as some of you probably remember, I jumped back on the ASM train when BND rolled round and have been pretty glad I did. Like most of us here, I still loathed and despised OMD, the story that paved the way for this new direction. While I never actually read it, I did keep track of things through reviews, spoilers and such, and I was pretty disgusted. Now, the other day I had the chance to actually read through the story for the first time, -- and to my surprise, I enjoyed it.
First of all, I was very impressed with the fact that we actually got to see Peter seek out his various super-powered contacts for help. Such possibilties are usually ignored for the sake of the story at hand, so seeing this play out "realistically" for once was a real treat, IMO. The notion that no scientist, mutant or mystic in the MU could help is more than a little fishy, of course, but at least this very logical question was not swept under the table. For a story that many fans -- myself included -- considered the worst Spider-Man story ever, that's pretty good.
I also enjoyed Peter meeting his alternatve selves. I dig such scenarios anyway, and it was a nice way, semi-subtle way of showing Mephisto's abilities to readers who might not be familiar with him. He's already manipulating time and reality here, so when he does it again at the end of the story, we already have a basic understanding of the way his powers work. Overall, it was fun to read and shows good thinking on part of the author.
I actually "got" why Mephisto chose to ask for the marriage, too. He actually explained it pretty well. He had an understandable reason for not taking Peter's soul, so what else was he going to ask for? Peter's powers or health maybe? Peter would've gladly sacrificed himself for May, thus depriving Mephisto of his "fun", so that wasn't an option. Of course, Mephisto could have asked Peter to choose someone else to suffer die in May's place or something along those lines, but I think we can all agree that Peter wouldn't have agreed to that one in the end. Looking at this from Mephisto's point of view, asking for the marriage made the most sense; -- it was so big a price that Peter wouldn't agree easily, yet not so horrible that his moral code would allow him to reject it outright. Is it petty? Sure. But, from a biblical point of view, that's exactly what the devil is; -- a petty, tempter, always out to exploit and enjoy even the tiniest of human weaknesses. The glorification of the marriage didn't really bother me much, either. Sure, Mephisto laid on a little thick, but the Bible states that any marriage is holy, so this actually makes sense, too.
I actually liked OMD so much that it has now made its way on my "to buy"-list. It's still a reset button dressed up as a story, but that dressing actually turned out to be much more becoming that I thought possible. In fact, it turned out pretty good. I don't think I'll ever list OMD among my favorite stories, but it's not bad, either, and it does make for a competent end to the era of the Parker-Watson marriage, IMHO.
Thoughts? Comments? Hate mail?