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  1. #16
    Uncanny Member Digifiend's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frontier View Post
    MJ stopping being Jackpot is simple enough, I think the bigger question is whether writers want to address all the problematic stuff relating to MJ's relationship with Peter and Paul or just sweep it under the rug like Spencer did with all the relationship issues from Slott's run.
    Yeah, Jackpot relies on that bracelet. If it's destroyed, she's done.
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  2. #17
    Spectacular Member MisterTorgo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevinroc View Post
    The problem is the Paul relationship has some serious Stockholm syndrome subtext that makes the entire thing seriously uncomfortable and nobody wants to touch. She was also forced to take care of children that she found and she ends up in a situation she has expressly stated she never wanted out of life. A loveless relationship for the sake of children that were foisted upon her. (And yes, those children were foisted upon her. Leaving small children to die in a post-apocalyptic setting is a monstrous action. The fact that the children were never "real" is irrelevant to the overall point.)

    But the series treats Paul as some dude MJ met at the coffee shop and chose over Peter.

    The series could deal with these unfortunate implications, but they continue to choose not to. (Meanwhile we never actually see Paul and MJ kiss, in case they're waiting for some last minute reveal that they were never actually romantically involved.)

    At this point the way to "fix" MJ is to reveal she and Paul were never intimate, but were emotional support trauma buddies who took care of some kids they found. And the kids magically bound Paul and MJ to watch over them, and so she pushed Peter away when he came to rescue her.
    Yeah, that is a good point. Did she rely on him to survive in that hellscape. I assume that answer would have to be yes, to some extent. Along with him being literally the only man there, you're right---the implications are pretty staggering. Part of me is glad I hadn't thought of that before, cuz those implications are horrible, nevermind the "chains" that the "children" were on her heart.

    With that in mind, I also think you're right about it having to be shown that they were never really intimate and only together for emotional support being for the issue to be somewhat decently resolved.

    Though, I honestly wouldn't mind if a future writer just had the "real" MJ step out of a portal at Pete's apartment, either. I'm fine with that just to get this and the Jackpot stuff all over with.

  3. #18
    Ultimate Member Mister Mets's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Garlador View Post
    This is the crux of the issue.

    I've stated before, what they did with Mary Jane would never be allowed or tolerated if the roles were reversed. If Peter spent 4 years in another dimension, and the next issue has him coming home after Mary Jane saved him and telling her "I'm ditching you for Paula, my new partner, and the two kids we found there. Please don't call me or bother us", nobody would accept it.

    We have expectations for how the characters should act and behave, and beyond that we have certain aspirational and heroic traits we give to these characters - Mary Jane included - given all that they've gone through together.

    RIGHT NOW, DC is still doing their "Superman: Lost" story, a story where Clark is separated from Lois and his old life for TWENTY YEARS - only hours to Lois - and he comes home a changed man, struggling to pick up the pieces of his life.



    Sound familiar?

    It's revealed that while he was trapped in that other universe, he recreated a life for himself - a new "Kansas" with a kid he took under his wing, and another woman who was the "sole survivor" of her planet named "Hope", and that she spent years growing close to him and trying to get him to give up his old life and start fresh with her as a couple together.




    In over TWO DECADES, Superman doesn't give up on his partner back home, no matter how tempted he is to believe he won't see his home again, no matter how much of a "new life" he builds for himself. He stays faithful to his partner.

    This is reinforced in so many other stories, what a true "soulmate" is for him.


    So readers can't help but compare Mary Jane unfavorably to characters who spent FAR LONGER than she did in the SAME situation and NEVER GAVE UP on their partner back home. Call it "unrealistic", the point remains we have multiple male heroes spending years away from the people they love and staying loyal and faithful, but Marvel didn't have the same level of care or respect for Mary Jane when she was put in a similar situation. It sucks, and the response from Wells and Lowe continues to insist they don't see any problem with it.

    It's a problem. It's a big problem.

    It's one I don't think they're capable of fixing, and it's a problem I don't envy the next creative team in trying to fix.

    It'll get there, but the fact this story was approved and written and defended the way it has been has been disappointingly regressive, sexist, and disrespectful.
    The expectations for heroes are quite unrealistic here.

    Marvel superheroes were always supposed to have feet of clay. They're not supposed to be unrealistically perfect.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevinroc View Post
    The problem is the Paul relationship has some serious Stockholm syndrome subtext that makes the entire thing seriously uncomfortable and nobody wants to touch. She was also forced to take care of children that she found and she ends up in a situation she has expressly stated she never wanted out of life. A loveless relationship for the sake of children that were foisted upon her. (And yes, those children were foisted upon her. Leaving small children to die in a post-apocalyptic setting is a monstrous action. The fact that the children were never "real" is irrelevant to the overall point.)

    But the series treats Paul as some dude MJ met at the coffee shop and chose over Peter.

    The series could deal with these unfortunate implications, but they continue to choose not to. (Meanwhile we never actually see Paul and MJ kiss, in case they're waiting for some last minute reveal that they were never actually romantically involved.)

    At this point the way to "fix" MJ is to reveal she and Paul were never intimate, but were emotional support trauma buddies who took care of some kids they found. And the kids magically bound Paul and MJ to watch over them, and so she pushed Peter away when he came to rescue her.
    It seems to be hinted that Paul's incapable of physical intimacy, so that revelation is probably coming.

    I agree MJ's situation was deeply unfair. But that's a different question from whether she did anything wrong, and is in need of being fixed.

    At this point, there are many different ways to resolve it. Paul's a secret bad guy! Paul and MJ realize that their relationship is no longer working. Paul dies (which would be something for something for MJ to process going forward.)
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  4. #19
    Mighty Member Garlador's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Mets View Post
    The expectations for heroes are quite unrealistic here.

    Marvel superheroes were always supposed to have feet of clay. They're not supposed to be unrealistically perfect.
    I said in my first point, if the roles were reversed and Peter was given this exact same story that Mary Jane went through, many would rightly view it as a terrible turn for his character. Marvel WOULDN'T do that to Peter... but they'll do it to Mary Jane. This is far less a Marvel vs DC comparison; we have enough history of Marvel writers and editors doing their best to make Mary Jane unlikable and toxic over the years because of their dislike for the character. The same people in charge now are the same people at the time of the "let's rape and murder her" jokes that flew freely across the offices and interviews.

    But even if we were to "ground it" in a more realistic situation (as if being trapped with a guy who helped commit genocide is "realistic", but I digress), the statutes of limitations for a legal union to be declared legally over is SEVEN years, and we see Mary Jane giving up on Peter after year ONE per ASM #25.

    To push this EVEN FURTHER... my great grandmother lost her husband overseas, no body found. She never remarried in her entire life. "There's always a chance, however slim, that he could walk through that door and I'll be here waiting for him. And if he's truly gone, then I'll reunite with him in heaven. But he was my one and only."

    Let's not act like this kind of "one true love" idea is only found in fairy tales.
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  5. #20
    Really Feeling It! Kevinroc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Mets View Post
    It seems to be hinted that Paul's incapable of physical intimacy, so that revelation is probably coming.

    I agree MJ's situation was deeply unfair. But that's a different question from whether she did anything wrong, and is in need of being fixed.

    At this point, there are many different ways to resolve it. Paul's a secret bad guy! Paul and MJ realize that their relationship is no longer working. Paul dies (which would be something for something for MJ to process going forward.)
    Paul being a bad guy or Paul being unable of being physically intimate doesn't really get at the root of the problem, which is MJ's drifting away from Peter for the reasons the story sort of says but doesn't fully say (which is why we have never seen Paul and MJ kiss). The problem is how deeply problematic the story actually is when we sit down and think about it. Marvel Editorial's insistence that this story isn't deeply problematic isn't helping matters. Comparisons to Avengers #200 have been made, and Marvel has done nothing to assuage those concerns. They're still playing this all completely straight.

    At this point I can't explain why they are continuing with this. They claim it's in the name of drama, but if that were the case, they have handled the drama terribly. Nobody should want comparisons to Avengers #200. That's the kind of thing that people never live down.

  6. #21
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    As not a fan at all of Ben...even I think they did him wrong. De-Chasm him and de-power Janice and move them off somewhere to have a happy life together.

    As for MJ...just get rid of the bracelet nonsense and get her and Peter back together permanently. I got more detail on how that should go...but I bet we all got our dream Pete/MJ life plan.
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  7. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevinroc View Post
    Paul being a bad guy or Paul being unable of being physically intimate doesn't really get at the root of the problem, which is MJ's drifting away from Peter for the reasons the story sort of says but doesn't fully say (which is why we have never seen Paul and MJ kiss). The problem is how deeply problematic the story actually is when we sit down and think about it. Marvel Editorial's insistence that this story isn't deeply problematic isn't helping matters. Comparisons to Avengers #200 have been made, and Marvel has done nothing to assuage those concerns. They're still playing this all completely straight.

    At this point I can't explain why they are continuing with this. They claim it's in the name of drama, but if that were the case, they have handled the drama terribly. Nobody should want comparisons to Avengers #200. That's the kind of thing that people never live down.
    They also outright fridged Kamala. In 2023. They took away all of Kamala's and MJ's agency, they made them both run away, they made Kamala shape shift into a white woman - something Kamala swore she would never do as she realized when she did that she was giving into internalized racism - and then they had the bad guy stab Kamala in the back while she just stood there and didn't even try to fight, just so they could pulls a SIKE! on the audience by making them think it was MJ who was stabbed - and all under the marketing message of "It's the 50th anniversary of Gwen Stacy's murder! Which character *cough*MJ*cough* will we kill to celebrate this milestone event in Peter Parker's life? Tune in to see which character gets their neck figuatively snapped this time! Whee!"

    So expecting there to be understanding of the very problematic and incredibly squicky implications of MJ being trapped in a hellworld with only Paul to rely on and literally chained with kids... I'm not holding my breath. Dead Language makes Avengers 200 and Green Lantern 48 look fairly benign in comparison.

    I agree, I can't explain why they are continuing with this. Not only that, but they doubled down by making Paul a liar and then they revealed he was a genocide enabler - but MJ is perfectly fine with that - my mind literally cannot comprehend the story choices they made.

    I will point out, however, that Peter has been written as horribly as MJ and no one seems to be as up in arms over it. They took away any and all empathy from BOTH characters. MJ should have empathy for what Peter is going through - and if anything makes me dislike this run, it's that this run refuses to treat MJ like a human character with human emotions - but Peter should also have empathy for MJ. Yet he treats her like she's a toy that was snatched out of his stroller and he shows zero awareness for what she's been through, either.

    Can Ben and MJ be "saved?" Yes. Of course. By the next writer ignoring this run and sweeping everything into the garbage where it belongs. It's not the best story solution, but this run so far has refused to play fair by the rules of storytelling, so why treat it like it should matter? Just toss it out, do another time jump, and start fresh.
    Last edited by TinkerSpider; 10-29-2023 at 05:26 PM.
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  8. #23
    Incredible Member Daibhidh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Mets View Post
    I think MJ didn't do anything wrong. She was sent to another dimension, and tried to wait for Peter. She found two children, and starting taking care of them. She fell in love with someone who helped her care for the children, after spending years with him. It's not exactly a standard romantic betrayal.

    It would be in character for Peter to take her back.
    It's not whether she did anything wrong. It's whether she moved on from Peter. If she leaves Paul to go back to Peter it makes her look like she doesn't know her own mind. If Paul dies or leaves her it makes it look like Paul is the love of her life and Peter is second best (Peter can say that if Gwen came back to life he would still choose MJ because he'd never seriously dated MJ when he was dating Gwen; MJ would not be able to say the same about Peter and Paul).

    MJ is not an object for Peter to take.

    The other problem is that having had children changes someone. They can't go back to a relationship with two people looking forward to making lives and possibly a family together as if nothing has changed when one of them has had a family and the other one hasn't. The relationship will inevitably be coloured by being at different life stages.


    The oddest change is her stint as a superhero, though it could be something that gives her insights later, even if it doesn't last (and it probably shouldn't last).
    You can't have a civilian character who regularly harks back to the time when they had powers. It wouldn't work. They attitude to their lost powers inevitably colours their attitude to superheroes.
    Last edited by Daibhidh; 10-29-2023 at 05:47 PM.
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  9. #24
    Really Feeling It! Kevinroc's Avatar
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    The problem is the magically-created children were called "chains" around MJ's heart.

    Once you introduce THAT concept, you are playing a dangerous game. If Marvel doesn't want comparisons to Avengers #200, they have done a terrible job fighting those charges.

  10. #25
    Mighty Member Garlador's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daibhidh View Post
    The other problem is that having had children changes someone. They can't go back to a relationship with two people looking forward to making lives and possibly a family together as if nothing has changed when one of them has had a family and the other one hasn't. The relationship will inevitably be coloured by being at different life stages.
    I mean, Peter has years of parenthood from the House of M ordeal that canonically happened and he never forgot about.

    Marvel seemed to do a great job ignoring it and just moving forward without caring about it, so why not do the same with Mary Jane?
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  11. #26
    Astonishing Member ARkadelphia's Avatar
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    Pair up MJ and Ben. Have them move to the moon. It worked for Quicksilver and Crystal in the 1970’s, so…
    Last edited by ARkadelphia; 10-30-2023 at 08:48 PM.
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  12. #27
    Mighty Member Malachi's Avatar
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    Ben can be saved but I am more inclined to believe that Janine shouldn’t be. The tragedy of Ben being back to himself and Janine suffering demonic corruption because of what she did while Ben was sick is more potent than whatever Wells is trying to do. You also have a recurring foe for Ben, maybe even nemesis material. Or grey, anti-hero. The big thing is that what happens has consequences that are not easily dealt with.

    MJ is broken. Wells didn’t bend her, he broke her. I don’t think Marvel sees it this way and therefor their fix will not be enough. Hopefully someone in the future will try to address how fundamentally deep the changes go and try to repair her. Sadly the best solution is probably just to retcon it away. I hate retcons like this but honestly I can’t think of another solution. This run has forever altered the dynamic between Peter and MJ in a way that only OMD does. While OMD erased it from their memories it still hangs over them like a shadow.

    Stories takes on a life on their own and sometimes you can’t rein them in. Marvel has it fair share of examples, both good and bad. The comparisons to Marcus and Carol are apt. Hank hitting Janet is another. It forever changed the dynamic between them. No amount of rationalization or soft retcons work. Not to say that I think that these stories are the same or equal. Just that they each found a way to alter the dynamic in a way that’s not so easy to reset without a big fat magical reset.

    MJ moved on from Peter. She got children. A new love and time. It broke the illusion. Her behavior through it all did the most damage. It poisoned the well.
    Last edited by Malachi; 10-30-2023 at 02:04 AM.

  13. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prime View Post
    Given the complete character assassination both characters have suffered is there anyway to be able to fix this?
    Yes, by retconning the run. 616 has retconned many stuff before.

  14. #29
    Incredible Member Daibhidh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Garlador View Post
    I mean, Peter has years of parenthood from the House of M ordeal that canonically happened and he never forgot about.

    Marvel seemed to do a great job ignoring it and just moving forward without caring about it, so why not do the same with Mary Jane?
    I think it's easier to ignore it when it didn't happen in the characters' main book, and took place in an alternate reality that never affected the status quo in the characters' main book. I suppose they've ignored Mayday, mostly, but I'm not sure that makes for good storytelling. (The character beat in Spider-Girls where MC2 Mayday identifies herself to RYV Mary Jane is definitely good storytelling.)
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  15. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frontier View Post
    MJ stopping being Jackpot is simple enough, I think the bigger question is whether writers want to address all the problematic stuff relating to MJ's relationship with Peter and Paul or just sweep it under the rug like Spencer did with all the relationship issues from Slott's run.
    They're totally gonna ignore the problems and not address them. Wells and Lowe are trying so hard to (and failing to) turn this around, telling us (the readers) that we're "not reading what they wrote the right way" or something like that. That what's happening with MJ is ok, one of life's challenges and telling that it resembles the novel "Dr. Zhivago", despite that there is no logic to her character here what-so-ever. That our feelings for Peter and Mary Jane is "strongly coloring our read on Paul", despite how we clearly see how he looks, acts and interracts with the characters. That they don't see anything wrong with the book this run and the decisions in it. How Lowe always replies with "Sorry you don't like the book. Have a nice day!" or something like that on Twitter (or "X" or whatever).

    Here's how I think things this will go:

    - they'll use Slott's "put the toys back in the box" strategy at the end if the run, getting Peter and Mary Jane back together the same way they seperated them (without logic), like nothing happened.
    This option is unsatisfying to us the fans, but I heard rumors that this is how it will go.

    - they leave their mess for the next writer to fix (if the Editorial allows it).
    Which means not only we have to wait for the current nightmare to end, but also wait if they'll fix this or we'll get another BND.

    So to summarize, Wells and Lowe don't seem to care what they do with the characters, they ignore the fans's negative responce and try to make them look ungrateful.

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