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Comic Book / Brand New Day

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He might make great music, but Sting's got nothing on this Parker kid.

Brand New Day is a long chapter in Spider-Man's life that followed One More Day and covered The Amazing Spider-Man (1999) from #546 to #647, as well as all Spider-Man-related comics, published during that time period. Two most characteristic elements of it were the "Spidey-Braintrust" team of multiple writers (who started with four and grew larger later) switching between each story with unusual issue frequency — three issues were published in one month, during the first three weeks of said month with other Spidey-related comics for fourth week.

It was followed by "Big Time", written entirely by Dan Slott with issues coming out twice a month.

Not to be confused with the Sting album Brand New Day.

Brand New Day provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Aborted Arc: A bad case of this, with too many writers dealing with the wreckage of post-OMD creating many plot threads that led nowhere.
    • The Gauntlet was supposed to lead to something the writers called Sinister 666 but it never came to be.
    • Joe Quesada hinted in an interview that Mary Jane would be caring for a baby. Fans thought this may have had something to do with Harry Osborn's newborn son Stanley (Harry had also moved in with MJ for a brief spell in the BND era), but once Stanley was born, Harry opted to move away with him, and nothing came of the "MJ with a baby" hint.
    • Quesada's planned follow-up to the plot threads explored in One More Day and One Moment in Time never came to be — though given how well OMIT went down, that's probably a good thing.
    • Several hints were dropped that Mary Jane remembered her marriage to Peter, but it ultimately went nowhere, with OMIT confirming that she forgot like everyone else.
  • Adaptive Ability: Freak becomes horribly deformed after shooting himself up with experimental stem cells, but as a result is able to form a cocoon around himself when he dies and regenerate with an adaptation against whatever killed him. Such deaths include being set on fire (resulting in a leathery hide), getting shot (armour plating), and strangulation (thicker musculature, particularly around the neck), but he is always just as hideous as before, and all he does with his powers is try to find more drugs to snort up.
  • Back-Alley Doctor: Mr. Negative's henchwoman Doctor Trauma is implied to be this.
  • Back from the Dead: Harry Osborn, in the first pages of Brand New Day. As it turns out, the Goblin Formula in his blood revived him, just as it did his father (wait, isn't that what killed him in the first place? Nah, Harry just thought it was killing him — because he was high on Goblin Formula). He was then shuttered around for several years before returning to New York City and starting a coffee shop.
  • Bad Future: The one Peter saw during JMS' run has been explained, if Arachne's visions were true — it's a future where Peter killed the recently resurrected Kraven, which led him to go down the same path as The Punisher of sorts, with the added problem of alienating himself from everybody, before getting killed in a police confrontation.
  • Balance Between Good and Evil: The fundamentals behind the relationship between Mr. Negative and Martin Li.
  • Betty and Veronica: Early comics was implying multiple variations of such Love Triangle — from Peter-Lilly (Veronica)-Carlie (Betty), Carlie–Peter (Betty)–Vin (Veronica) or Lilly–Harry (Veronica)–Peter (Betty). Finally, the official one became Lilly–Harry (Betty)–Norman (Veronica).
  • Brain Bleach: Peter was desperate in need of it once he saw Aunt May in bed with JJJ's father.
    Peter's inner monologue: Must. Wash. Out. Brain.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Mr. Negative can do it to people via touch, and did it to Spider-Man and Aunt May, though the latter was more Brainwashed and Jerkass.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Harry finally did it to Norman.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Mr. Negative.
    Mr. Negative: I propose a toast. To evil.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: Later stories, with few exceptions, grew progressively darker.
  • Character Development: A nice thing about BND was giving Eddie Brock another crack at trying to atone for the stuff he did as Venom and becoming Anti-Venom.
  • Continuity Porn: The Juggernaut story.
  • Cool Old Guy: Jay Jameson, Jonah's estranged father, first introduced helping Spider-Man save a group of people from a collapsing subway tunnel.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • Spider-Man got into two during "The Gauntlet" arc, first being on the receiving end, when Mr. Negative threw him several streets away with one punch, and then delivering, once he found out the Kravinoffs had killed his clone Kaine to resurrect Kraven The Hunter - he goes on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge and the people that almost killed him suddenly go down like flies.
      • During the same arc, Spider-Man has to save Juggernaut, who has found himself at the receiving end of one of these, with the new Captain Universe delivering.
      • And there is also Rhino vs. New Rhino, which has a large buildup culminating with old Rhino breaking the new one in a matter of seconds, and then killing him.
  • Darker and Edgier: The Gauntlet arc, which saw some of Spidey's old foes return one by one after being absent for a year of publication, with new or enhanced powers and/or new motivations to hate Spider-man. The series gradually grew darker as it went on, culminating in the incredibly bleak, and aptly named, Grim Hunt storyline, which featured the resurrection of Kraven the Hunter after his death in Kraven's Last Hunt.
  • Death of a Child: "The Gauntlet" arc sees Billy Conners getting killed by his own father after the Lizard side completely takes him over.
  • Derailing Love Interests: This happens to a few characters. Thanks to having a rotation of writers, each writer seemed to have their own OTP. Carlie Cooper, however, was the intended love interest, so that led to the derailing of several characters to make room for her. Michelle Gonzales, Pete's Tsundere roommate, suddenly became verbally and violently abusive towards him, and Mary Jane, despite still apparently being deeply in love with him, becomes more distant and even turns into a Shipper on Deck for him and Carlie. Bizarrely, even Black Cat, who was still in love with Peter even when she knew he was Happily Married to Mary Jane, became an approver of the Peter/Carlie relationship, despite never having met her. However, once Dan Slott took over full-time as writer, it took him less than a year to sink the Peter/Carlie relationship and brought Peter and Mary Jane much closer together as friends again.
  • Didn't Think This Through: At one point, Peter is ordered by his corrupt new boss to take unfairly unflattering pictures of the mayor candidate, who happens to be the father of Harry Osborn's girlfriend. Peter agrees, because he owes Harry some cash. It doesn't occur to him that his millionaire friend probably wouldn't care if he knew to get that money, Peter had to betray the father of the woman he loves.
  • Enemy Within: Mr. Negative and Martin Li — the former represents evil and the latter the good side of a man they once were and are actively trying to maintain a Balance Between Good and Evil by undoing other's deeds.
  • Five Stages of Grief: A side-story dealt with Flash Thompson coping with the loss of his legs. When he becomes depressed, he goes through the stages in the opposite of the conventional order. He eventually arrives at what Peter terms "stage 0: grace".
  • Four Lines, All Waiting: Part of the problem of the first year of the Brand New Day arc. Storylines such as the identity of Menace, the mystery of Harry's return, the election of a New Mayor of New York, and the Spider-Tracer murders were all milked for all they were worth for an entire year, and mostly resolved within a single storyline. Creators have gone on record saying they intended to touch base on the plot threads a lot more in the year prior, but ran out of time. This is despite having at least three times the length as any other series to make such plans. And that didn't stop plotlines in the next two years from being milked for all they were worth and not resolved until the "big finale" of Brand New Day - Origin of the Species.
  • Friends with Benefits: Spider-Man and Black Cat — Felicia doesn't even want to know who he is or if he's dating other people.
  • Harmless Villain: Override
  • Killed Off for Real: Rhino's wife, New Rhino, Billy Connors, Mattie Franklin, Madame Web, Sasha Nikolajevich, Grim Hunter (who came back to life three issues earlier).
  • Kissing Under the Influence: In Amazing Spider-Man issue 601, Peter and Michele wake up in bed naked. They apparently had sex after Parker had one too many at his Aunt May's wedding. Turns out, they hadn't — it's later explained that, as a gag, Michelle kept filling his glass with cider when Peter wasn't looking, so he thought it was wine.
  • Knight of Cerebus:
    • Electro, the perennial B-lister, kicks off The Gauntlet arc by getting a massive power boost that makes him more of a threat than ever. While his story is still pretty light-hearted, save for the leveling the Daily Bugle building, it was a harbinger of an arc that steadily got darker as it went.
    • Some considered Deadpool to be a double subversion - his fight with Spider-Man was funny but also foreshadowed (by Wade directly warning Spidey that the next weeks of his life will be a nightmare, no less!) the upcoming shift to Darker and Edgier that took place the very next issue.
  • Large Ham: New Rhino, It didn't do him any better.
  • Lighter and Softer: Compared with pre-OMD Spidey titles, before Cerebus Syndrome.
  • Mad Scientist: Doctor Trauma, who outfits Hammerhead with his adamantium skeleton.
  • Meaningful Name: Doctor Trauma again.
  • Meatgrinder Surgery: The surgical process Hammerhead underwent for his adamantium skeleton wasn't very pleasant. It was made even less pleasant when he insisted that Dr. Trauma shouldn't give him any anesthetic!
  • Medium Awareness: A throw-away villain during #557 featured a rather bizarre manifestation of this trope, including the ability to attack our hero through between panels, declaring itself to be 'beyond time.' Holding his scythe to one side would rip through the panel and jab at Spidey's head on the previous page.
  • Menacing Mask: The Inner Demons are a gang of bodyguards under the control of villain Mr. Negative and wear silvery bluish Chinese masks.
  • Never My Fault: Freak was a junkie who was chased into one of Dr. Conners' labs by Spidey. He shot himself up with experimental animal stem cells — which he thought were drugs — and ended up turning himself into a Humanoid Abomination. Naturally, he holds Spider-Man responsible for "making" him go into the building, and not, you know, his own rampant stupidity.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: After the death of Heroic Wannabe Jackpot, Spidey guilt-tripped the original Jackpot Sarah Ehret into donning the costume again despite her very much not wanting to, which resulted in her husband being killed by a supervillain, leaving her widowed.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: Brand New Day recasts C- and D-list loser villains into competent and credible threats. The Spot comes back as a vengeful psychopath who slowly drives his prey insane by stalking him, while the White Rabbit is an Ax-Crazy drug dealer who's willing to commit mass murder to collect the money she's owed. This also applies to classic Lee-Ditko-Romita villains like Electro, the Shocker, and the Rhino, who have all been rehabilitated from the Villain Decay they've suffered.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Ana Kravinoff.
  • Red Herring: More than a few times in the early run:
    • It was heavily implied that new, registered superhero Jackpot was Mary Jane Watson who had somehow gotten super powers. It wasn't. It's actually a woman named Alana Jobson, who bought an actually super-powered person's name and then doped herself up with a cocktail of performance-enhancing drugs because she wanted to be special.
    • Menace, a villain equipped with a very familiar glider and pumpkin bombs was implied to be Harry Osborn who had slipped back into old habits. Turns out, it was actually his girlfriend, Lily Hollister.
  • Romantic False Lead: The reporter Norah Winters. She was often flirtatious with Peter while they worked together, but later began dating Randy Robertson, son of Robbie Robertson, editor of the Daily Bugle.
  • Round Robin: Brand New Day was this with writers changing for each story or even during the same story and one issue even has three writers, one establishing main event and then them all dealing with an aftermath from different standpoints.
  • Run the Gauntlet: The story arc was even named The Gauntlet.
  • Shipper on Deck: Mary Jane and Black Cat are this for Peter and Carlie.
  • Superpowered Evil Side:
    • Mister Negative.
    • Lizard too, until he took total control, eliminating the original Dr Connors persona.
  • That Man Is Dead: Noticed by Norah, after Old Rhino avenged his wife.
    Norah: Aleksei Sytsevich is dead. New Rhino is dead. All hail old Rhino.
  • Title Drop: The first big event of the era made sneaky use of this trope. It had what sounded like a pretty typical comic title until Norman Osborn dropped it in-story:
    Osborn: For every life you save...there's a million new ways to die.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Almost all of classic villains, and some C-listers! Chameleon is now one of the most feared asassins in the world, Rhino's undergone a comeback that's made him look more like a force of nature than a common thug in a fancy suit, Mysterio became The Chessmaster, Doctor Octopus easily took control of New York City, Sandman can now create his own duplicates, Electro can turn into lighting, Lizard eliminated the old Connors side, even Hammerhead had become stronger — now he has exoskeleton made of adamantium and KEVLAR! THROAT!
  • Unstoppable Rage:
    • Rhino went on one after New Rhino killed his wife, and even Spider-Man couldn't stop him from impaling the guy.
    • Spidey himself went on it twice — first After the Kravinoffs brought back Kraven by killing Kaine and then when he thought supervillains killed Lilly's baby.
  • Unwanted Harem: Peter Parker had this, with every writer (until Slott took over the book) has a favorite girl. Throwing a lot of girls around Peter — Carlie, Lilly, Norah, Michele, Black Cat, Mary Jane, Betty Brant — resulted in this, which led to people complaining that Spider-Man turned into a bad Harem Anime.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Hilariously named The Extremist — an invisible serial killer who murders people for talking bad about superheroes. He's a With Us or Against Us type of person who sees all superheroes as purely good and all who criticize them as villains, trying to blur the lines between right and wrong.
  • What Is This Feeling?: The Lizard when Curt Connor's emotions start bleeding into his after he ate Billy Connor's.
Lizard: I feel strange. What's that feeling?
Spider-Man: It's called shame. You killed a child. Get used to it.
  • With Us or Against Us: To the Extremist, you are either with the heroes or with the villains, and anyone who dares to criticize superheroes or even laugh at them is evil and schemes to blur the line between good and evil— and therefore, must be eliminated. He even tried to kill the guy who made a website dedicated to laughing at Spider-Man—who happened to be Peter Parker, himself.
  • Writer on Board: At one point, Peter derails a scene to talk about how he's too young to get married, and that the only Mrs. Parker in his life is his dear Aunt May, almost going into full-on Author Filibuster territory. Very subtle.
  • Your Mom:
    • Spider-Man and Deadpool end their fight by challenging each other to a good old-fashioned "Yo Mama" contest.
      Deadpool: Your mom is so fat that Hank Pym had to beat her up in the back of the Quinjet!
    • Wade also had something he calls Yo Mammageddon — a "your mom" insult that is so terrible that it can make people cry until they die from dehydration. He was just about to unleash it upon Spidey, when... his timer hit zero. He'd reached the end of how long he was supposed to keep Spidey occupied. When someone accused him of not actually having an ultimate Yo Momma joke, he whispered half of it into the poor kid's ear. The kid burst into tears.