You might think the answer is simple at first - that the worst day of Peter Parker's life would be the day he lost someone incredibly close to him, and there are a few to choose from.
Uncle Ben was a huge impact on Peter and his death at the hands of a fugitive who Spider-Man had let slip past him held ramifications that would echo throughout the young hero’s life. However, as we can see in the latest Spider-Man films, Ben's death, while still being a noticeable absence, is downplayed to the extent that we can allow flirtatious scenes between Aunt May and Tony Stark. Ben’s death is also a catalyst, something that drives and defines Spider-Man as a superhero, and in the greater scheme of things is widely accepted as the death of one shaping the lives of thousands of others for the better.
So what about Gwen Stacy? her death was shocking when it first appeared in comics and felt like the entire ground had been ripped out from under spider-Man. The Green Goblin instantly cemented himself as not just a brilliant foil for the web-slinger, but as the villain to beat, leading to his death being some of the most cathartic reading in comic book history.
However, again this is a defining moment, and while the death was utterly heartbreaking for Spider-Man, his heart was eventually mended and he found love in the form of everyone's favourite redhead, Mary Jane. As callous as it sounds it was important that Spider-Man experience loss in both Ben and Gwen, as they represent two different facets of the curse of a superhero. One is that, and we all know it, with great power comes great responsibility, that Spider-Man has to protect everyone and not allow himself to be corrupted by personal desires, and the other teaches him to distance himself from those he loves in order to protect them.
Yet there is one day that Peter Parker experiences loss, learns nothing from the experience and worst of all, is something he actually chose to do.
We are, of course, speaking of the events surrounding Brand New Day. In this storyline Aunt May is hit by a bullet and is rushed to hospital where it’s confirmed that she will die. Peter, unable to accept this fate, approaches Mephisto and begs him to alter reality. The demon accepts but in exchange for this re-roll of the dice he demands that Peter gives up his marriage with MJ and their unborn child... which he actually does.
With reality rebuilt and MJ now separate from Peter once more, all he has to show for this is a very old woman who is still a stone's throw away from the grim reaper at the best of times. It was a story clearly done to reset the Spider-Verse but in the process gave Peter Parker his worst day ever. He chose to forgo losing someone in exchange for his happiness, his future, his security all for someone who - lest we not forget - now has the joy of still not being with Ben in this new world that Peter has created.
With this decision Peter Parker unleashed a huge sadness that he didn’t even consider, and in a massive slice of irony, turned a Brand New Day into his absolute worst.
We love teamwork! Who doesn't? This article is a collaborative effort between
Ewan Paterson and Jules Gill.