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“Who are they?” Spider-Man asks Mary Jane about a man in glasses and the two children with him, both of whom look kinda like Mary Jane in Amazing Spider-Man #24 (2023). Image: Zeb Wells, John Romita Jr./Marvel Comics

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Spider-Man was gone for one day and Mary Jane went and had two kids

That ol’ Parker luck

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Susana Polo is an entertainment editor at Polygon, specializing in pop culture and genre fare, with a primary expertise in comic books. Previously, she founded The Mary Sue.

For an entire year, Amazing Spider-Man has been teasing readers with its set up. It has all the usual hallmarks of a Spider-Man comic, but with glaring mysteries: Why is Peter Parker persona non grata with everyone he’s normally chums with? Why is Mary Jane dating some guy who has two elementary school age children?

By all appearances, six months before the events of last year’s Amazing Spider-Man #1, Spider-Man did something so heinous and wild as that it made his entire social network stop speaking to him and Mary Jane start dating a single dad.

And now Amazing Spider-Man is finally getting around to explaining what it was.

What else is happening in the pages of our favorite comics? We’ll tell you. Welcome to Monday Funnies, Polygon’s weekly list of the books that our comics editor enjoyed this past week. It’s part society pages of superhero lives, part reading recommendations, part “look at this cool art.” There may be some spoilers. There may not be enough context. But there will be great comics. (And if you missed the last edition, read this.)

Amazing Spider-Man #24

Spider-Man’s form is stretched and contorted wildly as he passes through a system of crazy wormholes in Amazing Spider-Man #24 (2023). Image: Zeb Wells, John Romita Jr./Marvel

As you might be able to tell from John Romita’s art here, writer Zeb Wells has taken Spider-Man in a somewhat timey-wimey direction. Yes, it’s a good old “time moves faster in the alternate dimension” story, but from the perspective of the real world.

When Mary Jane got trapped in an apocalypse dimension, Spider-Man burned all his bridges, stealing a miniature fusion reactor from the Fantastic Four and pummeling Captain America to escape. He did all this to recruit the only person who’d help him (a desperate for redemption Norman Osborn) turn the fusion reactor into a dimension hopping device so he could go back and get her.

But all that webslinging, punching, and mad science took him a whole day, which was apparently enough time for Mary Jane to meet another survivor, give up on getting rescued, fall in love, and make two entire humans.

There’s Parker luck, but this is extreme.

Nightwing #103

“I’ve never seen so many icons on one desktop,” Cyborg says, gesturing at a computer in Hell as Nightwing and Beast Boy look on in Nightwing #103 (2023). Image: Tom Taylor, Travis Moore/DC Comics

The problem with the Teen Titans these days is there are just so many completely divergent and extremely popular versions of them — the Silver Age team! The 1980s team! The serious cartoon show, the goofy cartoon show! My particular favorite of the 2018 soft relaunch with Bernard Chang’s incredible art! — that no single Titans book could possibly feed all of those audiences.

So I’m really looking forward to seeing how Tom Taylor, a bit of a master at wild continuity swings that are still full of character, plans to bring the wide, wide web of Titans together in one book. In the meantime, his Nightwing is basically a Titans book at the moment, with the classic ’80s/Cartoon team lineup trying to rescue a little girl’s soul from hell, where her dad sold it to.

I love a comic where hell’s filing system combines the worst possible version of every computer interface throughout history.

Avengers Assemble Omega #1

The ancient Phoenix and modern Starbrand join hands, two titanic glowing women surrounded by worlds upon worlds as they reset the universe from Mephisto’s meddling in Avengers Assemble Omega #1 (2023). Image: Jason Aaron, Aaron Kuder, Dexter VInes, Ivan Fiorelli, Javier Garrón, Jim Towe, Alex Sinclair/Marvel Comics

I would say that Jason Aaron’s Avengers run went out with a bang, but honestly it’s been cranked up to 11 for so long that I’ve got the comic book reading equivalent of tinnitus for it. I’m happy for a writer to have spent so long doing something he’s clearly very excited about, I’m also happy to see someone else take the reins next month.

She-Hulk #12

She-Hulk preps for book club at her apartment, with a cheese board and onion dip, before Janet Van Dyne bustles in with caterers for her “veto” diet in She-Hulk #12 (2023). Image: Rainbow Rowell, Joe Quinones/Marvel Comics

What is best in life? It’s Joe Quinones drawing the Jen Walters gunshow for a short story about her trying to get her female superhero friends in one place for book club with no punching.


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