Spider-Man’s “One Moment in Time”

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Stop me when this post starts to look familiar. Yes, the image and title of this post were taken from one of the early reviews at the old Goki’s Giving Groin, a nicely done April 2008 rant by Spiffy on Marvel’s disgusting “One More Day” story, in which J. Michael Stracynski and Joe Quesada ruined one of the greatest characters in comics, presumably for shits, giggles, and sales. That story featured Peter and MJ making a literal deal with the devil, erasing their marriage in order to save the life of Peter’s 157-year-old Aunt May.

Today, Amazing Spider-Man #421, the fourth and final part of “One Moment in Time,” came out; written by Quesada, who also supplied some of the art (with Paolo Rivera doing the rest), the story was intended to revisit “One More Day” and tell “what really happened on Peter and MJ’s wedding day.” A part of me held out hope that after more than two years, and a lot of fan backlash, maybe JoeyQ felt bad about what he’d done and was going to make amends, that maybe, just maybe, this would be the story that set things right.

Now, that hope is dead, and we’re left with just that big middle finger. Read on if you want the scoop on this trainwreck; spoilers coming, obviously.

Wikipedia tells me that Joe Quesada hated that MJ and Peter ever got married at all (which happened in fucking 1987, the year I was born; get over it already), and wanted to undo the marriage, thinking a dissolution of the marriage necessary to prolong the character of Spider-Man for the next 20-30 years. Let that lack of logic sink in a minute. JMS agreed to that editorial mandate and proposed ending “One More Day” by re-writing Spidey history all the way back to 1971, making MJ and Harry Osborn stay together and having Gwen Stacy not have died, making it so that Peter and MJ were never a couple at all. Quesada supposedly felt that change to be too dramatic and stepped in to write most of the “One More Day” finale, making it so that Peter and MJ had been a couple but were never married.

In “One Moment in Time,” Pete and MJ meet up to discuss their past, and we finally find out what happened in their Mephisto-revised past that kept them from being wed. Apparently, Peter missed the wedding because he’d been knocked unconscious, as Spider-Man, when a bad guy fell on top of him. Did I mention what a genius plotter Quesada is? Christ. Anyway, even after Peter explains, MJ says she no longer wants to marry him because of his double life as Spider-Man. At the same time, though, she loves him too much to break up with him, so she declares they’ll go on as a couple but never get married. Like I said, the writing on this thing is awful; you should see Quesada’s dialogue.

That leads to a somewhat practical result: Marvel doesn’t have to completely re-write 40 years of history, but can say Peter and MJ were indeed together all those years — they just never got married. And now, they’re broken up, but more on that in a moment.

“One Moment in Time” also reveals what MJ whispered to Mephisto when they made the deal, and it might literally be the shittiest reveal of all time. She whispered:

“I know Peter. He will never make this deal with you, never, ever — unless I ask him to. But if I do, this is the end of it — you will leave him alone for the rest of his days.” Mephisto agrees. So … the big secret, the other shoe that’s been waiting to drop for nearly three years, was that MJ made the devil promise not to pick on Peter anymore? Wow. How incredibly not worth it.

The story then goes on to show that after May was shot because of Peter, he went to Doctor Strange to ask him to erase all memory of his being Spidey from everyone. Which Strange does, with help from Reed Richards and Tony Stark, and Peter tells Strange to only let him and MJ remember. But when MJ wakes up, she wishes that Peter had let her forget, too; haunted by the memories of her and her family being hunted because of Spider-Man, she and Pete break up.

The flashback ends, and we’re to the present again. MJ kisses Peter, tells him she loves him, but that she’s still not strong enough to be with him, and that he needs to move on. He agrees, and reflects on being “set free.” The shit-filled issue ends with Peter thinking “Today? Today feels like a brand new day!

So what did we get from “One Moment in Time”? Lame explanations on how the past is different, an affirmation of Marvel’s biggest fuck-up of all time, and the promise that Peter Parker is about to move on with his life and leave MJ behind for good.

I’d like to rant about how disrespectful this is to Marvel fans. I’d like to curse Joe Quesada for putting his personal feelings above what the people wanted. I’d like to lament how one of the best couples in comics has been irreparably damaged. But I don’t think it really even needs to be said; all of that is self-evident, and it’s not like anyone would argue. Ultimately, the joke is on us. They’re Marvel’s characters, Marvel can do whatever it wants with them, and Marvel has chosen to stick by its decision. And if we lowly consumers don’t like it?

Fuck us.

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6 Responses to “Spider-Man’s “One Moment in Time””

  1. spiffyithaca Says:

    Figures. This makes me sick. I don’t have anything else to say.

  2. Gokitalo Says:

    Yes, the image and title of this post were taken from one of the early reviews at the old Goki’s Giving Groin, a nicely done April 2008 rant by Spiffy

    Bwahahaha, maybe we should have TWO middle fingers in there. Sequel!

    Apparently, Peter missed the wedding because he’d been knocked unconscious, as Spider-Man, when a bad guy fell on top of him. Did I mention what a genius plotter Quesada is?

    I’m in awe.

    At the same time, though, she loves him too much to break up with him, so she declares they’ll go on as a couple but never get married.

    Modern!

    So … the big secret, the other shoe that’s been waiting to drop for nearly three years, was that MJ made the devil promise not to pick on Peter anymore? Wow. How incredibly not worth it.

    It’s not like Mephisto fought Peter every Tuesday, or anything. Even Slyde’s fought Spider-Man more than Mephisto, and no one knows who that is!

    You could read that as a kind of clever scene, though… by making Mephisto promise never to meddle in Peter’s life again, Joe’s essentially closing off the posibility of Mephisto UNDOING the marriage erasing. Still, it’s far from foolproof.

    He agrees, and reflects on being “set free.”

    That must’ve been one. Terrible. Marriage. I mean, Pete must’ve been going to Matt Murdock every week asking about divorce papers. For Matt, is, after all, a Lawyer of Everything.

    More serious commentary later. Maybe.

  3. davidry214 Says:

    Ah, but Peter doesn’t know he was ever married. He and MJ are the only ones who remember him revealing his secret identity, but presumably, only Mephisto knows they were ever married. And you’re right, he can (theoretically) never undo it because of that promise to MJ. Ugh.

    You know what else sucks? Mark Waid is writing AMS now. I bet that’s some really good stuff, and goodness knows Waid isn’t to blame for MJ no longer being a part of the Spidey comics. But I just have no desire to read Spidey comics right now. It’s not even so much out of protest as it is just genuine apathy. Quesada butchered my affection for the character. I’m sure it will come back, someday, but right now, I just feel done with it all.

  4. Henna54 Says:

    How to totally RUIN one of the best superhero charachters of all time!
    MJ is to Spiderman what Lois Lane is to Superman, or hell what water is to flowers. It´s their reason for being what they are!
    I have seen some ridiculously idiotic plots and twists in my day, but this has got to be up there as number one!

    Thank you Marvel for wrecking my childhood hero, for ruining one of the biggest reasons to why I ever started reading the comics back in the day, MJ and Peter.
    WTF is all I can say… and no more spidey for me until Marvel by some miracle can undo this HUGE mistake!
    I don´t even have the energy to rant anymore… So Marvel, sod off and good riddance!

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