The Leap From "Love Interest" to Hero?

Posted by fodigg (6130 posts) - - Show Bio

Recently, along with much of the population of New York during the events of Spider-Island, Mary Jane Watson got superpowers:

Although almost every non-powered New Yorker received powers, MJ was key toward the end of the arc, defending Spider-Man from attack while he saved the day. This stint with a superheroic MJ comes after writers hinted that she was the Initiative hero named Jackpot during a previous storyarc. Even Ultimate MJ got some temporary powers from ingesting the Oz serum, transforming her into a red Goblin creature. I find the concept of a powered MJ interesting because, since she's no longer the "official couple" pairing with Spider-Man, it would be a great way for Marvel to make use of this incredibly well-known property. Mary Jane Watson is a very well known character because of the film franchise and cartoons, so why shouldn't they use this former love interest as a full-fledged superhero to sell some books?

This wouldn't be the first time a company has toyed with giving supporting cast members and/or romantic interests superpowers or heroic identities. Harry Osborn has had stints as the villainous Green Goblin as well as the heroic American Son. Flash Thompson is kicking all kinds of butt over as the new Venom. In the Superman camp Jimmy Olsen would frequently gain and lose superpowers and Lois Lane would also gain powers from time to time. Both concepts were explored in the excellent All Star Superman volume. Heck, even high school sweetheart Lana Lang became a supervillain for Supes. Similarly, Carol Ferris is now officially a Star Sapphire to Hal Jordan's Green Lantern.

Some examples are even of characters that are fairly well established these days. Ultimate Wasp might be a mutant, but the regular old Janet Van Dyne was given her powers by Hank Pym (whose true superpower seems to actually just be "inventing superpowers," which is awesome). Similarly, Carol Danvers could have simply been the Steve Trevor to Captain Marvel's Wonder Woman, but instead she was given powers and is now arguably more iconic as Ms Marvel than he ever was as Captain Marvel.

So what do people think of this type of maneuver? Is it a legitimate progression for supporting cast members--especially love interests--once their time as the girlfriend/boyfriend du jour is over? Or would you rather see original characters take up new mantles/powers instead of recycling old love interests?

Personally, I say go ahead and give 'em superpowers. A character like Lois Lane or Mary Jane is well-known enough on their own at this point that it's silly not to try and capitalize on that. It certainly beats killing em off or making deals with the devil just to get 'em out of the way for the next flame.

Here are some other "love interest" characters that I think could potentially make the move to standalone heroes:

  • Gwen Stacy: Hey, clones count. I'm sure Jackal can give her some powers next time he gets the itch to remake her.
  • Betty Brant: If Flash gets to be the new Venom, can she be the new Carnage?
  • Steve Trevor: Hey, it's not all girls.
  • Linda Park: Give her superpowers, then bring back Wally West and have Linda give him superpowers.
  • Iris West: She's a time traveler after all. Give her some future toys like Booster's and there you go.
  • Vicki Vale: She's well-known enough from the first Batman film, why not?
  • Mariko Yashida: She's already Sunpyre in another universe.

What does everyone else think? What love interests, if any, would you want to see get promoted to super-powered hero?

#1 Posted by Avenging-X-Bolt (12392 posts) - - Show Bio

if it gets her away from Pete, im fine with it

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#2 Posted by RazzaTazz (9448 posts) - - Show Bio

I think if it is handled in context of a story it is great.  If it is just a stunt in place of a story though it is a bit of a weaker concept.  For instance, Carol Ferris was always portrayed a little two dimensionally as a villain, but she has been used quite effectively recently as a hero and queen of the star sapphires

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#3 Posted by InnerVenom123 (29499 posts) - - Show Bio

@fodigg said:

My mind is blown from reading that.

Buuut, if we're gonna go there, I'd prefer that Betty bond to the Scream symbiote. It'd be a great way to bring that character back, plus that symbiote had a schizophrenic host, so who knows how that would mess with Betty's mind!

Carnage really only works with Cletus (even the symbiote prefers him).

#4 Posted by fodigg (6130 posts) - - Show Bio

@InnerVenom123: Forgot about that symbiote. That would be really interesting, especially since she was devoted to killing the Venom symbiote.

#5 Posted by Overseer (404 posts) - - Show Bio

I have to admit, it feels just... weird to let MJ have powers. I'm not against it but i just feels weird. I'd rather see her as a Badass Normal, kicking ass without powers like before (when someone like JMS was writting her like she was an actual character). Now I myself toyed with the idea of giving MJ powers, that idea fell out of favor with me a while ago and while it would be nice to see MJ kicking ass, her having powers just feels off.

Plus SHE gets organic webs but Pete still uses web-shooters? You know some people do like/prefer the organic webs! (Please note after reading of the Jackel's involvement in Spider-Island I only read the summaries online so correct me if I'm wrong. Queen was a nice addition though.)

#6 Posted by CATPANEXE (9367 posts) - - Show Bio

The progression is loooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong overdue. M.J. is one of Marvels longest standing icons and a personal hero to many people.

Her evolution should have happened years ago and still isn't anywhere near where it should be.

#7 Posted by InnerVenom123 (29499 posts) - - Show Bio

@fodigg said:

@InnerVenom123: Forgot about that symbiote. That would be really interesting, especially since she was devoted to killing the Venom symbiote.

She was devoted to killing all symbiotes, and then switched to a more pro-symbiote view (it's worth noting that the host was schizophrenic BEFORE the symbiote, which affected her behavior). And just like Carnage's symbiote has the psyche of Cletus, I think that Donna's symbiote would have her insanity.

#8 Posted by fodigg (6130 posts) - - Show Bio

@Overseer: See, but when was MJ ever a "badass normal?" She's the supermodel. She's the quintessential damsel. She's had moments when she's had to get tough of course (and those were awesome) but she'd never been "badass normal" as far as I recall. And I'm not saying that to malign her character, I think she's a great character! It's just, when you look at MJ vs. Carlie, it's the latter that's a cop, that fights crime as a normal, and the former that just parties all the time.

Oh, and I'm down with organic web shooters. Spidey 2099 did it first.

#9 Posted by Kairan1979 (16700 posts) - - Show Bio

I don't want MJ as a superheroine. It was bad enough when the authors toyed with readers making them think that MJ can be Jackpot.

#10 Posted by fodigg (6130 posts) - - Show Bio

@Kairan1979: Why don't you like the idea? I'm not challenging your opinion, I'm just curious. Do you just prefer her as a love interest?

#11 Posted by HBKTimHBK (5240 posts) - - Show Bio

Giving Mary Jane super powers..to me that makes it feel too Felicia Hardy.

#12 Posted by fodigg (6130 posts) - - Show Bio

@HBKTimHBK said:

Giving Mary Jane super powers..to me that makes it feel too Felicia Hardy.

Interesting point. And see I feel like that's a great example of an ex-girlfriend who sticks around because she has a hero identity/powers. I think that certainly, as you point out, they'd have to take care not to make them too similar in their persona/powers, but then again I think a little compare and contrast might be a great scene or even an issue of those two characters together.

#13 Posted by HBKTimHBK (5240 posts) - - Show Bio

@fodigg said:

@HBKTimHBK said:

Giving Mary Jane super powers..to me that makes it feel too Felicia Hardy.

Interesting point. And see I feel like that's a great example of an ex-girlfriend who sticks around because she has a hero identity/powers. I think that certainly, as you point out, they'd have to take care not to make them too similar in their persona/powers, but then again I think a little compare and contrast might be a great scene or even an issue of those two characters together.

An awesome fight between the two is in order lol, that would be awesome.

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