Hold On! Gimme A Sec

No Way Home takes a page from a key Marvel comic about the devil

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The trailer for the highly anticipated Spider-Man: No Way Home sparked a flurry of theories and reference-hunting on the Internet. Nothing, however, loomed as large over the video as One More Day, a 2007 comics crossover that forever changed the webslinger’s life.

One More Day depicted the worst-case scenario of Peter Parker’s secret identity being revealed to the world, as well as what Peter did to try to avoid it. The series received mixed reviews at first, but while it was a storey that many fans wished hadn’t happened, they couldn’t say it wasn’t well-written or full of interesting details. And it appears that some of those details will be revealed in Spider-next Man’s Marvel Cinematic Universe appearance.

In the second post-credit sequence of Spider-Man: Far From Home, a familiar face appears at the very end of the movie. Mysterio’s last ditch effort to ruin Spider-life Man’s — revealing his true identity — is shared by J. Jonah Jameson. Spidey’s lenses widen as he realises what an absolute mess his life is about to become, and the film ends on a banger of a shot.

Peter Parker unmasks in front of flashing photographers, saying, “My name is Peter Parker and I’ve been Spider-Man since I was 15 years old,” in Civil War #2, Marvel Comics (2006).Image: Mark Millar, Steve McNiven/Marvel Comics

A four-issue arc called “One More Day” was the culmination of a similar unmasking issue. Superheroes were asked to register their secret identities with the government during the original Civil War event. Peter initially resisted the call, but after Tony Stark persuaded him that it was the right thing to do, he confessed in a press conference. The most common reason for superheroes to keep their identities hidden is to protect their loved ones from villainous retaliation, which is exactly what happened next to Peter.

Aunt May was shot as a result of Kingpin’s assassination attempt on Peter. “One More Day” begins with Peter bemoaning his decisions and appalled by their consequences: Aunt May is in a hospital, and doctors have told Peter that she will die soon. “Nothing is going to stop me from saving her,” says an ominous internal monologue at the end of the first issue. Nothing.” As a result, Peter seeks out Doctor Strange, as he appears to do in Spider-Man: No Way Home.

Strange, on the other hand, tries to persuade Peter that there is nothing they can do: sometimes people must die. Peter nearly comes to terms with May’s death after Strange steps into the role of mentor and friend, allowing him to grieve and rage while remaining firm in his stance. But he doesn’t quite get it, and that’s when things start to get strange.

Peter runs into Mephisto after meeting several passers-by who represent Peter’s untraveled paths in life. Yes, Marvel Comics’ Satan, Mephisto. Mephisto promises to save May’s life in exchange for Peter and Mary Jane’s marriage. The couple only has one day to make a decision, hence the title “One More Day.” Why is Satan so intent on making Spider-Man and Spider-wife Man’s forget they ever had a relationship? He claims he’ll enjoy listening to the part of their soul that remembers their love screaming for all time.

This potential loss — Peter’s dismay at the prospect that MJ won’t remember their relationship — appears to be the impetus for all the multiverse shenanigans in Spider-Man: No Way Home. In the comic, Peter and MJ agree to Mephisto’s terms, with the caveat that Mephisto also wipe the world’s memory of Peter Parker and Spider-Man being the same person. Their marriage is erased from history, the secret identity cat returns to the bag, and Peter can resume his life as a single, awkward Spider-Man.

Peter Parker and Mary Jane are married, with J. Jonah Jameson, Aunt May, and other Spider-Man characters in attendance in Amazing Spider-Man Annual #21 (1987). Image: David Michelinie, Paul Ryan/Marvel Comics

In 1987’s The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #21, Peter and MJ were married to great acclaim. That’s the end of a 20-year marriage as if it never happened. Fans were confused and outraged by the decision, believing that the comics were retconning one of their favorite relationships. The creative team, on the other hand, stood by their decision, citing it as a way to keep Peter interesting and entertaining.

Obviously, the MCU will only use bits and pieces of this — we’ll probably see influences from Brian Michael Bendis’ Ultimate Spider-Man and Chip Zdarsky’s Spectacular Spider-Man, both of which feature a young Peter reacting to being unmasked and engaging with his older self. Who knows, maybe Mephisto will be apprehended after all.

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