As expected (and as we reported back in September), Marvel Comics ended the long-running “Amazing Spider-Man” series with issue #700 by Dan Slott and Humberto Ramos, marking the end of one of the most popular comic book series of all time. What was not expected however, was the death of Peter Parker and the transition of the Spider-Man persona to Spidey’s foe, Doc Octavius. Marvel maintains that the changes are quite permanent, Peter Parker is dead and will remain dead, and next month the saga begins anew with the release of The Superior Spider-Man #1, with the Doc, Otto Octavius, stepping into the Spidey suit. In the story related to readers in issue #700, Otto inherits the dying Parker’s memories and spider powers which combined with Otto’s superior intelligence, will presumably result in the birth of an even more powerful Spider-Man. What remains to be seen is how Marvel will evolve the storyline to relate Otto’s internal battle between good and evil. Writer Dan Slott, who’s been penning Spidey adventures for the better part of the last 100 issues for Marvel Entertainment, said the culmination of the story is a new, dramatically different direction for the hero that Steve Ditko and Stan Lee created in 1962. Slott told CNN:
“When we first met Peter Parker, he was a teenage bespectacled nerd who resented all the other kids. One of his first lines was, “Some day I’ll show them all! Some day they’ll be sorry they ever laughed at me.” That’s not something a hero would say. If Peter had never learned the lesson of “great power and great responsibility,” there’s every chance he would have become a supervillain. And then you have Otto Octavius, a bespectacled scientist who, after his radioactive accident, became the eight-legged Doctor Octopus. For all intents and purposes, he was the adult Peter could have become, Spider-Man’s dark reflection. So what if we flipped it? What if we gave him a second chance? Peter’s final, heroic act was giving Doc all the memories and experiences that kept him on the right path. But is that enough? Can that overcome Ock’s true nature?”
Comic Book Heroes explains how the death occurred:
“In the comic ,we saw that Doctor Otto Octavius had successfully ‘swapped bodies’ with Peter Parker with the mind of Doc Ock now being in the body of Spider-Man. At the end of issue #700, Peter (inside Doc Ock’s body) passes away, leaving Doc Ock in his body and a vow to become ‘The Superior Spider-Man,’ thus setting up the new Marvel comic series in February.”
Fans have reacted with a mixture of sentiment and anger. Overall though, reception for the landmark issue has been good and fans are hopeful the reboot brings new life to the Spider-Man story.