"Gracious me, Mary Jane," a flabbergasted Anna Watson managed to say as her niece finished explaining about her new super powers. "And you say this all happened after your trip at the science exhibit?"
"Sure thing," nodded Mary Jane as she finished her cup of coffee and slumped down on the sofa. "And I have to say, I feel like a million bucks, Aunt Anna. Only thing is... what am I going to do with these new powers of mine?"
"Well I don't think it would be wise to tell anyone at school about this," suggested Aunt Anna. "You know how judgmental people can get these days, especially with all those awful anti-mutant groups running rampant."
"I guess so," conceded Mary Jane, a little nervous of the thought of her friends denouncing her as a grotesque monstrosity, "but I ought to do something that'll make use of all this."
She pondered for a minute, then an idea came into her head. "I've got it! Why don't I become an entertainer or something? TV producers are always on the lookout for star attractions."
"Makes sense I suppose," said Anna, secretly glad that her niece did not have anything more extreme or reckless in mind. "Though what about your studies?"
Mary Jane shrugged. "Well maybe I could be a part-time evening performer. That would give me a chance to do all my studying and still have time to appear on the telly."
"Well, all right," said Anna a little skeptically. "I suppose it wouldn't hurt to give it a try. But if you're going to be get a chance at any of this, you'll need some kind of outfit to impress those TV people and conceal your identity."
And so in the weeks that followed, Anna Watson got to work designing a costume for her niece, while Mary Jane did some self-training in order to better master her new spider powers. Eventually, all was ready, and soon Mary Jane tried on her extravagant new costume.
"Wow, Aunt Anna, you've done a real sweet job here," said Mary Jane as she admired her new threads in the mirror. The costume was certainly impressive, consisting of a scarlet spandex suit with a large gold-coloured spider symbol on her chest, long gold-coloured gloves that reached up to just under her elbows, and a mask with lenses that completely covered her face, but left her long red hair exposed and hanging loose.
"Yes, I'm quite pleased with it myself," said Anna. "So have you decided what your stage name is going to be yet, dear? The 'Scarlet Spider', perhaps?"
Beneath her mask, May Jane smiled. "Nah, I figure Spider-Girl is as good a name as any. So look out world... Here comes the Sensational Spider-Girl!"
Mary Jane Watson's dreams quickly became a reality. Maxwell Shiffman, the TV producer she first approached, was so impressed by her act that he immediately signed her up to appear on the Sullivan Edwards show that week. The debut appearance of Spider-Girl was a smash hit and ratings reached new record heights as viewers tuned in to see the mysterious web-slinger perform her amazing feats. However, Mary Jane's alter-ego was always careful to warn young viewers not to try to copy her superhuman stunts, a bit of advice given to her by her Aunt Anna. This proved quite wise as it helped to defuse the attempts of 'Daily Bugle' publisher J. Jonah Jameson to have Spider-Girl kicked off the air. And so as Spider-Girl's popularity grew in the weeks that followed, so did her fanbase at Midtown High...
"Welcome one and all to the official Spider-Girl fan club," announced Flash Thompson to the cheering students in the decorated activity hall that they had booked for the evening. "Here we express our admiration and support for the awesome tv star and all the cool shows she's done for us all!"
At the back of the hall, an amused Mary Jane shook her head a little wearily as the crowd applauded Thompson's speech. "Wow, Flash sure has outdone himself here, hasn't he?"
Peter Parker grinned. "Well, he's smitten by the girl, isn't he? I mean just about everyone is curious whose face is under that mask of hers. And all those cool powers of her, well anyone would love to do the things she can do."
"You sound as though you've got a bit of a crush on her yourself, tiger," observed Mary Jane, raising an eyebrow.
Peter gave an embarrassed look. "Well, maybe a little. Actually Flash has stopped giving me a hard time when he learnt that I'm a fan too. He figures that any supporter of Spider-Girl is okay in his book."
There was an annoyed 'harumph' from next to them and the two teenagers turned to see an annoyed Liz Allan next to them.
"Well I don't think she's so cool," grumbled Liz with a look of undeniable jealousy. "Ever since this Spider-Girl has appeared, it's all that Flash talks about! So she can jump around a bit and shot snot out of her fingers. Big deal!"
"Harsh much?" retorted Mary Jane. "I mean she's just a superstar entertaining kids. Lots of guys do that."
"Well if she's so great, why is she wasting time being a glory hog?" snapped Liz. "Why doesn't she do something useful with her oh-so great powers like fight crime or something? It's cause she's nothing but a big show-off, that's why!"
"Do you think Liz has a point, Aunt Anna?" asked Mary Jane, after she recounted the events of the evening to her Aunt in the kitchen as the TV on the side showed a repeat of Spider-Girl's latest performance. "Am I just a big show-off? What if I am meant to do something more with my powers?"
Anna smiled sympathetically at her niece. "I wouldn't let it worry you, dear. It seems to me that Liz is a little envious of you, that's all. She'll get over it in time."
Mary Jane sighed. "But everyone keeps looking up at Spider-Girl, Aunt Anna, like she's some great hero. But I haven't actually done anything heroic at all! I jump through a few hoops, climb a few walls and that's about it! Maybe I ought to be making more of a difference."
Anna gave Mary Jane's hand a comforting squeeze. "That's really something for you to decide, dear. I admit, I'm not that keen on the idea of you going out risking your life constantly, but I do remember hearing some advice Ben Parker gave to Peter."
"You mean 'with great power comes great responsibility'?" said Mary Jane. "Yeah, Peter told me about that. And maybe his Uncle's right. Maybe I should make more of a difference."
At that moment, the screen of the TV suddenly cut to a news reporter in a studio. "We interrupt this program for an important bulletin. We've just received a report that NASA astronaut John Jameson has died."
This immediately got the attention of the Watsons. "Hey, that's the son of the publisher guy who's been trying to do a smear campaign on Spider-Girl!" realised Mary Jane.
The announcer continued with the report. "It appears that the Forward Guidance device on Jameson's space capsule malfunctioned. As a result, the craft spun out of control and plummeted back to Earth. According to officials, Jameson must have died instantly in the crash. We now join his father, J. Jonah Jameson, in his office at the 'Daily Bugle'."
The scene then cut to show a grief-stricken Jameson speaking to reporters. "My son was a true hero," he managed to say quietly. "He didn't have fancy powers like those silly clowns in fancy costumes. He was just a brave man doing what he felt was right and stood up for what he believed in. I just wish... that there was someone who could have done something to save him..."
As the bulletin report finished on the tv and switched back to the 'Sullivan Edwards Show', Anna's face crumpled in sympathy. "Oh goodness, that poor boy."
Mary Jane likewise could not help but feel sorry for Jonah Jameson, even after the hard time he had tried to give her. "Yeah, Jameson's son died out there alone and no-one could have helped him. I mean, this city is filled with super-powered guys like the Fantastic Five. Couldn't they do anything? There should have been someone to help him!"
It was at this moment that Mary Jane Watson made her decision. No longer would she waste time grandstanding and showing-off. From now on, Spider-Girl would fight for those in need and become a true hero.