Appearing in "The Boy Next Door"
- Aunt May
- Betty Brant
- Philip Watson (Only in flashback)
- Madeline Watson (Only in flashback)[Flashback 3]
- Gayle Watson-Byrnes (Only in flashback)[Flashback 4]
- Timothy Byrnes (Only in flashback)
- Mrs. Dorsey
- Baron Zemo (Mentioned)
- Melter (Bruno Horgan) (Mentioned)
- Avengers (Mentioned)
- Fantastic Four (Mentioned)
- Sally Avril (Mentioned)
- Black Knight (Nathan Garrett) (Mentioned)
- Museum of natural history
- Brooklyn Bridge
- Spider-Man's Web-Shooters
- Coal barge
Synopsis for "The Boy Next Door"
Mary Jane Watson has come to live with her Aunt Anna and not long after her arrival, her aunt has suggested that Mary Jane go on a blind date with Peter Parker, the nephew of her friend and neighbor, May Parker. However, Mary Jane knows Peter Parker's secret, that he is really Spider-Man. She thinks about how she learned this on the very night that Peter's Uncle Ben was murdered by a burglar. Looking out her window on that fateful evening she witnessed Spider-Man crawling out of Peter Parker's bedroom window.[Continuity 1] Mary Jane shoots down the suggestion immediately, telling her Aunt that she doesn't want to go out with a "geek". Anna insists that Peter is a sensitive boy, which puts off Mary Jane even more because that's what people always called her father. Getting upset, Mary Jane decides to go out, instantly putting on a cheerful disposition. However, she is already thinking of her troubled childhood. How her father was an abusive alcoholic, forcing her mother to take Mary Jane and her sister Gayle and leave. Being raised by a single mother was a miserable affair for the Watson children, but Mary Jane always tried to put on a cheery face, leading to scorn from her sister. When she later learned that her sister Gayle was pregnant, Mary Jane decided that she wasn't going to let herself settle down and enjoy life to its fullest.[Continuity 2] As she goes out shopping, Mary Jane thinks about how she used to be amused watching Spider-Man on television until she learned the truth. Since then, she has not been able to see Peter Parker or Spider-Man the same way ever again, realizing that there is more to Peter Parker than a studious straight-laced teenager anymore than Spider-Man is a carefree crime fighter.
The next day, at Midtown High, Flash Thompson and his friends are getting together to play some football. When Tiny McKeever points out that it is weird to be playing with Jason Ionello, Jason lashes out at them for treating them differently ever since Sally Avril was killed in a car accident and storm off.[Continuity 3] Watching this scene play out are Peter Parker and Liz Allen. Liz suggests that they do something about the situation in order to make Jason feel like one of the group again, and has come to Peter for ideas because she thinks he is the smartest kid in school. Peter is flattered by Liz's thoughtfulness and quickly comes up with an idea.
Later, Mary Jane has been dragged out to a museum by her Aunt, a trip that Mary Jane finds incredibly boring. Anna reminds her niece that she needs to focus on her studies, even though she wants to be an actor. This gives her a chance to bring up Peter Parker again, suggesting that he could help her study. Mary Jane once again shoots down the idea, telling her aunt that she is not interested in dating Peter Parker. That's when Spider-Man comes crashing into the museum in the middle of a battle with the Radioactive Man. Mary Jane can't believe that the young man she has been trying to hard to avoid is nowhere right in front of her, although nobody but she knows that it is really Peter Parker under the mask. She also recognizes the Radioactive Man as he had just recently fought the Avengers.[Continuity 4] The Chinese scientist is furious as he had been betrayed by Baron Zemo and refuses to surrender to Spider-Man. When the wall-crawler attempts to web up his foe, the Radioactive Man easily burns through the webbing with his powers.
As Aunt Anna tries to pull Mary Jane to safety, the young woman can't help but worry for Spider-Man, knowing that he is around the same age as she is. That's when Spider-Man uses a mannequin to knock Radioactive Man into a display case containing ore samples. This, unfortunately, causes an even greater danger as the samples react with the Radioactive Man's body starting a violent chain reaction within his body that threatens to destroy the entire city. Furious, because all he wanted to do was flee the United States and return to his native China, the Radioactive Man blasts a hole in the floor in order to flee through the subway tunnel below. When Mary Jane asks Spider-Man what he is going to do next, the wall-crawler says that he has no choice but to go after his foe and find a way to stop him from reaching critical mass and dives down after him. When Mary Jane and her Aunt leave the museum, they are questioned by reporters. There, Mary Jane puts on a brave face and assures them that Spider-Man will defeat the Radioactive Man, but in reality, she finds herself wondering if she can fully trust the wall-crawler to save them all.
With all exits out of the city gridlocked, Anna and Mary Jane return home to wait out the current crisis. However, Mary Jane can't just sit around and let fate decide what will happen to her. Hearing reports that Spider-Man is battling Radioactive Man on the Brooklyn Bridge, she takes a cab out to the area. There she rushes to the scene of the battle to meet her fate head on. Spider-Man is struggling to get Radioactive Man to stop fighting, however, he is unwilling to listen taking joy in the fact that his imminent destruction will also destroy the man responsible for his end. However, Spider-Man has other ideas and uses a car to catapult his foe into the East River. As the wall-crawler had hoped, the waters below begin cooling the Radioactive Man and ultimately stops the chain reaction coursing through his body, saving the entire city in the process. When the Coast Guard arrives on the scene, the villain has escaped. In the aftermath of the battle, Mary Jane can't make up her mind about their savior, the boy who lives next door. When she returns to Queens later, she discovers that there is a party going on over at the Parkers.
Inside, Peter has put together a welcome back party for both Tiny McKeever and Jason Ionello. Everything is going great until Betty Brant shows up just as Liz Allen kisses Peter on the cheek. She instantly becomes jealous and gives him the cold shoulder. Before he can smooth this over, Flash Thompson pulls Peter aside and warns him to stay away from Liz as she is his girlfriend. When Flash Thompson is done with him, Jason Ionello also pulls Peter aside and tells him that this party changes nothing between him and Peter. Peter then sits down in a chair, realizing that even when he does something nice he can't get ahead, hoping that things will quiet down for a while. At that moment, across the street, Mary Jane decides that she is not ready to date Peter Parker, intending to come up with excuses whenever her Aunt tries to set them up on a date until she can figure out who Peter Parker really is.[Continuity 5]
Mary Jane Watson makes her first appearance! She knows Peter Parker is Spider-Man— so why is she so terrified to meet him? Plus: will the Radioactive Man crash Peter's first party?
- Peter Parker's Uncle Ben was murdered in Amazing Fantasy #15. It was revealed that Mary Jane witnessed Spider-Man coming out of the Parker home on the night of Ben's murder in Marvel Graphic Novel #46. She will keep this a secret for years until finally telling Peter she knows the truth in Amazing Spider-Man #257.
- For more on Mary Jane's troubled family life, refer to Amazing Spider-Man #259 and Marvel Graphic Novel #46.
- Jason and Sally were in a car accident in Untold Tales of Spider-Man #13. As Jason was partially responsible for the accident, he has been treated as an outcast by his peers.
- At the time of this story, the Radioactive Man was recruited by Baron Zemo into the Masters of Evil in Avengers #6.
- May Parker and Anna Watson will begin trying to set Peter up with Mary Jane in Amazing Spider-Man #17. Mary Jane's efforts to avoid Peter eventually fail when the two meet in Amazing Spider-Man #42.
A flashback in this story affects the chronology of the following characters:
- Page 3, Panel 5 (Appears on a computer screen, TV, or hologram only)
- Mary Jane Watson:
- Madeline Watson:
- Gayle Watson: