Alternative versions of Mary Jane Watson

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Alternate versions of Mary Jane Watson
Mary Jane Watson
Art by Adam Hughes.
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance The Amazing Spider-Man vol. 1, #25 (June 1965)
Created by Stan Lee
John Romita, Sr.
Steve Ditko
See also Mary Jane Watson

Mary Jane Watson, often shortened to MJ, is a fiction supporting character originally appearing in Marvel comic book as the best friend, love interest, and wife (as Mary Jane Watson-Parker) of Peter Parker, the alter ego of Spider-Man. She was created by writer Stan Lee and artist John Romita, Sr. She has appeared in multiple spin-offs, alternative realities, and dramatizations of the Spider-Man titles.

The Amazing Spider-Man: The Daily Comic Strip[edit]

As a major character in the comic strip version of The Amazing Spider-Man, Mary Jane is currently married to Peter Parker. That "universe" focuses on the Parkers' personal lives and real-world villains rather than the superhero aspect, though several members of the classic "rogues gallery" still appear occasionally. In years past, Mary Jane's character constantly needed saving by Spider-Man. This resulted in a complaint by a reader that saw the strip dropped by the Toronto Star in the late '70s and early '80s. Mary Jane being in constant danger is often because she has risked her life to save Peter by joining in his battles, facing off against Doctor Doom, Morbius, Sabretooth. and Doctor Octopus. Peter and MJ remain happily married despite all of these obstacles. MJ has also covered for Peter by taking photographs of his battles. After taking a photo of Sabretooth, Peter suggested they share the credit for the photo, but MJ refused, insisting she was "just an actress".

Recently, Mary Jane's successful stint with her Broadway play "Picture Perfect", has given her and Peter financial stability, though Peter occasionally displays personal jealousy of MJ making more money, a fact MJ has teased him about whenever he contemplates quitting his regular job as a photographer, forcing him to reconsider to sooth his competitive ego. Despite these hang-ups, Peter continues to supports his wife's job and ambitions unconditionally. The Parkers at one point discussed moving into new house using the revenue she was earning from the play, but so far nothing has come of those plans.

During the Spider-Verse event, the pair were visited by Morlun. Despite Morlun being a match for Peter's strength, MJ valiantly stands up to the intruder and encourages her husband. Due to the temporal instability affecting this reality, Morlun quickly realizes it will take weeks to accomplish a simple feat. The Master Weaver of the Inheritors then pulls him out of the reality, and privately elects to rebel against his masters, preserving this universe within a pocket dimension and safe from any further Inheritor attacks.

Earth X[edit]

In this reality, Mary Jane ended up getting cancer instead of superhuman abilities when the Terrigen Mists unlocked the Celestial Seed inside of Humanity. She died shortly afterward, but later reappeared as an illusion cast by the Spiders-Man to Peter. She also took care of a younger version of May, who will be bonded with a symbiote in a few years time.[volume & issue needed]

Exiles[edit]

In Exiles, Mary Jane is Spider-Woman, a member of the Avengers. Mary Jane is a lesbian who fell in love with the reality-hopping Mariko Yashida, the ill-fated Exiles member Sunfire. The two enjoy a romantic relationship, albeit one interrupted by Sunfire's dimensional jumping responsibilities. The main threat these Avengers face is Phalanx-versions of most of their friends and millions of innocent humans.[1] Sunfire manages to return to Mary-Jane for some time, although none of their friends know how long this will be. They resolve to enjoy whatever time they have left, which ends when dimensional energies snatch Sunfire away again during an almost shared bath.[2]

House of M[edit]

The 2005 House of M crossover series version of Mary Jane is a world-famous actress, and she is one of the few humans that the mutant population likes. She has co-starred in movies with Spider-Man, who has led the mutant population to believe that he is a mutant, when in fact he is not. In her latest movie, she plays Spider-Man's real-life wife, Gwen Stacy.[3]

Mangaverse[edit]

In the Marvel Mangaverse, Mary Jane Watson is Spider-Woman, a new initiate into the Spider-clan (of ninjas), with her boyfriend (Peter Parker) showing her the ropes.[4] In the 2005-'06 New Mangaverse five part limited series, they join several other heroes in combating a superhero massacre. They are also among the last surviving heroes at the end of the series.[volume & issue needed]

Marvel 1602[edit]

Marvel 1602, an eight-issue limited series set in the Elizabethan era, was published in 2003. Its popularity led to the publication of two sequels: 1602: New World and Spider-Man: 1602. The character of Marion Jane Watsonne is introduced in Spider-Man: 1602 #3. The Watsonne family are a theatrical troupe, originally from the same village in Scotland as Peter Parquagh. Marion, an actress, must pose as a boy in England, because women are not allowed on the stage. In France, where Peter sees her, she is under no such restrictions. Marion encounters Peter when he saves the life of her brother, Graeme. After a brief stint as the troupe's acrobat, Peter is kidnapped by Baron Octavius (this reality's version of Doctor Octopus). When he escapes, he discovers the troupe has been hired by Octavius and moved to Vienna. With her family locked in the dungeon and herself being used as bait to lure Peter into a trap, Marion and Peter are reunited. After a violent battle with several 1602 versions of the Green Goblin, the Lizard, and Bullseye, the two find happiness with each other and presumably wed. On a final note, a preserved sample of Peter's blood is found 400 years later and becomes the basis for the Super-Soldier formula that would create Captain America.[volume & issue needed]

Marvel Zombies and Marvel Zombies Return[edit]

In Marvel Zombies, an infected Peter Parker arrives home to save Mary Jane and Aunt May but he loses control and eats them instead. After he has eaten, Peter is consumed by the guilt and grief of what he has done to the last two people who ever loved him, refusing to take off his mask so he won't have to look himself in the eyes again. This guilt is a major plot point. Marvel Zombies Return: Spider-Man reveals that MJ was zombified after Peter ate her. She reappears in an alternative reality and is later seen being eaten by a zombified Sinister Six.[5]

MC2 Universe[edit]

Mary Jane Watson on the cover of Amazing Spider-Girl #8.

In the MC2 universe, which depicts an alternative future timeline for the Marvel Universe, Mary Jane remains married to Peter Parker. Peter's original clone Kaine reunited Mary Jane with her baby daughter in this continuity. Kaine had found the child living with agents of Norman Osborn. Mary Jane's daughter became Spider-Girl, alias May "Mayday" Parker. Many years later, after a complicated pregnancy, Mary Jane would give birth to a baby son, Benjamin. She is a respected fashion designer and businesswoman, secretly opening a store selling Spider-Girl related merchandise to pay for May's and Ben's educations. She has recently become a guidance counselor at May's school, where she learns of the anti-mutant group Humanity First. She also becomes a mother figure to April Parker, the unstable symbiotic clone of Mayday for a time.[volume & issue needed]

While caring for Baby May, Alison Mongraine became quite attached to the girl. Because of this, she returns years later to make contact with May. May and Mary Jane forgive Alison, who sincerely regrets her crime and loves the girl like her own child.[volume & issue needed]

During the Spider-Verse event, the Parkers come under attack from Daeomos, brother to Morlun, and a member of a powerful dimension-hopping family of parasites called Inheritors, who, like Morlun, feed on the animal totems of the living. As Daemos brings the Parker home crashing down around them, Mary Jane hands over Baby Benjamin to her daughter and instructs her to keep him safe, while she elects to stay behind and assist her husband in delaying the Inheritor. Mary Jane is heard to scream off-panel as Mayday evacuates the house with her brother. Peter is shown to have perished at Daemos' hand. Mayday is saved by other Spider-Men from alternate realitys who have been trying to rescue as many Spiders as possible from the Inheritors, and she vows to kill Daemos and avenge her fallen family. It is later revealed Benjy is the "scion" sought after by the Inheritors who will play a major part in a prophecy that will lead to their defeat

Spider-Man: Reign[edit]

In the alternative future seen in Spider-Man: Reign, Mary Jane died of cancer due to prolonged exposure to Peter's radioactive body fluids, her last words being "Go..." as he leaped out of a window to respond to sirens. It is believed that Mary Jane was trying to say "Go get 'em, Tiger." After her death, Peter buried his red and blue costume with her, wearing a black suit until his retirement. However, with the coming of the Sinister Six (and thanks to some encouragement from the tentacles of the now-deceased Doctor Octopus), Peter reclaims his original suit from Mary Jane's coffin and returns to his life as Spider-Man.[6] After the Six are defeated and the WEBB surrounding New York is destroyed, Peter visits Mary Jane's grave, assuring her that he'll be with her again some day, but, for now, he still has his responsibility.[7]

Spectacular Spider-Man magazine[edit]

In the UK based Spectacular Spider-Man Magazine, which is aimed at considerably younger readers, Mary Jane is Peter's love interest, but possesses no existing knowledge of his dual identity. A look into the future revealed she eventually marries Peter and has a daughter with him, Mayday, who is active as Spider-Girl. This is the third official continuity to incorporate Spider-Girl into the mythology (besides Earth X and the Spider-Girl title)

Peter Porker, the Spectacular Spider-Ham[edit]

Peter Porker, the Spectacular Spider-Ham, Tom DeFalco and Mark Armstrong's anthropomorphic parody of Spider-Man, features Mary Jane as a water buffalo called "Mary Jane Waterbuffalo".[8]

Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane[edit]

In Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane, Mary Jane is still a teenager and the book is primarily a teen drama rather than a superhero comic book, although it takes place in a superhero universe with Spider-Man playing a prominent role. In this continuity, Mary Jane is the most popular girl at Midtown high (her high school in Queens, NY) and even has the title of homecoming queen. She is briefly infatuated with Spider-Man and the two go on a date. After their date, she realizes that she would much rather be with Peter Parker. The ongoing series was preceded by two four-issue limited series, Mary Jane and Mary Jane: Homecoming, intended to appeal to female manga readers and the fans of the Mary Jane novels.[volume & issue needed]

Spider-Man: Fairy Tales[edit]

Issue #1 of Spider-Man: Fairy Tales mimics the fairy tale of Little Red Riding Hood. In this version of the fairy tale, Mary Jane's character mimics that of Little Red Riding Hood, and Peter is one of the woodsmen. Peter is not very strong but he is fast, agile, and "can climb better than most anyone." Working together, Peter and Mary Jane manage to kill the evil wolf. The two later become engaged.[volume & issue needed]

In issue #4, a gender-reversed version of Cinderella, Mary Jane is a servant girl in the house of Sir Osborn, and is in love with Peter Parker. Peter, in the Cinderella role, does not realize this and disguises himself as the "Prince of Arachne" to win the hand of Princess Gwendolyn. Mary Jane discovers Peter's secret identity and aids him.[volume & issue needed]

Ultimate Mary Jane[edit]

Ultimate Mary Jane

This version of Mary Jane, first appearing in Ultimate Spider-Man #1, attends Midtown High School with Peter Parker and Liz Allan. Originally known as "Mary" to her friends, she later picks up the "MJ" nickname. Unlike the original MJ, Ultimate Mary Jane is a brilliant student and expresses her true feelings instead of masquerading as a party girl. She has an eruptive temper and has even physically attacked some of the bullies at her school, resulting in a detention. At one time, MJ had expressed her wish to become an actress, then a "teacher who cares". She now has an interest in journalism. She and Peter begin dating in Ultimate Spider-Man #13. In that issue she becomes the second person to learn of Peter's secret identity and the first Peter reveals it to. She mends Peter's spare Spider-Man costumes, once calling herself the Betsy Ross of superheroes. Although Peter and MJ love each other very much, Peter's Spider-Man identity places a strain on their relationship. The relationship is further complicated when Gwen Stacy enters their lives.[volume & issue needed]

Later, Peter began to fear for Mary Jane's safety more than ever when the Green Goblin kidnaps her and flings her off the Queensboro Bridge in a twisted attempt to gain Peter's allegiance. MJ survives, but the experience leaves her traumatized. She later grows angry and jealous when she believes that a new girl, Gwen Stacy, has feelings for Peter. MJ ends their relationship in issue #32, although the pair soon reconciles in issue #41. When MJ's father reads her diary and finds her referring to something as the "bridge incident", he tells MJ that she is not allowed to see Peter anymore. Furious, she runs away to an old factory but Peter finds her. MJ's parents separate soon after.[volume & issue needed]

In the Hobgoblin arc (#72-78), it was revealed that Harry and Mary Jane engaged in a brief romance around the same time Peter was bitten. Then, long after his father is gunned down as the Green Goblin, Harry tells her that Peter "killed his father." After realizing his life as a superhero will always endanger MJ, Peter ends their relationship in issue #77. Shortly thereafter, Mary Jane goes out with a character named Mark Raxton. After one date, however, she changes her mind, resolving instead to prove herself to Peter and to get him back. When Raxton asks what MJ finds so special about Parker, she simply replies "Everything." She has since shown difficulty in moving on from Peter and in dealing with the state of their friendship, especially after Peter has dated Kitty Pryde. However, Peter has shown an interest in reconciling their differences, and becoming friends again.[volume & issue needed]

As part of the Clone Saga arc, MJ is kidnapped from her bedroom by a facially disfigured clone of Peter Parker who is determined to give her powers so that she is no longer in danger from his enemies. He pumps in her bloodstream an unquantified amount of OZ. Upon learning this, she becomes very angry and transforms into a huge, red, goblin-type creature (referred to by Bendis as Ultimate Demogoblin[9]). However, when the real Peter Parker and Spider-Woman show up, she calms down and resumes her original form, just in time for Peter to render his clone unconscious. MJ is taken to the Fantastic Four's Baxter Building and when she wakes up, she is afraid and angry, causing another transformation. However, when she spots the Peter clone who is in the building, she calms down once again and reverts to her normal self. She is then given what is believed to be a cure for the effects of the OZ formula.[volume & issue needed]

During the epilogue of the Clone Saga arc, Peter and MJ rekindle their romance, much to Kitty's dismay. Although MJ seems physically cured,[10] her ordeal has left her badly traumatized, and she suffers from panic attacks and is haunted by the scarred visage of Peter's disfigured clone. Sue Storm suggests that Peter keep a close eye on MJ and seek a psychiatrist to help her. In issue #107, MJ sees Peter talking to Kitty and it angers her. Her hand starts to tremble and her fingernails briefly become claws but she calms down, indicating that her cure might not be permanent or complete. In issue #112, it is seen that Mary Jane daydreams a scene where she fights against Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four in her mutant form.[volume & issue needed]

Mary Jane decides to actively pursue a career in broadcast journalism, and she begins a series of on-location webcast reports in New York with Peter as her cameraman. She constantly messes up her surname, causing her to lose her temper, much to Peter's amusement. She eventually helps Kitty Pryde track down Peter when he is captured and unmasked by The Shocker.[volume & issue needed]

In Death of a Goblin, when Spider-Man asks why they can't cure Harry and Norman, one of the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents tells Peter that the cure for OZ does not work.[volume & issue needed]

Bendis announced on his official message boards that the third Ultimate Spider-Man Annual had been approved following a long period of consideration, as the story deals with what is described as a "heavily controversial topic". Fans have speculated that this will prove to be Peter and MJ exploring a sexual relationship despite their young age; thus far, the only hints of sexual intercourse have been brief encounters interrupted by changes in circumstance (e.g., Aunt May bursting into the room before they can kiss) and an attempt by Wolverine to make some sort of advance to her when he was briefly trapped in Peter's body. However, by the end of the story, Peter, despite knowing that he and MJ love each other, knew that they aren't ready to go to the next level of their relationship, so the idea is postponed. That issue shows that Mary Jane has a knack as a detective, as she figured out that a police officer was on the take from someone, whom the NYPD has dubbed "Mysterio", and has the crooked cop set up surveillance equipment at the police department after Peter informed MJ of the police chase. Mysterio later escapes, but not before vowing to get even with Spider-Man.[volume & issue needed]

In the six months since the events of Ultimatum, Peter and Mary Jane have once again broken up and become estranged. Mary Jane especially has become withdrawn and consumed in her work for the school webcast. Although Peter was now in a relationship with Gwen Stacy, he and MJ started to repair their friendship. Gwen eventually broke up with Peter, realizing he loved MJ more. Her appearance has also drastically changed as she now has much shorter hair and wears glasses. She would gradually ditch this look as she and Peter reunited as a couple. Peter would later seemingly perish in battle with Norman Osborn and the Sinister Six while saving his Aunt May's life. Mary Jane contemplated writing a tell-all expose on how Fury had failed Peter after his death, but abandoned the idea when she saw Fury's genuine remorse at how he had failed to protect Peter.[volume & issue needed]

When the Peter Parker of Earth-616 briefly crossed into the Ultimate universe, Gwen called Mary Jane to inform her about his presence, but even after seeing the older Peter leave the house, MJ was unable to bring herself to talk to him, running away when Peter noticed her.[11]

It is eventually revealed that Peter somehow survived his fateful ordeal, waking up in an abandoned lab in San Francisco. Peter made his way back to New York and reunited with Mary Jane. The two dug up his grave to find no body in the casket. After reuniting with Aunt May and Gwen, and meeting up with Miles Morales, Peter helped his successor confront Norman Osborn, who indicated his OZ formula had effectively granted any infused with it immortality, himself and Peter included. Upon defeating Osborn, Peter elects to leave New York, with Mary Jane deciding to travel with him, and the two depart the city in her family car.

King-Sized Spider-Man Summer Special[edit]

Mary-Jane plays a starring role in Un-Enchanted Evening, a 23-page out-of-continuity short story in the King-Sized Spider-Man Summer Special. In the tale, MJ and her friends Millie the Model and Patsy Walker accidentally end up in the middle of a plot by Enchantress to kidnap and brainwash Clea, She-Hulk, Jean Grey, Scarlet Witch, and Patsy, turning them into her personal army. In the final confrontation between the heroines and Enchantress, MJ and Millie save the day when they distract her long enough for Clea to magically bind and gag her, effectively neutralizing her spell-casting abilities.[volume & issue needed]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Exiles #22 (April 2003)
  2. ^ Exiles #33-34 (October–November 2003)
  3. ^ Spider-Man: House of M #1-3 (2005)
  4. ^ Marvel Mangaverse #24 (2002)
  5. ^ Marvel Zombies Return #3
  6. ^ Spider-Man: Reign #3
  7. ^ Spider-Man: Reign #4
  8. ^ Peter Porker, The Spectacular Spider-Ham #14 (March, 1987)
  9. ^ "No Ultimate Spider-Man #101 thread? (SPOILERS) - Page 3 - Jinxworld Forums". 606studios.com. 2006-10-25. Retrieved 2010-09-16. 
  10. ^ Ultimate Spider-Man #105
  11. ^ Spider-Men #4 (August 2012)