One Moment in Time

Discuss chronologies for characters in the main "Marvel Universe"

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One Moment in Time

Post by Paul Bourcier » Mon Sep 20, 2010 7:07 am

I'm surprised no one has brought this subject up yet, but how about that One Moment in Time story arc in ASM 638-641? In this story arc, we see flashbacks that I doubt will be included in the MCP.

My reading of this Brand New Day follow-up is that the flashbacks we see are actual events as they occurred in a divergent timeline that split from Earth-616 at the time of Spidey's and MJ's wedding. In this divergent timeline, Aunt May was still shot, but a non-Mephisto solution was found for her recovery. And public knowledge of Peter's ID was wiped clean without the help of Mephisto. All this resulted in the reality we know today.

My interpretation is that Mephisto held up his end of the bargain from One More Day by grafting Earth-616 reality onto the divergent timeline. (How he did this is beyond me.) All the events we know from comics that have been published are still valid, including Peter's and MJ.'s marriage, but from the perspective of present 616 continuity, the past consists of events as they transpired in the divergent timeline. I suspect that, for the most part, events from the divergent timeline are identical to mainstream 616 events. Still, it will be interesting to see how such factors as little May Parker will be handled.

If my theory is correct, then mainstream 616 events are not invalidated. However, flashbacks in ASM 638-641 cannot be reconciled with those events and will not be added to the MCP.

Thoughts?
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Re: One Moment in Time

Post by Michael » Mon Sep 20, 2010 7:42 am

The problem with the "divergent timeline" theory is that BOTH the deal with Mephisto and the events of OMIT seem to have happened for Peter and MJ. History has actually changed. I'm not sure how I'd include this in the MCP.

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Re: One Moment in Time

Post by Davide » Mon Sep 20, 2010 8:00 am

It's a good explanation!

But... what about all the other Marvel characters? I mean, did Mephisto change reality for all the Marvel universe, or only regarding Spider-Man? I think that he just wiped out from Earth-616 continuity all the events in the Marvel Universe from the day before Peter and MJ's marriage to the day of their marriage and from the end of Civil War to the first chapter of One More Day... and substituted them with very similar events, except for the fact that Peter and MJ did not marry, aunt May was saved by Peter and Doctor Strange erased the memory of Spidey's real identity. Concerning all the other characters in the Marvel Universe, the events were the same as in the original continuity. Yeah, this makes sense. Kind of.

But in this case the original Earth-616 events were all wiped out... they did happened, but now are no more. Nobody can remember them not because they were forgotten, but because they... well... were substituted with others. They are no more part of Earth-616 continuity (this sounds very weird to me, too, but still...). Probably they should be erased from the MCP, too. Or at least they should be put in another timeline.

Anyway, forgive me, but this is just ridiculous. How can any character in the Marvel Universe wipe out events from existence?? And not even the Living Tribunal or Eternity, but Mephisto?? Bah... Marvel has always told us that, if we change the past, we create ANOTHER universe with another continuity... we CAN'T change our own past (see Peter David in Hulk: Imperfect, for example). If Mephisto has changed the past, he should have created ANOTHER Earth in which Peter and MJ were never married, Aunt May was saved by Peter after Back in Black etc. But Earth-616 should have continued to exist unchanged.

Am I wrong?

God I hate continuity-erasers.

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Re: One Moment in Time

Post by Somebody » Mon Sep 20, 2010 10:09 am

While I like Paul B's theory, there seems to be a simpler option - namely, these issues are all told in flashback, yes? Why can't they just be false memories (with either a Sentry-style mental block when seeing any contrary physical evidence, or that evidence actually being physically altered by Mephisto to reflect the "new" reality), ala the various flashbacks in the HoMverse to before the HoM world existed (e.g., in CA5 11).

Mephisto made May get better, but everyone "remembers" some other reason. Peter & MJ got married, but their brains made up some reason why they didn't which Mephisto zapped everyone else into "remembering" too, etc.
Michael wrote:The problem with the "divergent timeline" theory is that BOTH the deal with Mephisto and the events of OMIT seem to have happened for Peter and MJ.
Well, there's precedent for merging timelines - recent precedent in fact, when Adam Warlock merged the MU with the timeline where he became the Magus to stop The Fault spreading, and turned himself into Adam Magus in the process.

But, really, the simplest option to me seems to be the "HoM" option. A reality shift was made in ASM 545 that (1) made the present-day conform to a set of rules (Peter/MJ never married and Aunt May lives vs Magneto ruling a world with mutants in charge) where (2) people's memories and physical evidence reflect the new status quo (no marriage certificate/etc vs Cap's old and remembers going to the moon) but (3) the past wasn't altered, only the present.

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Re: One Moment in Time

Post by Davide » Mon Sep 20, 2010 10:58 am

Well yeah, it might work, but this is just an opinion.

Sadly, nobody at Marvel said in any comic that the past wasn't altered. It appears that it has been altered, actually. And this is a hell of a problem.

I appreciate your thesis, but it's not official, nor it's confirmed by any event in the comic books :( .

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Re: One Moment in Time

Post by Michael » Mon Sep 20, 2010 11:19 am

But the only person who said the past was altered in-story was Mephisto, and he's the Prince of Lies.

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Re: One Moment in Time

Post by Davide » Mon Sep 20, 2010 11:21 am

True :mrgreen:

(but the problem remains...)

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Re: One Moment in Time

Post by Nathan P. Mahney » Mon Sep 20, 2010 9:01 pm

Is it really that big a problem? I just figured that the stuff that happens around One More Day (May's shooting and recovery, Peter's break-up with MJ, etc.) slots in between ASM #544 and 545. The flashbacks to the failed wedding overwrite what we originally saw in ASM Annual 21. Nothing else is changed, except you have to ignore every reference to Pete and MJ being married, which isn't really a chronology issue.
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Re: One Moment in Time

Post by Michael » Mon Sep 20, 2010 9:22 pm

Then what about the "One More Day" arc itself? Did it happen or didn't it?

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Re: One Moment in Time

Post by Nathan P. Mahney » Tue Sep 21, 2010 12:48 am

Michael wrote:Then what about the "One More Day" arc itself? Did it happen or didn't it?
Up to a point. I figured that the Mephisto deal stuff happened in the timeline before things were rewritten. The scenes shown in One Moment in Time are the ones considered by Marvel as canon right now, so they take precedence.
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Re: One Moment in Time

Post by Russ Chappell » Tue Sep 21, 2010 8:57 am

Michael wrote:But the only person who said the past was altered in-story was Mephisto, and he's the Prince of Lies.
+1

I don't understand why people are so eager to believe Mephisto.
Nathan P. Mahney wrote:you have to ignore every reference to Pete and MJ being married
Errr...I'd rather not.
Last edited by Somebody on Wed Sep 22, 2010 10:42 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: One Moment in Time

Post by Kevin W. » Tue Sep 21, 2010 10:33 pm

Nathan P. Mahney wrote:Is it really that big a problem? I just figured that the stuff that happens around One More Day (May's shooting and recovery, Peter's break-up with MJ, etc.) slots in between ASM #544 and 545. The flashbacks to the failed wedding overwrite what we originally saw in ASM Annual 21. Nothing else is changed, except you have to ignore every reference to Pete and MJ being married, which isn't really a chronology issue.
I thought this was explicitly how we were handling this (and that's why there hasn't been a thread on OMIT till now). I didn't see a need for debate: Put in the new material into ASM Annual 21, and add the new stuff that occurred between ASM #544 and 545. Aren't those the only changes needed to the MCP?
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Re: One Moment in Time

Post by Paul Bourcier » Wed Sep 22, 2010 6:42 am

Nathan wrote:
Nothing else is changed, except you have to ignore every reference to Pete and MJ being married, which isn't really a chronology issue.
We'll also need to ignore the whole Mephisto plot line from One More Day.

Regarding our ignoring Peter and M.J. being married...we've already accommodated retcons that change such one-time details as locations/settings (Iron Man's origin, and thje Avengers: Origin battle with Loki is up for discussion), but something about ignoring Spider-Man's marital status for a lengthy period of time really bothers me and borders on throwing all those stories out of the canon. And canonicity is definitely relevant to chronology.

Are there plotlines that hinged on Peter's marital status? Can we really re-read all those comics with glazed eyes and picture Peter and M.J. as cohabitating significant others? Did they choose to have a child out of wedlock? (If so, M.J. sure had a change of heart from those retcon flashbacks in One Moment in Time.)

The alternate timeline grafting theory preserves the authenticity of the original comics while making the present Earth-616's past as presented in One Moment in Time valid as well. The upshot of this theory is that flashbacks in One Moment in Time are not part of the timeline tracked by the MCP. Mephisto didn't quite lie -- the past was altered, but it wasn't rewritten. Both "pasts" exist; the present was just attached to a different reality, one that in most ways was identical to the "true" Earth-616's.

Another theory is that Mephisto altered everyone's memories and records, and that Peter and M.J. are recalling false events in One Moment in Time. In that scenario, the flashbacks in One Moment in Time don't count either, because they never actually happened. Mephisto did lie when he said the past was altered, and the authenticity of the original comics is preserved.

Both theories argue that flashbacks in One Moment in Time should not be added to the MCP. A big problem with both theories is that they presume lots of cosmic, reality-altering power on Mephisto's part. Then again, didn't the Space Phantom do the memory/record erasing thing for Steve Rogers?

I don't think anyone's willing to throw original comics out of continuity and out of the MCP. The question comes down to the canonicity of One Moment in Time's flashbacks and their inclusion in the MCP. Does anyone suppose we'll get a straight explanation from Marvel?
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Re: One Moment in Time

Post by Russ Chappell » Wed Sep 22, 2010 9:39 am

Paul Bourcier wrote:Both theories argue that flashbacks in One Moment in Time should not be added to the MCP. A big problem with both theories is that they presume lots of cosmic, reality-altering power on Mephisto's part.
But doesn't the alternative (the contention that Peter & MJ were never married) presume even more reality-altering power on Mephisto's part?

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Re: One Moment in Time

Post by Somebody » Wed Sep 22, 2010 10:36 am

Paul Bourcier wrote:Does anyone suppose we'll get a straight explanation from Marvel?
I expect them to actively AVOID giving a straight explanation.
Russ Chappell wrote:
Paul Bourcier wrote:Both theories argue that flashbacks in One Moment in Time should not be added to the MCP. A big problem with both theories is that they presume lots of cosmic, reality-altering power on Mephisto's part.
But doesn't the alternative (the contention that Peter & MJ were never married) presume even more reality-altering power on Mephisto's part?
Exactly. I even gave one possibility - the "Sentry option" - that involved no "reality-altering power" AT ALL, just healing Aunt May + a mindwipe combined with a big mental block that stops anyone recognising evidence that Peter & MJ were ever married, the same way people could look directly at a photo of the Sentry and only see a blank piece of paper while he was "forgotten".

[And, uh, that's part of the existing status quo anyway, with the "no deducing Spider-Man's secret ID" thing...]

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