In a heart-wrenching plot twist for one of Marvel's most relatable superheroes, the comic book giant has killed the nerdy, down-on-his-luck science-whiz who first developed an arachnid alter-ego in 1962 and decided to use his "great power" for good. In "Amazing Spider-Man's" 700th and final issue, Spider-Man loses a final showdown with his arch-nemesis, Doctor Octopus, after which the latter assumes Peter Parker's body, mind and memories. He decides to take on Spider-Man's mission for himself, a journey continued in Marvel's upcoming "Superior Spider-Man."
He’s not Superman. Spider-Man doesn’t always win. He’s us. We do our best, but sometimes we fall short. What makes him heroic is that he stays on the right path. There’s a victory in this story for Peter if you’re willing to see it. Any superhero can look heroic in the winner’s circle, when they’re adored and showered with praise. But when you’re in a losing battle, when the world’s against you, when everyone thinks you’re a menace, but you do the right thing anyway … that’s when you’re better than a superhero. That’s when you’re Peter Parker.
But these are comic books, so Peter Parker fans shouldn't feel completely hopeless. As The New York Times points out, "no death is permanent" in comic book worlds. Captain America, Superman and X-Men's Jean Grey have all left us, only to return again.
The news horrified some fans:
I don't care about spoilers on this one. You know what sounds like the worst idea I've ever heard? Marvel is killing my hero, #PeterParker— Mike Chinnici (@MikeChinnici) December 26, 2012
Peter Parker dying: worst Christmas present imaginable, @marvel. Well, unless one of his super villains is now also inhabiting his body… oh.— Brandon Lee Tenney (@Brotodeau) December 26, 2012
But at least Stan Lee is excited: