Warning: SPOILERS for Amazing Spider-Man #1
This week's Amazing Spider-Man #1 sees writer Nick Spencer take over as Marvel's lead writer for the wall-crawler - and he looks to be undoing the most controversial Spider-Man story of all time. Not only does the issue tease that the fan-favorite romance between Peter Parker and Mary Jane is finally back on, it drops a number of tantalizing hints that the "One More Day" arc is at last being undone.
In 2007, Marvel editor-in-chief Joe Quesada was responsible for the most controversial Spider-Man story of all time. In "One More Day," Peter Parker literally agreed to a deal with the devil - or Marvel's version, Mephisto - in order to save Aunt May's life. But he paid a terrible price; Mephisto agreed only on the condition that Spider-Man and Mary Jane agree to their marriage being wiped out of continuity.
Quesada believed that Spider-Man's youth and singleness were core parts of his brand, and that the idea of a married Peter Parker was damaging to that brand. Worse still, in his view, was the fact that Peter was married to a model; that's hardly the traditional "Parker Luck." Quesada's decision proved divisive, to say the least, and many Marvel fans still campaign for the marriage to somehow return.
It looks as though they might just be getting their wish. New series writer Nick Spencer's Amazing Spider-Man #1 dives into the deep end, restoring the relationship between Peter and Mary Jane. More intriguingly, though, it also drops countless subtle references to the "One More Day" arc. The issue opens with Peter remembering a time when he and Mary Jane were together, and artist Ryan Ottley deliberately renders Spider-Man in the "Back in Black" costume he was wearing when he did the deal with Mephisto.
A secondary character actually talks about a "Brand New Day," before referencing a university student "who sold his soul to the Dark Lord Mephisto in exchange for a passing LSAT score." There's constant dialogue about how Peter senses that something has been missing in his life, and he finally realizes that it's actually a someone.
Nick Spencer has always delighted in tossing curve-balls at readers. Spencer was the man behind Hydra-Cap, the shocking revelation that Captain America had become an agent of Hydra. It seems he aims to stay controversial, this time honing in on the most frustrating element of the entire Spider-Man mythos. The difference, of course, is that this time most fans will be desperately hoping Spencer's story changes the status quo.
What makes this all the more remarkable is that Spencer is choosing to diverge from the movies to a dramatic extent. Many of Marvel's recent strategies have essentially been little more than an attempt to mirror the films, in the hope some of the people who turn up to theaters will go on to pick up comics. That would be a similar approach to Quesada's, stressing Peter Parker's youth and singleness. But Spencer is happily embracing another aspect of the Spider-Man mythology, Peter's love for Mary Jane. It's going to be exciting to see where this story goes next.
Amazing Spider-Man #1 is on sale now from Marvel Comics.