WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Supergirl Annual #2 by Robert Venditti, Laura Braga, Chris Sotomayor, Tom Napolitano, Viktor Bogdanovic, Jonathan Glapion and FCO Plascencia, on sale now.
Marvel's Spider-Man is such a popular, culturally ubiquitous character, that even DC can't help but reference him in some way. Typically, references to the character involve some variation of the iconic line "With great power comes great responsibility." In Supergirl Annual #2, however, Robert Venditti borrows another line associated with the Wall-Crawler... and takes it behind the tool shed! Mary Jane's familiar catchphrase is riffed right down to the visual, but Kara isn't nearly as receptive to it as Peter Parker was.
The issue is mostly a long flashback to Kara's time on Krypton, as the planet was entering its twilight. While babysitting her younger cousin Kal-El, Kara invites over her "boyfriend" Rix-Zod. The not-quite official relationship is kept a secret, due to the feud between the House of El and the House of Zod. When she opens the door to let Rix in, she's greeted to his attempt at smooth talk. Trying to be cool, Rix tells her "Face it, Kara, you just hit the jackpot." The line is exactly like Mary Jane Watson's first, and most iconic line from the Spider-Man comics. Rix's posture even mirrors how Mary Jane was drawn there, making the homage that much more obvious.
In its original use, the line worked due to how starstruck Peter himself was with the gorgeous Mary Jane. Kara, however, is less than impressed, pausing before asking him how long it took to think up such a stupid line. She also jokingly questions why he thinks that he's some sort of prize, given that she had recently beaten him at a tournament of a Kryptonian badminton/cricket equivalent. He begs for forgiveness to seem cool, but the now lame nature of the line, and how much it doesn't work outside of its original context, is clear as day.
FACE IT, TIGER
The original line, and Mary Jane herself, first appeared in Amazing Spider-Man #42, but Mary Jane had been hinted at, so to speak, many issues before. In each of these "appearances," Mary Jane's actual visage was always obscured, though those around her remarked at her apparent beauty. When she finally does show up in her full glory, Peter's stunned reaction and acceptance of the line make sense. Mary Jane would continue to refer to Peter by the nickname of "Tiger," eventually admitting that the name was ironic in nature. In other words, she called him Tiger because he was so sheepishly timid. In this respect, Rix in Supergirl Annual #2 would fittingly deserve the title.
Various versions of Mary Jane have referenced the line in some way, and though Kirsten Dunst's version of the character in the Sam Raimi Spider-Man movies never spoke it in its entirety, the nickname Tiger was used. Black Cat, another of Spider-Man's love interests, would also tempt him with the line, and the scene itself would be homaged in the Spectacular Spider-Man cartoon and recreated in Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale's Spider-Man: Blue, which retold the story of Peter's romance with Gwen Stacy. The Spider-Girl comics, the Ultimate Spider-Man comics, and even the infamous Clone Saga story would reuse the line in some capacity, and on the Earth of Spider-Gwen/Ghost-Spider, Gwen Stacy's band, The Mary Janes, has a song called Face It Tiger. Given how iconic the line is, it's a bit strange for Supergirl to dunk on it so blatantly. Sure, it's a slightly outdated line, but unlike Krypton, it's stood the test of time.
Supergirl Annual #2 is available now.
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