Let me start by saying that if you haven’t ready Spider-Man #700/Superior Spider-Man #1 by now, you deserve to have it spoiled in dirty spoiling shame. PETER PARKER IS DEAD! Well Dead-ish… There is so much to talk about here that I almost don’t know where to begin, so I’ll keep it as linear as I can. First of all, you have to understand this has been in the works for years. Dan Slott has had an incredible run on Spider-Man and it’s because of the trust Marvel has put in him. You don’t just hand over the keys to the Marvel version of a 1962 Shelby Cobra without having some talent, and Dan Slott has proven he has talent. He might not have used “I’m going to kill Peter Parker” in his initial pitch for writing the series, but don’t you think it was in the back of his mind?
I totally believe it was, and the reason why is Brian Michael Bendis. Not because he told me, but because he did something similar with Secret Invasion. He laid seeds for the event years prior to telling any of his editors he’d been doing so, and that’s were the genius of it started. When he went to them and said ‘Hey guess what! I made a bunch of people Skrulls when you weren’t looking to prepare for an epic event. What do you think?’ think about being in the editor’s shoes! How can you say no to that? Dan has written alot of great arcs, and he’s been rebuilding Spidey and Doc Ocks connection through almost all of it. He set us up.
I think back to when Spidey first encountered Doc Ock at the point where he had begun to physically digress, and learned that it was because of the years of physical punishment he took that would be his final ending. In my mind, that was when Dan was firmly set that he was going to do this. He made us all look away from it though, like a crafty magician. Look over here Aunt May and Jonah’s Dad gettin it on! Look Peter got his dream job! Aww look, Jonah’s wife died, no one else dies! Look, it’s Spider Island! Look over here at Spidey losing his Spider Sense! Give it up to Madam Web though, we all blew her off, but she knew what was up! All these things were distractions as he fiendishly plotted as if he were Doc Ock himself to gain his final victory over his arch nemesis. Crafty Dan, very crafty.
Then the final dance begun between the two, Dock Ock brought the Sinister Six back to glory. He hatched a masterful plan to hold the world ransom. Beaten in yet again by Spider-Man, Doctor Octopus seemed he would live his last desperate days in a hospital bed in the Raft. Then in the issues leading up to the Finale of the Amazing Spider-Man series, we saw that Doc had one last play. One final scheme, and most people didn’t even realize it had happened in issue #657! Otto had taken over Peter’s body, and put Peter in his decrepit, half-corpse of a body! THE AMAZING SPIDER-PUS?!?! It was a scary scenario, and as I often do, I tried to think what I would do in that situation, and I became worried for Pete.
He did something he’s had to do since the beginning though. He thought outside of the box. He used Doc Ock’s own plots against him, using the Sinister Six Protocols to free himself, and provide some muscle. He took control of the Doc’s assets, and used them to formulate his own plan to return his brain waves to his own body! He had everything in place to win the day again! But even though we all suspected it wouldn’t possibly end with Peter not getting his body back, Peter did not get his body back. Instead he appealed to his own body. Doc Ock didn’t physically switch their bodies, Peter’s brain was still essential the same ‘Hard Drive’ it had always been. Doctor Octopus just installed his ‘operating system’ on it, and was starting to see the effects of doing so.
He relived some of Peter’s memories as if he were Pete in those events! Nurture over nature now became the theme of what was happening as Otto began to develop a new outlook on things in issue #700. Not quite Peter, but most certainly something different from who he’d ever been before! And with Peter’s ‘dying’ breath in Ock’s body, he somehow found a way to appeal to this new-found side of his rival. Peter Parker for all intents and purposes was now dead. I also propose to you that at this point Doctor Octopus died at that time as well. We now had some new amalgamation of the two. Then Superior Spider-Man launched, riding this new wave of heated interest!
People reacted in so many ways to issue #700, I can only imagine what it was like for Dan Slott and everyone involved! Some loved it and were excited! Some were torn, not sure of how to feel. And then some were so distraught, they shamefully turned to ridicule and even death threats from what I understand! Regardless of personal feeling thought these books topped the charts and gained new readership and buzz far-spreading outside of the Comic Book Community’s usual circles. Mainstream media was invested in this story as much and more than when Death of Superman released. But would Marvel learn from DC’s mistakes in that event years ago? As great as it was, it was short-lived and degraded the character in my opinion. This though… this is something different.
In the first issue of Superior Spider-Man, and every one since, we see that Superior is not just the name of the book. This new Spider-Man finds more efficient ways of doing things. Thoughts and ideas on his powers and fighting crime that Peter had never thought of! With Superior comes new and exciting ways of using powers and tech to win the battle and save the day! With those things though, moral questions and character flaws come as well. Although he is still saving the day, as a reader, you find yourself rooting for everyone in Peter’s life to find out the big secret!!! And right there to egg them on with us…it Peter?
Peter has somehow manifested as a ghost-like entity, unable to interact with anyone, but still there right along side his former body. How? Keep in mind what I said earlier about his brain being like a hard drive, there is a very fundamental part of that brain that has Peter still backed up inside of it. I mean come on PHYSICALLY IT IS STILL HIS BRAIN! With this new phantom version of Peter, some readers believed it was only a matter of time before Peter is properly reinstated as owner of his body. I DOUBT IT. And thankfully so! This new avenue in story telling with the character has been incredible! you really don’t know what to expect or what will happen and that’s a great present in comics some days. What Superior Spider-Man is amazes us just as much as the old did, just in completely new ways! I don’t think Peter will come back anytime soon, if ever, because there is just so much road ahead of this new concept! Look for it to be thoroughly explored before there is even any THOUGHT about bringing him back in the traditional sense! And you should be like me in responding to that; Thank you Dan Slott, Ryan Stegman, and Giuseppe Camuncoli. This book is great top to bottom and cover to cover. They know how it is, the world is ours to make.