Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane Season 2 #2

Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane Season 2 #2
by Terry Moore and Craig Rousseau
Marvel Comics 2008

Hillary Brown: Oh boy, Terry Moore... Well, the first issue of season 2 of Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane was uneven, and it had a new tone, but the memories of Sean McKeever's wonderfulness with the story let hope bloom a little, in spite of itself. Well, the bloom is off the damn rose with issue #2. It's not as though the story has ever been interested in Spider-Man or action, but things did happen, whereas the summary of issue #2 is: Mary Jane wakes up late; she goes to acting class; she chats with some people in the hall and with Liz Allen at cheerleading practice, but all kind of aimlessly; Harry Osborn's been saying something about her, but we don't find out what it is; she goes to her new job at the hair salon and screws up but doesn't get fired; then she walks home with Spider- Man. Honestly, it's hard to find a regular-length comic like this that could put you to sleep any faster. The dialogue sags. The art is boring. Nothing frigging happens. And Spider-Man is pretty much the only dude who makes an appearance. I'm not opposed to female-centric comics. Colleen Coover did a great job in the Spider-Man Annual. But I am opposed to Moore turning SMLMJ into Strangers in Paradise minus the sex.

Garrett Martin: You're not quite negative enough; this thing is hellaciously bad. Absolutely nothing happens. And I don't mean "nobody got chest-punched, ergo nothing happened"; I mean despite the perfunctory appearance of various recognizable characters and a distinct sequence of events, absolutely nothing of note occurs at any point. What impact does any of this have on any of these characters? Basically Mary-Jane stumbles about all confused and emotionally disoriented barely reacting to events of no consequence. This wouldn't be so frustrating if the dialogue wasn't some of the worst stuff I've seen in any comic of late. Yes, worse than anything in DCU Decisions! What the hell. Nothing is more annoying than when a writer presents a supposedly humorous situation that would never conceivably be found funny by any person anywhere at any point in the history of the world, and then call-back and reference it repeatedly. That's exactly what Moore does with the pathetic non-joke that is the limo rumor. What the hell, again. This comic is a totally inert, stillborn embarrassment.

HB: Yeah, I guess I was trying to be generous and not live in an entirely plot-driven world, but, um, as you point out, there's not even any emotional development here. It makes me nervous as heck for the future of Runaways, which I may avoid entirely even after catching up on the Joss Whedon-penned issues. Also: why does every lady have a lesbian haircut? Discuss.

GM: I'm just shocked at how far worse this issue is than Moore's first. I didn't think that was great, but it was more in keeping with McKeever's great book than I expected. #2 is about the worst case scenario, though. The only thing that isn't distressing about this issue is Craig Rousseau's art. It's solid stuff, better than David Hahn, the guy that finished up the last series, but it still won't make anybody forget Takeshi Miyazawa. Miyazawa's manga style definitely fits the series better than Rousseau's more Western cartoonish-ness.

But man, I've got no plans on picking up Moore's Runaways. Well, maybe to talk about it here, but I don't want it to feel like we're piling on the dude.

HB: Yeah, I guess I can say that the cover is good, but it's the only thing that's even cute in the whole issue. I mean, if nothing's going to happen, you could at least have some cute girls, whereas Moore and Rousseau can't even put poor Mary Jane in a decent outfit. This book is worse than Spider-Man 3.

GM: Were MJ and her friends generally well-dressed in the earlier series? If so, I wonder how much of that credit goes to Miyazawa and Hahn, and how much goes to the former colorist, Christina Strain. Do you think a woman's perspective is necessary or especially helpful when it comes to successful women's fashion in comics? I never even think about that, since women's fashion in superhero comics basically consists of whatever unrealistically tight and revealing piece of nothing the artist barely draws over his light-boxed SI Swimsuit Edition tracings.

HB: Well, they had more interesting and colorful things on than the boring jacket MJ wears throughout this issue. Think Betty and Veronica. Actually, just think Veronica. What she's wearing now is probably more realistic, but it's a little old and a little blah. I'm not sure that it's a female perspective that's important so much as a more youthful one, and that may not even be fair. I don't know how old Craig Rousseau is, but Miyazawa's only 29.

GM: See, when I think of Veronica, I think of the most stereotypical '80's (or '50's, depending on if I'm thinking of a regular issue or one of them grocery store digests) clothes possible. But maybe that's 'cuz I read roughly a billion Archie stories a day when I was 9, and hardly any since.

Should we work on a post about fashion in comics?

HB: I guess I just mean bright colors and occasionally interesting cuts--a youthful look, basically. It's not the MJ doesn't wear jeans, but she layers and she accessorizes.

Unfortunately, other than superhero costumes, there's not a whole lot of fashion in comics, but I have been looking for excuse to read Beauty Pop...

GM: I don't know, then we'd probably also have to read Glamourpuss, and I don't know if I'm up for that.

HB: Wait! I might be!