Amazing Spider-Man #641
Written by Joe Quesada
Art by Paolo Rivera and Joe Quesada, Danny Miki and Richard Isanove
Letters by Joe Caramagna
Release date: September 9, 2010
At the time of its release, Marvel’s decision to make Peter Parker single again after years of being married to Mary-Jane Watson was met with mixed emotions at best. Many felt that the story told in “One More Day” was inconsistent with previous Spider-Man stories, especially the part where Peter makes a deal with Mephisto to rescue his Aunt May, which many thought was too cosmic, or out there a concept to appear in the more street-level Spider-Man. Others wondered why Marvel felt that an unmarried Spider-Man is so much more superior to a married one. Over the last four issues, we have been revisiting the “One More Day” storyline in the pages of Amazing Spider-Man, with a story called “One Moment in Time,” brought to us by writer and Marvel Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada. Amazing Spider-Man #641 brings the storyline to a close, which is a good thing, because this was pretty much a completely unnecessary story that went on for three issues too long.
Talking about the plot of this issue is difficult because it deals with so much that was happening two or more years ago. The basic story is that Peter Parker and Mary-Jane are discussing what happened that caused the whole world to forget that Peter was Spider-Man. This storyline is dependent on remembering what was happening during Marvel’s Civil War event and the main Spider-Man books from two years ago. Not only do you have to remember it, but you have to really care about what was happening, and I think that’s where this story falls apart.
Background: I had been reading a married Spider-Man since I first started reading comics, so I was not angry but more bewildered at Marvel’s decision to un-marry Spider-Man. However, I hadn’t been reading Spider-Man for a long time, and “One More Day” followed by “Brand New Day” managed to get me back into the book, so the big change worked in getting me back. What I found after reading the now unmarried Spider-Man for a while is that I didn’t miss the married relationship. The writers have done a good enough job in making the book exciting and fun that I didn’t need to think about the old status quo, all I cared about was the new stories. And I would assume that is what the creators hoped would happen.
Now, more than two years later, we’re brought kicking and screaming back to the old status quo, and we end up with a story that doesn’t really matter, which would be okay if the story was at least interesting, but it isn’t. Peter and Mary-Jane sit around talking for four issues, and in the end Peter reaches some happy place in his life that isn’t earned because we never saw him stress about his relationship with Mary-Jane that much. The series as a whole had moved on, so why did we need to bring this up again? Joe Quesada is not a strong enough writer to handle the delicate material that they are trying to pass off here, and it’s mostly because he doesn’t have enough practice. Even a full-time writer could not turn this story into an emotional resonant story. In the end, I think Marvel should have left things alone and just kept moving forward.
The saving grace of the last four issues has been the art of Paolo Rivera, and this is easily his best work. Rivera has a very old school style like many of the best of the current Spider-Man artists. The big scene in Dr. Strange’s office is impeccably told and get’s across the emotion that the story is going for. The framing devise of Peter and Mary-Jane talking has art by Quesada himself, and it’s decent as well, but it’s a lot of talking heads, and I wish Quesada was able to draw more action scenes.
In the end, I had no emotional resonance with this story and after four issues, I think this was if not a complete waste of time, than it was certainly longer than it needed to be. I think this would have been a perfect story to tell in an annual or a special issue. Amazing Spider-Man has spent the last year telling entertaining and action packed story, and these four issues have just been a lot of talking and going over minutiae of a story that Marvel had largely moved past. I don’t think that past four issues did anything that needed to be done, so I’m giving it a 2 out of 5. I’m glad that another issue of Amazing Spider-Man also shipped this week, so I could be sure they were getting back to normal.