Warning, the fallowing contains spoilers for stories that are well known and are in fact a few years old, but its only fare that I give you a heads up.
In 2007 Marvel started teasing an arc that would span all three of Spider-Man’s current books. This arc was One More Day. It was teased with the tag line “What would you do if you had just One More Day” and images like the one below:
Many, including myself, felt that the one more day in question was the last day of Aunt May’s life. At the end of Civil War Aunt May was shot by a sniper hired by Wilson Fisk, aka the Kingpin of Crime. This would actually be the second time Aunt May would have died. The first time was in Amazing Spider-Man 400 during the Clone Saga. It’s a really good issue, and it is a recommended read.
The first issue of the arc seemed to show that the fans were indeed correct. It had a doctor tell Peter that May did not have much time, as well as Peter tracking down Tony Stark aka Iron Man. Peter blamed Stark for May being shot. This is, in a way, true. Tony was the one that convinced Peter to unmask publicly. This put May and Mary Jane, at risk. Peter is also in the rage stage of grief and that is enough to lead to what I feel is probably on of the best panels in the arc:
Tony later sent Jarvis to make sure May got the best care. I feel he also did this for Jarvis’s sake. Before Civil War, Jarvis had a romantic relationship with May.
During the second issue we saw Peter go to Doctor Strange, so that he could find May help to save her. He goes to Hank Pym, Black Panther, and Curt Conners. He even goes to the likes of Doctor Doom, Doc Ock (which must have been awkward sense him and May were almost married once), and the Wizard. All told him the same, that there was nothing they could do. He tried to alter reality to save her after a drained Doctor Strange left the room. This also failed. By the end of the issue it seemed May would pass. Then something strange happened.At the end of the second part of One More Day, a little girl with red hair showed up and told Peter about her father and mother.
Ok, so some behind the scenes. J. Michael Straczynski has gone on record saying he did not want his name on the last two parts of One More Day. Quesada talked him out of it.
In the third issue Peter was approached by a wealthy inventor. He was also approached by an over weight game tester. Many felt this particular character was an insult to escapists. One reviewer pointed out that the people who read comic books can be considered escapists, and this was an insult towards them. In a way I kind of agree. By the end of the third issue we find out that these are all alternates of Peter’s life. The game tester is if Peter turned the torment from being bullied in school inward, the inventor was that torment turned outward. Peter also finds out that the one showing him all this is Mephisto.
The final part led to Mephisto giving Peter and a teleported Mary Jane an option. He would return in 24 hours, and in that time they would have to choose, Aunt May’s life or their marriage. One More Day did not mean the end of Aunt May’s life, but the end of the marriage of Peter and Mary Jane. They chose to erase their marriage. Mary Jane also asked Mephisto to erase Peter’s unmasking. This led to a moment of controversy. What she gave up for that.
This is the original panel. Its very hard to read. However, recently the digital issue was rereleased in HD, on the Marvel comic reader app. With that you can zoom in and see it better. This is what it looks like:
It’s a common practice in comics to super impose a reversed version of a sentence over itself when having a character whisper in way that others can’t hear. So what does this say?
“You will make me remember everything.”
Mary Jane gave up her own happiness for Peter. So Mephisto waved his hand and saved May, erased the marriage, and concealed Peter’s identity again.
Bit of trivia for you. In 101 Ways to End the Clone Saga, one of the endings that was in there was that the character Scrier was going to reveal himself to be Mephisto, and Ben Reilly was really a time displaced Peter that was sent back in time by him. This was rejected because Mephisto was not a Spider-Man character.
This arc was JMS last story as a writer of Spider-Man. There is a rumor that on his departure, he left a notebook with post One More Day stories and an explanation of what was changed by Mephisto. If this notebook did exist, it was most likely discarded by Joe Quesada. For the longest time Joe Quesada’s explanation for what was changed was that it was magic and didn’t need to be explained. Later the story arc One Moment in Time was written to explain what changed.
So why has this story gotten so much hate. I can tell why I am/was disappointed with it:
- The marriage ending was an editorial mandate. Quesada wanted to return the character to an earlier status quo and felt that he could not do so with Peter married. JMS said himself that “there’s a lot that I [JMS] don’t agree with, and I [JMS] made this very clear to everybody within shouting distance at Marvel, especially Joe” Many feel that this is refering to him not wanting to end the marriage.
- The story started off as a story of grief, then took a total left turn to absurd. Seeing Peter going through the grief of losing someone that was basically his mother was strong and emotional experience. I was not reading during Clone Saga, so while ASM 400 is a great issue, it’s emotional impact was not as strong because I knew that she did in fact come back. This was a story that had the same potential and it was wasted.
- Not once was it thought about what May would have wanted. Peter acted selfish in accepting Mephisto’s deal. May could have been at peace with Uncle Ben. Now in current continuity she has a bum leg, and is ignored by her nephew who has been brain swapped with one of his arch villains.
- They made a deal with the devil. Doesn’t get much worse then that.
One More Day was a bad story, but the part that makes me so disappointed is that it didn’t have to be. It had such potential, and instead it turned into an editorial mandate that seems to rival Clone Saga. Spider-Man books have suffered for it. The quality of the books has not been very good for the most part. Even the sales have not been very good. A fact that at one point lead to an altercation between JMS and the current Spider-Man offices.
It has been six years sense the end of One More, and there are so many who are waiting for it to be undone. If you want to read a good post One More Day story that does undo it, I would suggest Spider-Man Crawl Space. It is scripts on the message board of the site of the same name.
Next time I will take a look at the sequel to One More Day, One Moment in Time. An arc I wish I cold omit from my memory. (Sorry, at least one bad pun per article.)