So “One More Day” has come to its entirely predictable and deeply stupid end. The internets are aglow with the sound of fanboy heads exploding in rage. We’ve seen J. Michael Straczynski and Joe Quesada have a very public “civil disagreement,” where each is more or less trying to find the most eloquent euphemism for “what a fucking retard” that they can manage.
(We’ve also learned, incidentally, that “Sins Past,” another Spider-Man storyline which everybody understandably loathed and which JMS took a ton of shit for, was not actually JMS’s idea at all but instead Quesada’s. I wonder if eventually it’ll come out that Quesada had the idea for “The Other” as well, thus giving him the trifecta for What The Fuck Were You Thinking moments as regards Spider-Man.)
We’ve already seen the first eight pages of the “new” Amazing Spider-Man by Dan Slott and Steve McNiven, which isn’t bad, but… it’s kind of like watching a Beach Boys cover band, you know? It doesn’t matter how good they are, because they’re still trying to cover stuff that’s thirty to forty years old, so they sound cliched no matter how talented they might be. (Incidentally, there is no way at this point in the character’s publishing history to have an early-thirtysomething Peter Parker calling Betty Brant “Ms. Brant” without having it sound embarrassing and even slightly pervy.)
Oh, and Harry Osborn is alive again for whatever reason.
But if you think this is stupid? Don’t worry. There’s an obvious, obvious escape route.
In #544, I’m pretty sure (I don’t have it in front of me) Mephisto at one point says he can make it “as if” Peter and MJ were never married. (If Mephisto does not in fact say this, retcon it so he did. But I remember him saying it.)
“As if” is a great phrase for Mephisto to use, because, as JMS (and this t-shirt) sarcastically pointed out, in order for magic to be a good story element for comics (or anything), it has to have rules. And if there’s a rule for Mephisto, it’s simple: he has to keep his word when he makes a promise. Which is of course why Mephisto, when written properly, is such a twisty bastard.
“As if” doesn’t guarantee that Peter and MJ’s marriage will be dissolved and that it never happened and that Aunt May will be fine. it just guarantees that they’ll think that’s the case. When Mephisto in #545 says he’ll just undo a stitch in time, he doesn’t say which one.
Short version: Peter and MJ aren’t back on Earth-616. They’re in Hell and they don’t know it, trapped between the ticks of a real-world second so nobody can go save them, in a world created by Mephisto to make them suffer, really suffer.
The story is how they escape.
(As a bonus, this completely avoids most of the Marvel continuity issues that “Brand New Day” has created – every Marvel story with Spidey in it outside of ASM happens after they escape, and when they do escape, ASM flash-jumps forwards in time, Peter and MJ having had a relatively peaceful personal life for a year or whatever. The only thing I can’t solve right now is the whole identity-issues problem, but I’m sure that can be worked around similarly as well given a little mental effort.)