Overview

Amazing Spider-Man #545

Review

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Amazing Spider-Man #545

Credits

  • Words: J. Michael Straczynski
  • Art: Joe Quesada
  • Inks: Danny Miki and Joe Quesada
  • Colors: Richard Isanove and Dean White
  • Story Title: One More Day - Part 4
  • Publisher: Marvel Comics
  • Price: $3.99
  • Release Date: Dec 28, 2007

Warning: Spoilers Ahead!

Reading Amazing Spider-Man #545 is the equivalent of watching a loved one dig up a treasured toy from childhood and urinate all over it. Then set it on fire. Then shoot the ashes into outer space. Where it explodes.

Let’s get what little good there is here out of the way: Joe Quesada’s pencils shine. Despite the spotty artwork in previous issues, the finale looks superb. But going back on my metaphor, this is a lot like watching a supermodel ransack your childhood. It may be pretty but you still don’t want to watch.

Anyone with a pulse knows how this story ends so I’m not going to beat around the bush. The issue opens with Peter and MJ considering Mephisto’s deal from the previous issue, namely the dissolution of the marriage for the life of Aunt May. Of course MJ doesn’t want to do it, but then Peter whines that “killing” May will “break him in two.” You know, ‘cuz that makes perfect sense considering he’s pretty much directly responsible for the death of his beloved Uncle, ex-girlfriend, best friend and countless others and is still firmly intact.

MJ doesn’t want to put this burden on Peter and makes the decision for him with a few caveats. She erases Peter’s identity from public knowledge and makes a few requests that are hidden not only from Spidey, but the reader as well. The page goes black and Peter wakes up in Aunt May’s house happy as a clam. Oh, for the record, Peter and MJ don’t even get one more day; they get about fifteen minutes to make up their mind.

If you have any shred of intelligence, this storyline should offend you. I’ve seen better episodes of the 90s’ Spider-Man cartoon. In fact, I’ve seen better episodes of the painfully over-the-top 70s’ Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends. Actually, I’m going to go out on a limb and say the Japanese Spider-Man television show, you know, the one where Spidey drives a motorcycle and summons giant Spider robots, has more adult plotlines than this. This is a deus ex machina of the absolute worst kind. And just in case you’re still holding out on thinking that Quesada didn’t force this story, writer J.M Straczynski recently announced that he originally requested that his name be removed from parts three and four of One More Day, basically all the issues with Mephisto. 

So that brings us to the surprising final third of the issue in which we’re treated to a preview of Brand New Day. With a star studded lineup of writers and artists, I’m pretty excited for the now thrice-weekly Amazing, but in all honesty, if the first three weeks consist of Peter taking a crap it’ll be an improvement over this travesty.

So, once the deal is finished, Peter wakes up and hugs Aunt May. He’s running late for a party and grabs some sort of circle that appears to be ham out of a frying pan. Hilarity ensues. I’m not sure what tone JMS was going for here but I for one was particularly disturbed. The juxtaposition of this slapstick with the termination of the marriage just seemed in poor taste. Maybe this little side story would have worked better as the opener to Brand New Day instead of the capstone to One More Day. And isn’t Pete close to thirty now? Why is he living with Aunt May? And why does she still cook him breakfast? I felt like I was reading a poor man’s Ultimate Spider-Man except in this version Peter’s all grown up and a bit of a deadbeat.

So Peter runs off to Flash Thompson’s swanky apartment and on the way literally sings Feeling Groovy. The party itself is filled with people dressed as if it’s the 70s, and I’m suddenly very confused as to when this is even supposed to take place. And then, out of nowhere, Harry Osborn shows up, apparently back from a trip to Europe. What!? This resurrection is especially ironic considering the events of this week’s Death of a Goblin arc over in Ultimate Spidey.

More importantly, this is a massive shift in continuity. Was Harry ever the Green Goblin? Did he ever hire those Life Model Decoys of Pete’s parents to mess with him back in the 90s? Maximum Carnage started with Harry’s funereal. Did that still happen? Does Norman Osborn, director of the Thunderbolts, know that his son’s alive or was his death simply erased from the timeline? Well I sure as heck don’t know because JMS never tells us. But what he does give us is Harry introducing Peter to two sexy ladies.

Do you remember the Simpson’s Spinoff Showcase Spectacular? The segment where Principal Skinner and Chief Wiggum move to New Orleans and Lisa sarcastically tells them, “I can't wait to hear about all the exciting, sexy adventures you're sure to have against this colorful backdrop.” Well this ending’s a lot like that. Except without any of the humor, charm, or class.

So, after being punched in the groin for twenty-odd pages, Marvel has the audacity to republish the marriage issue. Thanks! I’ll be sure to read that. You know what? Marvel should have just scrapped these four issues and reprinted various Clone Saga one shots such as the issue where Ben Reilly fights a gang of evil toys that resemble Godzilla and Darth Vader.

I’m still really pumped for Brand New Day, but my job here isn’t to review the direction of the franchise. The ends don’t necessarily justify the means. My job is to review this individual issue and in all honesty, it’s one of the worst I’ve ever read. I’d wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone looking for a lobotomy on the cheap. 

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