Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Comics: Spider-Man: The Last Chapter to One More Day

I just finished reading JMS' final chapter of the One More Day storyline and of course as I predicted I am extremely disappointed. Let me give you a little re-cap in case you had no idea what was going on with Spidey. Excuse me a sec----(breathe in) So Civil War happens and Spidey is forced to choose a side he first joins in with Iron Man and reveals to the world that Peter Parker is Spider-Man. After a while he realizes that that was a mistake and switches sides to join Captain America. Unfortunately for him, his old enemy the Kingpin, decides to take Peter out and with the help of a sniper takes a pot shot at him. It misses him and his wife Mary Jane but hits poor old Aunt May. Now Peter is pissed he wears the black outfit for a while to go hunt down the Kingpin. After that he tries to find a cure for his dying Aunt. Everyone gives him great advice, especially Doctor Strange. He says, in a nutshell, "people get old and they die sometimes Peter, it may just be her time. You should spend her remaining days with her and stop with the guilt." Of course he can't take this advice and that is when another alternative is offered by everyone's favorite loveable and evil, Mephisto. (Whew!)

As I was driving home from work I was thinking about what I disliked the most about it and then I heard Guns and Roses version of Knockin' On Heaven's Door and it became clear to me. Now I'm not here to knock Guns and Roses but even with Slash's excellent guitar work, Axl's vocal renderings of this excellent Bob Dylan song, is painful to listen to. He maims it with his obnoxious hey, hey, hey, hey hey before the main chorus. It was a great idea take a great old song, retrofit it a bit, and come up with this new sound to an old tune. Some people think this knock off is good, and that is their opinion, but I do have to ask if they truly enjoy, with all honesty, Axl's death of a cat impression? It's terrible, really, it's bad music. Now to my point, in One More Day, Editor in Chief of Marvel, Joe Quesada and JMS (J. Michael Straczynski) decided to tackle and end the marriage of Peter/Spider-Man and Mary Jane. Like Guns and Roses they were inspired to re-live an older time, the Silver Age of comics where Peter was a hapless single young man trying to make it in this world with only Spidey and his beloved Aunt as his only constants. The only problem--they wrote this one as bad as Axl sings Knockin' on Heaven's Door--in fact they wrote it so bad it would be as if that William Hung character had actually sung it. Quesada's pencils weren't bad and, at least at the beginning of the arc, JMS' writing was good. I really hated where they were going with it but it looked like it was building to something at least mildly interesting. Then they brought Mephisto into it and he gave them a choice, either you let Aunt May die or I take your marriage away. And when I say that he took the marriage away I mean he made it so it never happened. He did what I think is the laziest form of storytelling, he just made it all disappear like it was magic. I am so disappointed with JMS he is one of my favorite writers, mostly because of what he started on Amazing Spider-Man and for him to end his tour this way just makes me extremely sad. On top of that with this ending he kind of erases a large portion of his great contribution to this character and this book. He has made Peter do something not very heroic, by making a deal with a known villain and trickster, and most importantly of all it just appears as if Peter gives up. What kind of hero does that? This story is by far, worse than the Clone Saga as instead of just tweaking the continuity by having a Clone living in Peter's shoes all of this time, he has completely erased it. All of those storylines, The Other, Most if not all of the Morlun stuff, Kraven's Last Hunt, the Wedding Issue, Peter and M.J.'s entire courtship leading up to the Wedding issue which goes back to pretty much when Gwen Stacy died. In essence they are trying to say My entire collection after all of these years never happened--pretty bold, crazy, stupid but most of all just---disappointing.
I have heard the writers who dislike the marriage complaining in one form or another for years about how difficult it was to write stories with Peter and Mary Jane together and it just makes me sad to be a writer. Writing is supposed to be challenging otherwise it wouldn't be very interesting or very good. It just proves to me that while Joe Quesada may be a very good artist he is most obviously a terrible writer. I know that JMS' name is on the book as the writer but Quesada, through some of his public comments, has made it very clear that he has forced his ideas, regarding Spidey, into the story. In December JMS' wrote an open letter to the critical fan response regarding One More Day. Click here to read the letter. Now after reading the letter I'm not saying that JMS' hands are completely clean now, but it does start to shift some of the focus back onto Quesada.

So I just want to say thanks to the two Joes who have single handedly written the worst comic I have ever read, at least so far. It won't make much difference, I'm sure sales are still booming and the two Joe's, especially Quesada, must be quite proud of their so-called controversial storyline to alter Spider-Man's life. The funny thing is they didn't shake things up as much as you might think they only erased decades of stories from different writers and artists who were just trying to give the Web-head some interesting challenges. Well all of that is over, Spidey is a simple swinging single so all the stories should be downhill and smooth sailing from here, thanks Joe for making everything so effortless, thanks for letting us down easy.P.S. It also just occurred to me--So One More Days ends with Peter and M.J. not knowing anything about their marriage. Harry Osborn is back, Peter looks surprisingly younger, he is now creepily at age 30 plus living with Aunt May in her house. That's just sad and pathetic. Also how does all of this retro-fitting fit into the current Marvel continuity? In the story Mephisto takes care of that identity problem right away, good thing for magical creatures, they take away your problems quick. With Civil War, World War Hulk and the upcoming Secret Invasion where does Spidey and his old school character fit into this world? I'm officially confused.

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