Comics : Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane #18

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This review was first published on: 2007.

Background...

Mary Jane is now back to dating Harry Osborn with the strict condition that they don't take things too serious, Gwen has broken up with Peter because she found out that he still harbors strong feeling for Mary Jane, and Spider-Man is now supposedly dating Firestar. Loads of romantic drama here. But to top it all off, Liz Allen and Flash Thompson seem to be in the most stable relationship of all. What's up with that?

Last issue, Firestar tried to remove Spidey's mask so that she could kiss him, but he pulled away at the last minute. After Peter talks with Gwen and she tells him that what she really needs right now is her space, Spider-Man meets up with Firestar and this time he removes the bottom half of his mask and kisses her himself.

In Detail...

"The Nearness Thing"
Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane #18
Jul 2007 : SM Title
Summary: Harry Osborn is a Total Scumbag
Editor:  Mark Paniccia
Writer:  Sean McKeever
Artist:  David Hahn
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In a deserted classroom, yelling into his cell phone at one of his father's assistants, Harry is trying to get his father on the phone to tell him that he can't miss another one of his parent/teacher conferences or else Harry'll be expelled. Still not able to get through, Harry throws his phone down onto the floor, smashing it into numerous pieces. Hearing Harry yelling and seeing the remains of Harry's cell phone, Mary Jane walks in and asks if he's alright. He tries to blow it off as if it's nothing, but Mary Jane knows that he must be hurting so she pulls him close and hugs him tightly.

Later at the Coffee Bean Mary Jane is trying to get Liz to understand her predicament. MJ really cares for Harry and she wants to be there for him to comfort him now that he needs it, but she also doesn't want things to get too serious between them, and if she's the one he goes to in need of comforting, then things are getting way too deep for MJ's liking. Liz finally gets it but has little to no help to offer.

Flying through the city with a blindfold on, being dragged on a rope by Firestar, Spider-Man is at the mercy of wherever she wants to take him. Wanting to remove his blindfold, Firestar yells at him that it's a surprise, plus that they're almost there. Finally arriving at wherever it is she took him, Spider-Man removes the blindfold to see that they're in the backyard of some suburban house, where Firestar reveals to him that this is where she lives. Before Spider-Man can say anything, she starts to remove her mask saying that she wants to be closer to him and tell him her true identity. Spider-Man quickly stops her before she can get her mask off and asks why she didn't talk to him about this first. Firestar is pretty hurt thinking that he doesn't really care who she really is, but he tries to console her saying that no one knows his true identity and he's just not ready to reveal it to her, or to have her reveal her own to him right now. Even though she's really hurt, Firestar shrugs it off and runs inside telling Spider-Man she has to do something really quick and then they can go, leaving Spider-Man standing alone in her backyard shaking his head.

The next day at lunch, Mary Jane surprises Harry with a homemade lunch she made for him in Home EC class. Looking down at it, it appears to be something that might have been good a few days ago, but Harry tries to eat it anyway so as not to hurt her feelings. He asks her what's up, what's with the lunch, and she tells him she's just trying to cheer him up. He tells her he's fine but she really doesn't believe him, even after he reiterates that's nothing's the matter.

Talking to Liz on some swing sets Mary Jane is trying to figure out what to do. Liz tells her that if Harry is trying to avoid talking about it then it must really be bad, and the only way that Mary Jane is going to be able to get him to come out of his shell about it is to do the thing she's been trying to avoid from the start and get closer to him. Liz then mentions that Flash has an idea what MJ can do.

The next night walking hand in hand, Mary Jane clenches one of her fists and punches Harry in the arm. Asking what the hell that was for, Mary Jane hits him again telling him to stop being such a wuss. Obviously this is Flash's suggestion. Harry laughs at her tellimg her she can stop hitting him. That he's really alright. She knows better and continues to try to get him to talk about it, but he won't.

Meanwhile, at the Coffee Bean, Peter Parker sits alone with his head in a book when Gwen comes over and asks if she can join him. He tells her of course she can and then mentions that he thought she was still mad at him. Gwen tells him that she was mad at him and that maybe she was trying to punish him a little bit, but deep down she knows that he's really a good person and she doesn't want to see him upset anymore and that she's like to be his friend again.

Back at Mary Jane's bedroom, Harry is marveling at how juvenile her room is. They start talking about Harry's problems with his dad, when he stops himself saying that this was exactly what she was trying to avoid. Looking forlorn he says that he has no one else to talk to about this. Mary Jane then pulls him close, and abandoning her resolve to keep him at arm's length, tells him to let her in.

A little later as Harry is leaving, he thanks her for letting him finally get all of his feelings off his chest. He tells her how much he appreciates her being there for him. Walking home alone, Harry gets on his cell and starts talking to his father about how his plan of getting Mary Jane right where he wants her is working out perfectly. He does show a little bit of a good nature saying that he doesn't want her to get hurt but it looks like the whole thing was an act to get MJ to drop her guard. But maybe it wasn't such an act, once we hear that his dad is still out of the country and that he doesn't know when he'll finally be home, Harry appears to be broken up about it.

In General...

It appears that Harry is going through some tough family drama with his father never being there for him, all he gets is a phone call every now and again, and Harry feels like he's speaking to his father's staff more then his father. All of this is having a really big effect on Harry's mood lately and Mary Jane can't help but notice how upset he is.

The only problem Mary Jane has (and what kind of issue would this be if Mary Jane didn't have some kind of problem) is that she sincerely wants to be there for him but to do that she needs to be much closer and more serious with him, which is exactly what she doesn't want. How can she not be in a serious relationship when she's there to help him deal with such serious personal issues? She finally takes the step she really doesn't want to take and sits with Harry and lets him spill his guts to her. I guess her not-so-serious relationship just became serious.

At the end of the issue we learn that Harry has been faking his poor-me act the whole time and his father has been coaching him, telling him exactly what to do and what to say to get Mary Jane to do anything for him. Very, very sleazy of Harry to be doing this to poor Mary Jane, but at the same time I can see him taking his father's advice just to feel a little more connected to him. If Harry takes his advice then that means Harry is getting to talk to his father on a semi-regular basis, and that's probably more important to Harry then Mary Jane could ever be.

While this is all going on, Gwen has finally come around with Peter, saying that she really does want to be his friend because she knows that he really is a good person, and seeing him torture himself isn't what Gwen wants at all. At first she did want to punish him but that feeling quickly faded. It looks like the drama of Gwen and Pete's break-up is now dying down.

The drama between Firestar and Spider-Man, on the other hand is just heating up. Being with Firestar, Spider-Man is going to have to realize that she wants to take things pretty fast. Last issue she tried to remove part of his mask to kiss him without asking first, and now she is taking him to her home and even starts to remove her own mask, saying that she wants to include him into her real life. She even starts to tell Spider-Man her real name, but Spidey stops her in time saying that he's really not ready for that level of commitment between the two of them. Spider-Man is really going to have to stay on his toes if he wants to continue seeing her. The way she just acts without thinking about the consequences first are going to come back and hurt them eventually.

With the way Firestar has been pushing their relationship more and more, I can't help but wonder when the issue of sex is going to come up. Things were a bit different in high school back when Amazing Spider-Man was still young, but now-a-days kids are definitely having sex during their high school stint. I wonder if McKeever will be broaching this topic with the gang at Midtown High. It'll definitely be an interesting conflict to have Peter dealing with. I can't remember a story that ever had a prepubertal Peter dealing with some kind of sexual situation that we've all gone through at some time in our lives. It just seemed that one day he was married and that was that.

Overall Rating...

Great issue, great story, great artwork. I don't know why McKeever is out to make Harry so dislikeable, maybe he's trying to somehow tie this Harry with the Harry from the movies, but whatever it is, I don't like it. But on the other hand I really can't see where else any kind of conflict for Mary Jane could come from. She needs an "arch-nemesis" without it being a real arch-nemesis. She can't have a super villain like Spider-Man has; her's must be a little more stubtle then that. So I guess I'll just deal with my feelings of hate towards this character, and reside myself to the fact that eventually, Harry's schemes will be found out.