Mary Jane has finally decided to go talk to Peter and let him know that she does really like him. After her date with Spider-Man failing to meet all her fantasies she now knows that Peter is the one she wants. With Liz's help Mary Jane tries to track down Parker to spill her heart out to him but it looks like she's just a little late, as he finds Peter in the library flirting and being flirted with the new girl, Gwen Stacy.
At their favorite hangout spot, Mary Jane and Liz Allen are discussing the new girl in town, Gwen Stacy, and what effect she's having on Peter. Liz still believes MJ needs to tell Peter exactly how she feels for him, but Mary Jane, like with all the rest of her problems, would rather ignore it and pretend it doesn't bother her. Liz asks what's up with that, why does she always do that and so the flashback begins.
The flashback only goes back one year ago but it is High School and one year in high school can feel like an eternity. MJ is still the gorgeous teen she's always been and just as popular, it being more apparent as she walks through the lunch room followed by students trying to get her to sit with them at their table, the boys wanting just to be with her and the girls wanting to be seen around her. She foregos all the other tables to sit with her best friends, Liz, Flash and Harry all pre-cool. Flash isn't the varsity's quarterback yet and Liz isn't on the cheerleading squad.
At the table we learn that Harry is quite the ladies man and Mary Jane is dating a senior named Ned. As they come up with plans for the night, MJ drops an orange off her tray to be caught by Peter Parker walking by. Harry jumps at this opportunity to get Peter to copy his notes from the science exhibit later that day. Could this be the very event that gave Peter his powers?
MJ grabs Liz's hand and pulls her away from the lunch table to go do some private girl talk in a bathroom where MJ confines in Liz that even though she's just a kid and all, she can't help how she feels for Ned and that she thinks he could be the ONE. Oh high school drama. They both start "whooo"ing with no regard to the other people who might actually need to use the bathroom.
At MJ's locker she runs into her old friend, Jessica, who apparently has been changing her image a bit from the last time they spoke. She's now all goth with just a little bit of punk thrown in. Jessica thanks MJ for not acknowledging her at lunch because Jessica's new friends would tear her a new one if they saw them talking together (oh high school). MJ doesn't really believe this new Jessica is the real Jessica, and that she only needs a good cheering up.
As Jessica leaves, Ned comes up behind MJ and before he can say what he's come to talk to her about she starts rattling on about her friends and about the movie they're seeing later that night. Ned finally tells her to stop and that he's really sorry but he ran into Betty, an old flame, the other night and that he realizes he still has feelings for her. He gives her the classic it's not you line and walks away from one dejected Mary Jane.
The next few days Mary Jane barely knows anyone else exists. She's depressed about Ned breaking up with her that a week later she's hanging out with Jessica more and she's even started dressing like her; mostly dark colors and dark eyeliner. Outside, sitting under a tree, MJ and Jessica talk about how no one understands them and about how life just comes along and messes you up.
Back at MJ's locker, her old friends are trying to cheer her up. Liz mostly with Flash and Harry making idiots out of themselves. Liz pushes them away so that they can go off and talk about this new wrestler who like, climbs the walls of the wrestling cage and stuff. While the boys are obviously talking about Spider-Man, Peter walks by. Harry quickly asks him if he can have those notes from the field trip but Peter apologizes saying he didn't take any. Flash gets mad at him and starts in, but this time "Puny Parker" stands up for himself against the jock-to-be. That little spider bite gave Parker just the confidence boast he needed to not take anymore crap from the likes of Flash.
Liz is still trying to snap MJ out of this new thing she's going through by giving her some really good advice. She tells her that it's completely normal to get depressed but it's best to express those feelings and move on. What MJ is doing is stupid, changing her whole personality and wardrobe, when all she really needs is a good cry.
Laying on her bed doing what appears to be some sad scrap-booking, MJ hears on the news about some costume vigilante who is wanted by the police. The next day MJ and Jessica are walking around the city and MJ is now falling way too deeply into the role of depressed goth kid and even Jessica tries to snap her out of it. Before she can get too much into it a speeding car comes racing by with Spider-Man on the hood. It crashes and Spidey pulls the man out of the car saying he shouldn't take what doesn't belong to him.
As Spider-Man is giving the guy a lecture the police show up yelling at him for ruining their undercover operation. They had the car thief under surveillance and that they were following him back to the chop-shop to bust everyone until Spider-Man came along and made them lose their chance. Spider-Man goes into how the officer doesn't know about real loss, about how someone you care about can one day be in your life and the next be gone. The cop shuts him up and Spidey swings away, easily escaping. Well that was all MJ needed to see. As she watches Spider-Man swing through the city, she has a huge smile across her face.
This is the first part to a two-part flashback story explaining why Mary Jane always tries to avoid anything that might be hard to handle, and showing where Mary Jane's infatuation with Spider-Man came from. I'm not sure exactly how it shows where MJ's avoidance with drama at all comes from. She got dumped by her senior boy-friend, Ned Leeds and as a result of this, she started dressing in dark colors and being all depressed and questioning what's the point of life if everything just brings you pain. This is such a drastic character change from what we've been seeing of MJ in the series. In the flashback she deals with her pain at being rejected in the exact opposite extreme than what she normally would; by putting on a happy face and acting the role of happy-go-lucky girl. Maybe in the next issue we'll see just how she came to avoid real life issues by pretending they don't matter to her because in this story they very much matter to her and she completely changes her personality because of it.
It was nice to see that the reason why she is so into Spider-Man was because she saw him, an outsider who no one understands who is also dealing with a personal lost. Yeah, MJ only got dumped by a stupid boy whereas Spider-Man lost his beloved uncle to a gunshot but she doesn't know that. She just sees a kindred spirit she can relate to. Hopefully this new attraction can make her completely forget Ned and pull her out of her funk.
I liked and disliked seeing the younger versions of MJ and the rest of the characters. Back story is always good no matter how you slice it but seeing how MJ reacted to Ned breaking up with her, even though it is totally warranted and I can completely see a pre-teen doing something like that, it wasn't that much fun reading it. MJ was starting to get on my nerves and even though she was suppose to, it made me enjoy the book a little less.
I did really like actually seeing where MJ's infatuation with Spider-Man came from.