RIP, Peter Parker.
The geeky, wise-cracking teenager who learned that with great power comes great responsibility back in 1962, will finally succumb to one of his greatest rivals in Wednesday's Amazing Spider-Man No. 700. In the issue, Parker loses a major battle with Doctor Octopus, who spent the past year fighting to destroy the world as his own body slowly died.
However, this doesn't spell the end for the legacy of Spider-Man; instead, Dr. Octopus has a moment of clarity, realizes that his long-time enemy was a force for good, and having swapped own mind into Parker's body, takes on the life and exploits of Spidey for himself.
Marvel writer Dan Slott, who wrote the finale of the comic series that started the wall-crawler's exploits, explained the transformation to USA Today.
"This is Moriarty in the head of Sherlock. This is Prince John inside of Robin Hood. This is the greatest villain inside the body of the greatest hero and trying to do good," he said. "This is a guy who was a couple steps way from a bucket list, and now he's got a whole new lease on life. That's really going to change him."
He further advanced the idea in an interview with CNN.
"For all intents and purposes, [Otto Octavius, who became the evil Doc Ock] was the adult Peter could have become, Spider-Man's dark reflection," Slott said. "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?"
Now, as per the common trend in comics, the tone of the franchise will take on a darker shade. As such, Marvel will cast aside the Amazing title for a new, fresh one: Superior Spider-Man. Much of the Marvel universe has already experienced a semi-reboot in the past year or so.
Of course, in the world of comics, nothing is permanent: in the 1990s, Spider-Man had an identity crisis that, for a time, made it seem that Parker was actually a clone of a man named Ben Reilly, who took on the webbed garb for himself before dying. And, many comic legends have appeared to have died, only to return through some scientific miracle or plot twist. A few examples: Superman died in the 1990s, Bruce Wayne lost the cape and cowl as Batman for a time, and Bucky took on the role of Captain America.