I'm writing this question on shaky ground, as I've not read the comics in question (still looking for an opportune moment to step in and I don't want to be too spoiled), but I've reccently(ish) heard Spiderman made a deal with the devil to save his Aunt May, and sacrificed his child. I heard no one in the marvel universe could help Aunt May, which sounds bizarre.

The question I'd like to ask then is this; Did he really have to make a deal with the devil to save his Aunt?

EDIT: The story in question is "One More Day" by J. Michael Straczynski and Joe Quesada, published by Marvel Comics from November 2007 to January 2008. The Wikipedia entry summarizes the events, saying:

After his Aunt May has been shot, Spider-Man seeks help to save her life. He encounters the demon Mephisto, who offers to save her life if Spider-Man gives him his marriage. Spider-Man and his wife Mary Jane Watson agree, and this part of their history is erased so that, effectively, they have never been married. Additionally, the demon erases the world's collective memory of Spider-Man's secret identity, which had been exposed in Civil War #2. The storyline set the stage for a restructuring of the Spider-Man titles, resulting in the cancellation of Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man and The Sensational Spider-Man, with Amazing Spider-Man revamped as a thrice-monthly publication.

The reality shift only affected the marriage between Peter Parker and Mary Jane. In the new reality, they lived together and were in a serious, committed relationship, but were never actually married. The events of "One More Day" were expanded upon in the 2010 storyline "One Moment In Time," published in Amazing Spider-Man, written by Joe Quesada with art by Paolo Rivera. This storyline showed what happened in the new timeline instead of the wedding, originally depicted in Amazing Spider-Man Annual #21 (1987). Essentially, Peter Parker missed the wedding due to superheroics, proving that they should stop the wedding due to their unstable lives.

  • The answer kinda depends on what you mean by "really have to" - are you asking if the only way to bring Aunt May back to life was via a deal with Mephisto? Or are you asking if Spiderman was somehow compelled to make the deal?
    – Tacroy
    Commented Feb 7, 2012 at 17:54
  • The former, though the latter would also make a good question.
    – AncientSwordRage
    Commented Feb 7, 2012 at 17:59
  • For the latter - Almost inequivocably not, but he was manipulated into thinking it was the right choice, even though everything in the comic lends credit to the idea that it most certainly was not.
    – Zibbobz
    Commented Jan 29, 2015 at 15:49

2 Answers 2


The way the story was written there was no-one in the Marvel Universe who could help Peter.

Initially he asked Dr. Strange but he could do nothing to help Aunt May who was dying of a gunshot wound. Dr. Strange does help Peter though in contacting other people who may be able to help including Dr. Doom, Reed Richards, the High Evolutionary, and even Doctor Octopus. None of them can help.

Peter attempts to use a spell to travel back in time without Dr. Strange's assistance and is injured. Strange heals his wounds and sends him on his way to spend time with Aunt May before she dies.

Peter then meets Mephisto who offers to save Aunt May provided that he be allowed to change history so Peter and Mary Jane were never married. The couple agrees provided that Mephisto also erase the world's knowledge that Peter Parker is Spider-Man. The deal is done, the plan goes off, Aunt May is saved, Peter and MJ were never married, no one remembers that Peter is Spider-Man. That is the in-universe explanation.

The real world explanation is that Marvel Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada wanted to return Spider-Man to his roots and to that end he wanted Peter to be single. Quesada also felt that a single Peter Parker was more relatable for fans. Fan reaction was primarily outrage and derision.

  • 1
    So was any reason given as to why no one could help with a gunshot wound?
    – AncientSwordRage
    Commented Feb 20, 2012 at 7:34
  • @Pureferret From what I recall there was too much damage to be repaired. Also, Aunt May is very old and her body wouldn't recover from whatever surgery they did. Mephisto changed history so she was never shot.
    – Legion600
    Commented Feb 20, 2012 at 20:42
  • 17
    I'd like to point out that 1 week before this comic was published, Elixir of the X-Men had nigh-instantly healed a dude whose heart was literally ripped out by a demon. Commented Jul 4, 2012 at 3:40
  • 6
    @Zibbobz I don't think the X-men were considered a terrorist group at the time of OMD. Regardless, Peter should have been able to contact them as their location was not a secret and he has had a relatively positive relationship with them.
    – numaroth
    Commented Sep 24, 2014 at 18:46
  • 4
    @JordaanMylonas - not only that, but the X-Men have at least 3 students at the school who can instantly heal pretty much any damage done to another. Not to mention that Wolverine's blood has also been used to instantly heal a human before. Obviously, though, neither solution would fit within the narrative they wanted.
    – Omegacron
    Commented Jul 8, 2015 at 15:48

There are many people in the Marvel universe with healing abilities. The fact that Peter was not able to find someone who could heal Aunt May from a gunshot wound is laughable. There are probably (at least) 3 mutants in the X-Men universe who have healing abilities.

Also, in Mephisto's changed history Aunt May was still shot. But how did Quesada have her life saved? Peter uses "the power of love" by giving her chest compressions. Yes, according to the head of Marvel, chest compressions can cure gunshot wounds.

  • Would not the changed history indicate that Peter did not in fact need the deal to save Aunt May? And would that not better fit Mephisto's character, to offer him something he didn't actually need but only thought he did?
    – trlkly
    Commented Jul 14, 2014 at 23:28
  • 2
    If Peter really needed a chance at happiness, why not change history to start him back the day he got bit and altered that one event? Aunt May's alive. Uncle Ben's alive. No guilt. Probably would have won a Nobel Prize in Chemistry in that alternate universe.
    – shivsky
    Commented Feb 25, 2015 at 15:00
  • 1
    There's any number of cases of people injured to a degree that was allegedly past the ability of anyone in their respective comics universes to heal them. Professor Xavier is a good example for Marvel (his rare cures almost always get undone) and Oracle in the DCU. In both cases, the ongoing narrative requires that they remain afflicted, logic and past precedent be damned. Commented Dec 17, 2018 at 13:45

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.