21 November 2011

Faster than a DC Bullet: Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane, Part V: Sophomore Jinx

Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane: Sophomore Jinx

Writer: Terry Moore
Art: Craig Rousseau
Colors: Guillem Mari
Letters: Dave Sharpe

From its first page, Sophomore Jinx has a different tone and voice than the previous volumes of Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane; new writer Terry Moore introduces the device of Mary Jane narrating the book. The whole thing instantly feels different. Not in a bad way... but it's not what drew me to the series to begin with. The transition isn't assisted by the myriad discontinuities between volumes. Mary Jane and company were at least sophomores before, if not juniors; now they're starting sophomore year. Flash Thompson was star quarterback; now we're told he warmed the benches all last year. Mary Jane had a job in a clothing store (among many other places); now she's never had one. All of the recurring characters have vanished. Worst of all, the series left off in November or so; now it's the following August, yet the characters' emotional lives don't seem to have changed at all.

The main plot of the book, MJ discovering that someone's made a website devoted to mocking her, is no worse than any of the goofy plots that ran under McKeever's pen, but without his fun dialogue and Miyazawa's fun art, there's nothing to sell it, and so it falls flat. Plus, five issues go by and MJ and Peter's relationship hardly changes. (Under McKeever, it'd've changed five times.) I can see why the series cut off at this point. It's all right, but it's got nowhere near the charm that it used to. The McKeever/Miyazawa run is good enough for me.

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