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.
Welcome back to our little book club. It’s time for the second half of this book. It may have taken half the book to get Carnage lose in the city but the build-up worked. While it took time to introduce the cast and the state of the Spidey corner of the Marvel Universe at the time it did so while still moving the plot along, which is more than I can say for longer books. (I’m looking at you, Op-Center.) Now it’s up to Spider-Man to get him back and still co-sign a loan for Aunt May. Peter’s is a odd life.
Interesting. I see a theme or at least a character moment for Mary Jane happening here. The chapter starts with MJ and Aunt May watching a news story about the homeless feeding event J.J.’s putting on, but MJ only sees it as a publicity stunt that doesn’t really do anything to solve the long problem. Later she confides to Peter that she wishes she could do more now that she’s out of work while Peter is doing everything as breadwinner, superhero, and helping his aunt. In both cases both May and Peter mention something Uncle Ben used to say about wanting to help being important, which is fine but I think MJ has a point. As the financial supporter it left Peter free to be Spider-Man, using his job more to gather information that pay the bills, especially at the rate Jameson pays for pictures. She contributed something to team Spider-Man and at a job she loved, acting and modeling. She also has a point that this one gathering won’t solve the long term problem of homelessness and poverty, but in that case it might raise attention and there are ways to build on that. I see this becoming important later in the story but I have a feeling it will be the B plot and not the Carnage plot.
Speaking of which, after more loving moments with the Parkers that show why some of us are pro-Spider-Marriage, Peter gets a call that the police nabbed Catrall, which we’ll see factor into our next chapter. Again, the character moments mix with the plot moments. Earlier when MJ and May were watching the news story a special report broke in about Carnage’s escape and MJ had to hide her worry for Peter from May, who doesn’t know Peter is Spider-Man. And yet May’s doting “oh I hate violence and I don’t like Spider-Man even though he saved my life a few times” ways make that a bit difficult. This is the main Marvel May, the only five feet from death’s door at any given second. Then MJ has to be careful not to let on when Peter comes through the door having not been carved up like Wolverine’s Christmas dinner, celebrating just enough that it comes off as young love to the oblivious May. These moments blend well and it shows an effort not to lose the story while giving the characters a chance to shine and for us to learn about and connect to them. Again, this is something I complained about Op-Center not doing well despite having more pages, but way shorter chapters.
Will Spidey learn what Catrall was trying to do? What happened to the vial of rage juice? Perhaps the answers will come to us next time.