Writer: Nick Spencer
Artist: Francesco Manna
Colors: Carlos Lopez
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Release date September 11 2019
Review by D. Brown (WolfCypher)
My feelings towards Nick Spencer on ASM are very…bipolar. Some stories, some issues, I am absolutely glad he’s the one Marvel assigned the book to, while other times, I’ll finish reading this book and I’ll wonder if I should maybe take a break from this title. Well…after taking a break from this title (while acnbat reviewed the previous issue in my stead), I’m back to find out where this issue lands…a hit or a miss…
The issue is a relatively Peter-MJ focused story. Mary Jane was recently offered a role in a film and Peter is encouraging her to take it. The two practice her lines together and discuss her leaving for two months to film the picture. The next day, Peter, in costume as Spider-Man, arrives to her house to help her pack, promising to be ready for when she needs to be taken to the airport. Peter leaves to meet with Aunt May and he discusses with her how he, in truth, doesn’t actually want her to go. He’s happy to have her back in his life, and now the two are going to be on opposite sides of the country.
Okay, right here, I’ve recapped a lot of quite moments. So far, this issue has only handled the more personal side of Peter and MJ, with a dash of Aunt May thrown in. In truth, I have no problem here. In fact, I enjoy these instances with the characters. While my feelings towards this run may fluctuate, one constant truth is I love it that Spencer is placing some pieces back in place, moving us closer to some status quos that were lost or removed during the Dan Slott era.
Now, the whole comic book isn’t just Peter relating to his supporting cast. We get an appearance from his long-lost-recently-found sister Teresa Parker. She comes to Peter for help searching for her missing partner. This derails Peter’s promise to make it back to Mary Jane’s in time.
I’ll say the Teresa Parker stuff weren’t the strongest moments in this book. Really, Spencer could have written any convenient emergency or distraction to block Peter from making his promised appointment with Mary Jane. I was not missing Teresa at all. She hasn’t really hit any notes since she’s been added to the Spider-Man toybox, and I’m curious/dreading if her appearance here was just to serve as obstacle/distraction for the story or if Spencer is going to add yet another ingredient to his overflowing stew.
This issue is an interesting one. It doesn’t really move any of Spencer’s plots forward. In fact, it actual removes Mary Jane from Peter’s orbit. But it cements the fact that these two people are very important and very precious to each other. Mary Jane is very understanding of Peter’s life as Spider-Man, while Peter burdens himself with the guilt that his great responsibility will always be an obstacle. Its weird for me to say this, but I appreciated this issue. What makes this weird is the fact that the last thing we need is for Spencer to keep stalling from all the plots he’s already juggling, or to add even more plots on top of those. Yet while this one feels like its another stall to any of the still-simmering, unresolved stories on Spencer’s “To Do” list (his Wilson Fisk angle, his Kindred mystery, the Chameleon’s scheme…), I’m not going to lie, I dind’t mind, pretty much because the Mary Jane/Peter relationship being renewed is a pretty impactful and important part of this run for me. I’m invested as much into their renewed relationship as I am the Kindred arc. Now, if I could have my cake AND eat it, that would be a different story.
Personally, I’m always invested in the more grounded world around Peter. Seeing Peter and Mary Jane together, discussing how they can continue to move forward with their lives, even when life as Spider-Man tests them constantly. I think Nick Spencer does a great service when he gets to write moments like these.