Turns out yes, yes we can stop sexualizing Mary Jane Watson for five minutes

02.18.16

Last year as part of ALL-NEW ALL-DIFFERENT MARVEL, the company went all-in on that promise with Mary Jane Watson. The character moved into a new phase of her life and needed a coinciding change in scenery. So Marvel packed her up and moved one of Spider-Man”s main romantic interests over to INVINCIBLE IRON MAN. The decision seemed odd at first but seems to have gelled into an interesting storyline.

MJ was introduced in INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #4 as the unfortunate owner of the club where Iron Man and Madame Masque get into an extremely destructive fight. Unfortunately for Madame Masque, Mary Jane familiarity with superheroes meant she wasn”t afraid to wade into the brawl, powers or no powers. Not that you”d have known it from the cover. At the time, I wrote a lengthy article about Mary Jane”s portrayal on the cover of INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #4, but it boiled down to this: despite being in “business casual” clothes, she was vacuum-sealed into them. They might as well have been painted on.


Image Credit: Marvel Entertainment/David Marquez

Of course – as is the case with many comics – the interior art didn”t match up. Inside the cover, MJ was sporting an extremely cute and more realistic outfit. By the end of Issue #5 her club was destroyed by the superhero fallout, and Mary Jane”s dreams went along with it. Even with Stark money to rebuild, the PR shadow was too large. But Tony Stark was impressed with her mettle and offered her a change of career. One where she worked for Iron Man. Ironically, Mary Jane initially thought Stark showed up out of the blue to hit on her, as men tend to objectify her incessantly.


Image Credit: Marvel Entertainment/David Marquez

 

Now it”s 2016 and it”s time for (another) change. Writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Alex Maleev are teaming up for a new Iron Man comic entitled INTERNATIONAL IRON MAN. Described as a “globetrotting adventure,” the new series will follow Iron Man as he discovers new things about the Marvel Universe he never knew existed, including a side of it Marvel promises fans have never even seen. Debuting this March, the comic hopes to answer the question “Who is Tony Stark, really?”

Today the cover art was released. Lo and behold, Mary Jane Watson is along for the ride on this new adventure! Even better? She threw out her vacuum sealer. The main cover – which looks straight out of James Bond – was drawn by Alex Maleev. Yes, Mary Jane is in a slinky white dress. But it”s just that: a dress. It doesn”t look like body paint gone wild. I can”t make out every contour of her body. She looks fantastic! The variant cover by Gabrielle Dell”otto is just as good. Iron Man is protecting a shot and bleeding MJ. But the look on her face is one of “MURDER” instead of defeated damsel and her tank top isn”t clinging like a second skin. Also, I”m super jealous of her cat eyeliner skills.


Image Credit: Marvel Entertainment/Alex Maleev
 

Image Credit: Marvel Entertainment/Gabrielle Dell”otto

INTERNATIONAL IRON MAN #1 will be on comic store shelves March 16, 2016.

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