Mary Jane; Sabrina, the Teenage Witch; Silver Surfer
Mary Jane #4
by Sean McKeever, Takeshi Miyazawa & Norman Lee
And thus, on a bit of a cliffhanger, Mary Jane comes to an end. Unsurprisingly, this comic has had a hard time finding an audience in the comic shops frequented and run by typical fanboys. Given that Marvel's supposed strategy with this book was to create Marvel Age digests for consumption in bookstores to compete with manga, it is surprising that they've cancelled it before the first collection has appeared. If there's a problem with this book (besides Marvel's mishandling of the whole thing) it is with the protagonist: all the boys are in love with her. Oh, whatever shall she do? For most of the target audience, this situation will be hard to empathize with. Liz Allen, even though she is a cheerleader dating a popular football jock, is much more interesting, as she manages to embody the doubts and fears about relationships that are common with many high school kids. My main concern in losing this book is that we are losing the team of McKeever & Miyazawa; surely there is a company out there that will snap these guys up to work on a real high school-centered drama, one that doesn't rely on a tenuous connection to a spandex-clad preipheral character.
Rating: 3 (of 5)
Sabrina, the Teenage Witch #60
by Tania Del Rio & Jim Amash
Del Rio has successfully transormed Sabrina, effectively combining the traditional Archie teen comic with the style of magical manga teen romantic comedy. Poor Sabrina also has more than one guy vying for her affections, but at least her life is complicated by the attentions brought by her aunt's running for a seat on the witches' council. The story in this issue is a fun little teenage fantasy, but is marred somewhat by the afterschool special moment at the end. I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Jason Jensen's excellent colors, which are highly effective and really complement the art.
Rating: 2.5 (of 5)
Silver Surfer #6-12
by Dan Chariton, Stacy Weiss, & Lan Medina
I think I'm one of just twelve people who has enjoyed the new direction of Marvel's Silver Surfer. In most instances The Surfer is just too cosmic of a character to make for an effective protagonist, but as a catalyst in this story of alien encounters and abductions I think he's quite effective. Plus I really enjoy Medina's art, so it's a pleasure to see it on a regular basis. The big problem with this book is one that affects many titles these days: the story is being stretched out far too long. I was under the impression that this curent storyline would be over in six issues, which is way I'd saved them up for reading all at once, but apparently it's being stretched out even further (two more issues presumably, at which point the book is being cancelled). Really, some editor at Marvel needs to get a clue; if you want six to eight issues to combine for a trade collection, fine, but what collection can contain two or three well-crafted stories instead of one long drawn-out tale.
Rating: 2.5 (of 5)