Spider-Man’s Ex-girlfriends go to Limbo in Marvel’s Mary Jane and Black Cat #1 | Popgen Tech
As Marvel’s Dark Web crossover event begins, Mary Jane Watson and Felicia Hardy are unlikely partners in an all-new adventure from Jed MacKay.
Mary Jane and the Black Cat #1
- Jed MacKay
- Vincenzo Carratù
- Ariana Maher of VC
- Cover Artist:
- J. Scott Campbell
- Release Date:
- Brian Reber
Reunited after their debut team-up comic earlier this year, Peter Parker’s on/off love interests join forces once again in Mary Jane and Black Cat #1. Written by stalwart black cat writer Jed MacKay, with art by Vincenzo Carratú, colors by Brian Reber, and letters by VC’s Ariana Maher, the Dark Web event begins with a demonic army wreaking havoc in New York City. Also included as a complementary little Christmas gift is the short bonus comic “The Mask of Doctor Doom,” created by MacKay and artist Michael Dowling.
Mary Jane and Black Cat #1 opens as Limbo’s demons, under the tutelage of Madelyne Pryor and Ben Reilly, attack New York City. Black Cat travels across the city to check on Mary-Jane Watson and her family, but interdimensional destabilization pulls both women into Limbo, where Mary Jane and Felicia must fight for their lives and plan a daring theft
MacKay is quickly becoming definitive black cat author at Marvel, oversees everything black cat stories since the reboot of his solo line in 2019. Mary Jane and Black Cat #1 certainly resonates with the same devilishly happy tone that fans love. There are some great callbacks to the Black Cat’s links to Tony Stark and his always complicated entanglements with Spider-Man. Although Peter Parker is the cornerstone of MJ and Felicia’s relationship, it’s refreshing to see the two women interact without the web-slinger. It’s this no-holds-barred dynamic between MJ and Black Cat that makes the comic stand out. Full of tension, teasing, and genuine love — the compelling connection that develops between these unlikely friends carries the expository aspects of the comic. The bonus comic “The Mask of Doctor Doom” is a chaotic journey through one of Black Cat’s properties. The short, snappy story is a funny, sharp, and charming portrait of his character.
Carratú’s art is clear and unique throughout Mary Jane and Black Cat #1. But he mainly focuses on the anatomy of the protagonists, which can occasionally leave the comic feeling a bit generic and underdeveloped in terms of background art and style. Dowling’s work in the bonus comic shows that this isn’t always the case when portraying the great women of the Spider-verse, marrying sleek, stylish visuals with character design full of personality. Reber’s colors are fairly flat throughout the main comic but add to the dynamic action scenes. His most impressive work in this issue is in the bonus story, perhaps because the subject is arguably more “out there” than the flagship story. Maher’s letters do a great job of wit and humor Mary Jane and Black Cat #1, using bolding and italics to add rhythm and emphasis to internal narration as well as the most important dialogue.
Mary Jane and the Black Cat #1 isn’t the most dynamic debut ever, but it introduces a solid structure for future issues. This issue could have been a chance to let the artists really shine, but the art and the writing was pretty lackluster. Luckily, the opposite is true of “The Mask of Doom,” which is so good on its own merits that it makes this comic worth reading for any black cat fans This first issue gives the series a lot of room to grow in a lot of interesting ways. With two fan-favorite characters in the lead, this promising first issue could blossom into something weird and wonderful.