The final chapter of One More Day, J. Michael Stracynski’s Spider-Man swan song, was finally released today, and only three months later than it was originally scheduled. While that may be a new personal best for artist Joe Quesada, this may have been a new personal worst for JMS.
Although to be fair to Stracynski, this was probably more of an editorial mandate than anyone at the House of Ideas would ever admit.
In the issue, Peter and MJ decide to take up Mephisto on his offer to restore Aunt May’s life in exchange for their marriage. As an added bonus, Mephisto decides to make everyone on Earth forget that Peter is Spider-Man, and even agrees to a super-secret caveat that MJ whispers into her ear. After they agree to the bargain, Mephisto reveals that the little red-headed girl he showed Peter last issue that was obviously the potential offspring of the Parkers was actually the potential offspring of the Parkers. Shocking! Then Peter wakes up, kisses a non-shot May on the cheek, stuffs a wheatcake in his mouth and heads off to the surprise party for…wait for it…Harry Osborn!
Wow, that was stupid.
This now means that everything that happened since Peter and MJ got married way back in 1987 didn’t actually happened (which equates to every Spider-Man comic that’s been published since yours truly began reading Spider-Man comics). While Mephisto claimed “all else will remain the same” once he removed their marriage from existence, obviously that’s not what happened. Unsurprisingly, the Prince of Lies lied, and the marriage no longer having existed has had a massive effect on Peter’s life.
Harry Osborn is alive, for frack’s sake. That little fact should have had an enormous impact on every storyline involving Norman Osborn since his return at the end of the Clone Saga, and that’s like 50% of Spider-Man stories from the last decade. And how will this affect Norman’s role in Thunderbolts? Certainly his son being around would have helped keep Norman’s somewhat “colorful” tendencies in check.
Would Spider-Man ever have joined the Avengers if it weren’t for his relationship with Mary Jane? He certainly wouldn’t have moved into Avengers Tower, at the very least. He was living in the apartment funded by MJ’s modeling career when it was destroyed by that pseudo-Molten Man, which prompted the move into the tower. If he didn’t live there, he never would have become so chummy with Iron Man, and he probably would have sided with Captain America during Civil War. Perhaps that would have turned the tide in Cap’s favor, and he never would have wound up on the wrong end of a bullet.
Marvel opened up quite possibly the biggest can of worms in the history of comics with this enormous ret-con. Spider-Man is one of only a few major tentpoles in the Marvel Universe. His past affects the past of pretty much every major character in the Marvel Universe, and the pasts of those characters affect the pasts of everyone else. This ret-con fundamentally changes the last twenty years of Marvel history. But what do you want to bet that not a single comic outside of Amazing Spider-Man will reflect any change that would have occurred due to Peter and MJ never getting married?
The only way I can see this working is if Marvel keeps Spider-Man segregated from the rest of it’s books while this storyline gets resolved in Amazing Spider-Man. It’s painfully obvious that whatever MJ whispered to Mephisto is the secret to undoing the undoing of the marriage, which is inevitable. The only question is how long Marvel decides to play this out.