So you want to know about the "death" of the Amazing Spider-Man (you'll soon find out why it's in quotes). Well it's a very difficult death to put into words, let alone text, so I'll give it my best shot. Read very carefully.
Starting back in issue #600 of the Amazing Spider-Man (the issue where Aunt May marries J. Jonah Jameson Sr) we find out that Doctor Octopus has a degenerative condition brought about from the numerous beatings he's received from superheroes and the radiation from the accident that transformed him into the tentacled Doctor Octopus. He only has 12-18 months to live.
So Doctor Octopus is a dying man. What would a dying man want to do with the final year of his life? Cure cancer? Make the world a better place? Nope. He has an even better idea: create "one final master plan" to take over places that range from New York to the world.
Skip ahead a few issues. Doctor Octopus just tried to take over the world, but was stopped by Spider-Man and a few other accomplices. Doctor Octopus is taken into custody and put on life support.
The issue begins with Peter Parker going about his normal day with an unusually upbeat attitude. He gets word that Doctor Octopus is finally dying, so he finally swings over to the prison where he talks to Doc Ock. Then things get a little weird.
Confused? So are we as the reader. But let me explain it to you. For the past 100 issues, Doc Ock has tried to execute several "master plans," which were all stopped by Spider-Man or the Avengers. However, these weren't total failures for Doc Ock. In each case, Dock Ock was gathering intel on Spider-Man. For example, during the Spider-Island story arc, Spider-Man uses Doc Ock's helmet to control his octobots that would distribute a cure to the citizens of the city. While using it, Doc Ock was mapping out Peter's brain layout and pattern.
Fast forward to issue #696. Spider-Man had just finished dealing with two different Hobgoblins. At the end of the issue we see a golden octobot follow Peter. It turns out that this octobot contained all of Doc Ock's memories and brain patters. It stabbed Peter in the back of his neck and swapped their memories.
Yep. Doctor Octopus is in Peter Parker's body and vice versa.
Here comes the confusing part.
Now it's going to be incredibly difficult to explain to you what each character does and I have yet to see an easy-to-read explanation of the events, so I'll try something new that I hope you'll find useful.
When I say Peter, I'm referring to Peter in Doc Ock's body. When I say Doc Ock, I'm referring to Doc Ock in Peter's body. Sorry. Best I can think of.
So Peter is laying down in prison basically waiting to die when he finally realizes that that's not the Peter Parker way, so he sends out a call to a group of super villains telling him that they are forming the next Sinister Six (remember that no hero would believe that Spider-Man was in Doc Ock's body). Eventually a team of C-list villains show up to break him out of prison. Peter briefly dies and sees all the dead people in his life (Uncle Ben, Gwen Stacy) who convince him to keep fighting.
The C-list villains manage to bring him back to life. Peter then tells them that they need to break into the police precinct (for the golden octobot, but he doesn't tell them that). While he's down in the evidence room, he runs into Carlie Cooper (an ex-girlfriend who happens to be a cop...oh and she knows his secret identity). Peter tries to convince Carlie that he's Peter inside Doc Ocks body by saying, "You and MJ, you're the only ones who know. I'm Spider-Man and I'm Peter Parker." She hesitates, but then decides that she doesn't believe him and shoots at him. The arms block the bullet and lash out at her out of instinct (she's only slightly hurt). This is a key event for the future of Spider-Man.
Meanwhile, Doc Ock takes all of Peter's friends and family and gathers them in one central location (saying that he's protecting them, but actually using them against Peter). He sends out a broadcast to Peter telling him that he has all of Peter's friends and family. Peter takes the rewired golden octobot (with the intention of switching back the memories) and heads over to the Avengers Tower.
There he encounters Doc Ock and they brawl it out for a little while. Knowing that he was going to lose the fight Peter grabs Doc Ock and throws them both out of the window. They fall many stories to the ground. While on the ground, Peter tries to use golden octobot to transfer the memories back, but Doc Ock is one step ahead of him and has plated the back of his neck. His plan failed.
Doc Ock grabs a truck as is holds it over Peter. Peter tries desperately to think of another way out, but finds that he's too tired to try. He then sees a vision of Uncle Ben...but so does Doc Ock. Doc Ock freaks out when he sees this. The reason that Doc Ock sees this is because Peter's memories are still in his old brain.
Peter finds out that he may not have a direct link, but a link still exists. He comes up with another plan. Peter's life starts flashing before his eyes as he dies, but his entire life also flashes before Doc Ock's eyes, which gives Doc Ock an entire play by play movie of Peter's life and everything he's ever done.
Long story short, Doc Ock realizes that with great power comes great responsibility. Peter dies inside Doc Ock's body and Doc Ock vows that he will uphold the memory of Peter Parker by becoming the best Spider-man ever...or the Superior Spider-Man.
Personally I was very upset when reading the comic for the following reasons:
- Peter Parker didn't die heroically at all; he did inside the body of a dying super villain who was inside his body
- The entire comic was this giant attempt by Peter trying to get back into his own body and he isn't even able to do that by the end of the comic
- I didn't really feel like Spider-Man needed to "die" in the first place
- Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson were finally starting to become a couple again right before the whole body switching
- I love the art by Ramos, but I feel like for a final issue they should've used a different artist
The good things to come out of the comic:
- A new series (Superior Spider-Man)
- A new Spider-Man who handles situations differently
- Brand new story arcs that were actually entertaining
- (I will eventually do a review of the Superior Spider-Man series in the future)
So there you have it. The "death" of Spider-Man. If you want to see what happens next, let me know in the comments below and I'll get around to writing an article about it.