Tag Archives: Mary Jane Watson

Today’s Super Comic — Ultimate Spider-Man #13 (2001)

Yesterday I discussed when main-continuity Aunt May discovered Peter Parker’s secret identity. Now let’s turn our attention to the Ultimate continuity, when Peter told Mary Jane.

This is basically the inverse of yesterday’s revelatory issue. Ultimate Spider-Man #13 was very early in this Spider-Man’s career, so no secret-identity tensions have been building up over the course of years. Peter and MJ are teenagers who have been friends for a long time, and Peter proactively reveals his secret because he doesn’t want to lie to her (and, being a teenage guy, he no doubt wants to impress his closest female friend).

But like yesterday’s issue, this entire comic is a conversation. The action and adventure take a break, allowing us to zero in on the characters—which will help us care about them more when the action/adventure commences again.

Comics aren’t supposed to feature talking heads, but this one works remarkably well because of Brian Michael Bendis’s writing and Mark Bagley’s art. The page layouts are key here. The panels are used to punctuate each beat of the conversation, allowing everything to flow smoothly and organically. The reader gets an excellent sense of the pacing and timing of everything that’s being said. And Bendis knows when the keep quiet and let Bagley show the characters’ reactions so that even with the focus on dialogue, it remains a visual experience.

It’s a rather happy issue (and funny in places), providing a nice break from the angst, and it deepens the bond between two main characters. It also does what every teen superhero book should—it captures that wonderful anticipation of exciting new possibilities.

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis

Penciler: Mark Bagley

Inker: Art Thibert

Publisher: Marvel Comics

How to Read It: back issues; Marvel Unlimited; Comixology; included in Ultimate Spider-Man vol. 2: Learning Curve (TPB)

Appropriate For: ages 11 and up

Today’s Super Comic — Invincible Iron Man #11 (2016)

invincible_iron_man_vol_2_11This sure is a consistently entertaining series. I worry that Civil War II might have derailed it (I haven’t read that far yet), but it makes it through the second story arc with the quality intact.

In #11, Rhodey and the Avengers track down the missing-in-action Tony Stark, who’s gone undercover to investigate a new threat. Meanwhile, the task of saving Stark’s company from its own board falls to one Mary Jane Watson. And a teenage girl tests out the Iron Man–like suit of armored tech she built in her dorm room.

A lot going on, all of it fun, and enough remains unresolved to make a compelling case for reading #12.

It’s no secret that the aforementioned teenage girl, Riri Williams, will be taking over the book as Iron Maiden (while Doctor Doom becomes the Infamous Iron Man). Tony Stark is pretty inimitable as Iron Man, so I’m wary of replacements. But Riri, if approached as a new character rather than “the new Iron Man,” does show potential. A genius teenager who literally builds her own powers is prime comic book material. So I’ll keep an open mind.

In any case, Invincible Iron Man has been a thoroughly enjoyable read through this point.

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis

Artist: Mike Deodato

Cover: Mike Deodato and Rain Beredo

Publisher: Marvel Comics

How to Read It: recent back issues; Comixology; included in Invincible Iron Man vol. 2: The War Machines (HC)

Appropriate For: ages 12 and up

Today’s Super Comic — Invincible Iron Man #8 (2016)

invincible_iron_man_8In yesterday’s review, the kids bantered when Ms. Marvel dropped in on the younger Spider-Man. Now the adults banter when the older Spider-Man helps out Iron Man.

There’s nothing like a good team-up, and this…is a perfectly good team-up. Spidey provides the comic relief while Tony is preoccupied with trying to locate Rhodey, who happens to be fending off hi-tech ninjas at the moment. Meanwhile, Mary Jane rethinks her employment situation.

Pardon the lack of insightful commentary, but this one’s just fun and that’s that.

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis

Artist: Mike Deodato

Publisher: Marvel Comics

How to Read It: recent back issues; Marvel Unlimited; Comixology

Appropriate For: ages 12 and up

Today’s Super Comic — Invincible Iron Man #7 (2016)

Invincible Iron Man 7Brian Michael Bendis writes Tony Stark and Mary Jane Watson talking for much of the issue. So of course you know it’s highly entertaining.

That might have been enough, but the issue also introduces an intriguing new villain, gives us a cameo of another new character who will play an important role, and makes room for Spider-Man and War Machine.

Everything I’ve previously said about this series still applies. It hasn’t let me down yet.

And don’t let the “Road to Civil War II” logo dissuade you if you’re averse to crossovers. The issue is entirely accessible if you’ve just been following this series.

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis

Artist: Mike Deodato

Publisher: Marvel Comics

How to Read It: recent back issues; Marvel Unlimited; Comixology

Appropriate For: ages 12 and up

Today’s Super Comic — Invincible Iron Man #5 (2016)

Invincible_Iron_Man_5I hereby continue my ringing endorsement of Bendis’s Iron Man series.

Issue #5 wraps up the first storyline. It maintains the same balance of character, action, and humor that made the first four issues so enjoyable—and David Marquez’s great art brings it all to life. Mary Jane Watson officially joins the cast, which is an excellent decision, though it’s a toss-up as to whether she or Doctor Strange gets the issue’s best moment.

I briefly wondered why Mary Jane and Tony Stark didn’t seem to know each other. I could’ve sworn they met in the early issues of New Avengers when Spider-Man joined that team … but of course Spidey and MJ were married at that point, and a deal with the devil has since erased their marriage from continuity (rest assured, I will not be including that particular storyline in this series of all-positive reviews). So Tony and MJ are meeting as strangers. On the bright side, a fresh start enhances the book’s accessibility to casual readers.

In any case…more, please. When does the collection of the second volume come out?

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis

Artist: David Marquez

Publisher: Marvel Comics

How to Read It: recent back issues; Marvel Unlimited; Comixology; included in Invincible Iron Man vol. 1: Reboot (HC)

Appropriate For: ages 13 and up

Today’s Super Comic — Invincible Iron Man #4 (2015)

Invincible_Iron_Man_4In which Iron Man resolves to enjoy a moonlight ninja fight beach party, like one does.

Brian Michael Bendis and David Marquez deliver another fun issue, full of grand quipping, a villainous ally of sorts, a new supporting character (who is not a new character), and a charming scene in a children’s hospital that features a real-life guest star (and a very deserving one at that).

The cover gives away the new/not-new supporting cast member, and I like the idea of bringing Mary Jane over into another superhero’s life. It’s a great opportunity to flesh out her character by removing the Spider-Man association that has defined her for pretty much her entire fictional career, and one only possible in a shared universe such as Marvel’s. She’s not a huge part of this issue, though, so I’ll have to keep reading to see how it turns out.

Given Bendis’s track record, I’m willing to bet it’s an entertaining ride. Really, the man makes it look so easy.

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis

Artist: David Marquez

Publisher: Marvel

How to Read It: recent back issue; Comixology; Marvel Unlimited

Appropriate For: ages 13 and up