The Amazing Mary Jane #1 Review

by Harlan Ivester on October 23, 2019

Writer: Leah Williams
Artist: Carlos Gómez
Colorist: Carlos Lopez
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Publisher: Marvel Comics

            Mary Jane has always been an underrated character, in my opinion. So many people think she’s just Spider-Man’s girlfriend and therefor a boring character, but we know better, don’t we? She’s good enough; she can hold a story on her own. In The Amazing Mary Jane, she’s put to the test.

            Spinning off the events of Amazing Spider-Man #26, Mary Jane Watson is once again fully invested in her acting career. It only makes sense to draw a connection between her stardom and Mysterio’s Hollywood background. It’s a wonder it has never been done before. It has all the right grounding for Mary Jane to show us how she handles Hollywood’s persistent adversity towards women while also being ridiculous enough to have some fun with it, thanks to Mysterio. Thankfully, writer Leah Williams pulls that off wonderfully. MJ’s criticism of all the worst tropes is less than subtle, but the book doesn’t really call for it to be gentle. She has plenty of moments to show how strong she is, and with so many of those, this book could easily come across as insincere. Williams paces things out excellently, though, so it all feels very natural. In simpler terms, this is a great MJ story. If you’re like me and you get all misty-eyed thinking about how perfect Peter and MJ are together, there’s some cute moments between them, too. They have a quirky couple inside joke that I cringed at, but that’s exactly the point. It's cute for them but embarrassing on the outside, like a real couple. I will say that it might have worked better if it weren’t something completely new to me the reader, but it did its job well enough anyway.

            The Amazing Mary Jane has a very anime feel to it at times, and that’s often because of the way artist Carlos Gomez presents the story. It’s not his style but instead the angles, perspectives, and expressions that he chooses. It lends itself well to the tongue-in-cheek nature of the story. He knows how to play up just how seriously Mysterio takes his art and how ironically silly it makes him. His Mary Jane is classically attractive without being unrealistic. The same goes for Peter, actually. What a handsome couple. Colorist Carlos Lopez makes the set of this story feel very active and alive, as a movie production should. Even the more mundane environments, like MJ’s apartment, feels homey and welcoming thanks to the night sky illuminating her living room. There’s excellent detail in every bit of shading, and every setting has a distinct palette to set the mood. All of this means a much appreciated sense of diversity and focus on each panel.

            The Amazing Mary Jane #1 is solid start to her first solo outing. Williams writes a lovable and believable MJ that you can get behind, navigating appropriately absurd circumstances to give her plenty to speak her mind about. It’s funny and heart-warming, with art that strongly enhances the qualities that make it both of those. MJ fans can check this out and expect a pretty good time.

Our Score:


A Look Inside