Over at Topless Robot, Rob Bricken recently asked readers for their favorite theories to explain away horrible plot holes from various shows, movies, and comics, a la the old Marvel No-Prize. One thoughtful comics reader named Matt Morrison offered an alternate explanation of the "One More Day" storyline in "Spider-Man," an incredibly clumsy and unpopular retcon that magically removed Peter Parker's marriage to Mary Jane through a literal deal with the devil.

The theory offers a helpful guide to exiting the bizarre plot twist somewhat gracefully, and makes significantly more sense than anything the comics offered:

FACT: Events in general seem to be geared toward making Peter's life as comically, unbelievably horrible as possible. He can't get a job. His roommates hate him and/or Spider-Man. Aunt May marries J. Jonah Jameson's father. Jolly Jonah becomes Mayor of NYC and immediately sets about making capturing Spider-Man priority one for everyone. And Norman Osborn - despite being publicly known as The Green Goblin - has become head of the national agency in charge of monitoring/commanding all the legally-operating superheroes in the United States

A lot of fans don't think ANY of this makes any sense. And it doesn't. Peter Parker - written properly - would never make a bargain with The Devil because it was easier than dealing with tragedy. It doesn't make any sense for Harry to be back from the dead because of Peter's bargain. And known-murderer and lunatic Norman Osborn being appointed to a national agency, much less being beloved by the public REALLY doesn't make any sense... unless this is all part of Norman's wish.

Would Norman make a literal deal with the devil to get power and a chance to cause as much chaos as possible by jacking around with the superheroes? Yes.

Check out the full explanation for yourself. Personally, I don't even mind that they removed the marriage so much as the fact that they did it in a way that made Peter Parker seem callow, fatuous, and unable to face the realities of life -- characteristics that represent the very worst stereotypes about comics. In many ways, the real deal with the devil was the one that Marvel made to get rid of the marriage by any means necessary, regardless of whether it honored the character or his history.

Kudos to Matt for finding a better, more intelligent, and more interesting exit strategy for this particular failure of imagination.

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