While “One Moment in Time” hasn’t been as controversial as “One More Day,” its following up on the consequences of that story arc have been somewhat mechanical at times. When discussing last issue, I mused on it simply being an exercise in checking off the continuity loose ends created by “One More Day.” In the finale, Joe Quesada checks off the final two: Spider-Man’s real identity being public knowledge and the break-up of Peter and Mary Jane. That mechanical feeling remains, but it’s lessened by the playfulness in Quesada’s writing as he revisits the finale of “One More Day,” but with things playing out differently. The cuteness takes away from the emotion somewhat and the logic of how it plays out is somewhat questionable.
After Mary Jane and her Aunt Anna were targeted by the Kingpin’s men last issue, Peter has come to Dr. Strange, asking to make the world forget that he’s Spider-Man, and Dr. Strange has enlisted the help of Reed Richards and Tony Stark, but it’s still up in the air if they will do it. The question of removing the entire world’s knowledge that Peter Parker is Spider-Man is a big one and Quesada rightly brings up the failed attempts to do the same thing with the Sentry. However, the discussion comes across as hollow, like Tony and Reed question the idea only because of some idea that they should question it. Neither man seems too committed to his position and their arguments fall flat. Interspersed with their discussion is Peter watching over Mary Jane and never saying much of anything. The cutting back and forth breaks up the discussion of the three men, but becomes redundant very quickly.
The most interesting part of the issue comes after the knowledge that Peter is Spider-Man is erased and the comic shifts to Peter and Mary Jane’s relationship. For this scene, Quesada rewrites the debate the two had over Mephisto’s offer in the final part of “One More Day,” using the same art and pages. Comparing the two issues side-by-side, it’s surprising how much of the dialogue is the same with mostly small, subtle changes made. Remaining so close to the original scene makes some of the dialogue come off as stilted and it lacks a natural flow, but a lot of it works within this new context. The idea of it distracts from the scene to some degree.
Appropriately, this issue features more art by Quesada than Paolo Rivera, though most of it is old. Rivera’s art continues to be fantastic with its classic, minimalism, but, like the first part of this story, the shift between his art and the older art is quite the clash. Since Quesada’s art is used for both the framing scenes and the break-up scene, there’s a disharmony, like Rivera’s contributions aren’t as necessary. Having Quesada’s art plunked down for one scene in the time period that Rivera is drawing is disruptive. If it were any artist other than Quesada, the effect would be lessened, but it isn’t and that’s how the comic reads. There’s already a style clash and it’s only aggravated by the mixing of their art for the same time period, reminding me of a comic that required a fill-in artist to finish.
There’s a symmetry to how “One Moment in Time” ends after it began by using and adding to “Amazing Spider-Man” annual #19 with this issue rewriting scenes from “Amazing Spider-Man” #545, the finale of “One More Day.” Joe Quesada shows off a bit with dialogue that uses the same phrasing with small changes and it’s effective enough, though lacking in an organic flow at times. “One Moment in Time” does answer all of the questions it promised to address and Paolo Rivera’s art has been fantastic throughout. Still, in the end, the story can’t help but feel like it exists just to answer questions that didn’t necessarily need to be asked ever again. Nothing presented here makes the Spider-Man universe a more interesting place.