Warning: Contains spoilers for X-Men: Hellfire Gala #1!
Marvel’s Spider-Man has a habit of rescuing his girlfriend Mary Jane seemingly in any other problem, but now Peter Parker’s main love interest is also being rescued by the X-Men because she poses the biggest threat to the group. Mary Jane has no abilities and is an ordinary person in the world of monsters, demons and mad scientists (especially in the case of Spider-Man), so she is often kidnapped and endangered by many villains of the Marvel universe. Now in the giant-sized release of X-Men: Hellfire Gala #1, Mary Jane is once again in danger, this time by a group dedicated to destroying all kinds of mutants.
In the current comic book sequence, the X-Men have founded the island of Krakoa, a paradise and sovereign nation for all mutants. The island holds many secrets, but the most important of them is the ability to resurrect mutants from the dead. This is achieved through the use of five powerful mutants, Professor Xavier and the Cerebro machine; this gives mutants an unfathomable advantage over ordinary people. Unfortunately, a carefully guarded secret has become public knowledge, and on the eve of the Hellfire Gala concert, only it can be talked about.
In X-Men: Hellfire Gala #1, written by Jerry Duggan with illustrations by Chris Anka, Russell Dauterman, Matteo Lolli and CF Villa, Mary Jane becomes an unexpected guest at the Hellfire Club, allegedly invited thanks to drugs created by mutants that helped her aunt recover from dementia. No one knows that she is actually possessed by Moira McTaggart, now a member of the Orchis, who wants to put an end to the resurrection of mutants forever. Spider-Man sees that Mary Jane is in trouble, but at first does not realize that Moira is in control. What follows is a fight scene that ends with a sullen Emma Frost watching Spider-Man and saying: “You really can’t take Spider-Man anywhere, can you?”
This makes Mary Jane another victim of the “Damsel in Distress” trope, in which a previously active character is deprived of almost all free will. In this case, it’s almost literal; vengeful mutant Moira controls Mary Jane’s body and intends to kill her when the task is completed. Spider-Man is here to save her, but Mary Jane certainly has a tendency to get into dangerous situations even without his influence.
The Hellfire Gala is open to select people and non-mutants, such as world leaders and famous actors (including Jon Hamm). But Mary Jane’s invitation is perhaps too far away; the reason for her invitation is perhaps an excuse to put her in danger once again. Spider-Man’s love interest is apparently in danger wherever she goes, and even the X-Men can’t protect her at their own Hellfire gala.