Thursday, December 27, 2012

Okay, Peter Parker is Dead...Now What?

Yep, here we are again with another dead Marvel superhero.

It's been almost two years since Marvel Comics got mainstream media attention for killing off the Fantastic Four's Human Torch, so time for someone else to die, right?  Well, Marvel's spinning Wheel of Death landed on none other than Peter Parker, the amazing/spectacular/sensational Spider-Man, in this week's The Amazing Spider-Man #700.  Yes, even though Marvel just killed off the Ultimate universe's version of Peter Parker in June of 2011.  Regardless, there's stilll plenty of media coverage and Twitter trending over the idea that Spider-Man died.

Just as Marvel did with the Fantastic Four's 50th anniversary year, they decided the best way to celebrate Spidey's 50th anniversary was to kill the character off.  Oh, and do it in the most ignoble way possible, by swapping Peter's body with the dying villain Doctor Octopus so that Doc Ock can pummel Peter to death with his own fists.  So Peter is dead and Amazing Spider-Man ends, replaced by a new Marvel NOW! series called The Superior Spider-Man starring Otto Octavius still in Peter Parker's body.

Will it last?  No, of course not.  Any comics fan that's been paying attention at least since the Human Torch died knows these sort of big hero deaths don't stick, especially when they're Marvel characters.  This goes double for a major superhero who just so happens to have a sequel to a major motion picture arriving in theaters in 2014.  What, do you honestly think Marvel is going to keep Otto around as Spider-Man while Peter Parker is still alive and web-swinging on the big screen?

And if the so-called "final issue" of Fantastic Four #588 is anything to go by, The Superior Spider-Man will probably run a year of two issues per month before The Amazing Spider-Man #724 arrives to replace or accompany it.  That is, unless Marvel decides to simply relaunch The Amazing Spider-Man again with Vol. 3 #1.

This storyline by continuing writer Dan Slott is designed to take Peter off the board for a while and see what stories can be made of a supervillain living the life of the superhero nemesis he replaced and allowed to die.  Peter's traditional supporting cast and fellow superheroes will turn their heads and wonder each time Otto does something very non-Peter Parkerish, eventually leading someone to finally piece things together and figure out what Otto did.  As for Peter's spirit or consciousness or what have you, it's backed up in an Octobot somewhere or survives in some part of Comic Book Limbo, waiting patiently to come back and make Spider-Fans happy once again.
So just enjoy the ride because we all know it's only temporary.  The notion of Doctor Octopus staying inside Peter Parker's body longer than a year?  Now that would be amazing.


  1. Agreed that Peter will eventually return in full, and I saw the Octobot out as one of three ways that I see... and that doesn't involve another Mephisto scenario. But I have to commend Mr. Slott on the unexpected "ending" to this storyline. Very risky and very refreshing.

    1. Yeah, I really hope there's nothing resembling another "One More Day" Mephisto magic explanation to restore Peter back into his own body. Perhaps the real Peter is just buried somewhere deep underneath Otto's persona?

      And yes, Dan Slott and Marvel are definitely taking some risks here. Let's hope this storyline is worth all the grief they're currently getting from fans.