The roller coaster that is Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson’s relationship has just taken another swerve, and some Amazing Spider-Man readers are very angry.
As Marvel inches closer to resolving the big mystery that’s dominated the current volume of Amazing Spider-Man, the latest chapter of the series features a startling revelation about the current state of Peter and MJ’s troubled romance. Read on for a full breakdown of what happened, where Peter and MJ currently stand and why some fans are having a hard time stomaching this latest twist to Spidey’s world.
Warning: this article contains full spoilers for The Amazing Spider-Man #20!
Peter Parker’s Current Dating Life
A lot has changed in Peter’s life over the past year, to put it mildly. The series opened with a huge mystery, as Peter apparently caused a major disaster in Pennsylvania that has alienated him from his friends and loved ones. Even his relationship with Aunt May is strained. And despite rekindling their romance during the previous volume of Amazing Spider-Man, the two are now firmly broken up. MJ has even entered into a new relationship with a man named Paul.
We won’t learn the full story behind that disaster until issue #26, but the series already seems to squash the idea that Peter and MJ will ever permanently get back together. Peter has recently started dating the Black Cat, and issue #20 makes things more official.
During a heart-to-heart with Felicia, Peter drops a major bombshell. He no longer feels romantic love toward MJ. He fumblingly compares her to “a sister” or “a best friend,” but the old passion is gone.
Peter says, “I love her. I always have, and part of me always will. But… I think that love has changed, you know?”
It’s a somewhat bizarre confession to make given the past nature of their relationship and the fact that, as of a few months ago in this series, Peter was still trying to win MJ back. But if this issue is meant to be taken at face value, it seems Peter was clinging to the past rather than truly wanting his old relationship back. After the rocky state of their relationship over the past 15 years, maybe it’s time for Peter Parker to finally move on.
A Brief History of the Spidey/MJ Romance
On that note, Peter and Mary Jane’s romance has been a sore subject for many comic book readers ever since 2007’s infamous Spider-Man: One More Day crossover. Up until that point, Peter and MJ had been married since 1987’s The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #21. But faced with the possibility of losing Aunt May to an assassin’s bullet in One More Day, Peter reluctantly trades his marriage to the demon lord Mephisto in exchange for May’s life. For Mephisto, the opportunity to snuff out a beautiful romance is sweeter even than the taste of a harvested soul.
That Faustian bargain set the stage for a new status quo where Peter and MJ were broken up and were never actually married in the first place. Readers eventually learned in 2010’s equally controversial One Moment in Time that Mephisto changed the past so that Peter never arrived to his wedding on time. Though the two stayed in a relationship after that point, MJ made it clear she would never marry Peter so long as he continued to be Spider-Man. And as we know, that’s one relationship Peter can’t quit.
Naturally, those changes sparked a lot of outrage in the fan community and remain a sore point for some readers even to this day. But for a while, it seemed as though Marvel might be maneuvering Peter and MJ back into marriage. The two began dating again during writer Nick Spencer’s Amazing Spider-Man run (which culminated in a story that dealt very directly with the fallout of One More Day), and the end of the series suggested they were growing closer than ever. At one point during Spencer’s run, Peter even considered the idea of proposing to MJ all over again.
There seems little chance of that happening now, unfortunately. Despite all the buildup toward what seemed to be the possibility of a renewed marriage between Peter and MJ, the current series all but slams the door on that era of Peter’s romantic life. And given his track record, we’re not optimistic about his new romance with Black Cat standing the test of time.
What the Fans Are Saying
Needless to say, a lot of readers are unhappy with Peter’s confession, and they haven’t been shy about taking to social media to voice their displeasure.
Twitter user @Anarky2099 writes, “I haven’t been reading ASM because obvious reasons and Spider-Man editorial actually went this far?! Calling MJ Peter’s ‘sister’. The context is to make Felicia feel better or whatever but it just comes off as pathetic and degrading for everyone.”
That comment echoes many others across social media. A lot of ASM readers are clearly upset about seeing the door slam once again on the era of the Peter/MJ romance. Many take special umbrage at the idea that Peter views MJ as a sister, despite what was once a very passionate romance between the two.
Obviously, social media reactions don’t necessarily represent the entire audience. Looking back at Jaunary 2023’s comic book sales, The Amazing Spider-Man #17 was the best-selling issue of the month in terms of units sold, beating out even the likes of Nightwing #100 and Batman #131. The recent controversies surrounding the series don’t seem to be hurting Amazing Spider-Man sales-wise.
That said, it’ll be interesting to see the overall sales trend of the series following issue #20 and the big reveal in issue #26. Spider-Man readers are now twice-bitten, thrice-shy where Peter and MJ’s relationship is concerned. Will this lead more readers to drop the book? And what happens if Marvel reverses course and tries to maneuver the characters back into a relationship? Given Peter’s confession here, it may be time to finally abandon hope that Spider-Man and Mary Jane will ever be a married couple in the Marvel Comics universe. Good thing there’s still a Marvel multiverse…
In other comic book news, Calvin and Hobbes creator Bill Watterson has a new graphic novel in the works, and Marvel Comics is reviving the Ultimate Universe eight years after its destruction.
Jesse is a mild-mannered staff writer for . Allow him to lend a machete to your intellectual thicket by following @jschedeen on Twitter.