Amazing Spider-Man 700th Issue Shocker: Spider-Man Dies

December 28th, 2012

First off, happy 90th birthday to Stan Lee, former head of Marvel Comics and co-creator of many iconic characters including Spider-Man. His contributions to American pop culture are immeasurable. Throughout the 20th century, heroes like the X-Men and the Fantastic Four have entertained and educated generations.

Meanwhile, after 50 years, one of Stan Lee’s benchmark characters has died. Peter Parker, the alter ego behind Spider-Man, loses his life in the 700th issue of Amazing Spider-Man. However, a “mind jar” type brain-switch scenario has placed Spider-Man’s body under the control of his arch nemesis, Doctor Octopus. But, wait, there’s more!

Doctor Octopus Turns Hero

Peter Parker dies in a battle with Doctor Octopus in which their minds are transferred into each other’s bodies. However, in so doing, Peter also transfers all of his memories to his nemesis. As a result, Doctor Octopus realizes the importance of Spider-Man’s good deeds and decides to continue his work as a superhero.

This “road to Damascus” moment marks a new era for Spider-Man. With his top foe in charge of his body, the hero will now experience a totally new dynamic. Corrupted to the core, Doctor Octopus may face unique challenges as a hero.

Some Fans Outraged at Writer Dan Slott

Comics sometimes become stale when the plots are too predictable. Character deaths are often like a heart defibrillator for a flagging series — the shock sparks renewed interest in a comic brand. However, Spider-Man is no ordinary comic book character. Peter Parker is not the typical alter ego. Spidey is a full-blown American icon, and some fans are taking his death personally.

In fact, a few even went so far as to issue death threats to Dan Slott via social media. The writer is confident, however, that fans will appreciate the new direction of the story, as Spider-Man will now be working in the shadow of Peter Parker’s legend. As Doctor Octopus is a third-party who now has access to Parker’s memories, new perspectives can be cast on old issues.

Regardless how one feels about the death of Peter Parker, it’s likely irrelevant as comic book characters rarely stay dead for long. In this case, though, it seems the Doctor Octopus angle is rich enough to last a good while. As such, it’s reasonable to expect that, if Peter Parker is to return to Amazing Spider-Man, it won’t be any time soon.

As we mourn the passing of an American icon, we also celebrate the continuing life of an American innovator. While Spider-Man will continue to spin his webs with Doctor Octopus inhabiting his body, Peter Parker walks the Marvel universe no more. Stan Lee, on the other hand, is still at it and even active on Twitter in his 9th decade on Earth. The 700th issue of Amazing Spider-Man hit shelves on December 26th.

Rest in peace to Peter Parker, and happy 90th birthday to Stan Lee!

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About the Author: Barry Donegan

Barry Donegan is a singer for the experimental mathcore band Look What I Did, a writer, a self-described "veteran lifer in the counterculture", a political activist/consultant, and a believer in the non-aggression principle.