The Infinite Spider-Man: One More Day

Marko Djurdjevic's One More Day close-up of Spider-Man's hands.After reflecting on retcons in general, I considered what exactly Joe Quesada accomplished with One More Day. How did it change the history of the characters? What was the explanation for those changes?

A deal between Spider-Man and Mephisto to save Aunt May’s life was central to the story, so that led to two main questions. Was Mephisto written out of character? I looked at his early appearances, and it seemed to fit his motives and power set. Would Peter Parker have taken the deal? Two things convinced me that he would have: The extent to which he’ll value the lives of others, especially in Paul Jenkins’ work, and his explicit willingness to sacrifice himself for Aunt May in other comics.

The mechanics of time travel were also considered, as I reviewed whether the depiction of time travel in One More Day was consistent with other Marvel Comics, and if those changes should have been more significant.  That led to the question of whether the alterations were adequately explained. Did the infamous comment “It’s Magic, We Don’t Have to Explain It” reveal a carelessness about the revisions to the franchise? To what degree had Marvel succeeded in clarifying what had happened? This is emblematic of a difference in priorities between fans, who want to see detailed examinations of the fallout of various developments, and comics professionals, who prefer to move to the next stage and their own stories.

The next step was determining the effect of One More Day on the pros. Could writers be scared away from the Spider-Man comics? Did it make the backstory of the characters too confusing? Does it hammer the point that their contributions could be too easily erased?

Most of the focus on One More Day was with the last two issues. I considered its merits as a story, and the extent to which that was significant. How much did it matter if One More Day was good?

Peter Parker punches Iron Man in One More Day

There were a few other complaints about the story that I considered. Some thought that it was too similar to an arc from Geoff Johns and Scott Kolin’s run on The Flash. At least one smart-aleck asked what would happen if The Simpsons jettisoned the kids so that Homer could be single. A common complaint was that someone else in the Marvel Universe should have been able to save Aunt May. The writer seems to have disowned the story. Some readers had the impression that there should have been more consequences to the retcon, while others argued that twenty years of Spider-Man comics no longer mattered. There were two final questions about the protagonist: Does it matter if Peter Parker would have been the type of guy to get married? Does something feel off with Peter Parker?

Finally, I noted how what followed OMD represented something different from before, a flexible approach to continuity. This fit changes in the industry, and reminded me of the best comic book of the last decade: All-Star Superman.

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

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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
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