Amazing Spider-Man #698: Invasions of the Body Snatchers

Amazing Spider-Man #698 came out today, and it is definitely one of those issues that was designed to be a big deal. So what’s so special about this? Peter Parker dies.

Completely simplifying it, an ailing Doctor Octopus was able to switch bodies with Spider-Man. The eight-limbed villain switched bodies with Spider-Man, leaving poor Peter to die in his old body. Octopus gets to live on, having assumed Peter’s identity and life.

Amazing Spider-Man is getting re-launched as Superior Spider-Man in January, so I’m sure this storyline will have some sort of temporary resolution, with the long-term leading to Peter Parker returning to his status quo of being Spider-Man and you know, being alive.

So how does Spidey come back?

Someone, say Mary Jane or even Aunt May could make some sort of deal with Mephisto to restore the status quo. This would be a bookend of sorts to the One More Day storyline where Mary Jane made a deal with the devil to save Aunt May’s live in exchange for her relationship with Peter to have never existed. Is it possible that Mephisto would offer someone else a similar deal to save Peter’s life?

Spider-Man also has an outstanding favor due to him from Loki. In Amazing Spider-Man  #503-504, the trickster god needed the assistance of Spidey in saving his mortal daughter. Even though Spider-Man is technically dead at this point, Loki could decide to do him a solid and return him rightfully back to the land in the living. I am not sure if this is possible, since Loki himself was reborn as a teenager, but it’s a debt he owes nevertheless.

Regardless of how they bring Peter back, it has to be well executed and I have good faith in writer Dan Slott being able to pull it off.

Amazing Spider-Man #36: Remembering 9/11

Amazing Spider-Man #36 had to have been a challenge for writer J. Michael Straczynski in creating a story that reflects 9/11 in the context of a universe populated with super heroes. What he did was find a way to express what the whole country felt that day through the eyes of Spider-Man.

Looking back at this eleven years after it was published, he really did a good job capturing the mindset of the country while it was watching this tragedy unfold. There is an overwhelming sense of sadness and helplessness. This is really shown in a scene where Spider-Man has to confront a child who lost a parent at the World Trade Center. For all his super powers, he couldn’t do anything. And I think that the whole country had that feeling on September 11.

But at the same time Straczynski was able to convey a theme of hope and inspiration in overcoming this tragedy by paying the tribute to the real heroes of that day–the emergency service workers who put their own lives aside to help others in danger. It also touched on the togetherness that came as a result of the tragedy. Living in New Jersey, an area that was greatly effected, I saw people taking it upon themselves to find a way to find a way to help any way they could, whether it be gathering food and supplies to bring to Manhattan.

And the story shows Marvel’s characters finding ways to not only comfort people whose lives were  changed but to assist the rescue workers in any way they could. Straczynski even made a point to show that even the regular villains–the Dr. Dooms and the Kingpins of the world–put aside their own usual scheming of dominance and power to lend a hand.

And that really was one of the legacies to come out of September 11, was how everyone in the country–regardless of politics, religion, culture, race, you name it–put everything aside to come together as one.

This story never got cheesy or felt that it was done for shock value; it was a heartfelt tribute acknowledging those whose lives were unjustly lost as well as the courage shown by the people who helped aid in the recovery and rescue.

You can read the issue for free on Comixology.

Amazing Spider-Man #1

So who saw Amazing Spider-Man for the fourth of July? I didn’t. But I did read the first issue of Spidey’s ongoing series from March 1963.

Amazing Spider-Man #1 wasn’t the first appearance of the wall crawler; he debuted seven months prior in Amazing Fantasy #14. This first issue by Steve Ditko and Stan Lee sets up the tone and direction the character would take.

Basically it really sucks to be Peter Parker. He’s still grieving the loss of Uncle Ben, and him and Aunt May are dealing with some serious financial hardships.

In the first story, Peter get super depressed after finding out that Aunt May has been selling her jewelry and such at the local pawn shop. She can’t pay the bills since Uncle Ben was murdered, which he still blames himself for. Peter plans a stage show with a promoter to get some money quickly. Unfortunately for him (and leading to an absolutely hilarious scene) Spider-Man can’t cash the check because he doesn’t have a Social Security card. I couldn’t stop laughing about this.

As this goes on, we meet J. Jonah Jameson for the first time and he hates Spider-Man.. How much? Even though Spider-Man saves his astronaut son from cashing to his demise, the elder Jameson makes the cover of the Daily Bugle have the headline “This Newspaper Demands That Spider-Man Be Arrested And Prosecuted!”

With the public fearing Spider-Man, Peter will never be able to make any money to support his family.

The second feature continues this “must find money” theme with Spider-Man attempting to join the Fantastic Four. Unfortunately he goes about that the wrong way; breaking into their headquarters at the Baxter Building and then asking them about the financial compensation they get for being heroes wasn’t the best way to go about winning them over. This day only gets worse as he has to stop the Chameleon is masquerading as him in order to steal missile defense plans to sell to the Soviets.

What Ditko and Lee did in this issue was get across how much it sucks to be Peter Parker. Nothing in his life works out. It’s his fault his uncle is dead. It’s his fault that his aunt is just scraping to get by. He has these great powers and abilities, yet everyone fears him. Not only that, but he does so much to help the world and gets nothing to compensate himself. Yet he has to, as he is compelled to do so.

This is why Spider-Man is so likable; he’s down on his luck and anyone can relate to that. Peter Parker is an every man underdog. This was such a fun issue to read; it still holds up nearly fifty years later.

Amazing Spider-Man Trailer

You can tell that San Diego Comic Con madness is gripping the world. The other day we saw the new Batman trailer and today we get the Amazing Spider-Man‘s. So what do I think?

I don’t know yet. What I do know is that Andrew Garfield is going to be behind the eight ball, as he doesn’t seem to have the same kind of lovable awkwardness that Tobey Maguire had as Peter Parker. Garfield looks like the type of kid who would make fun of Parker.

The film comes out next July. So what do you think?