Comics : Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane #11

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This review was first published on: 2006.

Background...

Mary Jane has come to the conclusion that the right thing to do with Peter is to leave Peter and Gwen alone so that they can develop their relationship together without having MJ trying to get in the way. She likes Peter, which is obvious because if she didn't then there really wouldn't be any problem, but Mary Jane also likes Gwen now and, since hanging out with her, has started a new friendship with her. The last thing that would help MJ and Gwen be better friends is if MJ tried to steal Peter away from her.

It has also been revealed that the Looter who has been plaguing the neighborhood around Midtown High is none other than Mr. Limke, the school's guidance counselor, who has been advising Mary Jane to do whatever it takes to make herself happy. After the Looter was unmasked, Mary Jane couldn't very well take his advice, what with him being a criminal and all.

In Detail...

"The MJ Thing"
Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane #11 (Story 1)
Dec 2006 : SM Title
Editor:  Mark Paniccia
Writer:  Sean McKeever
Artist:  Takeshi Miyazawa
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Review

It's the debut of Mary Jane starring in the Twelfth Night, at which she receives a standing ovation, followed afterwards by a large gathering of people outside in the hallways. Liz and Flash are talking about how great the play was and Liz is thrilled that Flash was there with her and how proud she is of him for talking the rest of the football team out of trashing the stage.

Flash comments on how loud Liz is being and that maybe not everyone in the school heard her, but his attentions are focused on the line of guys, all with a single red rose each waiting outside the wardrobe room. Mary Jane comes bursting out of the door to find Flash and Liz there. She tells them how happy she is that they saw her play. Liz sees the rose MJ is holding and thinks that it's probably from Peter, but MJ tells her that she has no idea who the rose is from. She's got about two dozen already from different "secret admirers". Before Liz has a chance to talk to her, MJ bounces away, saying how she has to go to a number of parties and that she really must run. Flash and Liz are left standing in the hallway confused about what just happened.

In the bathroom at a party, Tris is yelling at Harry asking him why was he kissing some other girl. Harry brushes her off and tells her that their relationship was never that serious to begin with. He tells her it was only just fun, which causes Tris to run from the bathroom and the party in tears. Back at the party Harry approaches Norah and tells her that he just ended it with Tris and that they're cool now. Norah doesn't see things the way Harry does though and calls him a jerk for making her believe that things with Tris were already over. This is definitely a different Harry Osborn that I remember.

Harry, left there without any arm candy, leans against a wall and scopes out the party when a guy named Luke comes over and starts talking to him about chicks. Harry is a pretty fast character. He's already got his sights set on another girl at the party, Liana, a cheerleader. Harry asks Luke, what about him, and Luke tells him he's eyeing Mary Jane. This takes Harry by surprise and tells Luke to stay away from her. Luke laughs at him, saying that Harry really should follow his own rules.

Instead of staying and dealing with Luke, Harry goes right to MJ, but MJ introduces him to the guys she's talking to and bolts, leaving a perfect opportunity for Luke to make his move, but Harry hasn't given up completely just yet, grabbing MJ and asking her why she just ditched him. Mary Jane says how they talk all the time and that, it being a party and all, she really needs to circulate, and she does, right back over to Luke. Harry is left standing there watching some dude he doesn't approve of, trying to mac with MJ.

Back at school Harry is questioning Flash about why Mary Jane is acting the way she is. Flash doesn't know but he thinks something happened between Peter and her a couple weeks ago. Harry then reveals what is really bothering him about MJ, that with her sudden popularity and how she no longer has any time for him, it's made him feel like a nobody, like everyone other guy Mary Jane has throwing themselves at her.

After school at the Coffee Bean Gwen and Peter are making plans for later that night. Peter mentions that there must be something decent playing at the movies, but Gwen thinks it's a better idea to rent a movie and then go watch it at her place. She reaches across the table and places her hand on Peter's only to have him pull his hand away and get all red in the face. Gwen teases him and before they can really get into why Peter has such a problem with public displays of affection, Gwen spots Mary Jane at the counter ordering a coffee. Gwen waves her over, but MJ just waves as if to say hello and walks out. Gwen comments on how strange that was and Peter tells her it all started when MJ came over his house and told him how happy she was that he's dating Gwen now. Gwen just thinks MJ was being sweet.

Deciding he's going to get to the bottom of what's going on with MJ, Peter puts on his Spider-Man costume and heads over to MJ's house. Spider-Man asks what's been going on, that he hasn't seen much of her lately, and MJ tells him how great everything is and how busy she's been. Spider-Man tells her that's great, just as long as she still has time for their little heart-to-heart chats on top of the roof at school, but MJ tells him that she needed those when she had all kinds of things to work out but now that everything is so great, she doesn't really need those talks anymore. Spider-Man takes the hint and swings off saying he'll see her around. As he gets far enough away so she can't hear him, he says, "Ouch", rightly so.

Back inside Mary Jane is washing off her makeup in her bathroom as she starts to cry in front of the mirror.

In General...

The only way that Mary Jane seems to be able to deal with not being with Peter and being miserable about it, is to pretend she's completely happy all the time. After the success of her theater debut, she has been the hottest thing at Midtown High since Spider-Man first appeared, the only difference is guys seem to be completely throwing themselves at MJ, whereas no one besides MJ was throwing themselves at Spidey.

Mary Jane seems to be revelling in all the attention she's been getting even if it's from complete strangers, and who wouldn't, but she is not only basking in the light of admiration of her peers, she's also pushing everyone who was close to her away. She barely talks to Liz anymore and in the coffee bean when Gwen waved MJ only to her table, MJ waved back and then left.

With all the attention she's getting, she's also attracting some sketchy guys, one of which actually tells Harry about his intentions to hook up with MJ and still pursues her even after Harry told him not to. Harry tries to look out for her but it feels more like he's just jealous with how popular MJ has become and how she no longer has time to even talk to Harry anymore, making Harry feel like a nobody.

Realizing that Mary Jane is changing Peter goes to talk to her as Spider-Man, but she completely blows him off. Not only does Mary Jane not have time for all her friends, she no longer has time for her favorite costumed crime fighter.

Overall Rating...

I gave this issue about an average rating not because it was a poorly written story or drawn badly, but just because I didn't enjoy seeing Mary Jane's complete change of character. In the early Amazing Spider-Man issues, Mary Jane was the always smiling, never upset, party girl, but it felt like such a drastic change from how she's portrayed in the earlier books of this series and how she is now.

Don't get me wrong, I don't think this is a bad direction to take the book but I just don't like seeing the main character of this comic that I love, turn into someone who is hard for even her friends to be friends with. If they don't really like her, than how are the readers supposed to like her as well. Mary Jane does reveal at the end of the book that she's really just playing the party girl part and that everything is still getting to her, but I need more of the real Mary Jane and not this character she's trying to be.

Another problem I had with this book is how badly Harry Osborn is shown. Man, he's such a jerk. Yeah, he's only a B-list character in this series, but it just seems weird for Harry to be a bigger prick than Flash Thompson, who, even though has some faults, is starting to become a decent human being in the series.

I did like this new avenue for character development to come up with Peter. When Gwen brings up the idea of renting a movie and bringing it back to her house, Peter is completely taken by surprise. I can't remember any of the the early issues of Amazing Spider-Man tackling sex at all, and rightly so. It was such a different time back then, but now-a-days, high schoolers do have to deal with the whole sex issue and I think it's great that Peter will have to deal with it now as well.