Spider-Man’s homecoming was pretty spectacular in the MCU – but his friends and loved ones will never forget what happened in the comics!
It turns out that Spider-Man‘s homecoming was even more disastrous in the comics than the movies…even though Peter Parker didn’t get to go at all. Marvel Comics has long taken the view that the iconic Spider-Man is a teenager struggling to learn the lesson that with great power must come great responsibility. That’s why Marvel keeps publishing stories set back during his high school days – and it’s why, when Marvel Studios finally got the opportunity to add Spider-Man into the MCU, he was rebooted as a high school student. Marvel’s currently planning its first animated Spider-Man TV series set in the MCU, and again it’s set in the first few months after Peter Parker was bitten by that fateful radioactive spider.
The MCU’s reboot began with Spider-Man: Homecoming, a title that worked on so many levels. On the one hand, the film celebrated Spider-Man’s coming home to the MCU, and the story it told focused on integrating Tom Holland’s iteration of the wall-crawler into Marvel’s shared universe. But in story terms, it builds up to Peter Parker’s homecoming dance with his latest crush, Liz Allan, which goes badly wrong when he realizes her father is actually the Vulture. Peter literally abandons his date on the dance floor, but poor Liz soon has other things to worry about when she returns home to learn her father has been arrested as a supervillain. Oddly enough, though, there’s a sense in which Spider-Man’s homecoming went even worse in the comics – even though Peter Parker didn’t even go to the dance at all.
In 2005, Marvel Comics published a miniseries called Mary Jane: Homecoming, by Sean McKeever and Takeshi Miyazawa. Set (of course) during Peter Parker’s high school years, it focuses on Mary Jane Watson’s complicated love life. She is going out with Harry Osborn at the time, but is unwittingly causing problems with the relationship between her friends Liz Allan and Flash Thompson. Liz is well aware Flash secretly loves MJ, and is burning with jealousy towards her. Events take a shocking twist when Flash and Mary Jane are crowned Homecoming King and Queen, with the two expected to dance together. Flash has recently learned Mary Jane once had a crush on him, and he takes the opportunity to make a move – with inevitable consequences.
An already-heartbroken Liz returns to the dance floor just in time to see Flash leaning in for a kiss, prompting her to interrupt the dance. “You stole my boyfriend,” she accuses Mary Jane, to the bemusement of the watching class, “but that wasn’t enough, was it? You had to steal my night? My special night?” Harry arrives a few moments later, and within moments he and Flash are preparing to start a fight. Mary Jane runs out in tears, missing the end of the argument – in which Liz apparently decks Flash.
There’s a whole lot less superhero action in Mary Jane: Homecoming, although Spider-Man keeps swinging by at inopportune moments – ironically brawling with the Vulture, the main villain of Spider-Man: Homecoming. Still, while the MCU’s Liz Allan will no doubt never forgive Peter Parker for running out on her, there’s a sense in which the comic book version of Liz has an even worse time at homecoming than Spider-Man; she is caught up in the ultimate teenage drama, and every classmate watches it happen.
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