AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #638 (One Moment In Time, Part 1)

STORY: Joe Quesada (ASM Annual #21 pages scripted by DAVID MICHELINIE!)

ART: Quesada, Danny Miki, Richard Isanove (Paul Ryan on the ASM Annual #21 pages)

REVIEW: Master Filmmaker Mark Mackner

Hola, arachno-philes! ‘Tis I, your favorite Amazing Spider-Fan and local indie horror icon MASTER FILMMAKER MARK MACKNER with another installment of SPIDEY’S WEEKLY WEB-UP!!!! Today, we’ll be taking a look at Part 1 of Joe Quesada’s ONE MOMENT IN TIME, which seeks to answer all of the unanswered questions regarding the undoing of Pete and MJ’s marriage. What happened on their wedding day, now that the marriage never took place? How is Pete’s identity a secret again? What was it that MJ whispered into the ear of Mephisto near the end of the universally reviled ONE MORE DAY storyline?

Can’t say I’ve been looking forward to this, as the bad taste of OMD has yet to be completely washed out of my mouth. And, as a result, I have to be skeptical of anything that Quesada has an involvement in, beyond his artwork. But, I suppose they couldn’t leave such large questions unanswered forever, so this was inevitable. And I guess now was the ideal time to drop this on us, as we’re still flying high from the absolute brilliance of GRIM HUNT.

It should be noted that, as awful as OMD was, I’m kinda glad that it happened because it paved the way for the glorious BRAND NEW DAY, which, after about 10 years of ASM that ranged from mediocre to flat-out embarrassing to just plain BORING (How the FUCK do you make Spider-Man boring???), I was actually looking forward to new Spidey comics. And words can not express how happy that made me. It was like having my best childhood friend back again. Spider-Man has been a major part of my life since I was about 3 years old, and seeing him in new adventures that are actually exciting, and funny, and clever reminds me why I fell in love with this character in the first place. It makes me feel like a young kid at the comic shop, back when we were actually there because we LOVED comic books, and not just there to make smug and snide observations about how far our childhood heroes had fallen.

OK, so enough preamble. OMIT, Part One. How is it? Well, I’m pleased to report that it’s actually not half bad. In fact, I’d even go so far as to say that I kinda liked it. The first issue deals with Pete and MJ’s actual wedding day. MJ shows up at Pete’s apartment, saying there’s a lot of shit they need to talk about. From there, we flashback to ASM Annual #21. And they don’t just offer a modern interpretation of that classic story, they actually REPRINT entire pages of it, same art, same dialogue. Then they fill in the parts that are now rewritten with new art and script. Cool concept, and it works!

So we’re taken back to the wedding day, where ELECTRO, with the help of some hired goons, has once again escaped custody, and is holed up in a clothing store, as the police surround the place. He suits up in his familiar duds as the goons get their guns ready, and they all pour out onto the street to shoot (and ZAP) their way through the police barricade. Again, all of this is lifted directly from the original wedding issue. One of Electro’s random goons, a guy named Eddie Muerte, is quickly taken out by Spider-Man, and is placed in police custody. And that’s all we saw of Eddie in the ASM Annual #21. Now, well, his role is a bit more relevant. Much like THE BURGLAR who killed Uncle Ben, Eddie has become a common criminal who changes Peter Parker’s life in a very powerful manner.

After he’s webbed to a lamppost, we shift back to new material. Eddie doesn’t appreciate Spidey’s wisecracks, or his arresting officer’s commentary, and he vows revenge. Through an unlikely instance of happenstance, Eddie escapes the cop car, and escapes on foot while the police concentrate their focus on the much more dangerous Electro. Eddie then learns the home address of the cop who cuffed him, and goes after him.

From there, we go back to ASM Annual #21 for Peter’s lame “bachelor party”, and MJ’s decidedly more swanky pre-wedding soiree (You can’t really call it a bachelorette party). New pages include a conversation between HARRY OSBORN and FLASH THOMPSON concerning Peter’s doubts about getting married, and an exchange between MJ and a supermodel friend.

It’s worth noting that this issue includes the classic nightmare scene from the wedding story, featuring one of my all-time favorite panels where DR. OCTOPUS is playing the church organ while Spidey is getting married (in costume) and HOBGOBLIN simply says “Die”. When I was a kid, I made my own comic books, and I had a special wedding issue that featured an homage to that panel. Good times.

Peter wakes up from this strange dream, and goes out on the Brooklyn Bridge to contemplate his future. In more new pages, he responds to the sound of gunshots in the distance. Yes, Eddie has found the cop he was after, and Spidey swings to the rescue. After a rooftop chase, a loose brick sends Spidey and Eddie crashing to the sidewalk below. Ever-heroic, Spidey makes sure he takes the brunt of the impact. Grateful for saving his life, Eddie, in turn, lets the unconscious Spidey live. Eddie takes off, but Spidey is down for the count.

Meanwhile, it’s wedding time. Everyone is wondering, “Where’s Peter?” So that’s how Peter Parker missed his own wedding. To his credit, Quesada keeps everything simple. It’s totally believable that this could happen to a super-hero. He leaves magic and bizarre cosmic occurrences out of it. Spidey simply got hurt trying to save someone, and it’s that simple.
Quesada also gets points for taking a stooge who appeared in 4 panels in the original story, and expanding his role to where he ends up hurting Peter Parker in a way that so many super-villains have not been able to.

So, yeah. I didn’t expect to feel this way, but I’m definitely looking forward to Part 2!

STORY: B+ (It was fun seeing the old pages again, as David Michelinie has written some of my favorite comics ever. And Quesada stayed grounded on his new material, and everything blended together nicely).

ART: It’s kinda hard to rate the art in this one, as there are 4 different artists. And their interpretations of the characters don’t exactly gel. In some of the “today” panels, Peter almost looks kinda chubby. Then, a page later, he’s lean again. Eddie is a muscular powerhouse in the old pages, but in the new pages, his arms aren’t all that big, and he’s got a beer gut. I dunno, overall, I’ll say the art gets a B. But in consistency, I’ll give it a C.

A+++ on the cover, though! GORGEOUS cover art!!!!! Suitable for framing!!!!!

And THAT is The WORD, so sayeth THE MASTER!!!!!

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