Peter Parker is dead. No, not in the movie world, where “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” will release with Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy returning on May 2, 2014, but in the comic books. Those who watch “The Walking Dead” know that the comics and other media can diverge, and still be perfectly enjoyable. But killing off Peter Parker?
Spoiler alert: read further at your own risk. Peter Parker is dead as of Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2012, when the issue hit stores.
The end of Peter Parker comes in Amazing Spider-Man 700. Writer Dan Slott wrote the storyline, and the resulting death of Peter Parker has been known for some time. With it came fan reaction, including death threats against Slott.
Slott engaged fans on Twitter and Facebook, where he wrote:
Reality check: There is NO such thing as a “funny death threat.” Especially if you TAG someone in it.
How is this possible? How can you keep a super-hero alive while ending his alter-ego’s life. In truth, it’s possible to kill a character and then have a different person take their mantle.
For example, when Batman’s back was broken in “Knightfall,” eventually Dick Grayson took the role as Gotham’s protector on. Bruce Wayne, of course, eventually recovered and returned.
When Barry Allen died, Wally West became The Flash. Of course, things have changed quite a bit since then, with Allen returning and DC Comics completely rebooting things, as well.
Let’s not forget the biggest one: Superman. He died, only to return.
In this case, the writer says that the changes are permanent. In comics, though, nothing is permanent. Even Bucky Barnes, once said to be an example of permanent death in comic books, eventually returned in the “Winter Soldier” storylin in Captain America’s series.
So is this permanent? Time will tell.
Spider-Man’s arch-enemy, Dr. Octopus (Doc Ock) has been dying since episode 600. In short, in issue 700, Doc Ock swaps bodies with Peter Parker. Parker’s mind is in Ock’s dying body — and dies — and Ock’s mind is in Parker’s body and is now Spider-Man.
Ah, but that’s not all. Ock shares Peter’s memories. He has a change of heart. He realizes he has been wrong all these years, and now, combined with Spider-Man’s powers, he can become greater than Peter Parker ever was: the Superior Spider-Man (which debuts with issue no. 1, naturally).
Of course, is he really superior? Peter Parker was a genius, too. Doc Ock is a genius, but insane. It’s expected, even by Slott, that Ock will slip at first.
And is Peter gone forever? Johnny Storm, the Human Torch, is a recent example of a Marvel Comics death that was (fairly) swiftly reversed.
Once again, time will tell, and we don’t mean time as manipulated by Chronos, a DC Comics villain.