Summary from Goodreads:
This is it, Arachnophiles The most pulse-pounding piece of four color fiction to be delivered unto the Mighty Marvel Minions in decades You asked for more Spidey You demanded it And, by Buckley, you’re gonna get it Same Old Power. Same Old Responsibility. Brand New Day After the devastatingly heartwarming events of One More Day, Peter Parker puts the past behind him and sets forth on a Brand New Day Spidey’s new status quo gets a swift punch in the gut as Dan Slott (She-Hulk; Avengers: The Initiative) and super-star artist Steve McNiven (Civil War) hit the ground running with new villains, new friends, and some familiar faces that promise to make Peter’s life messier than ever before.
Can you put a price on love? I can. Especially when that love comes to define you as a person or as a character. What is Romeo without Juliet? What is Mickey without Minnie? I will tell you what they are; shells of their true selfs. Their love is what helps to define them as characters, as is very true in the case of Romeo and Juliet. In the case of Mickey and Minnie, both COULD potentially exist without the other, but it is their love that truly makes them who they are. So what happens when one of comics most endearing couples are split up and under controversial circumstances? Chaos? Pandemonium? Heartbreak? ALL OF THE ABOVE? I say what happens is that a lot of comic issues are sold and a lot of questions are posed, with very little answers reciprocated (at least at the time of the storyline).
Peter Parker and Mary Jane are no more. This was not a break up in the usual sense of the word; this was an absolving of the marriage itself and occured under quite peculiar and controversial means.
SpiderMan is no stranger to controversy, so it would seem. During the 70’s, Marvel had released a few issues without the Comic Code Authority seal of approval and referenced drug usage in the storylines (albeit to paint drug use in a negative light). During the 90’s, SpiderMan endured the Clone Saga, which is now critically panned as a dark time in the continuation of the SpiderMan series. The House of Ideas felt it necessary to once again shake up the landscape of SpiderMan’s life and in doing so, they had undone 20 plus years of comic marital bliss. In the latter part of 2007, Spider Man became single.
It is hard to describe the turn of events which lead to the unraveling of one of the most solid and prolific marriages in comic history but I can describe the swirl of emotion surrounding these events. J. Michael Straczynski, one of my favorite comic writers, was set to end his multi-year run on SpiderMan and ended it in dramatic fashion. However, he was not the chief architect of this storyline; that dubious honor goes to Joe Quesada, at the time editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics. Stracynzski’s run on SpiderMan had been lauded as being some of the best material the Friendly Neighborhood Web Slinger had endured in quite some time. I am unsure of how Stracynski wanted to finish up his run but I am certain it was not by breaking up a marriage which existed to help humanize the characters. This was evident by his wish to have his name taken off the writing credits for this storyline. Eventually he was persuaded against doing such a thing but still, the damage was done.
I for one made a vow never to read this comic for the reason that a marriage which helped to make these characters seem more relatable needed to stay in place. And Aunt May was old enough to die, so let her go, Peter (oops, partial spoiler alert). I suppose I can clarify a bit more about the storyline; Aunt May had been shot with a bullet which was intended for Peter Parker as a result of his role in the huge crossover, Marvel Civil War. Peter understood that one day, his beloved Aunt May would pass on but he was not ready to let her go nor was he wanting to see her die as a result of his own actions (or inaction so the case may be). As much as I was skeptical about the entire premise of the book itself, if you come to accept this is how it is going to be, the actual storyline is well played and, as is the trademark for Straczynski, well written. Stan Lee gave birth to SpiderMan but J. Michael Straczynski gave ol’ Web head a true voice. If one is able to get past the controversial nature of this storyline then one can truly begin to love the writing itself. Perhaps one can even come to enjoy the direction SpiderMan is headed; into the unknown. For as long as most people can remember, it has always been SpiderMan and M.J., but is that to mean it is always suppose to be that way? This is the world of comics afterall. This is a world in which Superman has died, Captain America ‘died’ and was transported into a slipstream of the past, as was Batman. And how many times has Jean Grey died? Once a week? And twice on Sundays?! The point I am trying to make is that nothing is permanent in the world of comics and this storyline should be taken into consideration as a new direction.
It is important to remember when reading this storyline is that M.J. and Peter did not give up on their love. It was not as though they divoriced each other; instead, the sacrificed their love to save anothere life. What is more heroic or altruistic of an action than that? Is that what truly defines a hero? Love? Or is it when a hero sacrifices a part of themselves for a higher purpose? These are things to ponder when reading the last story from a comic legend. Cast your prejudices aside for a moment and enjoy the climax of J. Michael Straczynski’s run on SpiderMan.
And here is a toast… to a Brand New Day.