I think what really bugs me about BND/OMD, and later this whole weird end-of-Clois/SupermanXDiana clusterfuck, is I can’t help seeing it as a fetish and a childishness and—okay, I’m being really unfocused in my thoughts. First off, I’m not opposed to to retelling stories in different ways or for different audiences. If the DC or Marvel universe had been ended in a satisfactory way and they rebooted the whole thing from the beginning and said “alright, now we’re going to tell a story where maybe Peter ends up with Gwen, or Felicia, or even Harry Osborn, because this is a new story separate from the old one, which you got closure on.” That I’d be cool with. The nature of serial storytelling is to have a beginning, then a permanent middle, and sometimes maybe an ending. Peter will always be Spider-Man. He becomes Spider-Man, then he stays Spider-Man; he can’t die or retire or put all the bad guys in jail for good and live in a crime-free Manhattan utopia. So okay. This eternal second act is what Spider-man comics are all about.
THE PROBLEM arises when we look at romantic relationships incorrectly, as a fetch quest with the woman love interest as an OBJECT. In which case, getting the girl is the END of the story and will never ever happen. This is why you get a lot of sequels where, after the hero gets the girl at the end of the last movie, they break up in-between movies and in the second one he has to win her back again. Whereas in a more realistic/feminist/good-writing world, ‘getting the girl’ is just the first act of the journey and now the eternal second act is Peter and Mary Jane being in a relationship and making it work. And that third act, that ending of them living happily ever after, that never does or has to arrive—sleeping together or getting married or having a kid is not a Happily Ever After, it’s The Adventure Continues. So just has Peter can fight crime indefinitely, he and MJ can be in a relationship indefinitely. We can put them growing old together and dying in the same category as Peter retiring or being killed in action. Maybe it’ll happen in the year 3000, but not in issue 224 or whatever.
And really, this is a cultural problem. Everyone says they like love stories, but we really don’t tell love stories. We tell stories about infatuation, not that infatuation transitioning to other aspects of love. We’re totally focused on this one (admittedly sexy, interesting) part of a romance, but we’re saying that it’s 100% of love and thus, ‘real’ love is being infatuated forever. Which is obviously impossible, so you get people leaving their wives and husbands and kids, even, to chase this feeling of infatuation again because they’re convinced they’re in love with people half their age. And it’s every bit as much a fetishization as a video of Ron Jeremy getting a footjob, but we don’t admit. We just wonder why there’s so much divorce, so many broken families.
Anyway, it stinks and I don’t like it.