I'm just going to come out and say it: I frigging love Marvel's Mary Jane comics. I don't care what age group they're targeting. This series is entertaining and I can't wait for the next installment.
Between this series and Runaways, Marvel is offering up some really excellent and believable teenage characters. I mean, these are comics that I would actually be ok with my future daughter reading.
This series is sort of like Degrassi, except the main character has a giant crush on the local superhero, who makes an appearance from time to time. It's always delightful when he does, full of hilarious Spider-Man quips.
Mary Jane Watson is an excellent role model for young girls. She's nice, she's smart, she's honest. She doesn't dress all slutty. She also isn't flawless, and she makes mistakes. Her fangirl crush on Spider-Man is just as embarrassing and real as the crush on ER's Dr Carter that I had at her age. Except sometimes she actually gets to talk to Spider-Man.
The crush starts when she's rescued by Spider-Man. It's pretty clear that Spider-Man has a pretty big crush on her, too. It's all just so damn cute.
Mary Jane goes to high school with Peter Parker, and she's sort of friends with him. He's just a geeky guy that she thinks is nice. Peter, of course, harbours undying love for her, although that's something the reader can only assume because we really don't hear from Peter very much. He likes to keep a low profile. MJ's best friend, Liz, is Flash's girlfriend. Flash likes to bully Peter. Meanwhile, Flash has a crush on Mary Jane, and Mary Jane is dating Harry Osborn, who is pretty much Peter's only friend.
I really like Mary Jane's relationship with Liz. Liz is a girl that, I think, everyone knew in high school. Over-dramatic, jealous, in a ridiculous relationship, but generally good-hearted. The kind of girl that needs a balanced friend like MJ. Liz also doesn't dress like a total slut, and she and MJ do normal, non-girly things when they're hanging out. Like shooting hoops. With their mid-riffs covered.
Awesome! Look at those girls! Hanging out. Talking intelligently! Playing basketball! Without giant breasts! So much better than, oh, I don't know...THIS:
I'd like to say that even when there is opportunity for slutty clothing in this series, Marvel doesn't take it. When the girls go to the homecoming dance, their dresses actually look like dresses that teen girls would wear to a dance. And when Liz is in her cheerleading uniform, it covers her whole body. After the dance, MJ even takes off her high heels when she walks home because they're uncomfortable! Realism!
The scenes with Mary Jane and Spider-Man are the best. Maybe because she's living the fangirl dream of actually interacting with her seemingly impossible crush. I like that MJ is actually pretty cool around him, and it's usually Spider-Man that gets all nervous: