Peter Parker and Mary Jane have had a tumultuous relationship over the years to say the least. How many couples can say the devil once ate their love? Now that they’re back together, they’re a little worried about being apart…or rather, Peter is. See, MJ is flying out west for a big acting role and the web-head feels like he’s losing her just when he got her back. He can’t drop his life as Spider-Man to follow his girlfriend across the country. Remember that whole deal about great power and great responsibility?
Amazing Spider-Man #29 largely focuses on the relationship between Peter and Mary Jane and it’s one of the most compelling character issues in recent memory. Writer Nick Spencer has made this a central part of his run on the title and I could not be happier. He really gets to the root of why these two belong together and the strength they bring to one another. This issue only solidifies that further.
Under normal circumstances, Peter shouldn’t be in a relationship because his life as Spider-Man always comes first, much to the dismay of his loved ones. Aunt May has suffered from this most recently when he basically walked out on her when he learned of her cancer diagnosis. I’m comforted to learn that Peter is trying to change this behavior. It’s like he has to learn how to be a regular person again and not just a hero.
In typical Parker luck, Peter gets pulled into a last-minute crazy Spider-Man adventure when he needs to bring MJ to the airport and spend just a little more time with her. Artist Francesco Manna brings this to life in some awesome dynamic layouts that really hammer home the stress that Peter is feeling in the moment. It’s one thing to take down an A.I.M. outpost but it’s quite another to do so under a time limit.
Manna has a great double page spread that intersperses the action with shots of MJ leaving that visually shows you what the wall-crawler is giving up by keeping the city safe. Letterer Joe Caramagna peppers Peter’s thoughts throughout these pages to guide us through each of the images and add to the stressful nature of this fight and the personal problems our hero is dealing with.
These two juxtaposing scenes are further differentiated by Carlos Lopez’s colors. The images with Spider-Man are in yellows and greens, with a slight dingy quality, like the web-head is dealing with the lowest of the low, where as MJ’s panels are softer in cool blues. It’s no wonder Peter would rather be with her than down in the dumps with these goons.
Manna has a real talent for facial expressions, showing so much with a single glance. This is particularly true for Mary Jane, where we see all these looks of concern and a pinch of doubt. The man she loves can’t be there for her but it’s not because he’s a dead beat or a jerk. It’s because he’s out there saving people and putting his life on the line.
Amazing Spider-Man #29 has a great ending that could just break your heart. It’s a little predictable, but the journey there is so worth it. This is all building to something big between MJ heading out west and Kindred lurking in the shadows, so I’m glad that we get an issue like this that explores the man behind the mask and what makes him tick. While I love his crazy battles and fun quips, it’s things like this that make Spider-Man my favorite character.