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Friday, June 26, 2009

Suspended Animation Review For June 12th, 2009 - Mary Jane


Mary Jane, issues 1-4, Published by Marvel Comics, cover price $2.25.

A couple years ago, I was talking with my comics retailer about what he was reading. His is an affinity towards the classics, like Ditko, Kirby, Windsor-Smith and the like, with a few modern favorites, such as Hellboy. As we were catching up on our latest sequential reading material, he mentioned how much he was enjoying Marvel’s Mary Jane material. A few seconds of stunned silence...., “What’s that, now?” With an amused tone, he continued to tout the work, and talked me into giving the first miniseries a try. What can I say accept “Listen to your comics shop guy.

For those unaware, this teenage cast was first developed by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, and is now updated for a 21st Century readership. The settings and situations will be largely familiar to the average teen, so they will be able to relate to and sympathize with the characters. However, as this series proves, good stories will be entertaining to many different age groups, despite the age of the key players.

Mary Jane blends likeable characters, believable situations and that famous teen angst made so by early runs of The Amazing Spider-Man, and combines them to form a work of pure comics entertainment. There are no world-conquering villains (only a single appearance of a small-time super-powered bad guy), no incredibly intricate subterfuge, and NO crossovers. Even Spidey himself shows up rarely, and only so much as to stoke Mary Jane’s romantic fantasies. All this is thanks to writer Sean McKeever.

Takeshi Miyazawa’s art is clean and simple, with a definite Manga influence. Yet, his style, not the influence, is what stands out. His characters look like kids, (not like adults playing high school) and you never get one confused with another, as they are all distinguished in appearance and personality.

So, you don’t have to be a teenager to enjoy Mary Jane, but the series is certainly recommended for teens, as well as pre-teens and adults.

Review by Mark Allen