I don’t know where to start with this, I’m just writing through the red haze of rage that’s just descended in front of my eyes. So I apologise in advance if this is somewhat less coherent than usual, but I just need to scream. And scream, and scream, and scream.
I know I should probably wait for the next issue of the One More Day arc, the final one, which might not be as bad as I currently think it will be, given the cliffhanger the current issue ended on. But by then it’ll be too late; the deed will be done. The schedule for One More Day has been messed around so many times, and plagued by so many delays, that it’s entirely possible the next issue won’t be out for months and might not even be finished yet. Now is clearly the time to moan. And if everything turns out okay in the end, I guess I’ll issue a public apology. For now, this is what I want to say to Joe Q:
Dear Mr Quesada,
Firstly, congratulations. It’s generally accepted that without you, Marvel Comics would not be in very good shape. I like the Ultimate imprints; they’re very cute, and I generally prefer buying trades than single issues, so you’re all good on that front, too. I’ll even concede that your art is pretty nice. But we need to talk about some other stuff that’s going on at Marvel at the moment.
Namely, One More Day. I’d also like to ask just what on Earth happened with Heroes for Hire (although I know that what happened was ‘Zeb Wells took over the writing’ – I actually want to know why, and how come no-one noticed it was rapidly becoming unreadable crap) but that’s another chat for another day. Right now, I am mostly concerned with the fact that Spider-Man seems to be making a deal with the devil.
Seriously, I get that he’s desperate. Aunt May’s on the verge of finally kicking the bucket, and no-one in the Marvel Universe, not even Tony Stark nor Stephen Strange, has been able to help. But making a deal with Mephisto? Is that really the way we’ve come to expect Peter Parker to act? It’s not, is it. You know that as well as I do, Joe. (Can I call you Joe?) Pete might be confused as all hell right now – this is right after Civil War, after all – but I don’t think he’d sink so low as to turn to Mephisto for help. At the very least, Peter has enough pop-culture savvy to know that deals with the devil in the movies never, ever end well; there’s always a catch, always something above and beyond required of you, even more than the sacrifice you think you’ve made. Peter isn’t that stupid.
And even if he weren’t that stupid, Aunt May is an old lady now. If she doesn’t die from this particular bullet, she’s going to die of something, and it’s not going to take very long. It’s not a good deal. And it’s not one that May would want Peter to make!
I’m not convinced that Peter would make a deal with Mephisto to save May’s life no matter what the terms were. No matter what. But when the stakes are so high – his whole marriage, his love for Mary Jane – then definitely not. You’re basically asking Peter to choose between May and MJ, and, considering he’s a grown adult, that’s just not even a choice. It’s just not. It doesn’t make sense on any level. (Especially on the level where Mephisto thinks that he’d somehow benefit from splitting up Peter and Mary Jane – that’s nonsense!)
But all of that is by the by, isn’t it? Basically, all I’m doing is criticising the ham-fisted way you’ve decided to spin out a story that will achieve what you ultimately want: to remove Mary Jane from the story. And that’s the real problem here, not the fact that you’ve got Spidey acting completely out of character, doing something that makes no sense whatsoever.
I wish I knew what your issue with Mary Jane is. She’s awesome! Sure, I’m a massive Black Cat fan, but even I know that Felicia and Peter aren’t a good match. Peter and MJ, though, works. (At least, it does when you haven’t got writers making Peter out to be the self-obsessed idiot he currently is.) MJ needs to be there. Peter needs someone to keep him grounded, someone to tie him to the real, non-superpowered world. Yes, sometimes he has to rescue her from supervillains, but that isn’t her fault. Recently, Peter has told her to stay locked up safely, but she doesn’t want to, because she has her own life to live. That’s important. It’s also important that some superheroes are in normal, steady relationships with normal people.
And again on an outside-the-story level, Peter and Mary Jane is the relationship that fans are invested in. The geek got the girl – the beautiful, intelligent, fun girl – and they managed to stay together, through thick and thing, because they love one another. Splitting them up doesn’t do anyone any good. For heaven’s sake, Mary Jane is in the Spider-Man movies, and that’s where new Spider-Man fans are going to come from!
If you’re desperate to write stories about a young, single, unattached Spider-Man, well, didn’t you create Ultimate Spider-Man exactly for that reason? Retconning away twenty years of continuity isn’t going to do anything but make fans really, really angry. You’re not making Dallas, here. No-one needs to step out of the shower and discover it was all a dream. Getting rid of the Spider-marriage by pressing a magic button is monumentally stupid: from a story point of view, and from a comics-selling point of view.
Please don’t do it.