peter violates the use of the Hands of the Dead and makes a mad dash to the past. His intention is to prevent the shooting of May Parker. During this sojourn, Peter encounters these.
The Nightwalkers prevent anybody from tampering with time. I think these are great. Only one problem though - I've read a handful of Kang stories - no one travels through time more than old Kang/Immortus - and I've never heard of these Nightwalkers. Also the numerous times Doc Doom's Time Platform was employed, no Nightwalkers. Hmmm.
So Peter finds himself a ghost in the past and unable to change what happened. We still get this excellent point of view shot from Quesada of the moment the bullet was fired.
During the course of this intense story Peter meets the daughter that he and MJ will never have.
How is this possible? Because of Mephisto.
We'll get back to Mephisto in a moment, because Peter isn't through meeting some truly interesting people. Like this guy
This is Peter Parker if he had never been bitten by that spider. Here is another meeting.
Again, Peter meets himself if he had never been bitten by that spider. The first Peter he meets becomes a game designer, the second becomes a rich inventor.
Getting back to Mephisto. He has offered to save May Parker and he wants only one thing.
Thrown into the bargain is that everybody will forget Peter Parker's secret identity. Peter and MJ have one day to think the offer over - thus, "One More Day".
I've never seen the relationship of Peter and MJ portrayed more beautifully than here - near the end of it.
In the end, Peter and MJ do make a deal with the Devil, but I love MJ's defiant (and sensible) statement.
This is also a fantastic loophole for any future writers to exploit should they want to recreate this marriage.
And just like that, its over. The marriage of Peter and MJ is no more.
I know for a fact that there are die-hard Spider-Man fans who have dropped Spider-Man because of this story arc. I can still come across the occasional campaign to have Marvel retconn 'One More Day'. So what do I think of it?
Well, my first reaction is to ask myself what if we didn't have 'One More Day'? What would happen? Let's see . . .
The first thing that happens is Aunt May dies. To say that Peter is devastated is an understatement. Peter goes on a rampage and remembers his promise to Wilson Fisk - that the Kingpin will not survive the death of May Parker. The murder of the Kingpin at the hands of Spider-Man would be foiled by, oh, I don't know . . . Daredevil. That's right DD and the need to be there for MJ will stop Peter. To allow MJ to live a normal life Peter will turn himself in, and, since, he is in violation of the superhuman Registration Act plus several felonies, Spider-Man will be imprisoned in '42'. And. And. I don't know what's next. Except that it will be grim and gritty and pretty soon we won't be able to tell if we're reading about Peter Parker or Frank Castle.
With 'One More Day', the next Spidey stories - under the banner Brand New Day - will be bright, colorful stories. So I guess I really do like 'One More Day' because of the new story direction it makes possible. But not only because of that.
I also like 'One More Day' because of how real Peter's problem was in both Civil War : Amazing Spider andAmazing Spider-Man: Back in Black. Peter was going through depths of despair, anger and panic that, for a fact, we encounter in the real world. The actual situation might not have happened to us, certainly not, but the emotions are ones that, I would hazard to assume, anybody who has lived to adulthood has encountered. Those problems don't go away so fast - not for us. Real human beings don't have 'One More Day' to turn things around. It's more like 'One More Decade' or 'One More Lifetime'. And this is why I like that this happens in comics. This is one of the reasons why I read comics; because magic can happen in these pages. One moment Peter is in the pit, the next his out. I like seeing that. It's also a big plus that 'One More Day' was executed flawlessly by Straczynski, Quesada and company - art and story are both topnotch.
Well, its time to put the past behind us. It's time for Brand New Day. Peter and MJ, you're relationship didn't disappear, I can come back to it anytime in my back issue collection. To Peter and MJ!