Mary Jane Watson
Publication information
PublisherMarvel Comics
First appearance
Created byStan Lee
John Romita Sr.
In-story information
Full nameMary Jane Watson
SpeciesHuman
Place of originMontoursville, Pennsylvania
Supporting character ofSpider-Man
Iron Man
Notable aliases
  • Mary Jane Watson-Parker
  • Spider-Woman
  • Red Sonja
  • Spinneret
  • Red
  • MJ

Mary Jane "MJ" Watson is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character was created by Stan Lee and John Romita Sr., and made her first appearance in The Amazing Spider-Man #25. Since then she has gone on to become Spider-Man's main love interest and later his wife. Mary Jane is the most famous and prominent love interest of Peter Parker due to their long history, as she is also represented in most Spider-Man media and adaptations.

Although she made a brief first appearance in The Amazing Spider-Man #25 with a plant obscuring her exterior, Mary Jane's first official face reveal was in a cameo appearance The Amazing Spider-Man #42. Designed and drawn by John Romita Sr., her entrance is regarded as one of the most iconic introductions in comic history, owing it to its build-up, her hyper-vibrant red hair and her most famous line, "Face it, Tiger... you just hit the jackpot!" Since then, 'Tiger' has been her most recognizable nickname for Peter Parker, spanning comics and media adaptations.

Initially set up by Aunt May as a blind date, redheaded party girl Mary Jane "MJ" Watson was depicted in her early appearances as Gwen Stacy's competition. Though Peter dated her briefly before Gwen, both of them broke it off as Peter saw her flamboyance, flakiness and 'life of the party' personality as shallow and MJ was not ready to be tied down by one man. She eventually became Peter's main love interest after Gwen's death at the hands of the Green Goblin. The pair formed a bond through the grief of losing Gwen, as Mary Jane grew to become a more mature and open-hearted person. She and Peter got closer, fell deeply in love, had an on-off relationship for years and eventually married. Despite their marriage being undone due to the timeline manipulations by the villain Mephisto, Mary Jane and Peter retained a close friendship and have since resumed their romantic relationship.

Starting from her memorable debut, Mary Jane Watson has earned a place in comic polls over the years—making her the most popular "non-powered" character in the Marvel universe and one of the best known female love interests in superhero pop culture.

Kirsten Dunst portrayed the character in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy, while Zoë Kravitz voiced the character in the 2018 animated film Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.

Publication history

Mary Jane Watson is mentioned in The Amazing Spider-Man #15 (August 1964), and is initially used as a running joke of the series, as Peter Parker's Aunt May repeatedly attempts to set her unwilling nephew up on a date with her. Parker (also known as Spider-Man) consistently worms his way out of meeting Mary Jane who, aside from a brief appearance in #25 (June 1965) with her face obscured, is never actually seen until The Amazing Spider-Man #42 (November 1966).[1] Peter David wrote in 2010 that artist John Romita Sr. "made the definitive statement of his arrival by pulling Mary Jane out from behind the oversized potted plant [that blocked the readers' view of her face in issue #25] and placing her on panel in what would instantly become an iconic moment".[2] Romita has stated that in designing Mary Jane, he "used Ann-Margret from the movie Bye Bye Birdie as a guide, using her coloring, the shape of her face, her red hair and her form-fitting short skirts".[3]

According to co-creator Stan Lee, he and Romita had intended for Gwen Stacy to be Spider-Man's one true love, and introduced Mary Jane "just for fun", but that "somehow, Mary Jane seemed to have all the personality, and much as we tried to make Gwen more attractive, we couldn't! We, ourselves, felt that Mary Jane ended up being not only more attractive but more fun and more interesting, and we finally decided to let Peter end up with her, but it was... as though the characters had taken over!"[4][5]

The Amazing Mary Jane, comic book starred by Mary Jane
The Amazing Mary Jane, comic book starred by Mary Jane

Mary Jane Watson's unexpected popularity with readers after her debut changed the course of the plan for Gwen Stacy's character, who was intended to be the true love for Peter and was characterized as a sweet Daddy's girl in contrast to Mary Jane's '60s counterculture, vampy and liberated personality. Fans surprisingly liked Mary Jane more and demanded for her to replace Gwen's role as Peter Parker's main love interest as readers found Mary Jane more exciting and that "no matter how we [i.e. Lee and his artist/co-plotter collaborators] wrote it, Mary Jane always seemed more interesting!"[6][4] The names "Mary Jane" and "MJ" are also common slang terms for marijuana. When asked about this, Stan Lee claimed it was purely coincidental, that he knew nothing about drugs and had never tried marijuana.[7]

Gerry Conway succeeded Stan Lee as writer of The Amazing Spider-Man in 1972. Conway pushed Mary Jane to the forefront of the cast, and made her a serious love interest for Peter Parker.[8] Like Lee, Conway found Mary Jane to be more compelling than Gwen: "[Mary Jane] hadn't lost the edge that made her an interesting character. Gwen didn't have an edge. She was just a nice person. I don't think she had a mean bone in her body, and wasn't likely to do something that was likely to screw things up for Peter, out of some misguided sense of self-aggrandizement, which Mary Jane was quite capable of doing—which makes her a much more interesting character".[9]

In 1987, the character was married to Spider-Man in The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #21. As a consequence, writer J. M. DeMatteis made Mary Jane and her marriage to Spider-Man one of the central themes of the critically acclaimed "Kraven's Last Hunt", published the same year as the wedding. DeMatteis commented that "'Kraven's Last Hunt' has a lot of darkness in it, but the story primarily is about Peter and his journey into the light and the power of simple human love. The reason Peter makes it out is because he has Mary Jane in his life, and that is his salvation".[10]

Marvel editor-in-chief Joe Quesada said that he feels the marriage ages the characters, making them less appealing to young readers, and lessens the dramatic, "soap opera" possibilities, but also stated that "divorcing or widowing, or annulling the marriage... would only be worse".[11] He has also pointed out that the marriage itself was editorially mandated; Stan Lee decided to marry the characters in his daily newspaper strip and, even though the two were not even dating at the time in the comic book series, it was decided to marry them in the regular Marvel Universe as well. In 2007, Quesada presided over the controversial "One More Day" storyline, which he also drew, in which Peter and Mary Jane's marriage is erased from history and everyone's memories by the devil Mephisto. Quesada states he is an avid fan of the Peter and MJ relationship, and in several interviews has claimed that the alternate MC2 universe, in which Peter and Mary Jane are happily married, is a "natural progression" of the characters.

The erasing of Peter and Mary Jane's marriage was initially adopted in the newspaper strip as well, but due to negative reader reaction Lee later revealed it to be a bad dream.[12] Mary Jane remains Spider-Man's wife in the newspaper strip continuity.

Although the marriage stayed erased, Mary Jane and Peter Parker became a couple again during Nick Spencer's run in Amazing Spider-Man. She got a spin-of comic later, The Amazing Mary Jane, by Leah Williams, Carlos Gomez and Carlos López.[13]

Fictional character biography

Early history

Mary Jane is depicted as an extremely beautiful, green-eyed redhead and was the primary romantic interest of Peter Parker for the majority of the forty years between her first full appearance in 1966 and the One More Day story in 2007 (Peter and Mary Jane married in 1987). Initially, she competed with others for Peter's affection, most prominently with Gwen Stacy and the Black Cat. Mary Jane's relatively unknown early life was eventually explored in The Amazing Spider-Man #259.[14]

Early issues of The Amazing Spider-Man featured a running joke about Peter dodging his Aunt May's attempts to set him up with "that nice Watson girl next door", whom Peter had not yet met and assumed would not be his type, since his aunt liked her (in the Parallel Lives graphic novel an identical scenario is shown between Mary Jane and her Aunt Anna). Mary Jane made her first actual appearance in The Amazing Spider-Man #25 (June 1965), although her face was obscured. However, she was seen by both Liz Allen and Betty Brant, who are both shocked by how attractive she is. It is not until The Amazing Spider-Man #42 (November 1966) that her face is actually seen. In that issue, on the last page, Peter finally meets her, and he is stunned by her beauty even as she speaks the now-famous line: "Face it, Tiger... you just hit the jackpot!"[15]

Mary Jane's face is shown for the first time, and her famous catchphrase is first uttered.Art by John Romita Sr. From The Amazing Spider-Man #42.
Mary Jane's face is shown for the first time, and her famous catchphrase is first uttered.
Art by John Romita Sr. From The Amazing Spider-Man #42.

Peter begins to date her, much to the annoyance of Gwen Stacy. However, they eventually become irritated with each other and Peter subsequently chooses to date Gwen. Mary Jane, who becomes Harry Osborn's love interest and girlfriend for about a year, remains a close friend to Peter and Gwen.

Despite her enjoyment of life, her friendships, and dating, Mary Jane refuses to be tied down for too long. When her relationship with Harry Osborn comes to an end, it has significant impact on Harry, driving him to a drug overdose.[16] This in turn creates a boomerang effect, driving his father Norman Osborn to the brink of insanity, temporarily restoring his memories as the Green Goblin.[17]

After the Green Goblin murders Gwen in The Amazing Spider-Man #121, Mary Jane attempts to comfort Peter. Peter, who is distraught over the loss of Gwen Stacy, angrily confronts MJ about her seemingly flighty and carefree attitude. He questions her ability to ever care about people like him and Gwen, and states "You wouldn't be sorry if your own mother died," unaware that her mother had actually died. Mary Jane is hurt by Peter's comments. She attempts to leave, but hesitates as she approaches the door, and ultimately chooses to stay with him.[18] This served as a turning point in their relationship, and over the next couple of years, she and Peter become very close friends. Eventually, upon realizing the feelings that they share for one another, they decide to take their relationship to the next level, having sex in the process.[19] Their relationship has a few initial hurdles, such as MJ's hot temper and Peter's always dashing off to be Spider-Man. Following the events of the original clone saga, Peter realizes that Mary Jane is the girl he has always loved, and the two begin dating again.

Despite loving Peter, MJ does not wish to be tied down. Yet, she allows the relationship to progress and is left with a difficult decision when Peter proposes to her.[20] After taking a short time to consider, she turns him down.[21] Following a series of traumatic experiences involving Peter's absences and his costumed alter ego endangering his Aunt May, a spiritually exhausted MJ leaves New York for several months. Peter meanwhile dates other women, most notably Felicia Hardy.

MJ eventually returns, her behavior showing a marked change with her abandonment of her false front. Following an attack on Peter by Puma, she breaks down and admits her knowledge of Peter's secret identity in The Amazing Spider-Man #257. After learning of her own family history in The Amazing Spider-Man #259, Peter finds a new respect for her and begins to truly understand her. MJ makes it clear to Peter that knowing his identity changes nothing about her feelings, and that she only loves him as a friend, her best friend.[22]

Despite the one-shot graphic novel Amazing Spider-Man: Parallel Lives and Untold Tales of Spider-Man #16 revealing that Mary Jane discovered Peter's secret when she noticed Spider-Man climbing out of Peter's bedroom window after his uncle's murder, many comics published before this revelation claimed that she had simply "figured it out", with the details of how and when left ambiguous to the reader.

After yet another period of reconsidering his priorities in life, Peter contemplates letting go of the Spider-Man mantle, with Mary Jane backing the decision, but his relationship with Felicia Hardy soon resumes. Feeling lost and guilty, Peter visits Mary Jane and apologizes with an awkward kiss before heading to Berlin with Ned Leeds.

Following Ned Leeds' murder at the hands of the Foreigner, a changed and bitter Peter returns to New York, where his lack of direction in life is not helped when Ned is framed as the Hobgoblin, and Felicia elects to leave Peter behind as she is tied to the Foreigner. Mary Jane returns to Peter, presumably to patch things up, but Peter surprises her with a second proposal of marriage, which MJ again turns down.[23] She returns to her family to settle old debts with her father, with Peter following her. After aiding her sister in having her crooked father arrested, and aiding Peter against a Spider-Slayer, Mary Jane has an epiphany on marriage, and agrees to become Peter's wife.[24]

Marriage

In spite of Peter and Mary Jane's mutual worry that they were marrying too early, Peter's concern for her safety, and her unwillingness to give up her "party girl" lifestyle, they marry.[25] She adds Peter's surname to her own, making her Mary Jane Watson-Parker. They were, at that moment, really in love. Spider-Man wears his black costume around this time, but after Mary Jane is frightened by a stalking Venom, she convinces him to change back to his old costume.[26]

Mary Jane continues to model after her marriage, but is stalked by her wealthy landlord, Jonathan Caesar. When she rejects his advances, he kidnaps her, but she manages to escape. While Caesar is briefly incarcerated, he uses his powerful business connections within the city and has her blacklisted as a model. She gets a role on the soap opera Secret Hospital, but is unhappy with her character's air-headed and mean personality. On top of that, Caesar, who has been released from prison and is still obsessed with Mary Jane, plots to kidnap her again—this time intending to whisk her away to a private island he owns in the Caribbean. After luring Mary Jane to an abandoned studio and threatening to kill her, Caesar is confronted by Officer Goldman, a policeman assigned to Mary Jane's original case against him. Goldman then shoots Caesar dead, saving Mary Jane's life. Although she successfully petitions her boss to adjust her character's personality, a deranged fan tries to kill Mary Jane out of hatred for the actions of her soap opera character. Mary Jane quits her job out of fear for her own safety and returns to modeling. This, along with Peter's role as Spider-Man, triggers a growing divide. She briefly flirts with actor Jason Jerome, who tries to tempt her into a secret affair. She resists out of faithfulness to Peter, but her weak rebuffs fail to convince Jerome, and she realizes she is enticed by him in spite of herself.[27] However, she eventually realizes that her craving for romance can be filled by her husband as easily as an extramarital affair, and she pointedly rejects Jerome's advances while rebuking his behavior.[28]

Due to this stress, and the seeming return of her husband's parents, Mary Jane begins smoking (a habit she had quit in high school), only increasing the tension between her and Peter. Peter ultimately convinces her to stop smoking when he tricks her into visiting Nick Katzenberg suffering heavily from lung cancer. When his parents are discovered to be fakes, Peter is unable to cope with the knowledge and disappears for a time. Mary Jane visits her sister Gayle and her father for the first time in years, and finally reconciles with them. Meanwhile, Peter overcomes his problems on his own. When she and Peter reunite, both are happier than they had been in a long time.

Pregnancy

During the 1994–96 "Clone Saga" storyline, Peter's clone, Ben Reilly, appears. Mary Jane discovers that she is pregnant. While she experiences some complications in her pregnancy, Reilly's scientist friend Seward Trainer helps her. Peter and Ben are told by Trainer that Ben is the real Peter Parker, and Peter is the clone. After conducting the tests themselves (tests which Seward rigged) they confirm Seward's story. A disbelieving Peter, while arguing with Ben, accidentally strikes Mary Jane. After this, he decides to quit as Spider-Man, because the stress of his double life is endangering his wife and unborn child. Peter, acting on hypnotic suggestion by the Jackal, attempts to kill Mary Jane, but is prevented by Ben Reilly (as the Scarlet Spider), his teammates the New Warriors, and Kaine. Later, Peter and Mary Jane leave New York and move to Portland, Oregon. They live there peacefully for several months, adapting happily to normal life after an accident causes subtle damage to Peter's genetic structure that disrupts his ability to use his powers. However, they miss New York City and their friends, and move back, a strange illness culminating in the restoration of Peter's powers. During the Onslaught crisis, Mary Jane is scanned by a Sentinel robot, who detects genetic abnormalities in her fetus.[29]

Soon afterward, when Mary Jane's baby is already past due, she is poisoned by Alison Mongrain, an agent of the Green Goblin. Mary Jane's baby is stillborn.[30] Combined with Ben's death in a battle with the reborn Norman Osborn and the revelation that the tests identifying Peter as the clone were actually rigged as part of Osborn's plan to break Peter's spirit, Peter returns to the role of Spider-Man.[31]

Marital problems

Mary Jane returns to college to major in psychology, but the stress of the ongoing manipulations of Norman Osborn take their toll. After the Gathering of Five incident and the return of Aunt May, Mary Jane begs Peter to quit being Spider-Man.

He is happy to do so for several months, but soon feels the tug of his great power and great responsibility to be a hero. Meanwhile, Mary Jane is offered a new modeling contract and reaches new heights of success. Peter becomes Spider-Man again behind Mary Jane's back, which puts strain on their marriage. At the same time, she begins receiving lewd and threatening phone calls from an anonymous stalker. Mary Jane is flying across America when her airplane explodes in midair in Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 2 #13 (January 2000). Peter is shocked and goes into deep denial over her death. Although he is set up with several other women, and his friends encourage him to move on, he believes she is still alive. Her mysterious stalker, an unnamed, telepathic mutant, has telepathically connected to Peter in some way, and wants to take over his life. He kidnapped Mary Jane as part of his plan and held her hostage for several months. The stalker kills himself after finally gleaning enough of Peter's personality and morality to discover that he had done terrible things. Peter and Mary Jane are reunited in Peter Parker: Spider-Man #29 (June 2001).

The stress of her captivity drives Mary Jane away. She moves to Los Angeles and immerses herself in acting — starring as the doomed love interest in the film Lobster-Man. Although missing Peter after he fails to meet her on a visit back to New York, she refuses to talk to him; Aunt May gets Peter to visit her in Los Angeles,[32] however the two remain separated. Peter's encounter with the supernatural Spider-Wasp Shathra eventually leads to the two of them flying to New York and Los Angeles to see each other. Despite missing each other at their respective homes, they meet in an airport in Denver, Colorado where they reconcile after a brief encounter with Doctor Doom and Latverian terrorists.[33]

"Civil War"

During the events of the 2006–2007 "Civil War" storyline, when Peter and Mary Jane's apartment and Aunt May's house are burned down by Charlie Weiderman, and Spider-Man joins the New Avengers, Mary Jane and Aunt May accompany him to live in Stark Tower. Mary Jane immediately feels at home with the New Avengers and is happy to finally be a part of Spider-Man's world.

The Civil War events forced Peter to stage a secret transfer of Mary Jane out of Stark Mansion, feeling that with the loss of his secret identity and his doubts about Tony Stark's ideas, Mary Jane had become a hostage in a luxurious house. Now residing in a cheap motel, her whole life had been affected, from her increasing difficulties in finding a new job as an actress to her being an easy target and prey, along with Aunt May, for the superpowered foes of Spider-Man.

Peter, Mary Jane, and Aunt May are targeted by an assassin working for Spider-Man's old foe, the Kingpin. When Peter returns to the Parker family's motel hideout, the assassin takes aim at Peter and fires, but hits Aunt May instead.[34] Peter and MJ scramble to save Aunt May's life, rushing her from hospital to hospital while trying to maintain their fragile cover of anonymity. In trying to keep May alive and hidden from Spider-Man's enemies, they become fugitives on the run.

"One More Day"

During the 2007 "One More Day" storyline, Peter is forced to decide whether he will accept Mephisto's offer to save Aunt May in return for wiping the knowledge and memory of Peter and MJ's life together as husband and wife from the face of reality, which would leave only a single, subconscious piece of their souls to remember their love and life together, allowing Mephisto to feast on the pain exhibited by those vestiges for eternity.[35]

MJ, despite loving Peter, accepts Mephisto's offer, but only with the caveat that Mephisto promises to restore Spider-Man's secret identity. She also asks to put his life back as it was and have a chance at happiness. Mephisto accepts these terms, and in the revised timeline, which begins at the end of The Amazing Spider-Man #545, and is further explained in the following issues, MJ and Peter were never married, never fell in love, but instead "dated seriously for years".

According to interviews conducted with then-Marvel editor-in-chief Joe Quesada, every story prior to this story remains canon (this would later be contradicted as the events of later stories imply MJ never fell pregnant). Quesada also stated that a gap of undefined duration occurred between pages in "One More Day", during which the couple separated. By the end of that period, MJ has moved to California to become an actress, but continues to visit New York from time to time. In the epilogue to "One More Day", she attends a "coming home" party held by ex-Harry Osborn during one such visit, with Peter catching a small glimpse of her before she left, after ignoring her.[36]

New life

At the end of The Amazing Spider-Man #560, as part of the "Brand New Day" storyline, Mary Jane makes her return as the girlfriend of actor Bobby Carr. In The Amazing Spider-Man #561, Mary Jane is seen getting into bed with Carr, and is later attacked by Paperdoll. Concealing herself in the panic room, Mary Jane observes a battle between Spider-Man and Paperdoll, and communicates with Spider-Man over the intercom. Mary Jane says that she and Spider-Man made a great team "in another life" and longingly touches a monitor screen showing his face, hinting that she still has strong feelings and misses him.[37]

Peter does not learn that Mary Jane is the girlfriend of Carr nor that she was the voice on the intercom. Mary Jane is seen at the conclusion of the issue contemplating a phone call to Peter, but is hesitant to do so. She is asked for an autograph by Sara Ehret, an associate of Jackpot. Mary Jane tells her she does not know when she will return to New York. She left a message on Peter's machine but it was cut off before she could say anything.[38]

Mary Jane has been living on the West Coast pursuing her acting career. She returns to New York after Carr is found to be taking Mutant Growth Hormone for a movie role, supplied by the White Rabbit. Carr complains that now she would tell them all about his drug use. His shallowness makes MJ walk away from him and take a TV job, which takes her back to New York City.

Mary Jane and Peter agree to meet with each other. Peter does not remember when or where as he had been drunk, and is further delayed due to his activities as Spider-Man. MJ also was drunk (while waiting for Peter to muster his courage in order to talk to her) and while she recalls their meeting she has overslept it. Issue 605 flashbacks to Mary Jane recalling a fight with Peter while he was dressed as Spider-Man, where she said that she did not care where he was and that he had a responsibility to their relationship. Peter begins to explain about his Uncle Ben, but Mary Jane interrupts him to say that he cannot let a single moment define his life.

In the 2010 "One Moment in Time" storyline, it is revealed that Mary Jane whispered to Mephisto that Peter would not agree to the deal unless Mary Jane tells him to make it, and that Mephisto will leave Peter alone forever when the deal is done. Mephisto replies "Agreed, as far as I'm concerned—this never happened." MJ did that to protect Peter. In present time MJ shows up at Peter's door. They talk about how they have been acting towards each other lately and both agree they want to be friends. They recall how Peter missed what was supposed to be their wedding day due to his activities as Spider-Man,[39] leading MJ to demand that he retire from crimefighting. His refusal to do so convinced MJ that they must remain unmarried, since any children they might have would be endangered by his being a superhero.[40]

Mary Jane goes to check on Anna Watson, just in time to stop a hitman, who goes after her. Spider-Man saves Mary Jane and dispatches the hitman. Spider-Man brings the wounded Mary Jane to Doctor Strange, who performs a healing spell on her. Peter insists that Doctor Strange should make people forget he is Spider-Man.[41] Peter enters a protective shell to shield himself from the changes. At the last moment, he leaps out of the shield and pulls Mary Jane in with him so she will not forget either. Back in the present, Mary Jane explains that, although she still loves him, she is not strong enough to be at his side. She tells him he has to move on and find somebody who can be with him.[42]

Peter soon begins a new relationship with Carlie Cooper. Though initially jealous, MJ decides to respect their relationship, and encourages Peter to reveal his secret identity only to her.[43]

"Spider-Island" and "Ends of the Earth"

During the "Spider-Island" storyline, much of New York City becomes infected with a virus that gives its inhabitants Peter's Spider-like abilities. MJ, who didn't manifest any powers, finds herself caught in a series of riots across the city.[44] Saved by the intervening Future Foundation, MJ later locates Peter and Carlie, the latter having also been granted spider-powers. MJ encourages Peter to use his civilian disguise when displaying his powers and rally the city against the chaos. She would later attain spider-powers herself and come to the aid of defenseless citizens, her prolonged contact with Peter during their relationship granting her a degree of immunity that protected her from the mutative side-effects of the transformation. Peter successfully cures all of New York.[45][46]

Shortly after, Carlie Cooper breaks up with Peter, having deduced his secret identity. Conflicted over her lingering feelings for Peter, Carlie confides in Mary Jane, and the two begin to bond over their experiences with Peter.

In the 2012 storyline "Ends of the Earth", Mary Jane purchases a nightclub.[47]

"Dying Wish" and The Superior Spider-Man

Mary Jane remains in the role of best friend and confidant to Peter until he begins to take an interest in her romantically again. They begin dating again. Unknown to MJ, Peter has had his mind swapped by Otto Octavius. The real Peter Parker, trapped in his rival's dying body, breaks out of prison and attempts to switch back, only for his body to eventually give out on him before he can complete the procedure. As a last resort, Peter downloads all of his memories and experiences into Octavius' mind, convincing his foe to develop some sense of responsibility.[48] Octavius, as Peter, continues to date Mary Jane after this, but she begins noticing distinctly different character traits displayed by him, such as a heavy intake of alcohol and his rude behavior towards his loved ones.[49] Octavius intends to become more intimate with her and makes several advances, only to be rebuffed each time. In desperation and frustration, Octavius relives Peter's memories with MJ, which infuriates Peter. After one of Octavius' Spider-Bots detect Mary Jane in trouble and saves her from the Vulture gang, Mary Jane moves to kiss him, but Octavius, who has by now developed genuine feelings for her, rebuffs her, and breaks up with her, though vowing to continue to protect her.[50]

Peter's mind is returned to his body, and informs Mary Jane that it was Octavius' mind in control of Peter's body for the past several months. Mary Jane tells him that she knows Octavius' actions were not Peter's fault, but she cannot let his dual life affect her anymore. She recognizes and admires the choices Peter has made in his life, but now she wants to build her own life, mostly thanks to the successes she has enjoyed with her nightclub and her new relationship with Ollie.[51]

All-New, All-Different Marvel

As part of the All-New, All-Different Marvel event, Mary Jane Watson is in Chicago, Illinois hosting the opening of her newest nightclub Jackpot. Mary Jane had opened this nightclub after MJ's got destroyed during a superhero battle. When a Belhilio is quickly killed by an energy blast from Madame Masque, people start to run away as Iron Man and Doctor Doom arrive to confront her.[52] With Mary Jane's assistance, Masque is apprehended, but during the fight the nightclub is irrevocably damaged. Three days later, Iron Man approaches Mary Jane Watson in Grant Park while she is mourning the loss of her club and offers her a job working for him.[53] Mary Jane later waits for Tony Stark at Stark Tower, but their audition is interrupted by F.R.I.D.A.Y., who tells them that War Machine is missing. Before Tony becomes Iron Man and flies to Tokyo, Mary Jane gives Tony the emergency number for Peter Parker.[54] It is revealed that Mary Jane declined Tony Stark's offer due to being uncomfortable around F.R.I.D.A.Y.[55] However, Tony sends F.R.I.D.A.Y. to plead Mary Jane to help him stop the board of directors from seizing his company while he's off on a mission. Mary Jane claims to the Board of Directors that she is the new executive administrator, and she and F.R.I.D.A.Y. convince the board that the company is in safe hands.[56]

In the Amazing Spider-Man series, it is revealed that she has eventually accepted Tony's employment offer when she and Tony attend a Parker Industry event, making Peter very uncomfortable. Later, she catches up with Betty Brant and Harry Osborn, and the three discover that businessman Augustus Roman is actually the powerful being known as Regent who is imprisoning heroes and villains to add to his own strength. Spider-Man and Iron Man try to stop Regent, but are defeated due to Regent's overwhelming power. With few options left, Mary Jane dons Peter's Iron Spider armor and uses her experience in Iron Man's suit and her brief spider powers in Spider-Island to assist Peter and Tony in battling Regent. During the fight, Mary Jane and Tony distract Regent long enough for Peter, Harry, and Miles Morales to release the rest of the prisoners. Mary Jane's attitude towards Peter during her time with him reminds Peter not to let his work take priority over his loved ones. Spider-Man warns Tony not to take Mary Jane for granted as Peter did not realize he lost Mary Jane until after she moved on.[57]

After "Civil War II", Tony was put into a comatose state and his body went missing due to his own covert machinations. Mary Jane along with Riri Williams and Amanda Armstrong went on a search for him, and it was not until F.R.I.D.A.Y. made a calculated analysis that the A.I. duplicate of Tony would know exactly where to find him. However, Tony was continually complicating the search by sending them to other locations, believing he needed his privacy until he was finally ready.

After Peter's company went belly up, and he got a new career as the Daily Bugle's science editor, Mary Jane started being more supportive of Peter getting his life back on track. After a less than stellar Alchemax demonstration, Mary Jane and Peter started being more romantically involved, but as Peter still wore his Spider-Man suit, Mary Jane was conflicted: she wanted Peter to stop being Spider-Man but people really counted on him and she did not want to be the one to do that. She has Peter exit her apartment as Spider-Man so if anyone sees they will just think she was talking with him because she knows Stark.

After Norman Osborn becomes the Red Goblin, MJ received a warning from Peter and adjusted Stark Tower's defences against a Symbiote intruder. However, because Venom arrived before Red Goblin, the defenses only injured Venom and had no effect on the Red Goblin. Surviving with minor injuries after a short skirmish, MJ urged Peter to absorb the Venom Symbiote, which would give him the edge to stop his arch-enemy. She, along with others attacked by Red Goblin, were cured of his Carnage spikes by Flash Thompson with the Anti-Venom symbiote.

Fresh Start

As part of the Fresh Start relaunch event, Peter's personal life took serious knocks in both his civilian and heroic life: his doctorate was determined to be based on plagiarized work (due to him having received the doctorate when Doctor Octopus was controlling his body and the scientist used his own work) which led to him being fired from the Bugle, while the Kingpin tried to separate Spider-Man from other heroes by making him the only vigilante he would accept in the new anti-vigilante New York. However, his personal life picked up when he began reconnecting with Mary Jane more regularly and they talked about recent events. Finally, Peter told Mary Jane that he needed her in his life once again, prompting Mary Jane to decide on a "fresh start" and resume her relationship with him one more time.[58]

As she and Peter resume dating, Mary Jane is encouraged by a returning Carlie Cooper to join a special support unit for associates, friends and partners of superheroes run by Jarvis called The Look Ups.[59] Hesitant at first, Mary Jane eventually shares with the group her feelings for Peter, the loss of her job at Stark Industries, and her anxieties and occasional doubts about her importance to him. Afterwards, Jarvis compliments Mary Jane and tells her she is indispensable. MJ lets Peter know this when they spend the night together shortly after Peter's battle with the Thieves Guild. Peter admits to Mary Jane that he revealed his secret identity once more to Felicia Hardy, but Mary Jane tells him that she is not envious of this and understands.[60]

After Peter's return as a college student, Mary Jane joined him for a dinner visit with the Connors family, as Peter and Curt discussed Peter's being Curt's teacher assistant job offer. While Peter was reluctant to take the offer, Mary Jane tried to argue he take it, as the chance could help him going forward.[61] While Peter is ill from fever, Mary Jane tries to care for him, but he goes running head long into danger as Taskmaster and Black Ant captured Curt Connors' son, Billy, and she worriedly awaits Peter as he departs.[62] As she waits, she tries to alleviate her anxiety unaware that an unknown entity (Kindred) is stalking her to get to Peter; but Kindred does not hurt her, viewing her as an innocent. After waking up, she tripped on Peter's dropped clothing and broke a window, and as she was cleaning herself up Peter returned in his black suit (courtesy of Kraven) in a rushed panic believing some terrible had befallen her, but Mary Jane assured him that she was safe.[63][64]

While attending a play with Carlie Cooper (Peter missing the planned date as he attempts to find the missing Curt Connors), Mary Jane gets unwittingly involved in an attack by the new Electro, who takes the lead actress hostage and attempts to ransom her online, only to change plans due to the low response to finding out how many people would pay to kill her. After Carlie causes a distraction, Mary Jane is able to switch places with the actress and trick Electro into a trap that knocks the villain out. The subsequent popularity of Mary Jane's speech prompts new public interest in her former acting career, to the point that her old agent calls her about new offers.[65]

Mary Jane accepts one of these new offers, and with Peter's encouragement and support, heads off for a two-month stint in Hollywood filming a new movie. Peter had hoped to accompany Mary Jane to the airport, but he was forced to cancel those plans to help out his sister Teresa Parker. By the time Peter's mission had concluded, MJ had departed. The two would have a conversation by phone later that evening where Mary Jane assured Peter she understood why he couldn't take her to the airport and gives him all her love. It is revealed Peter had intended to propose to Mary Jane again had he been able to see her off.[66]

Soon after filming started, Mary Jane discovered Mysterio's disguise as the movie's producer, who swore to her that this project was supposed to be an authentic depiction of his life.[67] At first grudgingly, Mary Jane cooperated with him when the Savage Six began attacking the project after the Vulture felt offended for the "unauthorized" usage of his person in the plot.[68] During an appearance on a talk show, Mary Jane witnessed a sinister, oni-masked individual committing a murder, and was placed under witness protection.[69]

Mary Jane ultimately returned to New York[70] amidst the chaos inflicted by Peter's allies the Order of the Web, who had been possessed by Kindred. Mary Jane is caught in a head-on collision but survives and is rescued by Norman Osborn. Norman takes her back to Ravencroft where he reveals to her that he is now a changed man, cleansed of his sins, and that Kindred is his son Harry Osborn.[71] Mary Jane agrees to help Norman reach Harry and is brought to Kindred's lair, where she finds Peter and the Order of the Web are now captives. Harry tortures Peter, demanding that he confess to something, but MJ tells Harry Peter has no recollection of the precise sin. She tells Harry she blames herself for his downward spiral and offers to sacrifice herself. Norman suddenly attacks and seemingly cuts down Mary Jane with a pumpkin bomb, which enrages Harry.[72] A panicked Peter checks on Mary Jane, but she assures him the bomb is a blank and that this all part of the plan. Kindred is ultimately captured by the alliance of Norman and Wilson Fisk.[73]

Mary Jane decides to remain in New York and help Peter deal with the fall out of Kindred's attack. She takes him to the old theatre where she got her big break and encourages him to use performance art to vent out his frustrations. Peter does so and he eventually breaks down, MJ comforts him. After Peter heads off to attend class at ESU, Mary Jane discovers Mysterio was eavesdropping. Mysterio asks Mary Jane if she will ever tell her boyfriend about their working arrangement, MJ tells him Peter has enough on his mind, and asks Mysterio about Kindred, suspecting he knows the truth, but Mysterio does not commit to an answer [74]

Other versions

The Amazing Spider-Man: The Daily Comic Strip 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".[citation needed]

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 soothe 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 a new house using the revenue she was earning from the play, but nothing so far has come of those plans. Mary Jane's play was eventually forced to temporarily close due to the theater needing much-needed maintenance. Producers of an old direct-to-video movie MJ starred in called Marvella eventually contacted her and offered her a contract to reprise her role, with a three-month filming schedule in New York. The filming brought her and Peter into conflict with Peter's old foe Mysterio.[citation needed]

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. This action also prevents this universe from being affected by the reality-shattering events of Secret Wars, and thus it does not form a part of the patchwork planet Battleworld.[citation needed]

During production of Marvella II, a brainwashed Harry Osborn, in the guise of The Hobgoblin, attacked her and Peter. The Black Widow, Natasha Romanov offered to serve as MJ's bodyguard for the duration of filming, but Mary Jane grew envious of the Black Widow spending time investigating Harry with her husband. Eventually Harry was stopped and Natasha made it clear to Mary Jane she had no interest in Peter romantically.[citation needed]

Following adventures in which she was pursued romantically by Sub-Mariner and Xanadu, Mary Jane learned that Marvella II had been given a theatrical release, and that she was to commence a publicity tour across the nation. She and Peter journeyed to Los Angeles by car, stopping in New Mexico along the way to team with Rocket Raccoon against the likes of Ronan the Accuser and a Kree sentry.[citation needed]

Peter and MJ briefly part ways when Peter decides to attend his Aunt's wedding to the Mole Man, while MJ moves forward with the tour. After an adventure with Mole Man (who calls off the wedding to rule over his people once more), Peter reunites with MJ in Florida where they help Bruce Banner battle The Lizard. MJ resumes her tour while Peter returns to New York. During a battle with The Kingpin, Mary Jane's theatre is destroyed by a helicopter crash. MJ catches wind of this on the news, but is not angry with Peter. She returns home and tells Peter Marvella II was not received well critically and is projected to bomb. She suggests she and Peter spend time in Australia until her play can be moved to a new theatre venue. When Peter was taken over by The Purple Man, Mary Jane teamed up with Luke Cage to free him. Afterwards, Peter and MJ headed off to Australia, at which point the newspaper strip concluded.

What If?

The Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows

Mary Jane Watson on the cover of The Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows vol.2 #1 (Oct. 2016). Art by Stanley Lau.
Mary Jane Watson on the cover of The Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows vol.2 #1 (Oct. 2016). Art by Stanley Lau.

Following on from the events of Secret Wars, where deadly incursions have laid waste to most of the multiverse, Battleworld, a planet composed of the remains of alternate realities, is created by Doctor Doom and Doctor Strange, with each reality on the world divided into different domains. In this domain called the Regency, Mary Jane is married to Peter and they have a daughter named Annie May Parker. Spider-Man is seemingly the only hero left in the domain after the powerful Regent (Augustus Roman) kills the Avengers and establishes himself as ruler of the domain, with Peter opting to retire as Spider-Man to raise Annie and live up to his vows as a father. Peter didn't fight Regent initially to protect his family from Venom and ends up killing Eddie Brock in the process at Mary Jane's request.[volume & issue needed]

Eight years later, Mary Jane is still struggling as an actress, while her husband is forced to make money off of photos he cannot publish for fear of making The Regent's forces look bad. Mary Jane takes Annie to school and instructs her not to reveal her powers in public even if the situation calls for it. However, they are forced to confront Regent eventually and stand their ground with some of the remaining heroes. After Annie gains a costume and assists her father in combat, Mary Jane obtains armor that acts similarly to Regent's tech which drained the powers of heroes to make him stronger in order to assist her family. She and Peter defeat the tyrant and resume their peaceful family life with Annie.[volume & issue needed]

In the follow-up series, Mary-Jane uses a modified version of the armor she used in the fight against Regent, which now replicates Spider-Man's powers and allows her to assist her family as Spinneret. However, every time she taps into Peter's powers, it weakens him significantly. She now operates her own clothing store in addition to being a mother and superhero.[volume & issue needed]

In an attempt to spare Peter from this, Mary Jane learns of a bio-enhanced suit in the possession of old family friend Liz Allan, and acquires it from her. However, the suit is revealed to be the Venom symbiote, which briefly attempts to take control of Mary Jane and use her against Peter, attempting to gain revenge for Peter killing Eddie Brock. Peter uses the Regent tech to weaken the symbiote, allowing Mary Jane to retaliate and bring the symbiote under her control. The symbiote is eventually destroyed in their final battle with the Green Goblin and she continues raising Annie into her teenage years, designing a new costume for her older daughter in the process.[volume & issue needed]

It's implied that the 616 Peter, Mary Jane, and Regent retain memories of their counterparts from this Battleworld.[79]

The Parker family of this world finally meet the Peter Parker of Earth 616 in the 2018 event Spider-Geddon. Peter suggests they look after the now infant and helpless Inheritors, but the Parkers stress to him that taking care of one kid is enough.[80] The adventure also reveals their daughter Annie is part of the Spider-Scroll prophecy, the "Pattern Maker".

Earth X

In this reality, Mary Jane ended up getting a severe disease 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 would be bonded with the a symbiote in a few years time.[volume & issue needed]

Exiles

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.[81] 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.[82]

House of M

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.[83]

Mangaverse

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.[84] 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

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, but Peter is eventually killed by Morlun. 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

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 that the original zombie Spider-Man accidentally created when he succumbed to his hunger while trying to stop his enemies.[85]

MC2 Universe

Mary Jane Watson on the cover of Amazing Spider-Girl #8.
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. Ultimately, Baby Benjy is rescued and Mayday instead shows mercy to the Inheritors when she is presented with an opportunity to slay that family's own father, Solus.[volume & issue needed]

When Mayday returns to her home dimension, she discovers Mary Jane and her boyfriend Wes are alive, MJ having managed to pull Wes out of the house before it collapsed. MJ confirms to Mayday that her husband is dead but that he would be glad to know his family are safe and sound. MJ suggests Mayday wear her father's costume in his honor. Mayday decides to retire from being Spider-Girl and becomes Spider-Woman.[volume & issue needed]

In Spider-Verse Team-Up#3, while in hiding on a radiation-ravaged Earth inhabited by an alternate version of Peter's Uncle Ben, a grieving Mayday confesses to this Ben that she hopes that there is a version of her and her brother out there in the multiverse that will wake up to loving and thriving parents. This was intended as an attempt by the original Spider-Girl creative team to assure readers of the character that there exists the possibility of the Parker family they followed for Spider-Girl's twelve years in publication remaining alive and untouched by the events that have befallen this version of Mayday.[citation needed]

In Spider-Geddon, in reaction to witnessing a romantic kiss between the Peter and Mary Jane of the Renew Your Vows reality, Mayday makes mention that her mother desires nothing more than to kiss her husband one last time. It is revealed at the conclusion of the story that the mystical Spider-Totem known as The Other has resurrected the fallen Peter.[86]

Spider-Island

In the Secret Wars Battleworld version of Spider-Island, Mary Jane, Carlie Cooper, Betty Brant, and Sharon Carter were mutated into spider monsters by the Spider Queen and were used as bait for the resistance, as they also had bombs and tracking devices implanted in them. Spider-Man, Agent Venom, and Iron Goblin manage to subdue them and use Curt Connors' Lizard formula to mutate them into reptilian humanoids which freed them from the Spider Queen's control while the Vision removed the bombs from them just before they exploded.[volume & issue needed]

Spider-Man: Reign

In the alternative future seen in Spider-Man: Reign, Mary Jane died of terminal disease 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 Sinner 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.[87] 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.[88]

Spectacular Spider-Man magazine

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).[volume & issue needed]

Peter Porker, the Spectacular Spider-Ham

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".[89]

Marvel Universe vs The Punisher

After her husband becomes the first infected in an exposure of a chemical that turns humans into cannibalistic brutes, Mary Jane and Aunt May try to take refuge at a safe haven offered by a priest, though she is kidnapped by Stilt-Man. Through unknown means she is eventually returned to the side of Spider-Man (now dubbed 'Patient Zero') and joins his tribe, despite not being infected. After a few years she becomes pregnant with Patient Zero's child; late in her pregnancy she is abducted by the Kingpin and taken hostage. Patient Zero sends the Punisher to rescue her, but he is captured and tortured for the location of Patient Zero. Mary Jane threatens to kill herself so that she will not reveal Patient Zero's location, but the Kingpin calls her bluff. Eventually Deadpool creates a distraction that allows her to free Punisher, who annihilates all of the cannibals and kills Kingpin. Mary Jane is reunited with Patient Zero, but is left distraught when Punisher kills him. Grieving, she is sent away from Manhattan by Punisher.[90]

Age of X

When the Anti-Mutant group known as the Human Coalition decided to also target the Mutates, Peter send his pregnant wife Mary Jane away to France in order to ensure her safety.[91]

Spider-Gwen

In Edge of Spider-Verse #2 and the ongoing Spider-Gwen series, Mary Jane of Earth 65 is shown to be the leader of a band called the Mary Janes, of which Gwen is a member.[92] The band becomes a national sensation via downloads, though due to Gwen's double-life as Spider-Woman, inner-turmoil strikes the band. After a failed search for a new drummer to replace Gwen, Mary Jane and fellow band member Glory beg her to come back.[93] Eventually, she starts to suspect that Gwen is Spider-Woman, but her bandmates dismiss her claims. Her theory is proven correct when Gwen reveals her identity to them.[volume & issue needed]

Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane

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,[citation needed] 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

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.

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.

Spider-Man: The Clone Saga

In this alternate take on the Clone Saga, Mary Jane and Aunt May are infected by virus from the Jackal, but thankfully are cured by Peter and Ben Reily when near death. Mary Jane later gives birth to their daughter May, but Alison Mongrain kidnaps the baby. Luckily the baby is returned to them.[94]

Spider-Man: Life Story

Spider-Man: Life Story features an alternate continuity where the characters naturally age after Peter Parker becomes Spider-Man in 1962. In 1977, Mary Jane is Harry Osborn's fiancée and runs a discothèque called "Studio 54." When Peter attends one night to support her, she drunkenly lashes out at him for not taking action in his personal life after he questions her relationship with Harry, revealing that she knew Peter was Spider-Man in the process. A year later, Harry breaks up with her and leaves her with a massive fortune after he accidentally killed Peter's wife, Gwen Stacy. After Peter and Gwen's clones leave New York to begin a new life, she comforts Peter in his apartment.[volume & issue needed]

By 1984, she is now married to Peter and gave birth to two twins named Benjamin and Claire. She grows intolerable of Peter's absences as Spider-Man as she takes care of the twins and the elderly May around the time where Peter acquires the black suit. After Peter nearly lets the symbiote take over him while attacking Kraven, she leaves him and takes the twins with her. For the next 11 years, she raises the twins as a single mother in Portland while Peter continues to be CEO of Parker Industries and Spider-Man in New York. After he allows his clone Ben Reilly to take over his life in 1995, he returns to her and the children.[volume & issue needed]

In 2006, Peter returns to New York shortly after Morlun kills Ben to draw the vampire out to him and prevent Tony Stark from taking over his company. As Iron Man forces Peter to participate in the Civil War, Morlun arrives at the Parker residence in Portland and attacks the Parker family. After Benjamin deduces that Morlun is vulnerable when feeding off life force, he allows Morlun to briefly feed of him to protect his mother and allow Claire the chance to impale the vampire on a tree. While he survived the encounter, Morlun's attack cripples him for life. In 2019, Mary Jane and their children say goodbye to Peter for the last time before he goes into space and sacrifices himself to save the world from Doctor Doom's reign. During his final moments, he imagines Mary Jane telling him everything will turn out fine. Shortly after Peter's funeral, Mary Jane meets with the new Spider-Man, Miles Morales, and gives him Peter's original suit to give the hero a "fresh start" after Otto Octavius took control of his body.[95]

Spider-Verse

Infinity Wars

During Infinity Wars, when the universe was folded in half, Mary Jane is fused with Marlene Alraune. She is the assistant of Peter Spector (Arachknight), who is the CEO of his company. Sometimes she aids him in some occasions, since she knows his secret identity.[98]

Incredible Hercules

In alternate universe where the Amazonia conquered the world and the females became the dominant gender, Mary Jane was a female version of Spider-Man wearing an identical costume to Spider-Girl and was part of the Avengers, which consisted of Spider-Woman (Mary Jane), Ms. Fantastic (Sue Storm), White Phoenix (Jean Grey) and Wolverine (Laura Kinney).[99]

Ultimate Marvel

Mary Jane Watson of Earth-1610 (Ultimate Marvel). Art by Mark Bagley.
Mary Jane Watson of Earth-1610 (Ultimate Marvel). Art by Mark Bagley.

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[100]). 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,[101] 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, but was never explored further. In issue #112, it is seen that Mary Jane daydreams a scene where she fights against Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four in her mutated 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] Later we do see Mary-Jane's hand start to transform, though she controls it.[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 exposé 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.[102]

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.[volume & issue needed]

During the Secret Wars (2015) event and the tie-in "Ultimate End", the Ultimate Universe was destroyed by a reality-breaking Incursion and formed part of the patchwork planet Battleworld. Despite appearances from Miles, 616 Peter, Ganke, Gwen and Aunt May, both Ultimate Peter and Mary Jane are absent from the story.[volume & issue needed]

At the conclusion of the 2017 event Spider-Men II, it is revealed that the Ultimate Universe had been restored to the multiverse and that Peter has returned to New York with Mary Jane and had now fully reestablished himself as Spider-Man (Miles Morales having been integrated into Earth 616 history following the events of Secret Wars), Mary Jane makes a brief appearance contacting Peter to let him know he is late for a party.[volume & issue needed]

King-Sized Spider-Man Summer Special

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]

New Fantastic Four

One of the Ages of Apocalypse created when Apocalypse warped the main universe, on this universe where the X-Men, Fantastic Four, Avengers and Doctor Doom were almost killed, Mary Jane is married to Peter, who is a member of the New Fantastic Four along with Wolverine, Hulk, Ghost Rider. She and Peter also have a daughter named May.[103]

Silver Surfer: Requiem

In the reality where Silver Surfer died due to coating breaking down, Mary Jane is seen where she is still married to Peter.[104]

Spider-Man never existed

In a world where Peter Parker had never existed, everyone who had known him in the main universe appears more successful, with Mary Jane becoming a successful actress and starring in the blockbuster film Rescue.[105]

In other media

Television

Film

Video games

Main article: Spider-Man video games

Mary Jane Watson has appeared in numerous Spider-Man video games.

Novels

Romance novelist Judith O'Brien wrote two young adult novels featuring a teenage Mary Jane in 2003 and 2004, with illustrations by Mike Mayhew. This version is depicted as a shy, insecure girl who knew Peter Parker from elementary school who deals with anorexia and peer pressure.

In popular culture

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