Sunday, December 30, 2007

At the End of the Day

Spoiler warning for... oh, forget it. This is the worst-kept secret since...well, ever.

Spider-Man is dead.

Wait a minute, you say. No, he isn't. I read Amazing Spider-Man #545. That isn't what happened.

Well, maybe you misread it. Peter Parker gave up. He surrendered to the Marvel universe's Ultimate Evil and gave him permission to rewrite his life retroactively, potentially remove him from existence completely (Mephisto hinted he could do that), counting on the Ultimate Liar to be telling the truth just this once, that in return for doing so Aunt May would live.

It would be just like Mephisto if Pete returned to the old homestead and found Aunt May alive as a disembodied brain in a jar on the mantel.

See ya later, Joe. Or not.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Somewhere at the intersection of four parallel earths

You know, it isn't that the story is badly told.

I've always thought Straczynski was a good storyteller. And for all that Joe Quesada is as slow as Christmas, he draws pretty good. I could wish that the alternate-Peter Parkers looked a little more like Peter Parker, but that's a quibble.

(Oh, dear, did I spoil anything? That's hard to believe, given the level of buzz this storyline seems to have generated. Too bad.)

But the core of the story just seems wrong. Spider-Man is a street-level superhero, and shouldn't be dealing with Mephisto at all. Maybe "Mephisto" is a Skrull. Hell, maybe Peter is a Skrull.

Do I seem too desperate? Is it optimistic or pessimistic to hope that this story goes almost anywhere other than where the accepted rumor says it will go?

Maybe I'm expecting too much. I'm expecting this story to fit neatly into established character patterns, if not necessarily perfectly into continuity. (Don't expect miracles. Not after "Sins Past.")

The logical way, the consistent way to end this is for Peter to spit in Mephisto's eye.

And then, "tomorrow", when Aunt May does, finally, die -- she's revealed as a Skrull. How long has she been a Skrull? Maybe... always? Wouldn't that be a kick in the head.

Maybe what this is is a full-stop discontinuity. Maybe this is their version of "Whatever Happened to the Man of Steel?" They're bidding farewell to the character as he has been and clearing the slate for the character as they now want him to be. And I should stop worrying about what happens to these people next, because it isn't going to logically follow from whatever happens to them in this story, and was never intended to.

Addendum 12/6: Hello and welcome, all you Newsarama fans.

One thing you have to admit, "One More Day" has to be counted as a tremendous success because people are talking about Spider-Man. The publishing delay has even, one might argue, worked in Marvel's favor because it has taken a one-month buzz and pumped it up to five.

One might almost suspect that was the plan all along.

Another thing that should be noted: The glee with which fans are jumping and pointing and saying "See, even JMS thinks this is a bad idea" is misplaced, or at the very least premature. Read it again: That's not what the man said. He said, "There’s a lot that I don’t agree with", but he was very careful not to say what that was.

And goodness knows there are several strong candidates.

C'mon, people: Pete wouldn't cut a deal with Iron Man (he didn't offer Tony any kind of deal, he just demanded help) and he's going to get cozy with the Big Bad, Satan?

What was the "Loki owes thee a boon, mortal" card for, if not this?

Given JMS' time-travel tale in Babylon 5, it feels conspicuous to me that we haven't seen the other side of the encounter with the alternate-costume Spider-Man in that cemetery. If not now, when?