Wednesday, December 11, 2013

I'll Be... Somewhere For Christmas


Good grief! It's Christmas Eve--why are Peter and Mary Jane being EVICTED??



Ahh. Remember the good old days when writers had no problem coming up with plots for super-heroes who were married? Remember the days when Peter Parker and his wife, Mary Jane, had evolved to the point of tying the knot? Remember how interesting they were as a couple?

Remember when Marvel chucked all that?

Let me at least soothe any residual bitterness you may still feel at that bonehead move decision, and take you back to this very nice 1989 Christmas story written by David Michelinie and drawn by Todd McFarlane which finds Peter and Mary Jane still happily married, if a bit put out. (Heh, "put out.") To bring you up to speed, a rejected suitor of Mary Jane, Jonathon Caesar, is looking to give some payback to both her and her husband from his prison cell. And how better to kick them in the shins than to kick them out of their comfy Bedford Towers condo and onto the street--and just shy of Christmas?



Wow--talk about finding coal in your stocking! What's next for these two?



Naturally, Peter's Aunt May steps up and offers the couple a place to stay, which you'd think would be the perfect solution given that their options are limited this close to Christmas. But Peter is surprisingly reticent:



Finally, though, when they're alone, Mary Jane coaxes the truth out of him:




We see that Spider-Man isn't generally allowed the luxury of taking time off for the holidays, as much as Peter might wish otherwise. And again, it's Mary Jane who's there to support him as both Peter and Spider-Man:



We can skip ahead from Spidey taking down a pathetic mugger, and catch up with Peter and MJ at a "Daily Bugle" Christmas party, where Peter crosses off his options for new living arrangements, one by one:



Until Flash Thompson shows us that Peter's and Mary Jane's isn't the only relationship that's evolved in this book over time:



Have you noticed that it isn't that often we ever see Peter visit the grave of his Uncle Ben? Peter has long since come to terms with his uncle's death, so a gravesite visit shouldn't happen too often--but every once in awhile, when Peter is conflicted with family matters of the heart, it really makes for a nice interlude:



And the moment is perfectly capped when Peter is interrupted by a crime in progress--fake security guards making off with an armored truck full of cash, as well as a street Santa they're using as a hostage. Peter assures his uncle that, this time, he knows where his responsibilities lie:



Naturally, Spidey corrals both the truck and its hijackers. But when the "mastermind" of the operation pulls a gun, Spider-Man gets a little unexpected help from a very peeved hostage who decides to pitch in:



The story ends when Peter changes back into his clothes and finds another visitor at his uncle's grave. And it turns out to be the perfect place for the resolution to his problem to become clear to him:



It probably goes without saying that Mary Jane is delighted with Peter's decision, which brings the issue to a close and makes for a very satisfying Christmas story. It's one that needed no super-villains--no conflict to speak of--and no moping from Peter on what a loser he is, how his life never seems to amount to anything, or how much he blames Spider-Man for his downward spiral. He's simply confronted with a problem that any married couple could face, and handles it just by working it out.  A nice change of pace for this book that didn't have that many more Christmases to offer this husband and wife.

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