Amazing Spider-Man #545 Review

Finally, after suffering through numerous terminally slow, dull and plodding issues, we arrive at Amazing Spider-Man #545 which delivers the finale to this dreadful One More Day story arc. This review won’t be long. There really is no need. I won’t mince words. There is absolutely no chance in hell that I will even remotely enjoy this issue. Let’s hold our collective noses and do this review.

Writer: J. Michael Straczynski & Joe Quesada
Penciler: Joe Quesada
Inker: Danny Miki

Art Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 0 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 2.5 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: We begin with reiterating Mephisto’s offer to Peter and MJ. That Mephisto will save Aunt May’s life in return for Peter and MJ’s marriage. Evidently, taking people’s souls went out with making people wear a scarlet letter. Mephisto claims he will take joy in listening to the part of Peter and MJ’s souls that will scream throughout eternity due to their lost love.

MJ and Peter are back at the hotel room where Aunt May got shot. MJ is in the bathroom getting sick. MJ tells Peter that Aunt May had a good long life. That everyone dies at some point. That maybe they should let her go. Peter counters that he would agree with MJ if Aunt May died from old age. But, she didn’t. Aunt May died taking a bullet meant for Peter. That he can’t live with that guilt.

Peter says that he can only make this decision to save Aunt May together with MJ. That they both have to agree to sacrifice their love and marriage to save Aunt May. We see the two lovers holding each other in the dark. They don’t talk. They just feel each other.

Suddenly, Mephisto appears in the room. The devil explains that their marriage will be erased. That the two will have never been married. It simply never happened. However, everything else will remain the same. Mephisto then reminds them that their deadline to make a decision has arrived. Mephisto comments that Peter and MJ’s love is rare and only comes along once in a millennium. And for Mephisto to take this love way from God is a victory like none other imaginable.

MJ then tells Mephisto that she will only do this deal if Mephisto restores Peter’s secret identity. Mephisto agrees that Peter’s identity will be a secret once more. MJ then says that that isn’t enough. That Mephisto is going to put Peter’s life back just as it was. That he will give Peter a chance at happiness. Mephisto responds why would he do that? MJ then whispers something into Mephisto’s ear. Mephisto then tells MJ that they have a deal.

Peter and MJ then hold each other as they agree to Mephisto’s deal. Mephisto then seals the deal. After doing that Mephisto reveals that if they had let May die then they would have ended up having a child. A little girl. That she would have been the best of both of them. But, now that they have opted to save Aunt May that their little girl will never be.

Peter is pissed off. MJ tells Peter to let it go and to hold her. MJ says that they were always meant to be together. That no matter what Mephisto does, it doesn’t matter. That there is no power in the universe to keep the two of them apart. That they will find each other again.

Peter tells MJ that he loves her. MJ tells Peter that she loves him. Peter and MJ embrace each other and engage in a big kiss. MJ tells Peter “Face it tiger…you just hit the jackpot.” They fade to black.

Peter then wakes up in his old bed in Aunt May’s house. Aunt May is downstairs making breakfast. Peter runs downstairs complaining that he is late. Peter gives Aunt May a kiss and grabs some food and says that he has to run off in order to make the surprise party in time to yell “Surprise!” Peter then pedals off on his bicycle. (Are you kidding me? Is Peter 16 again?)

Peter arrives at the penthouse where the party is being held. Flash is there and he greats Peter. Flash asks Peter if things are still frosty between Peter and MJ. Peter responds that he doesn’t know if she will ever forgive him for… but before he can finish his sentence Peter is interrupted by being told to hush as the guest of honor is about to appear.

The door opens and in walks Harry Osborn. Everyone yells “Surprise!” Harry comments that the worst thing about rehab is that the parties suck. We see MJ leaving the party. Harry then tells Peter that it is great to be back. Peter says “To friends, new and old, and a new day!” Norman responds “Yes, to friends…and a brand new day!” Everyone in the party raises their glass and cheers “A brand new day!” (Oh god, I think I just threw up a little into my mouth.) End of issue.

Comments
The Good: Amazing Spider-Man #545 is going to be the first and only exception to The Revolution’s Rule of Positivity. I have absolutely nothing positive to say about this issue at all. In addition, Amazing Spider-Man #545 is also going to get the honor and privilege of being the very first issue that The Revolution has given a 0 Night Girls out of 10 score for the story. Congrats, Joey Q on your various accomplishments with this issue!

The Bad: Amazing Spider-Man #545 was a slow, boring and dull read. This plodding story arc has moved at a snail’s pace ever since Civil War ended. This story has been limping along like a half-dead two legged horse since Amazing Spider-Man #537. It is mind boggling that JMS has wasted a total of 9 issues to deliver this story. Honestly, this could have easily been done in 4 issues at the most and been a much more riveting read. Instead, JMS stretched this tired story out for almost a year while managing to put the reader in a boredom induced catatonic state.

And Amazing Spider-Man #545 is more of the same as we get another poorly paced issue that creeps along as slowly as possible. JMS re-hashes the same dialogue and discussions that we got in the past issue. The scenes between MJ and Peter simply serve to regurgitate the same dull discussions about Aunt May and Peter’s role in her getting shot. The reader then gets the pleasure of once again having to re-read the motivation behind Mephisto offering his deal to Peter and MJ.

JMS serves up a heaping helping of overly dramatic and somewhat cheesy dialogue. We get plenty of the typical “our love will never die” and that “we are destined to be together no matter what” that you would find in your usual Hollywood romance movie. JMS failed in his endeavor to tug at my heartstrings.

I still find Mephisto’s deal to be supremely idiotic. Even in a world like the 616 Universe that requires the reader to engage in a large degree of suspension of disbelief, I still find Mephisto’s deal moronic and unbelievable. Honestly, Joey Q expects me to believe that the Devil finds claiming souls to be to passé? That instead of claiming souls, causing war, famine and pestilence that the devil has been reduced to nothing more than a marriage wrecker? Really? Seriously? Is that the plot device that Joey Q wants me to buy into as the vehicle for erasing Peter and MJ’s marriage?

Well, let me be blunt in saying that Joey Q fails miserably in trying to get me to buy into his story. I find the use of Mephisto and his silly little deal to be complete garbage and nothing more than base hack writing. This just might be one of the most pathetic retcons I have ever read. And I’m a Legion of Super Hero fan, so I know a thing or two about poorly done retcons.

Joey Q graces the reader with what is possibly the most pathetic and nonsensical retcon that you will ever read. Honestly, it would have been more believable if Joey Q broke the fourth wall and directly addressed the reader, explained his bizarre obsession with ending Peter and MJ’s marriage and then retconned the marriage out of existence. That would have worked better with me than the drivel that we have gotten in this story arc.

And maybe it is just me, but I completely fail to see what Joey Q is trying to accomplish by erasing Peter and MJ’s marriage. Peter has grown and evolved over the years. The marriage between Peter and MJ represents the natural growth of Peter’s character. I thought that the entire purpose of the Ultimate Spider-Man title was to give readers that young Spider-Man free of all the complex history of the 616 Universe Spider-Man as well as the marriage between Peter and MJ. If Joey Q wanted so desperately to read a Spider-Man story where Peter is single then pick up a damn issue of Ultimate Spider-Man.

I liked the fact that the 616 Universe Spider-Man was a grown up married character that had evolved from the skinny nerdy kid in high school and all those problems he used to have. And if I ever felt nostalgic for that version of Peter all I had to do was pick up an issue of Ultimate Spider-Man and get my fill of the young traditional version of Peter.

And, Joey Q didn’t just junk Peter and MJ’s marriage. He also bailed Peter out of the idiotic decision to reveal his secret identity during the events of Civil War. Mephisto is a convenient deus ex machina that Joey Q readily employs to give Peter his secret identity back. How does this affect the events of Civil War? Wasn’t Peter’s unmasking a pivotal moment of that story arc?

I have to admit that I am curious to know what MJ whispered into Mephisto’s ear when she demanded that Mephisto give Peter a chance at happiness. What could it have been? Maybe MJ was whispering to Mephisto how much Joey Q’s idea to erase her marriage sucked?

The ending was a joke. I laughed my ass off at the pathetically over the top and ridiculous exclamations toasting friends and a “brand new day.” Yeah, right. A brand new day would be allowing Peter’s character to continue to grow and evolve and not shunt him back to where he was thirty years ago. This “brand new day” is just the old day all over again.

We see Peter back at home living with Aunt May. Wow, way to grow a character. We then see Peter ride his bicycle to go to the surprise party. A bicycle? Seriously? Is Joey Q kidding me? What is Peter sixteen years old again? Ridiculous.

And then we get the revelation that Harry has been brought back to life. C’mon, what the hell did Mephisto not retcon in this issue? How much more did Mephisto change? It sure seems like Mephisto did more than just erase the marriage and nothing else.

So we end the issue with Peter at Harry’s welcome back from rehab party with MJ mad at Peter and avoiding him. Wow! Is this Spider-Man 2? That sure is the feeling that I got with this ending. How original. I just can’t wait to see what Joey Q has in store for us next! Maybe Peter will get an apartment with Iceman and Firestar. We certainly haven’t seen that before, huh?

I found Joey Q’s artwork to be nothing more than average at best.

Overall: Amazing Spider-Man #545 was a waste of 15 valuable minutes of my life as well as a waste of the trees that had to die for this issue. Joey Q junks the marriage between Peter and MJ that took place way back in 1987. I don’t understand Joey Q’s bizarre obsession with ending Peter and MJ’s marriage. But, with this issue, Joey Q manages to make a further mess of Spider-Man’s already complex continuity. Way to go, pendejo!

15 Comments

  1. As for something positive to say, the return of the web shooters under Peter’s sleeve was nice, that was about it. I’m with you on the Ultimate Spider-Man comparison. What sets the two books apart now? I hope this isn’t a way to get rid of Ultimate Spidey because that has been the only consistently good Spider-Man book for a long time now.

    You also let Joe Q off the hook too easy for his art. Pages and pages of stats and a HEAVY reliance on shadows as a replacement for detail makes for a badly drawn book, and I normally like his stuff.

    A truly horrible comic and probably the worst Spider-Man story of all time.

    (PS – the pics don’t seem to be working.)

  2. Wow… so much for DC’s holding of the “we suck at retcons” title, all the super moronic Hawkman, Legion of Super-Heroes and JSA retcons are materpieces compared to this. Marvel may feel proud.

    This just proves well done, extremely successful Comic book adaptation Movies shouldn’t be made, as it only encourages no talent hax like Joey Q. to model the Comic Book universe around them.

    And the Harry Osborn death was one of my favorite Spider-Man stories in Comics ever, now it “never happened”. at this point seeing Gwen Stacy aive and well wouldn’t surprise me.

    So now my 2 favorite Marvel childhood Heroes(Peter and Logan) have had their pasts ripped apart, lovely.

    Sorry for the rant, but I’m really furious at this, I agree 100% with the review.

  3. As a fellow married man, I’m sure you’ll agree that sometimes you miss the simplicity of your teenage years. Back when you could spend you day hanging out at the mall with the gang, or skipping class to grab a slice of pizza and a soda. To be honest at times I wish I could go back to that carefree time before bills, work, a wife and kids. The differences is that, unlike Joe, I don’t burn my wedding album and yearbooks and then pretend the past never existed. I suck it up, admit that I’ve matured and then go change a baby’s diper. If I’m really nostalgic, I might call up an old friend and remonise, even blow of work and get that pizza. But I do understand that time has passed and I’m an adult now. Honestly, Joe is going through a midlife crises of his own I think and taking it out on the readers.

    And Really, is this Spiderman much better? He’s in his mid thirties now right? So he has no wife, no job, still lives at home only has had one serious relationship and doesn’t even have a car. Spiderman is supposed to be the everyman, and I’m sorry, but the average auldt is not that much of a loser. If Joe’s goal is to try and have Peter mirror adult comic fans then I’m frankly somewhat insulted. How many comic book readers do you know who live like that. It’s fine at 15, but not twenty years later.

    And don’t even know what to make of the whole Mephisto deal. Although I think what MJ whispered to him was that she was preggers, hence the earlier vomiting. In any case, no part of that deal or their reasoning rang true. All in all, I join you in being pissed. If Joe wanted some old stories, he could have done some sort of year one dealy. Or caved in and bought some back issues like a normal person. Instead, we get something that comes off like bad high school fan fiction, trying to sound deep and profound while coming out like something written by a drunken tortoise.

  4. “Mephisto claims he will take joy in listening to the part of Peter and MJ’s souls that will scream throughout eternity due to their lost love.”

    Odd note, thats exactly what one of my girlfriends said when I broke up with her.

  5. I agree with everything on the review. I am sticking around though, I’ve been through just as bad relaunches with Spider-man. I will make one note. The Osborne’s are spelled: “Osborn” in the comics.

  6. What really amazes me about this issue is that Joey Q completely ignored “With Great power Comes Great Responsiblity.” It’s the philsophy he lived by for the past 40 years, but in this issue Joey Q completely ignored it. I guess the new philosophy should be “Just pretend like it never happened and it’ll go away.”

    I do feel bad for JMS though. His run on Spider-man will be best remembered for this arc, and he didn’t even want credit for it.

  7. Victorious DiDio January 1, 2008 at 8:04 pm

    A terrible comic as well as storyline overall – and the associated drama (JMS’ post regarding disliking the storyline, JQ’s current backtracking and politicking in his interviews with CBR, etc.) only makes it worse.

    Can’t blame me for this one!

  8. I wouldn’t feel too sorry for JMS; if he really didn’t like this story, he shouldn’t have agreed to write it. Really, his public complaint strikes me slightly as a “don’t blame me!” sort of thing.

    As for what MJ whispering to Mephisto was, in all likelihood that’s the escape clause written into this whole scenario in case this idea tanks.

    If this is meant to be permanent, then I really don’t think the writers understand how badly this compromises Spider-Man’s character. In issue #2 of this arc, Doctor Strange tells Peter that one must learn to deal with the death of loved ones; that sounds like a proper moral to me. Instead, the end of this story is “or, don’t deal with it, and cut a deal with the devil, and everything will be hunkydory”. Huh?

    In concurrence with the above poster, Marvel seems to have fundamentally misinterpreted Spider-Man’s status as an everyman to conclude that nothing good ever happens to a normal guy, and Spider-Man must be kept drowning in misery (Spider-Man is Daredevil!).

    Anyway, I can wait this out; a few years ago, MJ was supposed to have died in a plane crash. There are other, better books to read in the meantime. Adieu, ASM, for now (an especially sad goodbye, really, with Slott and McNiven coming on next issue).

  9. First-time poster here. Great site, by the way. Anyway, I haven’t purchased a Spider-Man (or any other) comic in several years, so you’ll have to help me here with some things. Does this mean the whole Marvel 616 universe was reset to an earlier point as well? I’m not sure how Peter’s (stupid) deal can wipe out the identity reveal without changing the whole outcome of the Civil War. I mean, is Captain America alive somewhere now, too? And does Mephisto really have the power to totally reset somebody’s life like that? I’m not totally familiar with the character, but I didn’t think he had that kind of god-like power.

    This is a truly depressing and awful moment in the history of Spider-Man. Thank you, Joey Q., for killing Captain America, letting Iron Man off the hook, and crapping all over Spider-Man’s marriage.

  10. You took the words out of my mouth (actually I was just saying that bit about Ultimate Spiderman to my wife last night). I think Joey Q has issues in his own marriage. Even if Peter and MJ should be split up (and to that I answer a resounding NO!), there are much better ways to do it: divorce, death, even MJ as a Skrull! Anything would have been better than this drivel. I got the issue Wed and cancelled my subscription on Thurs (and bitched and moaned until they gave me back the money for #546 which had already ‘shipped’.

  11. >>I just can’t wait to see what Joey Q has in store for us next! Maybe Peter will get an apartment with Iceman and Firestar. We certainly haven’t seen that before, huh?

    There’s one small problem with that theory, Rokk. That story might actually be good. I’m so glad I don’t read Spider-Man — I stick to Iron Man as far as Marvel is concerned.

  12. The devil wins! All hail Satan! Six six six, baby! Woo-hoo!

    Well, honestly, that’s how this issue can be read.

  13. The Ninth Doctor January 3, 2008 at 11:00 pm

    Not everything has been reset. Joe Q says that all the spidey stories we’ve been reading over the years happened, just with MJ and Pete as a couple, not married. And Harry back is part of Mephisto’s price. And Peter still revealed his secret identity- Mephisto just maid everyone forget.

    Well, not that that mess is over, bring on Dan Slott!

  14. The Ninth Doctor January 4, 2008 at 11:15 pm

    Rokk, you have to read this interview: http://forum.newsarama.com/showthread.php?t=141756

    Aparently, JMS originally wanted to skip Back in Black and due OMD immediately after the shooting. And he wanted to retcon the Gwen Twins that editorial made him change into the children of Norman.

    Joe Q seems to have been behind alot more of the awfulness that has been ASM then we all imagined.

  15. Really nice

    regards
    web designer

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