“One More Day” (Part 3 of 4)
Writer: J. Michael Straczynski
Artists: Joe Quesada, Danny Miki
Publisher: Marvel Comics
“One More Day” Part 2 ended with Peter encountering a little girl in an alleyway, an absolute jaw-dropper of a cliffhanger if ever there was one. “Peter? Sees a little girl? In an alley? I’ve got to read the next issue!”
(That last bit was my reaction to "One More Day" Part 2, in case that wasn’t clear.)
Well, Spectacular Spider-Man #41 is every bit the nail-biter you’d expect from the follow up to that masterpiece of suspense.
First of all, consider that startling cover – or at least the cover I have; I’m sure there are about a dozen variants or whatever. But how could any of them improve upon the masterpiece now in my grubby little fanboy hands? Peter – in civilian garb – is standing against an all-white background. Standing. All-white. I mean, when the cover of a superhero comic book depicts a normal guy standing among a lot of nothingness, you know you’re in for some thrills.
And it’s thrills you get. First of all – really minor spoiler here – Peter encounters two alternate versions of himself – people he might have been if he had never become Spider-Man. This gripping development takes up five pages of story space, and even though it is obvious who these two “mystery” men are, we still get another four pages explaining their identities. Sure was nice of them to take that extra story space to make sure we didn’t get baffled by the confusing plot!
And allow me to summarize so that, you know, you can follow this intricate tale: We’ve got four pages of Peter talking to a little girl, then nine pages to establish that Peter’s life might have sucked if he never had powers. Whew!
Then there are the splash pages – one depicts a girl walking away from Peter. Walking away! No wonder they devoted a full page to that shocking visual! Another splash shows a woman standing in an alley! Actually standing! Shocking! That edge-of-your-seat moment merited a splash, to be sure!
Then, just when you thought you couldn’t stand this roller coaster ride of a tale any longer, we get the big reveal on the mystery villain of "One More Day," although if you’re a fanboy who has had internet access for the last few months it wasn’t much of a mystery to you. That reveal is followed by eight pages of the villain making Peter an offer to save May’s life.
Eight. Pages. To make an offer. Now that’s a grabber!
OK, I’m cutting the sarcasm now. That covers the bad in Spectacular Spider-Man #41. Now let’s look at the good.
The reveal of the mystery villain is handled really well; it’s actually worthy of the splash page they devote to it.
Confession time: I’ve never liked Joe Quesada’s art, but this issue is a home run. Every page seemed tense and dramatic, even though it was all just a lot of talking.
The “hook” of "One More Day" is the kind of conflict that makes for a great Spider-Man story, a conflict that challenges him morally, that places the most lovable hero in comics in a damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don’t situation. We finally get to the point of "One More Day" in the last six pages or so of Spectacular Spider-Man #41, that Peter is in a no-win situation. And that’s a really good thing. We don’t want Peter to win – we want him to lose and lose and lose so that when he finally ekes out a sad little victory, it’s that much sweeter.
So all the build-up and exposition in "One More Day" has been tedious, and most of this issue is no exception, but those last few pages elevated this book to a decent read, and hooked me for one more issue.
What did you think of this book?
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