Amazing Spider-Man #641 Review: One Moment in Time, Part 4

When we last left the "One Moment in Time" story arc, Dr. Strange had pulled Tony Stark and Reed Richards onto another plane of consciousness after Peter Parker begged him to make the world forget that Parker is also Spider-Man.

And that is right where this issue picks up -- well, after a couple pages of the MJ/Peter apartment convo framing device that has really gotten old by this point.

The discussion between Strange, Stark and Richards goes to a lot of different places, talking about their own anonymity, the failed containment of Sentry and the assassination of Steve Rogers, and in the end it all ends up with them agreeing to help Peter. But then they also agree that they shouldn't be the guardians of Peter's identity and that only he should remember. I particularly liked Tony's role in this discussion, since it plays so heavily off what we learned of the character in "Invincible Iron Man" (and his guardianship of the superhero registration database).

While all this is going on, Peter is having a one-sided conversation with an unconscious MJ that rehashes some of the debate over whether they should be together... MJ's safety... blah, blah blah. Thankfully the pages weren't all dedicated to this (sometimes it was just a box or two of voice over, while other times it was a page or two inserted into the Strange-Stark-Richards stuff), because we've been through all this before. We went through it after Peter's first proposal (back in the 180s), we went through again after the birthday incident (in the 500s) and we're going through it again now.

But, in the case of this issue, we need that re-hash to understand Peter's next action -- the action that I think saved the O.M.I.T. arc from a creative direction standpoint. After Strange emerges from his trance, he begins casting a spell and creates a bubble for Peter to enter, where he'll be protected from the worldwide memory erasing effects (or something like that). Then, while watching from inside the bubble, he looks at MJ, and decides at the last second to pull her in with him, despite the protestations from Strange. The spell is cast, the bubble fades away and Peter takes MJ back to the motel. The next morning, when she wakes up, Peter explains everything, including why she remembers.

At this point in the issue, the art shifts from Paolo Rivera to Joe Quesada (and I'll get into that in a minute), and the scene focuses on MJ's emotional state after Peter's action, and after some back-and-forth between the two, MJ finally comes out and says, "I just wanted to forget."

Now, for the first two-and-a-half issues of "One Moment in Time", I felt like they hadn't really addressed the question of why MJ was no longer a part of Peter's life in any meaningful way. The events toward the end of issue #640 (when Anna Watson was endangered) started to address that, but this finally gives us a definitive answer, and it's one I can fully accept. Unlike the decision at the end of "One More Day", Peter's decision to have MJ remember was NOT a mutual one. MJ was unconscious at the time, so Peter can be forgiven for acting on instinct, but his actions turned out to be the exact opposite of what MJ wanted. The story part of this was really well done.

Now, back to the art. I understand the decision to visually tie that Peter-MJ scene in with the similar scene at the end of "One More Day", but the issue suffers for it. It's a jarring shift in style, exacerbated by the fact that Quesada's MJ on these pages looks NOTHING like Quesada's MJ in the apartment scenes. Then, to make it worse, the art shifts BACK to Rivera for two pages (Peter seeing Aunt May in the hospital while MJ leaves town), before finishing in the Quesada style for the epilogue. Throughout this entire arc I've been frustrated by the back-and-forth on the art styles, and while this issue wasn't as bad as the first (where they mixed in original pages from the 80s), it was just annoying.

If I'm grading this issue by itself, I give it a B (A for story, C for art), but I can't really grade just this story. I have to grade the whole "O.M.I.T." arc, and it's really no better than a C-. The first two issues felt like Fs, maybe Ds on a good day, and the third one was a C at best. If you average those out, it's really a D, but I'll bump that up just because the last issue DID tie everything together in a manner that made some kind of sense, if you accept the fact that the PTB at Marvel weren't going to put MJ and Peter back together (which, in my mind, is still infuriating, but I can separate my feelings for THAT decision from my feelings for these past four issues).


  1. weren't going to put MJ and Peter back together (which, in my mind, is still infuriating

    me too

  2. I felt like the reaction of MJ at the end of OMIT is somehow exaggerated and I did not like it at all!


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