Tuesday, May 15, 2007
THE SENSATIONAL SPIDERMAN ANNUAL#1
Written by Matt Fraction
Drawn by Salvador Larocca
I never bought it. Mary Jane Watson and Peter Parker. The rich socialite supermodel then movie star hooking up with poor nerd high school science teacher and freelance photographer. Nope. Mary Jane Watson and Peter Parker are a sociological anomaly. Or maybe I'm jaded. Also, Parker's the quintessential guy torn between duty(work) and love and his woman's not walking away? Isn't that what all women in real life do when their men are confused? Leave them? Mary Jane as Tammy Wynette, standing by her man? Not washing , not even with Straczynski , not entirely at least. Love conquers all - - - what crap.
Fraction, he milks a romantic comedy - - -the hipsters are calling it rom-com these days,to which I say "why?"- - -cliche , gives the he said/she said structure dramatic horsepower, sprinkles it with odd figments of real : ". . .that's how you tell boys you like them, you make them tapes of songs that are secretly about how you feel . . . " and " there was nothing about her that promised to be easy but I couldn't keep away . . maybe that's why she fascinated me so much,I couldn't explain her, that girl confused me to the core . . ." And suddenly this innocuous little comic has snuck up on me and started whispering in my ear. Has Fraction been wiretapping my head? And where was he when they were story-conferencing Spidey 3? Not a note seems to ring false , not a word smacks of fairytale,not even when Mary Jane tells off the cop trying to arrest her if she doesn't give her fugitive husband up : " . . . my loyalty runs deep, you sad little man. . .he's my husband, you're just some dude."
This is ultimately a love story about the weight of the past. How you cling to it for oxygen, how you discard it for fuel. And when Peter rescues Mary Jane ("I don't believe you've met my husband, the amazing Spiderman" ) by thrashing the coffee shop they've spent most of their life in , it's the kind of corny with a wallop you except your love stories - - - true or made-up- - -to cough up at the right moment or you feel like asking for your money back.
Fraction nails it - - -the whole dynamic of Peter & Mary Jane , their whole invincible history, and why you should buy it , why you should root for it, why ending it is creatively and narratively a cop-out, why Joe Quesada should lay off putting it asunder. Leaving is chickenshit and staying takes cojones. Straczynski had the same idea. Fraction just gives it throb. "I'll be back" Peter tells Mary Jane in one of many flashback sequences. "I swear. For you, I'll always be back." Superhero right there in my book. * * * * *