Chapter By Chapter features me reading one chapter of the selected book at the time and reviewing it as if I were reviewing an episode of a TV show or an issue of a comic. There will be spoilers if you haven’t read to the point I have, and if you’ve read further I ask that you don’t spoil anything further into the book. Think of it as read-along book club.
In the previous two chapters we’ve seen Spider-Man in action and got to meet Carnage. In this chapter we see Peter get some quality time with his wife. Yes, wife. For those of you unfamiliar with the comics Peter Parker used to be married to Mary Jane Watson, until a publisher came along that hated the idea and decided divorce wasn’t enough–he wanted to erase the marriage from Marvel continuity because divorce would age the character and for some silly reason having Peter happily married was considered restraining for writers who spent more time trying to come up with ways to end or ignore the marriage than actually trying to use it. They also thought fans couldn’t relate to Peter Parker happily married to a beautiful woman who only became a model/actress after marrying him. Just do a search on BW for “One More Day” or “Spider-Marriage” and you’ll see my thoughts on the whole encounter and the insulting way they undid it than damaged both characters. For the rest of the review I’m going to remember the happy times of Peter and Mary Jane Parker, loving husband and wife.
Of course for us comic fans we aren’t going to learn much in this chapter. It’s for the people who bought the novel because they heard of Spider-Man or watched the show and didn’t know what was happening in the comics. So let’s meet the happy family.
Moments like this are why the pro-Spider-Marriage side of the debate (there are fans who were against it) loves these two together. Just these fun, romantic moments between two people very much in love and spending a lovely morning together.
Of course the writers do advance the plot a bit as well, as Peter figures he might have a picture of the doctor and maybe with the resources of the Daily Bugle he might be able to find out who the guy is. We also get to see Peter’s preparations so people don’t wonder why Spider-Man is swinging out of the Parkers’ apartment early in the morning. Additionally we learn that Mary Jane (the REAL MJ, accept no MCU substitutes…and I defended Zendaya as MJ until I learned she wasn’t Mary Jane Watson) is between jobs at the moment. I think this is more to make her available than to actually impact the story unless a fake job offer is in her future. Or maybe she’s there to help Aunt May in the subplot because at the end she shows up, ominously informing us that she’s in some kind of trouble. With May I’m guessing she either needs money again or the cookies burned and there’s not much time before the bake sale. Then again she’s been in the hospital more times than I have and I’m pretty sure she has a room always open for her because she’s been back so often. The woman’s got problems, but at least nobody shot her dead with a bullet wound even sorcerers who used to be surgeons and super scientists couldn’t help her and yes I am still bitter about One More Day why do you bother to ask?
The love between the Parkers is on display here. We see how in love Peter is with MJ and descriptions that could come out of a romance novel. This is really what the chapter focuses on but it also advances the main plot a bit, which I liked to see. As for whatever is going on with Aunt May, we’ll have to worry about that in the future. Next time Peter gets to work and presumably finds out who this crazy scared doctor is and why the government-types want him so badly. Who is the hero and who is the villain? Join us next time.