This month saw the beginning of the long-awaited, but already controversial, One More Day story arc in Amazing Spider-man #544. Written by J. Michael Straczynski (this wraps up his six year run on the title) and pencilled by Joe Quesada himself, there’s no shortage of talent behind it. There are rumours abound about where the story’s going, but this first part (of four) shows much strength and promise.
The issue opens with a bullet-ridden Aunt May laid up in hospital, on the verge of death, and Peter Parker – still a fugitive from the law, following the decisions made during Civil War – racing around the city trying to save her life. Of course, medical care costs money in the US and since they’ve had to check May in under a false name, they can’t claim on her insurance policy. In an act of sheer desperation, Peter confronts his mentor-cum-nemesis, Tony Stark, and pleads for money.
There’s a showdown of emotions between the two and a beautifully drawn fight sequence, which leads to a surprisingly poignant conclusion and paves for the way for what looks to be an intense second part featuring Doc Strange no less – whoopee!).
The loudest rumour surrounding One More Day is that Peter and MJ will file for divorce by the end of it. I can certainly see that coming. In this issue, MJ is universally ignored, in spite of her attempts to comfort Peter and it’s a cold reminder of how this is pretty much his default way of treating her nowadays.
So, yep. I think Spidey and MJ should divorce. A lot the fans are up in arms about this, wondering why it must be that seemingly no relationship can ever last in the Marvel Universe (especially not for Spidey), but personally, I think it’d be a good move for the characters.
I think MJ needs a similar kind of revelation to the one Felicia Hardy had in Sensational Spider-man #34. She doesn’t need Peter and she shouldn’t waste her whole life on trying to please him (let’s face it, the guy’s never happy anyway – with great power and all that). Of course she should call for the divorce. The marriage is a nightmare for her and not just in an, “Oh, she’s married a superhero, it’s such hard work staying strong for the man she loves” kind of way. Just look at him; the way he behaves is entirely and constantly selfish.
The only woman he seems to truly care about is Aunt May (and perhaps a bit for Gwen Stacy still but that’s a whole other story) and his relationship with MJ seems to basically exist so that Peter can feel good about himself. MJ gets a raw deal every time and her justification that she’s enduring it for the man she loves will only stretch so far. I think it’s gone beyond the point where it’s rational now and she’s clinging onto a romantic pipe dream, rather than something tangible.
Anyway, a split would give them both some much needed breathing space.
Maybe they’ll get back together a long way down the road after they work out what their real feelings are, but they certainly need some space for self-assessment. They’ve both forgotten how to live and my feeling is that not only would MJ be better off without him but the time alone might give him the ability to work out how to behave within a relationship. I’m not saying there shouldn’t be a happy ending one day but right now is not the time. Peter’s life has been torn apart more than almost anyone’s because of Civil War and he needs to make some serious changes.
Of course, all of this rests on the assumption that MJ won’t die in One More Day (the other theory of what might happen). 😉
Either way, it’s going to be some heavy stuff, a bumpy emotional ride and – no doubt – another example of why Marvel is kicking every other company’s ass in the superhero quality stakes right now.