Gwen Stacy or Mary-Jane Watson: A case of power & responsibility

Gwen Stacy and Mary-Jane Watson have been and probably always will be the biggest loves of Peter Parker’s life. I think we can all agree on that. However, the wonderful Sara and Tony have both made their respective cases as to who is the most important in Peter’s life. My view? There is no ‘winner’ here, they are as important as each other in Peter’s life, even from the grave.

The case of Gwen:-

Peter will never get over what happened to Gwen. Gwen was his first true love, the kind of love that will never leave him, assuming Mephisto doesn’t want that too *groan*. Gwen was unaware Peter was Spider-Man, but that only made the love between Peter and Gwen more genuine and pure. Sure, Peter had to duck and dodge around as Spider-Men in secret, but he never gave Gwen the burden of the constant dangers Spider-Man regularly faced and stopped. I would most likely do the same for my wife, given the same situation. What’s that you say? Sneaking around, always late for everything, possibly even lying about it? In any normal relationship with normal life situations this would be unpractical, unforgivable even. But, he was doing WHATEVER it took to keep the city safe, those he cared about, without them having to fear for their lives.

Ultimately of course, it was arguably his downfall, once Norman Osborn discovered Peter’s secret identity. But then the pendulum has shifted, priorities changed, and Peter learned this the hard way. Gwen was killed by a combination of Norman’s Green Goblin persona and Peter himself; Osborn throwing her off the George Washinton Bridge, and Peter’s web line attempt breaking her neck. If Uncle Ben’s death established Peter on the path of power and responsibility, then it was Gwen’s death that focused him on it.

The case of Mary-Jane:-

Peter and Mary-Jane were married. Thanks Mr Quesada for ruining that one, by the way. With Mary-Jane, Peter reached limits he has never faced since. He was married to a woman who knew he was Spider-Man, and even embraced it. The power and responsibility lessons learned from Uncle Ben and Gwen’s deaths allowed Peter to not only move on, but onto the next level, so to speak. There was even a baby at one point. Unfortunately (for a time anyway), MJ’s knowledge of Peter’s secret identity cost them their relationship, due to being kidnapped and locked away for months. So, Peter is damned if he does, and damned if he doesn't. Since Peter and MJ’s marriage was expunged to save Aunt May’s life (now barely guests stars in ASM anymore, grateful much?), there have been many changes in Peter’s life. I remember Mephisto stating MJ would remember the agreement made, but it is no longer clear if this is the case. We can only hope. Let’s not forget it was MJ who made the decision for Peter in the first place, knowing how his responsibility drives him on. Lets not forget also that MJ knew exactly how Pete and Gwen felt about each other, and respected that, like any caring, loving wife would.

Conclusion

Although Peter may well be unaware of it since Brand New Day began, it is these two people that help make Peter the person he is today. The outcomes of both may have been tragic, but the catalyst for such is always the same: Peter’s secret identity. One didn’t know it, but was killed because of it, the other knew and it made her a target. Peter’s ill-fated relationship since with Carlie Cooper ended because he did not tell her he was Spider-Man, even though she suspected all along. Like you would. It’s also worth mentioning other Spider-Man media that refuses to acknowledge Gwen even existed, such as the movie trilogy and the 90’s animated series. So their views are clear. Gwen Stacy may have been a long time ago, but we Spidey fans will never forget her. With Mary Jane, we hope her and Peter have a future together. Are you listening Quesada?

3 Comments
3 Comments
Edited by Linore

Thank you for writing this. It's nice to see someone acknowledge the fact that both women have a great influence in his life and that one isnt better than the other.

Posted by DocFatalis

Nice post, but MJ still is the consistent one to me. Especially since they made Gwen a cheater (that was a very bad decision).

Also, resorting to the pact with Mephisto to get rid of "married Pete" was really really bad. When writers don't know how to handle a character why can't they just act out of honour and quit for a while.

Posted by oraclefyre

Thank you for not making this a "versus" sort of thing.

Seriously, the Emma Stone fans are driving me up the wall with this stuff.