Published on March 25th, 2023 | by Matt Fischer
Amazing Spider-Man #22 Review
Summary: Marvel MUST figure out what they want to do. DO OR DO NOT. There is no middle ground. Not anymore.
The Story: It’s finally time to see why the couple split up.
Background: Zeb Wells really starts to unwind the story of Peter and Mary Jane’s downfall (again).
Summary: Peter and Mary Jane have been transported to a parallel dimension. Mary Jane’s soon to be husband Paul resides there after being stuck there by Wayep. Paul talks about totems (and the totems are back again!) and shows them a device he made that could get them out and back to the real world. Peter equates it to the Spider-verse’s Dimensional travel watches. But it can only carry one person. Peter insists on Mary Jane being that person. Paul mentions that to finish whatever ceremony the bad guys are trying to complete they must kill Spider-man.
Wayep attacks and Peter tries to hold him off and gets absolutely trashed. Mary Jane runs in and activates the watch and sends Peter back to save him… while also inadvertently cutting Wayep in half. The issue ends as both Peter and what’s left of Wayep fall towards Earth.
Writing – Alright… Before we get to the hard part, I’d like to give Zeb Wells kudos for bringing back an insignificant villain from 16 years ago and making him this arcs villain. That shows a knowledge of the brand and must be appreciated.
Now then, this is going to be a bit of a rant. Let’s go back to Nick Spencer’s tremendous run on Spider-man. For the first time in more than a decade, Marvel seemed to actually be acknowledging Brand New Day. Not dancing around it in a never ending will they won’t they merry go-round, but actually referencing it. Everything seemed to point to the fact that Mary Jane had some type of memory of the event, whether concrete or vague. Hell, we even learned why Mephisto offered the deal in the first place: It was to get rid of May Parker.
AND THEN… Harry Osborn was dead; the twins were never real and Gwen never screwed Norman and Doctor Strange saved Harry’s soul.
Here’s what I think happened. I think that Nick Spencer went to Marvel and said “Guys, I want to be the one to do it. I want to be the one that brings back the marriage. I have everything laid out and I know exactly how we can do it that’ll make sense, make everybody happy and finally get the fans off your backs.” Marvel then said “Great! Do it!”
Then we got to somewhere around issue 55 – 60, and Marvel went to Nick and said “Soooooo… we know we said you could, but can you not? We’re OK with them dating, but don’t make them a married couple again.” That led to us getting the reveal that it was Harry and not the marriage that Mephisto was talking about… right! Of course, that made so much sense… except it didn’t. Do you really think Nick Spencer was supposed to leave when he did?
That led to us getting that damn “Beyond” arc where they brought Ben Reilly back only to literally destroy everything that made Ben Reilly a popular character.
Which brings us to the current run.
Do you know why we get stuff like “Rekrap” and everybody hating Peter (AGAIN)? Because whoever is writing the book knows that whatever they do won’t matter in the long run. Nothing will stick, at least not in any substantial way. So, we get a bunch of writers goofing off writing insanely silly stuff. Why shouldn’t they? IT DOESN’T MATTER!
Do you know why this run isn’t working? Not because of stupid stuff like “Rekrap” (which admittedly if all this happened before Spencer’s run I would have been eating it up). But because Nick Spencer showed us that Peter and MJ being together just works. It works so well on so many levels… and now they are being split up again for stupid reasons. I don’t care about glyphs and tattoos and alternate whatever’s. I want to see them together. WE want to see them together. We’ve had more than a decade of “Well, they were together and now let’s throw it in your face that they’re not anymore.”
You know who the other side of the coin is for Peter and Mary Jane? Clark and Lois.
In 2011, DC hit with the New 52. Their reality and universe were reset almost back to zero. But you know what bugged people the most about it? It wasn’t the loss of outside underwear. It wasn’t completely about the loss of legacy characters. What really drove a large section of us fans nuts was that Clark and Lois were never married. 5 years later, DC fixed that, and fans were happy (at least about that).
The Spider-Man community has for 16 years asked, yelled, begged, and pleaded for the marriage to return. Instead, they have teased us, yanked the carrot away and pretty much laughed at us. People who are no longer in. charge (and some who are) have had a false idea of what and who Spider-man is. Peter is not a sad sack loser and despite what they’ve done over the past decade or so, he hasn’t been since Amazing Spider-man Annual 21 in 1987 (or maybe even longer than that.) He is an everyman, somebody who the audience can get behind and root for, not a sad sack loser who makes us cringe as he makes mistake after stupid juvenile mistake.
DC managed to make the Lois and Clark marriage angle into a storyline, mainly because that lasted 5 years and was part of a over-arching universe spanning retcon. Marvel doesn’t have that luxury.
More than that… WHAT”S THE ENDGAME HERE? Why make it so that Felicia and Peter’s relationship is going to sustain lasting damage? In the end, whether it’s now or in 10 years (or whenever they actually undo One More Day), Peter’s going to look like the ass for dumping Felicia after telling her he loves her and Felicia’s going to look like a whiny baby. The only way out of this without lasting damage is to kill Felicia off… or what the heck! Just kill MJ. You don’t want her in the book and don’t her with Peter, kill her. You threw Gwen off a damn bridge, and you’re telling me you can’t have have her pick up a pumpkin bomb or have her save orphaned kids in Africa and die as a result. Please stop screwing up the people we grew up with.
Artwork – People complain about Romita Jr.’s art for being too blocky and non-descript when it comes to faces. I’ve never had that problem with his art. People just need to pay attention to who’s talking. Focus people!
Final Thoughts? – The writing’s fine. The art is fine. If this was any other book it’d be great even. The fact that this is the storyline that tells us why we once again MUST enjoy the status quo is what docks it. Marvel MUST figure out what they want to do. DO OR DO NOT. There is no middle ground. Not anymore.
Writer: Zeb Wells
Penciler: John Romita Jr.
Inker: Scott Hanna
Colorist: Marcio Menyz
Release Date: 03/22/23