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Why aren't Peter Parker and Mary Jane together in Spider-Man comic books?

Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson in comics
(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

In the current volume of Amazing Spider-Man by writer Zeb Wells and artist John Romita, Jr., set six months after the last volume’s conclusion in April's Amazing Spider-Man #93 (opens in new tab), Peter and Mary Jane are as broken up as can be.

But Mary Jane Watson and Peter Parker seemed to patch up their long separation and decide to move back in together at the end of the aforementioned previous volume of Amazing Spider-Man,

Now, Peter Parker has alienated himself from all his friends, and MJ even has a new relationship with another man, including two apparent step-kids.

Yeah, a live-in relationship with another guy and his two toddler-age kids - all in that unseen six-month gap.

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)
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Though the questions raised by that status quo are numerous, they all come back to just one important query that needs answering: “What did Peter Parker do?”

That cryptic question launched the current volume of Amazing Spider-Man and has yet to be answered - though it's been hinted at plenty.

Whatever Peter did, it was destructive on a massive scale, injuring his body and his mental health, and driving a wedge into his relationships with MJ, Aunt May, and most of his friends.

Still, the fallout we're left wondering about more than anything else is how Peter and MJ wound up in their current situation - kids and all.

Is there some 'nefarious' force keeping them apart? Maybe… but not how you may be thinking. Here’s what we know so far.

Spider-Man loves Mary Jane

Amazing Spider-Man #93 panel

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

When last we saw Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson together, Peter was just returning to the role of Spider-Man after a bout of radiation poisoning left him hospitalized, with his clone Ben Reilly temporarily taking on the mantle of Spider-Man in his absence. 

(Things turned out bad for Ben - he turned into the villain Chasm, who plays a role in the upcoming 'Dark Web' story).

At the end of that saga, told in the story Spider-Man: Beyond (opens in new tab), Peter and MJ were planning to move in together - until they were interrupted by a mysterious glowing figure telling Spider-Man he tracked him down on "a road of blood," and beckoning him to follow.

And with that, the story ended in Amazing Spider-Man #93, the final issue of the pervious volume of the title. The next time we saw Peter Parker, it was at the start of the new Amazing Spider-Man #1 (opens in new tab), released just a few weeks after the previous volume ended, screaming his lungs out in a smoking crater located somewhere "outside York, Pennsylvania."

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)
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Whatever happened with the mysterious figure seems to have led to that moment. But we've yet to receive any answers about what events actually transpired, as the issue immediately takes a six-month jump ahead. 

That's where the "What did Peter Parker do?" question comes in. 

Whatever happened, caused him to break up with MJ once again, and drove a wedge between him and Aunt May. Peter is even on the outs with his friends such as Johnny Storm and Robbie Robertson. He's also gone deep into debt with apparent medical bills.

And maybe worst of all, he had to accept some kind of mysterious help from his old arch-enemy Norman Osborn, who seems to be genuinely attempting to turn over a new leaf from his villainous Green Goblin days.

Mary Jane loves Paul

Amazing Spider-Man #1 panel

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

As for MJ, she's moved in with a man named Paul, an apparent single father who has two kids - one of whom looks suspiciously like MJ herself. The kids and MJ have formed a bond strong enough for them to call her "Mommy."

Most recently, in August 10's Amazing Spider-Man #7, Peter had a surprise run-in with Mary Jane at OsCorp, where Osborn offered Peter a job and a new-and-improved Spider-Man suit. 

It was awkward. Peter promised he wouldn't call MJ, though Paul showed up and invited Peter to dinner. Again - awwwwkwwwaaarrrdddd.

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)
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And that's the whole vibe right now - an awkward, somewhat nebulous space between MJ and Peter, with the question of Peter's apparent mistakes hanging over his head.

Up next, Peter and Wolverine will team up in Amazing Spider-Man #9 to rescue Mary Jane from the villainous Moira X, who kidnapped her during the events of X-Men: The Hellfire Gala - so there may be some answers coming when they reunite.

By the way, that weird glowing figure still hasn't returned. But answers to questions about who it was and what happened may be coming in 'The Dark Web,' a Spider-Man/X-Men crossover in which Mary Jane plays an important (but undisclosed) role.

Are they ever, ever, ever getting back together?

Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson in comics

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

So why go to all the trouble of solving the problem of Mephisto having stolen Peter Parker and Mary Jane's marriage in 2021's Amazing Spider-Man #75 (opens in new tab) by absolving Mephisto's curse with some help from Doctor Strange, just to break them up again under mysterious circumstances?

The editor's page from Amazing Spider-Man #1 promised answers about Paul and his kids, and we're patient enough to know they're coming - the way those questions and answers are unfolding is part of the story, after all.

But there's another undercurrent in the latest "won't-they" phase of this iconic "will-they-won't-they" romance. And it's not about what's in the pages of Marvel Comics, but what goes on behind the scenes.

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)
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Back when Mephisto first cast the spell in which Peter Parker and Mary Jane traded their marriage for Aunt May's life in Spider-Man: One More Day (opens in new tab), the behind-the-scenes-reasoning as explained by the story's artist and co-creator (and Marvel's then editor-in-chief) Joe Quesada was that Peter Parker's traditional youthful portrayal ran counter to him being married - that his marriage aged him.

However, the vibe was that Peter and MJ getting divorced would make Peter seem even older, without restoring the mistake-prone youthfulness of his pre-married status quo.

"It's very easy to un-marry a character, or fix something like that: you just do a huge universal retcon, and say a few events in history didn't happen. But that's really not the way we do it here at Marvel," Quesada said at the time.

Instead, they had Peter and MJ essentially wish their marriage out of existence in a deal with the devil.

Tangled in a Dark Web

Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson in comics

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

Now, at C2E2 2022's Spider-Man Retrospective panel, current Marvel editor-in-chief CB Cebulski echoed the sentiment that Peter is better off unmarried.

"The thing with Peter Parker is, he always has to be relatable," he told the panel's audience, making it clear the publisher has no plans to have Peter marry (or re-marry) anyone in the foreseeable future (via Popverse (opens in new tab)).

So what does that mean for Peter and MJ, and the answers that may be coming in 'The Dark Web'? Is there a reunion in the cards for the once-married couple? 

It's not unlikely - but don't expect a full revival of their wedded bliss any time soon, or any kind of restoration of their pre-One More Day status quo. 

Instead, it seems more and more like Marvel will stick with the 'Sam and Diane'/'Ross and Rachel' style back-and-forth - at least enough to keep fans of Peter and MJ's relationship invested.

Keep up with all the new Spider-Man Comics coming from Marvel in 2022 and beyond.

I've been Newsarama's resident Marvel Comics expert and general comic book historian since 2011. I've also been the on-site reporter at most major comic conventions such as Comic-Con International: San Diego, New York Comic Con, and C2E2. Outside of comic journalism, I am the artist of many weird pictures, and the guitarist of many heavy riffs. (They/Them)