“Amazing Spider-Man” #700 hit newsstands for the world to read on Dec. 26, and as expected, Marvel killed off Peter Parker, the man who has portrayed Spider-Man for the last 50 years.
The reaction to the death is mixed, but honestly more people are vocally discontent with the decision to kill off one of Marvel Comics most endearing characters. Whether it is critics, Twitter users, or the keyboard sociopaths who sent writer Dan Slott death threats for daring to write this story, everyone has an opinion.
However, what people don’t seem to understand is that this is a comic book. No one has stayed dead in comics, with Superman, The Green Lantern, Flash, Captain America and Batman all dying and coming back at one time or another. Besides, Slott sees this as something completely different.
Slott sees this move as a way to rehabilitate Dr. Octopus, easily one of Spider-Man’s greatest foes.
In the comic, Dr. Octopus switched his mind with that of Peter Parker, basically swapping bodies. This was bad for Peter, because Doc Ock was dying of cancer. As he quickly deteriorated and died, Peter escaped prison and set out to reverse the mind swap. However, that failed – but what he did succeed in doing was replacing his memories into his body, so suddenly Dr. Octopus sees how great of a hero Peter Parker was and what he went through to become that hero.
“This is Moriarty in the head of Sherlock. This is Prince John inside of Robin Hood. This is the greatest villain inside the body of the greatest hero and trying to do good,” Slott said. “This is a guy who was a couple steps way from a bucket list, and now he’s got a whole new lease on life. That’s really going to change him.”
At the end of the day, this was a story about Dr. Octopus and Peter Parker did one last bit of good before he died. He turned Dr. Octopus into a hero.
Of course, with fans today desensitized to deaths in comic books, this comes off as a marketing ploy, making many people hate it from the start. However, Dan Slott gave Peter Parker the perfect send off, as he died for three minutes earlier in the book and saw Uncle Ben, his parents, Gwen Stacy and more waiting for him on the other side. He realized he did good, and once again it was Uncle Ben who told him that the scales were firmly tipped in his favor.
Peter Parker will be back sooner or later. His “being” is still in that Ock-bot that he tried, but failed, to use to put his mind back into his body. That is the door that can be used to bring Peter Parker back when Marvel decides to do so. However, for now, this was a nice story of Peter Parker doing one last great thing before dying.
“Amazing Spider-Man” #700 had Peter Parker die, but he died as a hero.
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Shawn S. Lealos is a member of the Oklahoma Film Critics Circle, the professional film critics’ organization of Oklahoma. He is also working on a book about the Stephen King dollar babies called “Dollar Deal.” To read more of his writing, visit shawnlealos.net.