Have you been reading Amazing Spider-Man over the last year? If you haven’t, Dark Web aside, you’re missing out on some of the very best Spider-Man comics to be published in well over a decade.
You’d never guess that by going on Twitter, where the conversations around the title center completely around whether Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson are married or not. Let’s put it out there—I’m pro-Spider-Marriage and am still angry that One More Day happened and that the marriage was thrown out via a deal with the literal devil. But moreso, angry at how it was thrown out, which was among the worst and least thematically appropriate Spider-comics ever made.
One More Day is almost old enough to drink now, and frankly, we’ve all got to move on sometime. I jumped around and floated in and out of Dan Slott’s historic run on the title, which ranged from baffling to excellent, but never good enough to reel me in. I also felt like there was never a good jumping on point. (Do jumping on points even matter? I explore that question in my regular No Context Comics column, hopefully returning soon!) I dipped my toes back in with Nick Spencer’s and Ryan Ottley’s relaunch, which got me very excited after a great debut issue. Perhaps part of what got me to buy in on that issue was its ending, a triumphant kiss between Peter and MJ. They were back together!
But Spencer’s run quickly became a convoluted, senseless, disastrous mess (read more about that here). I was ready to give up on Spidey altogether. But after reading the first arc of Zeb Wells and John Romita Jr’s (along with letterer Joe Caramagna and colorist Marcio Menyz) run, an exceptionally personal and emotionally taught crime thriller with Tombstone, I was back on board, despite being sad to see MJ shuffled back out of Peter’s life.
Most frustrating of all was the “Mystery Box” approach to those first few issues of the run. The book opened with a page of Spider-Man screaming in a crater, holding a strange device and his costume torn up. The marketing asked us “What did Peter do?” After a six-month timeskip, Peter returned to NYC after being away for undisclosed reasons. He was isolated and had seemingly pushed everyone out of his life including Aunt May, his roommate, and The Fantastic Four. Worst of all? MJ was apparently with a new man named Paul, and seemed to have had children with him. Why would they separate Spidey and MJ after the last run spent so much time retconning so many old stories to clean the slate for them?
All those misgivings colored my enjoyment of what has been a tremendous run of stories. After Tombstone, there was a great two-issue fight with The Vulture, followed by a Hobgoblin story that evoked the best of Roger Stern and JRjr’s original stories with the character. And even the hints of what we see of MJ throughout this story, her explanation to Peter that her relationship with Paul and to the children was “about responsibility” showed a clear understanding of MJ’s character and her background as elucidated by Tom DeFalco.Continue reading “The Spider-Marriage and Starcrossed Tragedy”