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Off My Mind: Can Spider-Man and Mary Jane Stay "Just Friends"?

Peter Parker is the master of having awkward relationships.

Many feel that Peter Parker and Mary Jane should still be together. Peter has had quite a few different lady friends over the years but Mary Jane was the only one he willingly confided in and she was accepting of both his lives (to a certain extent). Without going into the details of the One More Day, Brand New Day and One Moment in Time story lines, their relationship was put to an end.

With some of the history being rewritten, it's a little difficult to fully grasp what situations they went through and which they didn't (can we assume Mary Jane was never pregnant since they were never married?). Regardless, Mary Jane has gone through a lot both with Peter Parker and with Spider-Man.

Their relationship may be over but they are still friends. Being friends with an ex is an almost unheard of scenario yet Peter was even able to talk to MJ about his recent girlfriend. There are still feelings understandably between the two but will it be possible for them to just remain friends? Will their feelings result in their friendship being dissolved or is there still a chance for them to reunite?

== TEASER ==

One thing you can say about Mary Jane is she knows how to keep a secret. Mary Jane discovered Peter Parker's secret on the night Uncle Ben was shot and killed. She was next door at her Aunt Anna's and happened to be looking out the window just as the distraught Peter climbed out of his bedroom window, dressed as Spider-Man, determined to track down his Uncle's killer at the warehouse the police had him cornered in.

Mary Jane was able to keep this secret for years. Some people might try to use the information to their advantage and others might want to get closer to the person possessing all his power and fame (or notoriety). When they finally met, she kept Peter at a distance and even though eventually they got together, it was an on again, off again relationship until Mary Jane finally revealed she knew his secret.

Even before Peter revealed his identity to the world during CIVIL WAR, Mary Jane's life suffered the occasional moments of danger. Not all were a result of dating Spider-Man's alter ego. With the story in ONE MOMENT IN TIME (that rewrote/erased their marriage), we discovered that Peter was late for his wedding to Mary Jane. Eventually she told him she couldn't handle being with Spider-Man anymore. She knew he had a responsibility but couldn't just sit around night after night and wonder if he would get killed. Their relationship was over, MJ moved away but they remained friends.

When Peter started dating Carlie Cooper, Mary Jane became a bigger part of his life once again. This is where things started getting a little awkward. Mary Jane seemed to be fine with Peter dating someone. There was no reason she shouldn't be since she was dating that actor guy, Bobby Carr. Peter wasn't used to being able to talk about his current girlfriend with a past and Carly was a bit concerned in the beginning as well. That could even have lead to her being more suspicious or curious. This could be how she discovered Peter's secret.

Despite Mary Jane being happy for her friend, you could see there was a bit of jealousy in her eyes (in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #652).

He got his life together. Juggling Spider-Man, his dream job, and a girl. He did it all. Just...not with me.

Mary Jane told Peter she wished she was strong enough to be with him. From all her time with him, she understood his sense of responsibility but still had a hard time accepting that he had to be Spider-Man. When she momentarily gained spider powers during SPIDER-ISLAND, she finally fully understood. Seeing him save the entire city of New York, she couldn't help but let out an "I love you" under her breath.

Even when relationships come to a mutual ending, there tends to be some traces of bitterness or resentment. Why was it the relationship didn't work? One of the party involved would most likely have stronger feelings than the other and might wonder why it couldn't work. Even being over the person and in another relationship wouldn't make seeing an ex with someone else easier. Mary Jane and Peter have almost behaved as best friends but the amount of intimacy they had before adds an elephant to the room.

If they try to just stay "friends," it's going to be a constant reminder of their failed relationship. Things ended for a reason. There are still feelings. Being close to each other is going to end up making one or both miserable. Peter might have moved on a little with Carlie but MJ still has feelings for Peter. There may be the occasional friendship that can survive after a romance ends but after being so intimate with a person, simply hanging out with each other becomes difficult. It can also cause problems in relationship with others.

It's unfortunate when a relationship comes to an end but if the two involved can't work things out, it might be for the best interest of everyone that they move on. Peter and Mary Jane seemed as if they were meant to be. If they can't resolve any issues they had, being friends is going to end up backfiring. Peter and Mary Jane make more sense as a couple rather than friends. If they continue to try to ignore what's really there, it's just going to turn into a big sticky mess.

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Posted by The Devil Tiger

Can they just be friends ? NO WAY !

Posted by saoakden

I think they should be friends and then if everything goes well, get back into the relationship. Obviously they care about each other and I think both of them have feelings for each other. Mary Jane did say she loved him recently. and I think Peter is still in love with her. Let's face facts, Peter can talk to Mary Jane openly about being Spider-Man. I think they're meant to be together like Clark Kent and Lois Lane.

Posted by Archlord

Joe Quesada said that it was essential to erase their marriage for the character's next 30 years. I believe that's bull, the dude just hated their marriage. There are so many ways for Spider-man to be exciting...

But sigh... yes... they should be friends. It's the best it's ever going to get for the next 30 years. Damn it, Joe Quesada, I loved your House of M cover art, but seriously...

Posted by noj

I think they can. Let Peter stretch his wings for awhile before tying him down with Mary Jane again.

Posted by NXH

I just finished reading Spider-Island on trade and it is obvious that Mary Jane still loves Peter Parker/Spidey and Clarie broke up with Peter. I could definitely see Mary Jane and Parker back together. Dan Slott has been building this up for a while now. I look forward to how it will all pan out.

Posted by EvilAndy

This question is moot as far as I'm concerned. One More Day just taints everything that followed so any questions about his relationships with Mary Jane or Carlie Cooper inevitably leads back to OMD and what a piece of crap THAT was.

But of course they’re going to be “just friends,” that was the whole point of OMD. The powers that be at Marvel didn’t want them to be married, didn’t want them to divorce, but Mary Jane is a popular character so if she’s still going to be in the book she can only be just a friend. They’ll tease us with the possibility of them getting back together, but it ain’t happening.

It makes no sense though, in this new reality they had a long relationship and a bitter break-up so the two of them remaining friends stretches all believability (even for a comic book).

Posted by Eyz

I miss 'em, easily my favorite comic book couple :/

Posted by austashr23

well written article

Posted by Inverno

Why you saying this? They divorceded? I never heard that before! I don't know what you're even saying! They never divorced...

Posted by sinful

That horrific crap that Joe Q presented us never even should of happen in the first place. Therefore, no they can't be friends because a whole history of their relationship grew a lot. They belong to each other, together forever.

Posted by Green ankh

i hope not. I really enjoyed them being married.

Posted by etragedy

If history is being rewritten can we have it so they never got together in the first place? Seriously I was never able to relate to this character who even when he was a teenager was an amazing inventor, a photographer, had a freelance job for a paper, had superpowers... and oh yeah - dates a supermodel. You know, a real average guy.

Posted by ColonelRunAway

I'd hate to see them screwing with continuity just to send things back to the status quo... But then, that's what broke them up in the first place. Do two wrongs make a right?

Posted by fodigg

I hate how they split them up and always will, because a deal with the devil is cliche and entirely out of Parker's character, but I can accept them being apart. They can stay "just friends," but they really should draw out the tension between them as exes. Especially with the implication that MJ might remember their married life together and still be secretly pining for Peter.

I still say that what they really need to do is have a "moment of weakness" hookup that results in a pregnancy. Nothing says "responsibility story" quite like an out-of-wedlock pregnancy, and it would allow for the birth of Mayday Parker (or in this case, Mayday Watson?) without tying Parker into a relationship.

Edited by pingclang

Well, to begin with, I concur with Sinful that Joe Quesada's story changes shouldn't even be considered and someone needs to go ahead and write his awful attempt out. That aside, this has always been Marvel's big couple. Come on, how many references have people in pop culture made to Spider-man and Mary Jane. They're the perfect representation of a relationship. It's symbolism at its best when Spider-man comes between them symbolizing the differences that come between every couple. They should be together, unless they want to bring Gwen Stacy into the fold who I like better, but that aside Marvel needs them. They represent the best of love, MJ always being the rock Peter stands on and always being there for him and Peter being a good man who truly cares for and loves his wife/girlfriend. Maybe I read too much into it.

Posted by cmaprice

It was a major mistake to retcon, at every level. If they wanted Spidey to be single, they should have had him have a divorce/separation/open marriage. It would have opened up for new trajectories for the character without negating years of previous character development. But no. They took the easy way out. The easy way that is unrelateable. It's a double whammy.

Every time they have a completely unnecessary major retcon or reboot, it makes it harder to invest myself in the character. Why care, when it's increasingly likely everything in which you've invested becomes erased, instead of being built upon in new and creative ways?

Posted by pspin

Eventually they should gat back together but not now, most of their stories have been told, I'd rather see Peter and Carlie together again before Peter and MJ. I bet something will happen in their relationship before Ends of the Earth/ Issue 700. I have faith that whatever happens Dan Slott will do it right.

Posted by davelecave

They'll never stay 'just friends' for any length of time.

Posted by ltbrd

I think they can and should. It's been made clear since she's been brought back into the series that while she loves Peter she won't deal with his dual life as Spider-Man. It sounds selfish of her but it makes sense in a lot of ways. A lot of military, police, and fireman wives have to ask themselves the same question, "do I want to be with someone who I'm constantly worried with be injured or killed while in the line of duty?". MJ has asked herself that question and decided that she doesn't want to be and that's understandable. But that shouldn't preclude them from being friends or even "friends with benefits" if Peter is not with someone else. Yeah having a smoking hot girl on the side that Peter can go back to isn't exactly relatable to a young reader but then again Marvel is trying too hard on this concept. Being relatable doesn't mean a character has to conform to a real-life standard. Nobody can relate to Superman. But every little boy at some point wants to be Superman. Wants to have his powers, save the day, get the girl, be admired by others, etc. Same thing with Spider-Man. Who wouldn't want to suddenly get powers and be able to do all these amazing things. That's where comic book character relate to their audience, in that fantasy of being amazing. Yeah its great story to show Peter struggling financially but that's not what draws a reader to the character. Its filling them with an idea of being fantastic that gets the reader. The only upside to Quesada's story arcs was that it rid Spider-Man of something that wasn't fantastic....being a married man and dealing with how his superhero life affected that marriage. I get it, its not excited whether your a guy or girl. You just don't want to read about Peter and MJ fighting about how much time they spend together. Its not good story, its not fantastic. But keeping them as friends, able to flirt with one another, maybe more but not a relationship, that is fantastic and something any reader can say "I wish I could have that". I don't see it as exclusively a male thing either as you can have a similar idea with Ms Marvel having "friendly benefits" with a hot guy as well.

So I do think they should stay friends for now, don't focus on a relationship and start back pedaling to try and retcon Quesada's work. But, if there is one thing I do think Slott should have done differently with Spider-Island.....bring back organic webbing and some of Peter's other "enhancements" from before BND. Not to the extreme they were (no increase in strength or speed), but definitely organic webbing, night vision, and anthropod communication would be nice to see Peter pick up again. I mean, all of Spider-Island had organic webbing, Kaine got the stingers after his dip in the antidote, and seems to have anthropod communication. So why not Peter? Its was a horrible tease on Slott's part and something that should be corrected in arcs to come.....maybe with this Ends of the Earth arc Peter's body undergoes an evolution in order to survive or something. But those powers should come back.

Posted by Daveyo520

MJ for life.

Posted by The Impersonator

@Eyz said:

I miss 'em, easily my favorite comic book couple :/

Posted by Kairan1979
@noj said:

I think they can. Let Peter stretch his wings for awhile before tying him down with Mary Jane again.

Posted by MrMazz

Nope if Hollywood has answered anything it is that they can not

Posted by Gambit1024

No. Peter and MJ need each other. End of story.

Posted by JonesDeini

Nope, some writer with good sense will eventually come around and rectify the idiotic decision to separate them.

Posted by ComicMan24

While I think that Pete and MJ should be together, some time apart is not a bad idea. Plus I like the Pete and Carlie as a couple and would like to see how this will go.

Posted by Doctor!!!!!

Spider-Man just became a romantic drama.

Posted by haydenclaireheroes

Great Article.

I hope to see MJ and Peter together again one day. It may take a while but I feel like they are destined for each other.

Posted by Duo_forbidden

Just wait, right around issue #700, they'll get back together.

Posted by fables87

Wait, I thought Spider-Man and MJ were married...did I miss something?

Posted by Joe Venom

Nope, i'm surprised no one write a "Booty Call" issue yet...

Posted by FoxxFireArt


But what's the point of putting them back together? It's because they were together that Marvel created one of the most detested and broken stories in comics to break them up. Marvel already pretty much said they don't like them together. We already know that this relationship will never be allowed to go anywhere interesting, because once it reaches a point it will just be ended or rebooted. Knowing your outcome is boring.

Once again, a major publisher is proving the saying, "The more things change the more they stay the same.". If you are going to change something. Actually change it. Don't make a big mess of a story then try to put it all back to what you thought wasn't working to begin with. It's this constant repetition that causes readers to drop a series. Nothing ever really changes, and your characters never really develop.

Posted by Pokeysteve

Great article G. Spider-Man is one of those characters I want to read but have no idea where to start. Was Spider Island any good? It sounded dumb.

Posted by Sammo21

I feel that they are coming back together.

Posted by nonfiction91

for about as long as me and emma stone could

Posted by tigerex78

I think we will be teased with this relationship for some time. I personally liked when they were married. I like many others didn't like the idea of One More Day. They've tried to change Spider-man before and make him single again and have seemed to fail each time (the Clone Saga, One More Day), with the fans. When Peter was younger it made sense for him to date, when he got married it also made sense. The character progressed. I don't understand why people have a problem with a superhero with a stable relationship.

Posted by lorex

The end of their relationship was not a natural evolution of story but an editorial decision that was forced on us so the creative teams would have more creative freedom or whatever BS execuse they came up with.

Posted by InnerVenom123
it's a little difficult to fully grasp what situations they went through and which they didn't (can we assume Mary Jane was never pregnant since they were never married?)

They were together the entire time, just not married. So yes, she could have been pregnant. There is no biological constraint against being pregnant caused by lack of marriage.

Posted by Hector

I would rather see Spidey with Black Cat. I love every time they start to flirt with each other. They are a more dynamic and dangerous couple.

Posted by Lvenger

@Sammo21 said:

I feel that they are coming back together.

Seconded. There was something about MJ's reintroduction into Pete's supporting cast and Spider-Island that seems to scream Peter and MJ's reunion. Having said that, Marvel could be playing a massive trick on everyone though.

Posted by Or35ti

Of course not, they're clearly soul mates!

Posted by Teerack

I hope so, Felecia is actually a big part of Peter's life again, and i don't want that ruined. But the ending of Daredevil 8 sorta hurts their relationship.

Posted by InnerVenom123

@fables87 said:

Wait, I thought Spider-Man and MJ were married...did I miss something?


Are you really serious?

Posted by Delphic

Men and women can be just friends even after a relationship as long as the two of them continue to choose to make it work. Friendship is just like any other relationship in the sense that involves giving and taking. When intimate relationships and marriage the giving and taking become far more extravagant than they are in a friendship, so having to regress back from an intimate relationship to that of just friends can be extremely difficult, but as long as the man and woman continue to do everything they can to make it work then it will work. Statistically speaking this type of thing hardly ever works out, but luckily we are humans and we are not held with in the rules of statistics.

Now as for Peter and Mary Jane, keeping what I said in mind I think it is indeed possible that the two of them can remain friends, but the likely hood of that happening is infinitely small. Either they will end up back together or they will completely fall apart, but it is likely the former will happen instead of the latter.

Edited by Pounder_McJones

I didn't actually read the article, but I bet this answer is sufficient either way.

Posted by Michiel76

Anybody think Gwen Stacy is returning anytime soon? She was his first true love. Now that the new spider-man movie is due out soon featuring Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy for spidey's love interest.

I mean ultimate spider-man doesn't even have Peter Parker anymore and the ultimate universe is supposed to be closer to the marvel movies than the regular mcu, so i bet marvel is going to push the main spidey titles. Therefore i think Gwen might return pretty soon.

Posted by ARMIV2

Man, how many times I've been there...

No, I don't think they can ever be "just friends". Can you have a slice of bread topped with peanut butter next to a slice of bread topped with jelly and not put them together?


Okay, that analogy sucked, but basically saying, it seems you can't have the two being together without some kind of wanting to be together.

Edited by SpidermanWins

No one stays just friends with an ex-model for long...

And I don't think they would do that. She's become a really (how do I say this) iconic figure for Spider-Man's life. She's that one you picture there anyway. I don't know. I just can't really see Spider-Man being in a long term relationship with anyone but MJ or Gwen and Gwen is dead. Maybe I'm just not accepting to new things with baseline Spider-Man lore but I just can't see them being just friends for very long before they develop strong personal feelings for each other.

Besides, when Mary Jane told Peter they'd be together someday again, that...that just couldn't have been wishful thinking. I'll actually be quite angry if Marvel doesn't fulfill that hint of the future.

Posted by Video_Martian

@InnerVenom123 said:

@fables87 said:

Wait, I thought Spider-Man and MJ were married...did I miss something?


Are you really serious?


Posted by BoOMbOoMpOw

OH come on spidey !!! Go get Felicia and forget this Mary Plane !!! :D

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