(Warning - the following contains mild SPOILERS for future issues of Iron Man-themed Marvel comic-books. As Taylor Swift so sagely advised: "Don't say I didn't say I didn't warn ya...")
Now, there have been some pretty odd comic book pairings over the years - Wolverine, for instance, has teamed up with pretty much everyone - but this fall looks set to introduce one that might just trump them all. Not because it's so fundamentally "out there," mind you - but simply because it might just redefine the way we see two beloved members of the Marvel Universe forever. Y'see:
It Seems Iron Man's Set to Team Up with...Mary Jane Watson?
Yup, that's right. In a few short months (December this year, to be precise) Mary Jane Watson will be heading to Iron Man's forthcoming rebooted solo title, Invincible Iron Man, and looks set to stick around as a major supporting character. Which, in turn, looks set to mark her indefinite departure from the Spider-Man comic books in which she's best known for appearing.
The reason for the move? Well, as Invincible Iron Man writer Brian Michael Bendis put it recently, as part of the move's official announcement on Marvel.com:
"We were at one of our glorious Marvel publishing retreats and certain characters got brought up, sometimes almost accidentally, and I found out that nobody had anything going on with Mary Jane...I sat with that for a while and I always go to this place in my head where I [wonder] what the most interesting thing I would like to see that character do now and it fell right into the ideas I was already cooking for Tony Stark."
The big question now, though?
Just What Is MJ's Role Going to Be?
After all, with a whole lot of MJ and Tony's history together taking the form of her being his house guest (alongside Peter and Aunt May), and him being typically creepy about it (that's him talking through the mic-ed up bird above), the obvious assumption would seem to be that the pair are going to wind up dating.
From the sounds of Bendis' latest comments, though, things might be a whole lot less clear cut - or, in fact, romantic at all - than that:
"They know each other...She used to live in Avengers Tower. But that’s all I’m going to say for now because what kind of relationship they end up having is a big part of what I would like people to buy the book for. But what I can tell you is that it is new territory for both Tony and Mary Jane. And that is pretty exciting to write."
The biggest clue thus far? The Stark security pass which MJ can be spotted wearing on the cover of her first scheduled appearance, Invincible Iron Man #4:
Could that suggest some sort of senior role within a Stark business venture, perhaps? Could we then ultimately be set to see MJ take on a similar role to that of Pepper Potts in the Marvel Cinematic Universe - that of the trusted right-hand woman/intermittently requited love interest? And, if so, what does that mean for Pepper?
Whatever the series throws at MJ, though, it seems that she'll be taking it in her stride. As Bendis pointed out, she's very much not set to be a damsel in distress:
"I [have] spent most of my time at Marvel writing the teenage version of Mary Jane [in Ultimate Spider-Man]...This is a grown-up woman who has been through a lot. She seems like one of those characters that went down certain paths that may not have panned out the way she hope; and she’s ready for a kick ass second act.
Which, to be fair, sounds like exactly the kind of thing Mary Jane is long overdue for...
What do you reckon, though?