Saturday, April 26, 2003

Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane #5 Review

I didn’t realize that this was an ongoing series. That’s good to hear, as this series has been quite fun. This issue is no different, as Sean McKeever manages to take a real risk, and I think that it pays off big time. The risk? To show a date between Mary Jane and Spider-Man and have it turn out BADLY. The risk is that you do not want to alienate your audience (the title of the book IS Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane, after all), but McKeever manages to pull it off, I believe, as he stresses the relationship between Mary Jane and Peter Parker. Of course, at the same time, he also introduces, at the end, a twist ending that belongs in a sitcom writer’s bag of tricks, but I will forgive McKeever, as the book is just too much fun not to.

The artwork from Takeshi Miyazawa and Christina Strain (with Miyazawa producing the pencils and Strain the colors) is strong, as they get across the points that McKeever wants to get across each time he needs them to. In addition, they even manage to make the action sequences (in which this book is not big on) look good.

The star of the book, though, is McKeever. The book lives and dies on his story and dialogue, and lucky for us, the book lives well. He infuses the book with so much HONESTY that it is almost like he’s stalking teenagers to see how they interact with each other. Tell me that’s not the case, Sean!!

The two key sequences in the comic are the date with Spider-Man and Mary Jane and the post-date dish between Mary Jane and her best friend, Liz Allen. The former is handled well, to a tee. Mary Jane gets to see how the City looks a lot different when you are whizzing by it at high speeds, or if you’re perched on a web looking at the sky. At the same time, Mary Jane is a normal girl (perhaps a special girl, but normal, nonetheless), so she really can’t RELATE to these experiences, and at the same time, Spider-Man cannot really relate to the experiences a typical date entails. And it’s not just the fact that he has to break-up robberies while they are on the date, it’s just that Spider-Man just can’t go for, like, a carriage ride. It just doesn’t work – he essentially exists on a different level than typical teens, and that’s not something that Mary Jane can get used to. A good example of this is her sheer mystification at how unselfish he is. It’s handled extremely well by McKeever.

The post-date dish between Mary Jane and Liz is probably handled even better, as Liz manages to tell Mary Jane things that we, the reader, know (i.e. Peter is the right guy for you), but the way McKeever has her deliver the lines, he never has her lose her own voice, which is a notable achievement for a writer, as I am sure we are all familiar with the concept of writer’s having characters speak in THEIR voice.

The ending of the comic sets up the rest of the series well, and I must admit, while it’s quite a twist – it’s one we should have been expecting, but I dunno…it seems kinda silly to me. But I trust McKeever enough that I will see where he’s going with it. I would recommend this comic without reservation.

Read the Review


Blogger Dean Trippe said...

i'm suprised to say i'm a big fan of this series. i'm glad to hear it's ongoing! :)

4/26/2006 06:25:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is genuinely a quality comic book. I wish there was some way that I, as a single, childless, man in my 30's could support this book without feeling really really creepy. Because I want to support this kind of effort to reach out to the next generation of readers. Anyone who like shojo should read this.

4/26/2006 11:56:00 PM  
Blogger Matt Brady said...

Yes, very enjoyable comic. I probably wouldn't get it, but my wife likes it a lot, so I buy it for her, and then get a lot of enjoyment out of reading it. Also of note in this issue is the letter column, which doesn't actually have any letters, but rather contains an interview with McKeever, Miyazawa, and Strain. It's very funny, and we learn that McKeever is like a big girl. And he cries easily.

4/28/2006 11:37:00 AM  
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