Mary Jane Watson first appeared in "Amazing Spider-Man" in the mid-1960s, quickly turning Peter Parker's life upside down in all the best ways. She's been his friend, his wife and his confidant. And more than a few times, Peter's needed her to come up big in his heroic life as Marvel's Amazing Spider-Man.
This week, MJ made waves when she wore Peter Parker's old "Iron Spider" costume to save Peter and her new boss, Tony Stark. This shouldn't come as much of a surprise, however, considering Mary Jane has had to Save Peter's hide a number of times over the years by playing hero. CBR spotlights twelve times MJ saved the day -- and saved Spidey in the process!
12 Mary Jane Against a Hobgoblin Henchmen
In "Amazing Spider-Man" #261 (by Tom DeFalco, Ron Frenz and Joe Rubinstein), Mary Jane was taken prisoner by the Hobgoblin along with Harry and Liz Osborn in an attempt to force Harry to turn over his father's journals. (These would reveal how Norman Osborn was able to hang with Spider-Man in one-on-one battles, which was a major weakness of the Hobgoblin at the time -- he was too reliant on distance weapons to fight Spidey.) When one of his goons went to check on them in the warehouse in which they were being kept, Harry pulled a gun on the bad guy but the goon knew he wouldn't pull the trigger. Luckily, Mary Jane was there with a shovel, knocking the goon out and helping Liz and Harry escape from the warehouse (with an assist from Spider-Man, of course, who showed up right as the Hobgoblin caught up with them).
11 Mary Jane... Spider-Woman?!
In "Amazing Spider-Man Annual" #19 (by the all-female creative team of Louise Simonson, Mary Wilshire and Pat Redding), through some pretty ill-considered detective work, Alistair Smythe (he of the Spider-Slayer legacy) convinced himself Anna Watson was Spider-Man's aunt. He showed up and kidnapped her from a rooftop breakfast she was having with May Parker and her niece, Mary Jane. Mary Jane then risked her life by leaping from the rooftop to hold on to the robotic arm of Smythe's flying warship. Smythe then used some more poor deduction to presume that she must be Spider-Man herself! Mary Jane went along with Smythe's assumption to save her aunt's life, offering to trade herself for her aunt. She then took Smythe on a snipe hunt looking for the exoskeleton he presumed Mary Jane must use as Spider-Man. Along the way, she left notes and hints that eventually led Spider-Man right to Smythe, where he finished him off. Earlier in the issue, Mary Jane felt that perhaps she was just a coward (since she ran out on her sister when their father was abusing them and she ran out on Peter when he first proposed to her) but by issue's end, she knew that she had courage.
10 Giving to Caesar
In "Amazing Spider-Man" #309 (by David Michelinie and Todd McFarlane), Mary Jane was kidnapped by the insane millionaire, Jonathan Caesar, who owned the building that Mary Jane and Peter were living in at the time. When Caesar learned Spider-Man was trying to find Mary Jane, he hired two super-powered mercenaries, Styx and Stone, to kill the wall-crawler. Mary Jane escaped through an elaborate plan -- she threw a bucket of ice at Caesar. He then threatened her with a blade if she did something like that again so she sliced open the wire of a lamp to electrocute the puddle caused by the melted ice. Caesar, though, was wearing rubber-soled shoes. MJ then knocked him out with the lamp itself. And when his bodyguards ran in, she rightly guessed that they were wearing leather soles and she electrocuted the puddle, knocking them out. She then grabbed the gun of one of the bodyguards and after making her escape was able to shoot at Styx and Stone to drive them off just as they were about to kill Spider-Man. So she escaped on her own and saved Spider-Man's life!
9 Washing Out the Mark of Kaine
In "Web of Spider-Man" #124 (by Terry Kavanagh, Steven Butler and Randy Emberlin), the Clone Saga was still raging on and Peter Parker was in prison for a crime that was committed by his deranged clone, Kaine. Meanwhile, Mary Jane learned that she was pregnant. Things got worse when Kaine showed up and kidnapped Mary Jane while she was walking home from a visit with Ben Reilly (Peter's heroic clone, then going by the identity of the Scarlet Spider). Kaine was one tough cookie, considering he had all the same powers as Peter Parker plus some of his own. MJ didn't care, though, as she unleashed a water main right on his face and escaped (only to run into a third clone of Peter Parker, but that's a whole other story -- one that's far to convoluted to tell).
8 Mary Jane at the Bat
In "Spectacular Spider-Man" #245 (by J.M. DeMatteis, Luke Ross and John Stanisci), the Chameleon learned Spider-Man's true identity and used it to capture him and try to take his place at home with Mary Jane. Mary Jane, though, was not having any of that. She threatened the fake-Peter with a baseball bat until he revealed that he was, in fact, the Chameleon. He threw out a counter-threat and she responded by beating him unconscious with a baseball bat. When Spider-Man arrived to "save" her, he discovered a knocked out Chameleon on the floor. Probably Mary Jane's finest moment as a fighter, as Chameleon goes way back as a Spider-Man rogue.
7 Another Fight on a Bridge
In "Marvel Knights: Spider-Man" #12 (by Mark Millar, Terry Dodson and Rachel Dodson), the conclusion to Mark Millar's epic year-long storyline, the Green Goblin had kidnapped Mary Jane and brought her to the bridge, just like he did years earlier with Gwen Stacy. Spider-Man tracked him down but, distracted by the situation, Goblin got the upper hand. Luckily, Mary Jane was no simple damsel in distress this time around -- she kept a gun with her and she unloaded on the Goblin, saving Spider-Man in the process. (It also accidentally knocked her off of the bridge herself, but Spider-Man saved her before taking the Goblin down for good).
6 Showing off her moves
Seven issues later, in "Marvel Knights: Spider-Man" #19 (by Peter David and Pat Lee), part of "The Other" crossover, Mary Jane ran afoul of another stalker. However, this came during the point in time when Peter and Mary Jane were living in Avengers Tower, so MJ was able to receive fighting training from none other than Captain America himself. She showed off her new moves when her stalker accosted her in a bar. He pulled out a gun but Mary Jane was able to disarm him using nothing but a pool cue and then knocked him out, saving herself and everyone else in the bar. Cap had himself quite the pupil!
5 MJ is the bee's knees
"Marvel Knights: Spider-Man" was re-named "Sensational Spider-Man" and in Issue #30 (by Roberto Aquirre-Sacasa, Angel Medina and Scott Hanna), Mary Jane had to deal with the downside of Peter Parker revealing to the world that he was Spider-Man during "Civil War." Mary Jane is attacked at a play she was performing in by Swarm, a powerful Nazi scientist who uses bees to basically re-animated his skeleton. Swarm had taken on an entire team of superheroes in the past, but this time around, a quick-thinking Mary Jane (along with a friend of hers who was a stunt man in the play) was able to take out Swarm with some water to disperse the bees and a mace to the head of the skeleton by her friend (he took stage combat, as well).
4 Making her way back
In "Amazing Spider-Man" #600, Mary Jane made her way back to New York City. In "Amazing Spider-Man" #605 (by Fred Van Lente, Javier Pulido and Javier Rodriguez), readers finally learned why Mary Jane left Hollywood. Her actor boyfriend Bobby Carr got caught up in a drug ring led by the White Rabbit. The White Rabbit learned Carr was going to turn on her to avoid prosecution, so she attacked a club Mary Jane and Bobby were at, with the intent to kill Bobby to send a message. Mary Jane quickly went into action, disguised herself as one of White Rabbit's gang and then used a cream machine to take her out and save Bobby. She then realized in herself the same feeling of responsibility she gave Peter a hard time about before she left and decided to return to New York.
3 Mary Jane takes control of Spider-Island
During the "Spider-Island" crossover, the citizens of Manhattan suddenly found themselves with the same powers as Spider-Man. However, over time, they began to mutate into giant spiders. For whatever reason, Mary Jane was not exhibiting any powers. That changed in "Amazing Spider-Man" #671 (by Dan Slott, Humberto Ramos, Carlos Cuevas and Victor Olazaba) when Mary Jane's spider-powers kicked in (as it turned out, she had spent so much time with Peter Parker over the years that the Spider-virus had a slower-acting effect on her). She thought she would be able to use her powers just to protect her, but she couldn't help but go right into battle to protect the cured people, who were at that time being attacked by the giant mutated spiders. She then teamed up with Peter to help lead the fight to win the day. Once in Peter's shoes, she really got the whole experience that Peter had always lived with, and it gave her much more understanding of her long-time partner.
2 The Wild Card
In "Superior Spider-Man" #28 (by Dan Slott, Giuseppe Camuncoli and John Dell), the Green Goblin's end game against the Superior Spider-Man (Otto Octavius' mind in control of Peter Parker's body) began and as part of pretty much all of Green Goblin's master plans, he intended to kidnap Peter Parker's loved ones. However, when his goons showed up to kidnap Mary Jane Watson (along with her current boyfriend), she was prepared, using webshooters Peter had given her to take out the goons and then going out to make sure all of Peter's others loved ones were protected as well. As she said, she was the wild card in Goblin's crazed game.
1 Don't trespass in Mary Jane's club
In "Invincible Iron Man" #5 (by Brian Michael Bendis and David Marquez), the now magically-empowered Masque has Iron Man dead to rights in the middle of Mary Jane's night club. Luckily for Iron Man, Mary Jane is not a fan of trespassers, so she stepped up and used her Chameleon-swatting skills to crack Masque in the, well, mask with a microphone stand. This gave Iron Man the time to power back up and take Masque down. Sadly for Mary Jane, the resulting fight destroyed her night club. Less sadly for Mary Jane, she impressed Iron Man so much that Tony Stark soon offered her a lucrative new job working for him. And as we saw this week, this gave her more opportunities to prove herself as a hero.
What's Mary Jane's most heroic moment? Sound off in the comments!