Writer: Fred Van Lente (Chapter 1 and 2), Brian Reed (Chapter 3)
Penciler: Javier Pulido (Chapter 1), Luke Ross (Chapter 2), Yanick Paquette (Chapter 3)
Inker: Javier Pulido (Chapter 1), Rick Magyar (Chapter 2),Mark Farmer (Chapter 3)
Story Title: “…as ‘The Girl’” (Chapter 1), “Models Stink” (Chapter 2), “Match.Con” (Chapter 3)
Mary Jane versus Alice in Wonderland. Peter and Michelle “break up”. Peter tries online dating.
This is one of the worst comics I have read all year.
Seriously. I didn’t like it. There may have been one or two bright spots but otherwise this book was really hard to get through. I picked it up and put it down several times, which is a shame because for the past few issues I couldn’t wait until I got to the next page and for this one I could wait several hours, sometimes days until I got to the next panel.
In many ways this issue reminded me of Spider-Man 3. There were portions of that movie that I truly enjoyed but overall it could never seem to decide what movie it wanted to be. Ostensibly this issue is an epilogue to “Red Headed Stranger” but I am not sure how a story that wasn’t really a story could have an epilogue. “Red Headed Stranger” was the name they were going to stick on the trade that collects the past four issues. That title has little to do with what was going on in the individual issues. As an epilogue it pretty much fails because it doesn’t tie up any loose ends from the preceding four issues. It gives us a little back story on MJ and then goes on to do a terrible bit of foreshadowing to the upcoming Black Cat story and then sets the clock back to where things were at the beginning of this supposed arc so that the next story can be unencumbered by any annoying bits of plot progression that crept up in the last month.
The issue just didn’t do a whole lot for me.
“…as ‘The Girl’” was a pretty mediocre story. We see Mary Jane having issues with her acting career, we get a little bit of the problems she had with Peter, we see her boyfriend being a moron and she gets to fight some wanna-be super-villains. The point of this story seemed to be to make Mary Jane look really cool and try to convince those that may still cling to the supposedly ill-conceived notion that these two didn’t work together as a couple, at least that was my take. Even though Mary Jane learns a very special lesson at the end the overall feeling I got was that Van Lente or maybe editorial through Van Lente wanted Mary Jane to come off as the victim in her relationship with Peter. Oh what a terrible set of circumstances to be caught up in. She had no one to confide in. She was always stuck home alone. Blah, blah, blah.
This characterization upset me and the reason it did is that in even my limited reading of the married Spider-Man there were so many times where they would have the “Spider-Man is causing a rift between us argument” only to have them realize how much they loved each other. I see where Van Lente was coming from with this. Eventually it became too much for Mary Jane and she had to leave because it was messing with her own sense of identity. The thing is she didn’t leave a marriage she left a relationship. Getting divorced is harder but in the Brand New Day world there was no marriage, just two people living in a committed relationship for a number of years. Divorce is hard. Leaving a boyfriend is easy, relatively.
More than anything this story seemed to want to make Peter look bad and Mary Jane look good. It put forth the theory that Mary Jane is getting on with her life and we should be proud of her because even though she looks back on her relationship with Peter with a mix of nostalgia and anger she’s a much better person now that she is out of that awful Peter Parker’s shadow. Yes she took a lesson learned from that awful relationship to help people but at the end of the day we’re all better off and more importantly Mary Jane is better off without Peter as her man.
Crap. Complete and utter crap. I appreciate the effort but in the end I thought it was fairly awful and I am starting to wonder given how he deconstructed Peter two issues ago and made him look fairly bad in this story if he even likes the character of Peter Parker.
“Models Stink” just flat out made me angry. I don’t usually get worked up while reading a comic beyond mild annoyance but Van Lente pulled something in this story that just pissed me off. It wasn’t the goofy modeling show thing that reminded me why I hate such reality shows. It wasn’t the random appearance of Raptor. It wasn’t Harry and one of Peter’s cousins having a secret affair that seems more in line with an episode of whatever crap teen/young adult soap opera that the CW is intent on foisting upon us. No, it was the last page where Michelle punches Peter in the face.
When did it become acceptable for a woman to hit a man in anger? I’m not talking about a woman defending herself when attacked. I’m talking about a scene like this where Michelle gets dumped and slugs Peter because she’s mad. Why is this ok and played for laughs? It seems to me that when a man hits a woman in anger it is treated like a crime second only to rape in terms of making a male character a bad guy. Unless it is a soap opera when a man hits a woman in a movie or in a comic or on television he is the worst example of his sex ever and needs to have his ass kicked and frankly I agree with that because unless you are defending yourself there is no reason to hit another person just because you have anger control issues. That goes both ways and I am wondering why a woman hitting a man isn’t treated with the same vitriol. Hank Pym slaps Janet once in anger and gets tagged as a wife beater for the rest of his life. I doubt this scene will even enter anyone’s radar.
It also makes Michelle a stupid, stupid character and I was just starting to like her. I don’t know how I didn’t see this before but she is a vapid, two dimensional character that is a string of bad clichés about crazy women. What does this bring to the story? What does this bring to Spider-Man? I understand that as a concept Spider-Man is equal parts human drama and super-heroes, but I am wondering what demographic this sort of characterization is pandering to?
Maybe that CW crowd.
The final story, “Match.Con” was not the worst story but kind of pointless. Peter has bad luck with women and apparently a woman that posts to a dating site is automatically crazy and needy. Oh andSpider-Man hits on a girl with a boyfriend. Nothing spectacularly bad but nothing I really want to jump up and down about.
At least Spider-Man was in this story
What a God awful comic. Seriously. I have not been this put out by a comic in quite some time. The writing was sub-par, the cover was annoying and apparently it is ok for a woman to hit a man.
I’m done. I can’t write anything else about this issue.
0 out of 5 webheads.