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Spider-Man: One More Day

Damon Jason | Monday, January 28, 2008

In the events of “One More Day,” Marvel made the decision to end the 20-year marriage between Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson. Through various machinations, Peter and MJ struck a deal with the demonic character Mephisto to have their marriage erased from history in order to save the life of Peter’s dying Aunt May.

While fans met the decision to end the marriage with almost universal disgust, the poorly conceived story and its ill timing angered fans even more. Nevertheless, sales of the popular wall crawler’s series have never been higher.

“Brand New Day” is the name of the first story arc following the demise of Peter and MJ’s marriage. Longtime fans will notice many changes to the continuity that had been constructed over the last 20 years.

Peter is back to living with his Aunt May, web shooters make their return, Harry Osborn (one of the various Green Goblins) is back from the dead and Peter has not revealed his secret identity to the world.

How these developments affect Spider-Man’s cross-continuity with other characters in the Marvel Universe has not been revealed at this time; however, “Brand New Day” strives to build upon the Spider-Man legacy in a story that feels like many of the classic Spider-Man stories from the 1960s and 70s.

Brand New Day follows a Peter Parker who has given up his role of Spider-Man. He has resorted to borrowing money from his pal Harry Osborn to get by. Only when Peter’s financial burdens become too much does he don the popular red and blue spandex.

In classic Spider-Man tradition, Parker attempts to confront various criminals, photographing himself as Spider-Man stopping them in the act, and then selling these photos to the Daily Bugle. Along the way, Spidey encounters a new crime boss, Mr. Negative, and unravels his plot to take control of New York’s most powerful crime families. While a serviceable story, I can’t help but feel like I have read it before.

And herein lies the problem with the changes to Spider-Man’s status quo. On its own two legs, “Brand New Day” is not a bad story. It is written by Dan Slott, one of today’s best writers, and is accompanied with beautiful artwork by Steve McNiven. However, longtime fans of the series will undoubtedly feel like they have read this story before.

It is almost as if Marvel is saying the last 20 years of plot development simply did not happen. The decision to basically reset the comic’s continuity leads to a more simplified story, which has undoubtedly attracted many new readers.

However, Marvel must be careful not to isolate long-time fans of the series, because the surge in sales is atypical and simply will not continue unless Marvel strives to put out top quality story telling.

To be completely honest, I was expecting much more from “Brand New Day,” considering all the media hype it received. The story itself was functional, but was hampered by the fact that it felt so familiar as compared to the previous installments of the classic comic.

The decision to ship the title three times a month helped “Brand New Day” because there simply was not enough going on if it stayed a monthly title. I will reserve final judgment of this new status quo to see if writers can continue to deliver solid story telling of everyone’s favorite wall crawler.

The views expressed in Scene and Heard are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.Contact Damon Jason at [email protected]