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Comic Book / One Moment in Time

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"See, to me, the reason I wanted to get married was to have kids. If that's no longer a part of the equation, then marriage is just a piece of paper."
Mary Jane

One Moment in Time is a 2010 story arc in the Marvel Comics series The Amazing Spider-Man (1999), running from issues #638-641. It follows-up on the 2007 storyline One More Day, which delivered a Cosmic Retcon to Spider-Man's status quo. After One More Day magically rewrote Spider-Man's history and continuity, the story moved on - the exact nature of many of the changes wasn't revealed. One Moment in Time revisits some of these unanswered questions. It's written by Joe Quesada, with art by Paolo Rivera.

Back in what was supposed to be Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson's wedding week, the demon lord Mephisto quietly releases an apprehended thug and Peter is badly injured trying to recapture him, causing him to miss the ceremony. This leads MJ to reconsider marriage, instead settling for a committed-monogamous-but-not-official relationship.

Fast-forward to the events of One More Day; Aunt May makes a miraculous recovery, but this prompts the Kingpin to take out another hit on Mary Jane's Aunt Anna. When Mary Jane gets hurt protecting her, Peter regrets ever revealing his identity and begs Doctor Strange to make people forget. Strange talks Reed Richards and Tony Stark into helping out, setting it up so that only Peter will remember what happened. However, Peter spares Mary Jane the mindwipe too, but afterwards she tells him she can't deal with putting other people in danger just by knowing Spider-Man and leaves him. In the present, Peter and MJ patch up their relationship - but deciding they're Better as Friends, with MJ telling Peter to get over her and find someone else.

(NOTE: Please help move One Moment in Time-specific examples from the One More Day page.)

One Moment in Time provides examples of the following tropes:

  • For Want of a Nail: Mephisto undoes Peter and MJ's marriage by unlocking all the doors of a police car holding a recently captured criminal who swore payback on Spider-Man and his arresting officer both. After escaping, he tracks down the officer in an assassination attempt Spider-Man tries to thwart. Peter ends up suffering a blow to the head in the scuffle, leaving him too groggy to make it to the wedding on time.
  • Hypocrite:
    • You know the Marvel event comic Civil War where Iron Man and Reed Richards fought their friends and locked them up in an extradimensional prison without trial so that super heroes would have to register, making them known and having them be accountable? Well, in this comic they team up with Dr. Strange to make everyone in the world forget who Spidey is, meaning he doesn't have to be held accountable for his superhero actions. And yes, this pretty much goes against the base principle what they fought the Civil War for in the first place.
    • MJ's quote about marriage and having kids puts her in this light, even if that wasn't the intention. The Retcon supposedly only erased the fact that Peter and MJ got married, but everything else is supposed to have happened as it was printed. That includes the fact that Peter and MJ almost had a daughter out of marriage! And they were both thrilled about it. And then utterly devastated when MJ had a miscarriage.
  • Ironic Echo: "He's always running off as Spidey when you least expect it." The look on Mary-Jane's face just screams "NOT FUNNY".
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: At Peter's urging, Dr. Strange, Tony Stark, and Reed Richards somehow combine science and sorcery to erase everyone's knowledge of Spidey's identity (though people are aware that they once knew who Spider-Man was). Keep in mind, these are the same people who could do jack about a gunshot wound.
  • Love Cannot Overcome: Mary Jane breaks up with Peter, not because she can't handle being in danger for knowing Spider-Man, but because she can't handle putting other people who are close to her in danger because she knows Spider-Man.
  • Mind Screw: What with all the retcons and stuff getting 'clarified' it's starting to get very confusing. Most prominently, the situation listed under Canon Discontinuity makes it so that the story itself probably can be completely ignored as having never happened... but it can't because it still has an impact somehow.
  • Retcon: The Story actually retcons how the Deal with the Devil occurred. In the original, Mary Jane made the deal, after Peter essentially guilt-tripped her into doing it for him. Here? MJ takes the initiative to make the deal because Peter would never even think of making the deal.
  • Retraux:
    • The past is drawn as similarly as possible to the original The Wedding! storyline. Of course, it's weird when past-bride-to-be MJ gets her cell phone.
    • And when Spidey references the "But I did just stay at a Holiday Inn" joke from the present-day's ad campaign... in a time set years before that campaign started.
  • The Reveal: The whole point of the story is to literally reveal what happened on Peter and MJ's wedding day, but on a smaller scale it's also revealed that the two completely retained their memories of their past lives.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: In the end, making the deal with Mephisto in the first story accomplished absolutely nothing. History still plays out exactly the same, Peter still unmasks himself to the world, and Aunt May still gets shot. The big difference being instead of making a deal with Mephisto in the "new reality" Peter spends more time Aunt May, spiriting Aunt May back to life in the process. The deal was never truly needed.
  • Ship Tease: Promos for One Moment in Time and afterward suggested that Peter and MJ would rekindle their relationship after being estranged since One More Day. But instead it was Ship Sinking... which was followed up by a back and forth between Ship Tease and Ship Sinking over the years. OMIT itself ended with Mary Jane and Peter becoming friends again, but she told Peter to get over her or else he'll miss someone else that's perfect for him.
  • Voodoo Shark: In the end, Mephisto never did bring Aunt May back to life. All he did was prevent Peter and Mary Jane from ever being married. It was the power of Peter's love that brought Aunt May back to life. Two million dollars of donation, the top minds of the Marvel Universe, and the Mystical Powers of Dr. Strange couldn't save Aunt May but Peter's love did. Yeah. Even though his love for her compelled him to run around the world asking everyone who he could think of that could help for help.