- I hope they find that horrible Spider-Man and lock him up before he can do any harm!
- -- Aunt May src
May and Ben Parker took in their nephew Peter after the death of his parents and raised him. Ben immediately took to the role of the boy's father but May was at first reluctant. She still remembered her parents blaming her own birth for the destruction of their marriage, and she was afraid that Peter might signal the end of her own marriage. In time, however, she warmed up to Peter, who unexpectedly strengthened the couple's marriage. After Ben's death, life became a struggle with money problems and Peter did his best to help.
Peter's secret life as Spider-Man endlessly complicated both his and his aunt's lives. Aunt May lived in constant fear for her "frail" (but now unaccountably secretive) nephew who insisted on a job as a freelance photographer. Parker was determined to capture Spider-Man in action, frequently submitting pictures of him to the Daily Bugle; Spider-Man was a vigilante whom Aunt May feared because of her unquestioning acceptance of the Daily Bugle's smearing.
Meanwhile, Peter feared for his aunt's well-being and the fatal shock that could result if she ever learned about his career as Spider-Man. Peter was often torn between dealing with a major crises while his aunt needed nearly constant care. This conflict took on a bizarre turn when Aunt May had his enemy, Doctor Otto Octavius (also known as Doctor Octopus), as an apparent sweetheart; Peter struggled to deal with his enemy's game while not hurting his Aunt.
Aunt May has "died" several times. In her most recent "death", the "Aunt May" who died was discovered to be a "genetically-altered actress" who impersonated her while May was held captive by villains.May finally learned about her nephew's secret life once and for all. That resulted in a heartfelt discussion in which Aunt and Nephew confessed their darkest secrets and each learned that the other was far stronger than they imagined.
After their house was destroyed, Peter, Aunt May, and Mary Jane Watson moved into Stark Towers (as Spider-Man had recently joined the New Avengers). Aunt May seemed to be developing a romantic relationship with the Avengers' butler, Jarvis. May was quite the strong-willed woman and even the hard-nosed Wolverine found it impossible to argue with her. During the superhuman Civil War, she and Mary Jane convinced Peter to reveal himself in front of a press conference, and May even made Peter a hand-stitched copy of his original costume.
After Peter joined the anti-registration forces, May was forced to leave Stark Towers. Soon, Kingpin, one of Spider-Man's frequent enemies, ordered a "hit" on the now public-identity Peter Parker. At the motel the Parker's were staying in, a sniper kept watch to eliminate Peter. However, when the sniper fired, Peter dodged, grabbing MJ out of the way. Unfortunately, Aunt May was hit by the bullet -- the bullet intended for Peter.
At the hospital she lapsed into a coma, with death likely. May received a radioactive blood transfusion from Peter, which he hoped would once again save her life due to his mutated healing factor. Although the healing factor was in his blood, the radioactivity did nothing to her system. Peter believed she had built an immunity to his blood, considering this wasn't the first time he had given blood to her.
The demon Mephisto offered to restore Aunt May's health at great personal cost to Peter; his life, and his marriage to his wife, Mary Jane. Agreeing to the terms, Mary Jane and Peter had reality altered so that May could live. Spider-Man's identity was once again a secret from her. The cost of Mephisto's offer was the erasure of Peter and Mary Jane's marriage from all memories.
Since the altering of Peter Parker's life, May was doing volunteer work for a homeless shelter, ran by the seemingly benevolent entrepreneur, Martin Li, who was in fact the super-villain crime boss, Mr. Negative. During her work at the shelter, she met John Jonah Jameson Sr, the father of J. Jonah Jameson, and started a relationship with him. Peter Parker later discovered this relationship when he caught the two of them in bed.
Powers and AbilitiesEdit
|Power Grid |
May Parker possesses the normal human strength for a female her age, height, and build who engages in minimal regular exercise.
- The character maintained a subtle undertone of inner strength until the departure from the title by co-creator Steve Ditko, after which her characterization leaned closer to stereotypical senility.
- A "prototype version" of Aunt May appears in Strange Tales Vol 1 97, published some months before Amazing Fantasy #15
- Over the years she dated numerous different men including Doctor Octopus (Otto Octavius), Nathan Lubensky, and Willie Lumpkin. May Parker almost married Doctor Octopus.
- A curious note is that Mephisto's magic that alternate Spider-Man's life in Brand New Day appears to have altered Spider-Man's history with the New Avengers, and has shattered the connection between Jarvis and May. Even more of interest is that later events reveal Jarvis was some time in the past replaced by a Skrull (and a later confirmation it was indeed the Jarvis Skrull who had feelings for May), coupled with Mephisto's magic altering history, complicates matters. Furthermore, in a What If alternate reality, without Mephisto's intervention, May claimed Jarvis was "shot," implying that she saw him die before her eyes, evidently not reverting back to Skrull form, which is even more confusing.
Appearances in Other MediaEdit
Aunt May in the films
In the Spider-Man films directed by Sam Raimi, Aunt May is played by Rosemary Harris. In the 2012 reboot, directed by Marc Webb, she is played by Sally Field.
In the 2002 film Spider-Man , Aunt May and Uncle Ben take care of their nephew, Peter Parker. Uncle Ben (Cliff Robertson) is shot and killed by a carjacker. Peter and May share their grief for Uncle Ben. Later, when Peter has moved into an apartment with his friend Harry Osborn, Aunt May visits them on Thanksgiving. She is not shy about reprimanding Harry's father Norman for his rude and boorish behavior. Shortly thereafter, when Norman (who has become the villainous Green Goblin), learns Spider-Man's identity, he attacks May at home while she is saying her prayers. May is terrified by the Goblin's demonic appearance, and is hospitalized after the Goblin injures her. (The Green Goblin then makes a failed attempt to kill Mary Jane Watson, whom he believes is Spider-Man's girlfriend, before he is killed.)
In the sequel, Spider-Man 2 (2004), Aunt May continues to look after Peter, and has had financial difficulties since the death of her husband. She believes Spider-Man to be a bad person, claiming "the less we see of him, the better." However, when May's visit to the bank with Peter is interrupted by a robbery perpetrated by Otto Octavius, Octavius takes her hostage and climbs the side of a skyscraper with her. She is in turn, rescued by Spider-Man, and from that point believes that he is good. Later in the film, Peter's powers begin to wane because of a subconscious desire to live a normal life, and he decides to give up his costumed persona; Aunt May makes a speech which encourages him to resume his heroic activities. Whether she has deduced his secret identity or not is not made explicit; however, the bank robbery scene, in which she takes notice of Peter fleeing and where May reacts suspiciously after Spider-Man tells her, "We sure showed him [Doctor Octopus]," and May's later speech to Peter about the need for Spider-Man to return, suggest that she may in fact know of her nephew's alter ego. Also in the film, she expresses that she feels she caused Uncle Ben's death ("You wanted to take the subway, and he wanted to drive you. And if I had stopped him, we'd all be having tea together"), prompting Peter to admit that he caused the death by not stopping the killer. May is understandably off-put, but later thanks Peter and tells him that admitting the truth to her was a brave thing to do.
Aunt May returns in Spider-Man 3 (film) (2007) to offer counsel to Peter.
The Aunt May in Webb's The Amazing Spider-Man (2012) appears to be closer to middle-aged, as evidenced by her darker hair color. Generally she supports Peter, even siding against her husband Ben Parker during family disagreements. Less is seen of Aunt May character subsequent to the shooting death of Ben, played by Martin Sheen.
Aunt May notably appeared in the 1990's Spider-Man: The Animated Series, in which her character was that she hated Spider-Man deeply, but loved his alter ego, her nephew, Peter Parker. Ironically, she doesn't know who her nephew is. She also had many encounters with villains Spider-Man fought like Venom (as Eddie Brock), the Hobgoblin, Dr. Octopus, the Chameleon (who was immitating Anna Watson), Tombstone, the Green Goblin, the Scorpion and the Shocker. She has a past with Keane Marlow as friends and also, Keane was May's late husband, Ben's friend as well (and unbeknownst to her, he was also a member in the 1940s superhero team called the Six Forgotten Warriors being named the Destroyer). In the Scarlet Spider's reality, Aunt May had died and like in the comics, May had died several times, but surely, her death in this reality was certainly real. Her death was also the beginning of how Spider-Carnage became insane. In the Armour Spider-Man's reality, Uncle Ben was alive but it is unknown if Aunt May was, but it is likely she was still living then.
- 896 Appearances of May Reilly (Earth-616)
- 21 Images featuring May Reilly (Earth-616)
- 4 Quotations by or about May Reilly (Earth-616)
- Character Gallery: May Reilly (Earth-616)
- Fan-Art Gallery: May Reilly (Earth-616)
- Comic Book Awards Almanac
- Aunt May's Profile at Spiderfan.org
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- ↑ Amazing Spider-Man #1
- ↑ Amazing Spider-Man #4
- ↑ paradoxically, they met when Dr. Octopus kidnapped her and Betty Brant during Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1
- ↑ Amazing Spider-Man Vol 2 #35
- ↑ Amazing Spider-Man #538
- ↑ Amazing Spider-Man #541
- ↑ Amazing Spider-Man #552
- ↑ Amazing Spider-Man #591
- ↑ Amazing Spider-Man #592
- ↑ Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z #8