Keep in mind, I don't read many superhero comics, just a handful, but if you follow comics, it's impossible not to be aware of what is going on with the biggest names out there. For example, I just have to listen to others talk and I know all the plot points of Blackest Night without having to buy it and read it. It just doesn't interest me. I mean, it seems to be well done, and it certainly has the fans going nuts, so it's clearly doing something right. But I left my interest in Green Lantern behind years ago during the mess of making Guy Gardner a Green Lantern and then the whole Emerald Twilight/Zero Hour bullshit. It's kind of like why I stopped watching Cheers, when Sam and Diane were broken up in the third season. When things don't seem to be changed because of character and story evolution and more from editorial or producer fiat, you kind of lose interest. After all, things can and will change on a whim (like, oh, off the top of my head, a longstanding character suddenly being revealed to be gay), so why get worked up?
(This is also why I'm so thrilled to have editorial control over Stress Puppy, Sound Waves, and Head Above Water. ESPECIALLY Head Above Water. That's a tightrope right there, and I can imagine how it would be changed by editors concerned with building and maintaining brands instead of storytelling.)
Spider-Man was one of those characters that I lost interest in when I started realizing that Peter Parker was supposed to be a loser. If you read the early issues, with Stan Lee and Steve Ditko running things, you can see an actual evolution to Peter Parker. He was starting to grow, become a man. But Lee felt Spidey's appeal was that he was a school loser and couldn't get ahead as Peter Parker. When Ditko left, Parker became locked into the nebbish mode that persists to this day. The one thing he won at was love, scoring Mary Jane Watson as a wife, who not only was good looking, but clearly cared about and was devoted to Parker. When the wedding was coming, I remember people wondering if this was too much change for Parker. Parker didn't really change, you see. For example, he may have graduated high school, but in college, he was the same bookworm loser he was, just in a slightly different environment. It was the illusion of change, nothing really had. But marriage? That's pretty big and there's no way to downplay it.
Since then, various writers and editors have tried in vain to bust up Parker's marriage (basically, the one bit of happiness he had in his life) because they didn't like it. The whole point of the clone storyline was to create Spider-Man stories without that ball-and-chain Mary Jane hanging around. Recently, there was the One More Day storyline, where Parker makes a deal with the Devil (literally) to save his Aunt May who's about to die again (it's happened at least once, and I think more than that). For her to live, he basically hits the rewind button -- he and Mary Jane were never married, he has mechanical web shooters again, his identity is still secret, stuff like that. Basically, undoing decades of stories. How everyone else fits in is pretty much decided on the fly when characters from other series meet. All because the editor didn't like Parker being married. (The issue does feature a cop-out...I mean, a way to fix this, since Mary Jane whispers something to the Devil just before this happens, but whatever.)
So, back to that puzzle. They've been revealing it in quadrants, piece by piece. And the lower left corner was the only one left. I thought to myself, "Mary Jane will be there."
The last pieces are up. Yup, Mary Jane is there, in the wedding dress from when they got hitched.
So the fans are talking, some that maybe Brand New Day is just about over, and others that Brand New Day hopefully won't be over, because these are the best Spider-Man stories they've read in years (yeah, which is why sales are about half what they were before BND).
I look at the conversations and just shake my head. After all, these fans are just being manipulated. Marvel knows what buttons to push and is working them mercilessly. And even if somehow BND is erased and Parker and Mary Jane get back together, how long will that last, given how many attempts have been made to unhitch them all this time?
I don't see promises of stories. I see publicity stunts, shameless and without regard for sense. Here's hoping Parker and Mary Jane do wind up back together. The sooner they do, they sooner they can be broken apart, and the sooner they can be brought back together....it's very Liz Taylor and Richard Burton.