Blood on Spider-Man’s hands

Blood on his hands

A final One More Day related fan theory is that Peter Parker has blood on his hands in the aftermath of his deal with a devil. One popular theory was that Mephisto has somehow gained Peter’s soul, although the story suggests otherwise. Mephisto’s previous characterization suggests that this was not a necessary motivation. This particular conclusion also requires believing that a willingness to trade something you value for someone else’s life can result in damnation within this fictional universe, even if the person who wants to make the deal assures you that your soul is safe.

I’ve argued before that it was characteristic of Peter to sacrifice his marriage, considering how much he values life. He would do everything possible to save someone who was injured (indirectly) because of his actions, For Peter to turn down the deal with Mephisto, he would have chosen his own happiness over the life of another, which doesn’t strike me as responsible. Hell, the Ultimate Peter Parker was willing to die to save Aunt May.

Some readers suggested that foreseeable consequences of the deal with Mephisto reflect poorly on Peter Parker’s morality. There were some questions about whether Mephisto was able to gain something else. It has yet to be established what that would be. In a CBR interview, Joe Quesada suggested that he had another story in mind, as a follow-up to One More Day and One Moment in Time, so it’s possible that this would deal with the changed timeline.

In One Moment in Time, it was implied that Mephisto changed the past by freeing one of Electro’s henchmen from Amazing Spider-Man Annual 21. So it’s possible that Peter Parker could be blamed for anything bad that this guy did.

amazingspidermanannual15threatmenace

OMAR at CBR also pondered the implications for Peter and Mary Jane’s stillborn child.

An interesting discussion came up at work today. One of the women who works here had unfortunately suffered a very late-term miscarriage a couple of months ago, and she was speaking about it for the first time. Much like my sister, who went through the same ordeal years ago, this woman and her husband consider themselves to have been parents. They had named their son, prepared a room for him, and spoke to him while he was still in the womb. All they have left are the memories of their child, and they will continue to love him throughout the remainder of their lives.It made me wonder – why didn’t Peter and Mary Jane feel the same way? Why were they willing to trade their memories of Baby May for a temporary gain, to allow the devil to destroy their daughter’s soul by erasing her very existence? Is Marvel editorial making a statement about the value of stillborn children?

What Omar says has to be taken with a grain of salt. He later blamed Marvel for upsetting his sister.

Well, I spoke with my sister over the weekend and brought up the idea of whether stillborn children have souls. She reacted VERY negatively to Spider-Man’s choice, and in fact she hung up the phone abruptly while sobbing so hard I could barely make out what she was saying – something about her love for the child she lost. Needless to say, she was very upset – nice job, Marvel editors! – and she hasn’t returned the calls I made yesterday or today.

So he’s either staggeringly insensitive, or a troll. But if the latter is true, One More Day still gave him some material. Trolls do their best work if there’s a weakness to exploit.

spider-man_42_1966_first_page

Going purely by the text, Peter & MJ loved their daughter. This was referenced in Spectacular Spider-Man #241. I guess they never considered what would happen to Baby May’s soul during an intense 24 hour period. In the years since BND, this is something very few readers have posed. It always seems odd when readers think it’s unrealistic that characters hadn’t come to the same obscure conclusion they did with the benefit of hindsight.

The pregnancy was also a plot point which had essentially been ignored. There wasn’t even a reference to Peter and MJ’s unborn child in JMS’s entire run, although it was mentioned in Millar’s Marvel Knights Spider-Man title at the same time.

Some readers think that Peter Parker should be held accountable for the nonexistence of the daughter who appeared towards the end of One More Day. By the same token, you could also argue that he killed several of his children by choosing to use contraception with his wife.

One More Day did have convoluted religious implications. Mephisto did explicitly say that he hoped that the deal would upset God. I don’t know if it would fit Peter’s character to choose God over someone else’s life. In most cases in which someone sacrifices another person’s life to make God happy, that guy’s considered a psycho.

Aunt May probably would not have wanted Peter to take a deal. The best analogy I can think of is a guy still being heroic for jumping into a burning building to save another, despite being told to save himself. The story presented a case where either decision—saving Aunt May’s life or choosing the marriage—would have worked for Peter.

The question of whether the decision is moral is different from whether it was characteristic for Peter Parker. He is the type of guy who would save a life even if there are some indirect consequences. He’ll rescue bystanders, even if it means that the supervillain gets to escape.

Although it’s worth noting that the Peter Parker in Amazing Spider-Man currently isn’t even the Peter Parker who made the deal with Mephisto, thanks to the convoluted rules of time travel.

The Infinite Spider-Man is a series of mini-essays regarding Marvel’s options for the future of the best character in comics.

 <<PREVIOUS     INDEX     NEXT>>

Advertisements

About Thomas Mets

I’m a comic book fan, wannabe writer, politics buff and New Yorker. I don’t actually follow baseball. In the Estonian language, “Mets” simply means forest, or lousy sports team. Currently, I’m writing a few comic books about my grandparents’ experiences in Soviet Estonia for Grayhaven comics. You can email me at mistermets@gmail.com
This entry was posted in Spider-Man and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s