After attending the Spider-Man panel at San Diego Comic-Con it was infinitely apparent the hottest book announced was The Amazing Mary Jane. It harbors excellent creators, features one of the most iconic characters in Spider-Man, and it takes the show to Los Angeles. Marvel has a history of setting stories in California like when Karen Page became an actress in Daredevil and it’s now Mary Jane’s turn to move up the hierarchy from model and soap star to movie star. As far as first issues go, Leah Williams nails it.
One of the strongest elements of this series is how Mary Jane takes control of her situation. Fans who have been following this story closely know she’s been somewhat tricked thanks to Mysterio plotting the film and getting Mary Jane hired. Early on in this issue Mary Jane figures this out and on top of that even spruces up the script. The identity of this book is quick-witted and fun which is immediately obvious when the credits page is depicted as a movie poster a quarter of the way into the book. I don’t want to spoil a thing, but know that Mary Jane is in control of her destiny even if she’s surrounded by ex-cons and looming supervillain threats may be entering the story before long.
This book is also funny. I chortled at least once while reading it, for example at the line, “He thinks he’s shooting the Jaws of penguins.” Seriously funny stuff is at work here and given the usually ridiculous Mysterio, it suits the characters and the story. How else can you explain a guy who uses psychedelic gas to pull off his illusions? It’s also worth noting Peter and MJ are the perfect couples in this, even if they’re long-distance now.
Carlos Gomez draws a sharp and detailed book with rich colors by Carlos Lopez. The book is in fact quite colorful with a pop of color behind characters when needed and the movie set feels quite alive thanks to the attention to detail of those in the background as well as the attention to details with color. Take for instance a panel with Mary Jane to the side of a carousel. The carousel is rich with color with various people in front of it, which couldn’t have been easy to color. The kinetic energy is real with this one too and while Mary Jane spends a good deal of time walking and talking, the body language is strong with a well done lean here or there to convey MJ’s high-energy self.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book but came away from it grateful that Leah Williams and Carlos Gomez infused it with so much life and purpose. The Amazing Mary Jane has a strong identity and a crackerjack wit. It’s a strong first issue on its own merits.