Comics : Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane #20

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This review was first published on: 2007.

Background...

When Mary Jane finally decided she really liked Peter and wanted to do something about it, Peter started dating Gwen. Now that Peter and Gwen have broken up, Mary Jane is in a relationship of her own with Harry Osborn. Not wanting to let things get too serious between them, they both promise each other that they won't let that happen, even though it appears that it's happening anyway.

Just because Peter's single, doesn't mean that Spider-Man is as well. Hanging out a lot with Firestar things are really starting to heat up between them, so much so that Firestar has been pushing things between them a little too fast for Peter's tastes. Wanting to get closer, Firestar tries to start including Spider-Man into her Real Life, but since Spider-Man doesn't want to share his secret identity with her, or anyone else for that matter, it appears that the two superheroes' romance might be close to an end.

Earlier, when Felicia was trying her hardest to gain the attention of Flash, even whilst still knowing that he is already taken by Liz Allen, Harry mentioned the problem to Mary Jane that as long as Felicia is persistent she'll end up getting what she wants. Mary Jane, not believing her ears, questions Harry about why he feels Flash would do something like leave, or even cheat on Liz with Felicia, and Harry says it's because Felicia is hot, and because Flash is just a guy and won't be able to help himself in that situation. Mary Jane turns things around and asks Harry if he'd cheat on her if he was in Flash's place, and of course he denies that he would.

It seems like Felicia has tuned her focus off of Flash for the time being and pointed it right at Harry. We'll now get to see exactly how Harry will act in this situation; whether he'll do the right thing and stay as far away from Felicia as possible, or act like "just a guy" and do something he'll probably regret later.

In Detail...

"The Next Thing"
Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane #20
Sep 2007 : SM Title
Editor:  Mark Paniccia
Writer:  Sean McKeever
Artist:  David Hahn
Staff Only
Issue
Review

Out in the school's parking lot standing by his car, Harry is telling Felicia that he's just not interested in her. She tries to understand how he can pass up a chance to be with someone like her to stay with that "red-headed puritan", but Harry confesses that it's not because he really likes Mary Jane, he, in fact, loves her. Over by one of the buses, who should overhear this exchange but Mary Jane, catching everything Harry says.

Sitting at the Coffee Bean with Liz, Mary Jane is trying to figure out what she needs to do with Harry. She does love him but not the way that he loves her and because of that she knows that she has to end it and to do it soon, but what she's really worried about is their friendship. If she ends it because she doesn't love him, that'll pretty much be it for the relationship, friendship included.

Gwen approaches Peter sitting alone reading at the public library and says that she wants to talk somewhere more private. She tells him that she shouldn't have pushed him away before, but he shouldn't be doing that to her now. She also tells him that the reason she left him was because she'd been dumped before for someone else and it hurts like hell, and truthfully she didn't want to have to deal with that again, this time with Peter and Mary Jane, but only to find out that she ended up getting hurt anyway. Long story short, she left him for something he didn't even do and she wants to be with him again. Peter doesn't say anything, probably because he's sort of seeing Firestar right now, plus he still has all those feelings for Mary Jane. Finally when it looks like he'll get to be friends with Gwen again, she drops this on him, and either he tells her no and she puts some distance between them, or he says yes and tries to ignore his deep feeling for MJ.

Later, swinging around the city, Spider-Man runs into Firestar who tries to make a joke about how he must be trying to avoid her by making her have to come into the city and try to find him. To bad she doesn't actually know how close she is to speaking the truth. She tells him that she's sorry about how she's been pushing things forward between them and that it's just that she really doesn't want to lose what they have together. Nothing is worse then starting to hanging out with someone, only to turn around to find that you're in a relationship you don't really want to be in. Spider-Man has to end things and fast.

In Mary Jane's bedroom, Harry Osborn is telling MJ that he's pretty surprised that she invited him over seeing as how she broke off their date for yesterday because she was sick. Mary Jane flat out tells him that she wasn't sick, she just said that. She also tells him that she heard him talking with Felicia the other day. Harry immediately goes on the defensive saying that nothing is going on between them, he swears, but Mary Jane makes him understand that she "heard" them talking. She asks if he just told Felicia that he loves her, just to get Felicia off his back, but no, he really does love her. Mary Jane says that they were supposed to not get too serious but Harry says it happened anyway, and asks what's really the problem. The fact that he loves her isn't a bad thing.

Meanwhile, while Mary Jane is dealing with Harry, Peter has to deal with Gwen. She asks him if getting back together with her is what he wants and he tells her he doesn't know what he wants. Gwen retorts that he's a liar. Peter tries to let her know that he really cares for her, but Gwen isn't having any of that. Great, so he cares about her, what does it matter if he cares for her if he just doesn't want to have anything to do with her.

Back in MJ's Bedroom, Harry is confused about how Mary Jane is taking the knowledge that he loves her. She tells him that it's just too big and she doesn't know how to deal with it. He tells her all she has to do is love him back, but she feels that she doesn't love him like that. Harry doesn't believe her. Then, dropping a bombshell, Mary Jane tells him that she is in love with someone, it's just not with him.

At some other time Spider-Man is dealing with Firestar who asks him, seeing that they meet up once in awhile to beat up some bad guys and yes, they make out a bit, why would he want to ruin something like that with over-thinking. They've got a good, fun thing going, but Spider-Man tells her that there's someone else and Firestar thinks that that's a pretty good reason.

(Somehow) back in the library, Gwen is pretty upset with what has happened with Peter. She tells him that she knew this would happen, that she'd get to this school, not knowing anyone, end up finding someone really sweet, and he'd leave her for someone else. Peter tells her that he still wants to be her friend but Gwen isn't interested in being only his friend. Peter can't believe that it's either all or nothing with Gwen and that he hates to have to leave things between them this way, but Gwen has made up her mind.

Meanwhile (are you getting as confused as I am about how these three sequences fit in together) Harry is freaking at Mary Jane. He wants to know who it is that Mary Jane is in love with and he believes that she owes it to him to tell him. Mary Jane doesn't like the way he's speaking to her and he tells her tough, he spills his heart out to her and this is how she reacts. Telling him that she thinks it's time for him to leave, Harry gets up, rips the head off of Mary Jane's Spider-Man stuffed doll and leaves.

Back to Spider-Man and Firestar, it appears that Spider-Man is the only one who looks like he's going to get out of his relationship without any heartache. Firestar is actually taking it really well, even asking him about her, as well as ribbing him for having a thing for redheads. Trying to make sure that she's really ok with things between them, she says she's fines and she'll find a way to deal with it, with her way to deal with it and forget Spider-Man pops right up. Iceman shows up and ribs her for hanging out in the city with her "boyfriend" and she flies off after him. Way too easy.

With Peter now clear of Firestar, and with Gwen looking like she now really hates his guts, there's nothing left for him to do but to head over to Mary Jane's house. Knocking on her door, Peter asks if she'd like to go talk. Heading to the local park Peter reveals to her that he really misses her and the time they spent together. He knows that the last time they talked he was really mad at her (remember Peter told Gwen that he sells photos of Spider-Man to the Daily Bugle and told her not to tell anyone, but she does anyway, and then Mary Jane goes and tells Harry and Liz, which then gets Peter's secret profession spread throughout the school) but he wants to forget all that. He also knows that she's still dating Harry, but she interrupts him long enough to tell him that they broke up earlier today.

Mary Jane is surprised that after what happened between her and Harry, she didn't go running to the Bean with Liz so she could vent, that all she could really think about was... algebra homework (Peter used to help Mary Jane with her algebra before things went sour between them). Peter is psyched and asks if they're friends again, when Mary Jane falls into his arms saying, no, that they're still friends. Sitting there on the park bench not talking, Mary Jane notices the first snowflake falling. Peter mentions that he was wondering when it would start snowing as the two teenagers sit together as the snow slowly starts falling all around them. Slowly Mary Jane inches her hand over to Peter's.

In General...

Mary Jane has come across Harry and Felicia talking to each other out in the parking lot and what she's learned is that things are much more serious between her and Harry then she has thought. Trying to get Felicia off his back he reveals to her that Felicia really doesn't have any chance with him because he's really in love with Mary Jane, and Mary Jane hears it all.

So, this being Sean McKeever's last issue, there are a number of things he feels that he needs to clean up before he goes, and by things that need to be cleaned up, what I mean is relationships that need to be concluded. After hearing how strong Harry feels for her, Mary Jane has decided that the best course of action is to end their romantic relationship even if it might jeopardize their friendship.

While that's going on Gwen has decided that he made the wrong decision breaking up with Peter, so, finding him at the library, she tells him that she wants to get back together with him. Too bad he's not really sure that that's what he wants to do. He's finally gotten her to be his friend again and things are getting back to normal between them, but getting back together with her is going to mess everything up. Plus Peter knows that he has strong feeling for Mary Jane and he doesn't want to jump into any other relationships with anyone besides her.

And while those two things are going on, Peter seems to be in two places at once, this time in his Spider suit breaking up with Firestar. She tries to get him to relax and not ruin the good, fun thing they've got together, but once he tells her that there's someone else, she realizes that his heart lies elsewhere. Taking it pretty well, she starts asking him questions about his new chick.

So now, Gwen doesn't want anything to do with Peter at this point, and he has broken up with Firestar in his alter ego, at the same time that Mary Jane has broken up with Harry. Nothing left to do but get Peter and Mary Jane together again. They're not dating by the end of the book, but there's definitely room for potential.

Overall Rating...

I did appreciate how the different relationships were cleaned up for the next phase of the series to come but what really bothered me was having the three separate storylines going on at once throughout the book. Having Mary Jane and Harry breaking up at the same time as Peter making it so that he'd never get back together with Gwen, or at the same time as Spider-Man ending things with Firestar, but having all three of these meshed together just doesn't do it for me. I realize that McKeever was trying to show, at the same time, that these three relationships were ending, but just the fact that Peter was in two of the three scenes bothers me. How can Spider-Man be breaking up with Firestar and then Peter is ending things with Gwen and then we come back to the scene with Spider-Man and Firestar? It just isn't clean storytelling.

What I feel should have happened was having the scene with peter and Gwen being played out as a single and whole scene without interruptions, and then have the two scenes with Mary Jane and Spider-Man both breaking up with their significant others being shown at the same time, cutting back and forth between the two. Having these three scenes cutting back and forth between each other was just a bad decision.

Because of all that, it has knocked the rating of this issue, the last book in the series written by McKeever, down to a mere average rating.

Footnote...

Terry Moore, of Strangers In Paradise fame, is taking over for Sean McKeever with his defection to The Dark Side (that Other publisher), and if you haven't read any of Terry Moore's work, then you should know that the entire run of Strangers In Paradise dealt more with character driven storylines and less with muscle-bound heroes in tights punching each other repeatedly in the face. And if you haven't read any of Strangers In Paradise, you most definitely should.