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Mary Jane Watson (of Earth-616) is a supporting character, and ally of Peter Parker/Spider-Man.
In most incarnations of the Spider-Man universe she is Peter Parker's love interest.
Mary Jane is depicted as an extremely beautiful, green-eyed redhead, and has been the primary romantic interest of Peter Parker for the last twenty years, although initially competing with others for his affection, most prominently with Gwen Stacy and the Black Cat. Mary Jane's relatively unknown early life was eventually explored in Amazing Spider-Man #259.
Early issues of 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 Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #25 (June 1965); however, in that issue, her face was obscured. It is not until Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #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!" Mary Jane's face is shown for the first time. Art by John Romita Sr. From Amazing Spider-Man #42. Peter begins to date her, much to the annoyance of Gwen Stacy. However, her apparent superficiality proves to be an irritation to Peter that her rival did not share. Peter eventually learns to cope with this, and Mary Jane becomes an occasional flirtatious interest as well as a close friend to Peter, Gwen, and others.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. 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. Mary Jane only realizes the true consequences of her lifestyle when she learns of Harry's predicament.
Later, when the Green Goblin murders Gwen, MJ stays with Peter during his mourning; though he initially tells her to leave him alone, he becomes interested in her as he recovers. Their relationship has a few initial hurdles, such as Mary Jane's hot temper and Peter's always dashing off to be Spider-Man. Following the events of the Clone Saga, Peter realizes that Mary Jane is the girl he has always loved, and the two begin dating again.
Relationship with Peter
However, despite loving Peter, Mary Jane does not wish to be tied, and when she allows the relationship to progress too far, she is left with a difficult decision when Peter proposes to her. After taking a short time to consider, she turns him down. 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 the Black Cat.
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 Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #257. After learning of her own family history in Amazing Spider-Man #259, Peter finds a new respect for her and begins to truly understand her. Mary Jane however, makes it clear to Peter that knowing his identity changes nothing about her feelings, and that she only loves him as a friend.
Despite the one-shot graphic novel "Parallel Lives" and Untold Tales of Spider-Man #16 revealing that Mary Jane discovered Peter's secret when she noticed Spiderman climbing out of his bedroom window, 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 Leed's murder, a changed and bitter Peter returns to New York, where his lack of direction in life is not helped when Ned is framed as Hobgoblin. 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. 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.
Mary Jane gets married to Peter. Cover to Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) Annual #21. Art by John Romita Sr. 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 married in Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) Annual #21 (1987). She attached Peter's surname to her own, making her Mary Jane Watson-Parker. Spider-Man wore his black costume around this time, but after Mary Jane was frightened by a stalking Venom, she convinced him to change back to his old costume in Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #300 (May 1988).
Mary Jane continued to model after her marriage, but was stalked by her wealthy landlord, Jonathan Caesar. When she rejected his advances, he had her blacklisted as a model. She got a role on the soap opera "Secret Hospital," but was unhappy with her character's air-headed and mean personality. Although she successfully petitioned her boss to adjust her character's personality, a deranged fan tried to kill Mary Jane out of hatred for the actions of her soap opera character. Mary Jane quit her job out of fear for her own safety.
According to co-creator Stan Lee, Mary Jane was originally intended to be simply a rival for Gwen Stacy for the affections of Peter Parker. Lee had always intended for Gwen Stacy to be Spider-Man's one true love, but following Gwen's death, Peter's love life was set adrift. The pairing of Mary Jane and Peter Parker became one of the most prominent couples in the superhero genre.
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." 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 demon 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 the "natural progression" of the characters.
Skills and equipment
Her intelligence and tenacity make up for her lack of superhuman abilities.
- Self-Defense: Mary Jane actually has training in self-defense, with teachers including Captain America. She has been able to fend off attackers of normal strength and skill, including the Chameleon, one obsessive stalker, and another stalker using a cue stick.
- Strategies: Besides her training in martial arts, she is also strategically smart when fighting her enemies. On one occasion, she knocked out a kidnapper with a lamp and also electrified his bodyguards with it; and she was able to defeat Hydro-Man when she lured him away from water sources, and into hot dry areas, forcing him to evaporate (the latter only happened in the 1990s Spider-Man cartoon). Furthermore, there were several occasions in which she saved her husband's life from his superpowered enemies when they had the upper hand: she beat Alistair Smythe with a baseball bat, and distracted his Spider-Slayer; she set the Hobgoblin's cape on fire; and she fended off Styx and Stone as they were about to kill Spider-Man. Recently, she managed to defeat Swarm, a supervillain even her husband had trouble defeating.
- Hand-Held Gun: Mary Jane also carries a gun (although Peter dislikes the idea) which she uses against the Green Goblin in Marvel Knights Spider-Man #12.
- First-Aid: She is usually the person who provides first aid when Peter is injured.
Spider-Man: The Animated Series
First appearance of Mary Jane in Spider-Man: The Animated Series.In Spider-Man: The Animated Series, Mary Jane Watson (voiced by Sara Ballantine) first meets a 19-year-old Peter Parker in "The Return of the Spider-Slayers" (Season #1 Ep #4), where May Parker set Peter up on a date with her without Peter even knowing who she was (making it as Peter put it, "a blind date"). At the time, Peter's main love interest was Felicia Hardy and he didn't look forward to meeting Mary Jane, commenting "A blind date is like the lottery, you have a one a in million chance of hitting the jackpot." Left completely speechless when seeing her for the first time, Mary Jane tells him "Face it tiger, you just hit the jackpot." Over the course of the series, Mary Jane slowly supplants Felicia as Peter's primary love interest. She is last seen in the season three finale "Turning Point," in which the Green Goblin discovers Spider-Man's true identity. In a nod to "The Night Gwen Stacy Died", he takes her to the George Washington Bridge. Spider-Man tries to save her, but she falls into a dimensional portal created by his stolen time dilation accelerator (due to censorship, no one in the show could die - she is forced into limbo and Spider-Man doesn't know what happened to her). Prior to her fall, Mary Jane awakes thinking she had heard Peter's voice, not Spider-Man's; this is a subtle nod to her knowing Peter's secret. As with the "Gwen Stacy" storyline, Norman Osborn is vanquished when he is impaled by his own glider and sent into limbo himself, but would soon resurface to influence his son Harry into becoming the second Green Goblin.
In season four, a clone of Mary Jane, created by Miles Warren, appears, and after the death of Mysterio at the end of the ninth episode of season four, Spider-Man reveals his secret identity to her; they subsequently marry in the first episode of season five. This marriage is portrayed as significantly different from that in the comics, which had no intervention from supervillains. In this episode, the wedding is attacked by the Green Goblin (Harry), the Scorpion, and Alistair Smythe's Spider-Slayers. Later, this Mary Jane's true nature is revealed as a clone created by Miles Warren, who had also created a clone of Hydro-Man. A side effect of the process was that Mary Jane possessed the same water-based powers as him, and aided in fighting her fellow clone off as Spider-Man went after Dr. Warren. By the end of the two-part episode, both Mary Jane and Hydro-Man destabilize into nothing, though she tells Spider-Man that she enjoyed the time she spent with him.
In the series finale, after Spider-Man saves all reality from Spider-Carnage, Spider-Man's mystic advisor, Madame Web, promises they would find the real Mary Jane (as she promised when she took Spider-Man from Earth after the Mary Jane clone died before the Secret War, which was a test to see if Spider-Man could stop Spider-Carnage). The "true" Mary Jane is never seen again in this series, but is shown to have been reunited with and married to Peter in the sequel, Spider-Man Unlimited. Jennifer Hale provided her voice. John Semper, producer of the previous show, revealed if he had continued the show, Mary Jane would have been found in Colonial England.
"Face it, Tiger... you just hit the jackpot!", Mary Jane's first words to Peter, is one of the most famous quotations in superhero comic book history. The quotation is duplicated in nearly every continuity in which Mary Jane appears and repeated in nearly every flashback to their first encounter. It is also often referenced or parodied in other contexts. Appearances of the quotations in Marvel comic books and other Marvel products include:
- Amazing Spider-Man #343 (January 1991) - Willie Lumpkin greets Aunt May with the quote at the door to the Parker home, calling her "tigress."
- Amazing Spider-Man #545 (January 2008) — said by Mary Jane as she and Peter's marriage is wiped out by Mephisto.
- Amazing Spider-Man: Parallel Lives (January 1990)
- Deadpool #6 (June 1997) — Typhoid Mary parodies the quotation.
- House of M #5 (October 2005) — Spider-Man recalls the original scene when Layla Miller restores his memories.
- Marvel Zombies vs. The Army of Darkness #4 (August 2007) — the Necronomicon parodies the quotation to taunt Ash Williams ("Face it, tiger... You crapped out!").
- Mary Jane: Homecoming (July 2006) — said to Harry Osborn and Flash Thompson ("Hey, boys... you just hit the jackpot.")
- The Spectacular Spider-Man, in "The Invisible Hand episode. (Episode 6)
- Spider-Man and Venom: Maximum Carnage (video game on the Sega Genesis and SNES) — in story frames
- Spider-Man: Blue #2 (August 2002)
- Spider-Man Family #6 (February 2008) — Spider-Man jokingly says the line to Zabu, Ka-Zar's companion sabertooth tiger.
- Spider-Man: The Animated Series, in the "Return of the Spider Slayers" episode. (Episode 4)
- Spider-Man Unlimited #2, Maximum Carnage Part 14 — Before Peter goes to fight Carnage, Mary Jane said "Face it tiger... you hit the jackpot."
- Ultimate Spider-Man #13 (November 2001)