REVIEW: ‘Dark Web: Mary Jane and Black Cat,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Dark Web Mary Jane and Black Cat - But why tho

Dark Web: Mary Jane & Black Cat #1 is written by Jed MacKay, illustrated by Vincenzo Carratu, colored by Brian Reber, and lettered by VC’s Ariana Maher and is published by Marvel Comics. New York has turned into a hellish landscape due to the machinations of Chasm and the Goblin Queen, with Felicia Hardy caught in the middle. Felicia races to save Mary Jane Watson, but soon learns that MJ has developed a surprising new ability. But how will the duo fare when they’re stranded in the middle of Limbo?

This is not MacKay’s first time writing MJ and Felicia, but a lot has happened since their last misadventure. For starters, MJ has started a family. And Felicia is once again romantically entangled with Spider-Man – when she promised MJ that they were through. To MacKay’s credit, he writes Felicia’s inner turmoil in a way that gives it actual weight and propels the narrative forward. And when I say “propel” I mean propel – from beginning to end, not a page is wasted. And once again, MacKay deserves plenty of credit for crafting a story that moves at a rapid pace but doesn’t lose the reader.

However, the one pill that’s hard to swallow is MJ’s powers. They just…come out of nowhere. Maybe MacKay is setting up a plot point that will be resolved in future issues, but upon seeing that MJ had actual powers, my first thought was, “HUH?!” The best thing about Mary Jane Watson is that she often uses her wits to escape dangerous situations, which more than makes her an ideal partner for Peter Parker. That being said, her newfound abilities turn out to be a deep cut to the Spider-Man mythos and might even get a chuckle out of fans.

Continuing a trend of great artists joining MacKay on his books, Carratu delivers some fast-paced and kinetic artwork that matches his collaborator’s script. Keeping in line with the rest of the Dark Web tie-ins, he packs his pages full of disturbing imagery. Kitchen appliances and newspapers grow fanged mouths, and long tongues that would make Venom jealous, and Limbo is populated with demons of all shapes and sizes.

And when it comes to the leading ladies, Carratu gives them plenty to do: MJ punches a demonic blender through a wall, and Felicia is almost always seen flying through the air. Finally, Reber applies a balance of warm and cool colors throughout the issue. The cold blue skies of New York soon give way to the fiery red landscape of Limbo, and MJ’s green and blue clothing is a nice contrast to Felicia’s skintight black suit. Even Maher’s lettering is a study in contrasts, as white and black word balloons shift to black and white captions when Felicia is narrating the issue’s events.

Dark Web: Mary Jane & Black Cat #1 is a team-up that’s worth your time: It’s witty, scary, and it looks amazing. It’s also proof that tie-ins to a crossover event can be just as engaging as the main story especially when you have a top-notch creative team behind the reins.

Dark Web: Mary Jane & Black Cat #1 is available wherever comics are sold.

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