Spiderman and Mary Jane have split up and have chosen to forget each other. After 21 years of marriage, you'd think the couple had settled down to a life of eternal bliss. No such thing! At the very least, you'd expect them to mature at 40 plus years old. Not a chance! And we will continue to see Spiderman jumping and swinging all over the place like he was a spring chicken; no facial lines, no flabs, no arthritis, full hair, all muscle and six pack abs.
My first reaction to the split was: "Does he have cobwebs in his brain? Did his kids have 8 legs and fancied eating insects? Or did Mary Jane give him a high he hasn't quite come down from?"
The story is that Spidey's Aunt May was seriously injured in an attack, and husband and wife agreed reluctantly to a deal with Mephisto, where everyone's memory about their relationship will be erased; in exchange for getting Aunt May on her feet again. They forget about each other, and he goes ahead with new adventures and how he used to do things, in a freewheeling , single guy mode. The original creator, Stan Lee, had nothing to do with this plot but was happy with the development. New twists have to be introduced to a character to retain the interest and patronage of readers.
The story line is patched with sacrifice to save a life, perhaps to appease the conservatives who may not take too kindly to the "technical divorce" of their Superhero. It returns Spidey to his former activities of helping the poor, the oppressed, and the powerless; to reinvigorate the interest of the liberals. It takes him to battle against the evil forces which is attractive to the rightist elements of society. The drawback is the "erasure" of the institution of Marriage so he can return to his bachelor days in wild abandon. This may not sit well with the Evangelicals who value the institution of Marriage and who would disdain breaking up a union under false pretenses. Feminists too may be offended by this act and may dismiss Spiderman as a philandering middle aged pig.
There have been revisions of story lines in the past like the Death of Superman in the mid-ninety's; the rework on Iron Man; and, the death of Captain America; only to return to the original track due to the volume of negative reactions received. Sales will eventually determine the feasibility of changing or adding twists and turns in the character, or perhaps to seek new readers to replace their aging patrons. Also, the readiness of the mainstream media to indulge developments in pop culture normally raises interest, and merchandising of the character heightens up enthusiasm that keeps the cash register constantly ringing.
Spidey might be pitted against the Al Qaida, or he could endorse politicians like Bloomberg, Huckabee, or McCain. Or maybe he would be interested in anointing Barack Obama, who finds Ronald Reagan as the true change agent after getting tired of the excesses of the 60's and 70's; and who seems to be seeking the GOP nomination instead! The split may even lead Rudy Giuliani to seek a relationship with Mary Jane!
I hope she shacks up with Prince William instead. That'll teach Spiderman!