Peter Parker has faced many dangers in his young life, but he's always been able to take care of himself. In fact, his greatest fear is that his life as Spider-Man will endanger one of his loved ones - and when his girlfriend Mary Jan didn't heed Peter's advice to avoid Harry Osborn (son of Spidey's greatest villain), Peter ended his relationship with MJ...
Mary Jane is sitting on the toilet, at school. Liz, outside the door, tries to comfort her. MJ insists, while sniffing, she's okay. Later in class, the teacher is getting mad at the kids. All they had to do was watch a DVD and they didn't. Peter then gets up, to go to the bathroom. The teacher tries to stop him but Peter goes after making a funny remark (read the book yourself, it's quite good).
After school, Liz takes Mary Jane to the mall. MJ doesn't want to be there. Liz asks what's so special about Peter Parker? MJ doesn't answer. Flash comes by, being a jerk, telling MJ that a certain Mark Raxton likes her. And then he asks what's so special about Peter Parker? Before she can answer the question, Mark pushes Flash away. He apologizes for Flash and kinda introduces himself. He plays in a band. Mark and MJ have a talk, but then he has to leave, practice. Before leaving he asks MJ to come to The Strand, the next day.
At The Strand, MJ sees a guy dressed as Spider-Man in the crowd. But it's not Peter. Afterwards, Liz gets out of the way and leaves MJ with Mark. He takes MJ home. They have a long talk in the car. MJ says she no longer wants to be an actress, she now wants to be a teacher. Silence, then they kiss. MJ stops. Mark understands, it's Peter. He asks how they broke up. MJ says she (still) loves Peter. It's in her skin. And she's going to prove herself worthy of his friendship. So, Mark asks what's so special about Peter Parker? The answer, everything.
Well, not much, eh, actually no action this time. Just MJ dealing with (a) being dumped and (b) her feelings for Peter. In the end it takes an understanding stranger to open her heart and help her sort everything out for herself. I must say, a very, very strong story. Most of the time, when Bendis writes one of these stories, I miss the presence of Spidey. Not here.
That stranger goes by the name of Mark Raxton. A familiar name, for in the regular Marvel Universe, he's the Molten Man. This issue had no super powers being used. So, no Molten Man, but it did have a reference to the Molten Man. When in The Strand, the band plays a song about a molten man. Nice touch. I remember the text in Marvel Previews, it only said introducing a new character, Mark Raxton. Will he become the ultimate version of the Molten Man? My money is on "no"...
A lot of talk, this issue. A wee bit too much to my liking but I really liked this story. So, why not a full 5 webs? Well, look at it differently, usually such an issue would only get 3 webs from me. So, scoring 4 webs is a superb result!
Over the next 2 months or so, I'll leave the reviewing of Ultimate Spider-Man to Adam Chapman. I'll be busy renovating my new house and won't even have time to read comics. :-(