This feature is basically a counterpart to our Left Unresolved feature. That feature is for plotlines that were, well, left unresolved. In this one, though, we spotlight examples of long unresolved stories that WERE ultimately resolved by later writers. The only rule is that at least four years have to pass between the plot point being introduced and it being resolved.
Today, we see how Roger Stern resolved one of his own plots involving Aunt May’s past over twenty years after he introduced it!
1983’s Amazing Spider-Man #238 (by Roger Stern and the John Romitas) was an important issue, as it introduced the Hobgoblin. However, it also introduced an Aunt May plotline that was not resolved until 2009!
The issue opens with Aunt May setting up her new tenant house business…
Peter changes into Spider-Man and hunts the bad guys down, but then they scatter. Spidey picks off three of them, but when one of them runs into the sewers, Spidey figures, “Eh, 3 out of 4 isn’t bad.” A wonderful student of comic history, Stern smartly sets up an Amazing Fantasy #15 parallel here, as Spider-Man deciding NOT to catch a crook ends up biting him in the ass just like it did in his origin story, when the crook he let go ends up killing Ben Parker. Here, the crook he let go finds one of Green Goblin’s hideouts and sells the location to the man who would become one of Spider-Man’s deadliest foes (for a few years, at least) – the Hobgoblin!
May, meanwhile, is worried about Peter and then she drops in a thought balloon a pretty big bombshell…
What the? WHAT child, May?!
However, since Stern’s run was cut relatively short (he left after Amazing Spider-Man #250, although incoming writer Tom DeFalco worked off of Stern’s plots for the next two issues), he left some unresolved stories. The most famous, of course, was “Who was the Hobgoblin?” Stern later solved that one himself during the 1990s, so he’s no stranger to returning to ideas many years later. This Aunt May mystery is another one.
By the way, years later, in Amazing Spider-Man #370, J.M. DeMatteis and Aaron Lopresti did a great short story where Aunt May reflects on the seeming return from the dead of Richard and May Parker by looking back at her life. Here, we see DeMatteis come up with a reason for why May and Ben never had any kids (boy, if you ever want someone to give you a character-driven, realistic and relatable story, even in the midst of a ridiculous concept like “Spider-Man’s parents are back from the dead!” then J.M. DeMatteis is SO your guy!)…
So anyhow, in 2009, Roger Stern finally resolved his Aunt May story! Go to the next page to see how he did it.
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