Book Reviews

When Will Peter Parker Return?

Book Reviews

Brandon is the Editor-in-Chief and President of Maglomaniac. He is the author of the Eat Your Serial title Ten Years Gone: Pomp and Circumstance, as well as the columns Child's Play, Nerd's Eye View, Letters to Jeremy, Irate Educator, The Audio Files, and The Dao of Ninjape, among others.

For those of you that are out of the loop on Marvel’s Superior Spider-Man franchise, you may be surprised to find out that for the past year, Peter Parker’s mind has been killed and his body possessed by none other than arch-villain Otto Octavious (Dr. Octopus). In taking over the body and “killing” Parker, however, Ock took on some of the traits of the original Spider-Man, including his undying oath that “With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility”.  Swearing to serve man, and keep his family safe, Spider-Ock has set forward to be a better man and Spider-Man than Peter ever was…to be a Superior Spider-Man as it were.

Of course, comic book deaths are hardly ever permanent, and with a high profile death like that of Peter Parker of all people, it isn’t likely. Especially with a big sequel coming out soon. However, at New York Comic Con, writer Dan Slott was quoted several times vehemently exclaiming “He’s Dead!” in reference to Parker’s return. Now, for several reasons, we all know that this is not true, most of all being that Slott isn’t going to write Spider-Man forever. Beyond that, the comics take great efforts in every issue to relate that Parker’s body is possessed by Doc Ock. Even in his inner monologue he is constantly relaying the information in a way that seems to reassure himself, rather than the reader, of the goings on.

Additionally, there is a storyline where some of those who are close to Peter Parker—those characters that are now being slowly pushed away from his life—are becoming suspicious. Paramount among these characters is Carly Cooper, an ex-girlfriend introduced by none other than Dan Slott during Brand New Day. Furthermore, Slott has been building a huge, epic battle between Spider-Ock’s Spider-Army (yes, Spider-Ock has a lair and minions for the common good) and Norman Osborn aka the Green Goblin aka the Goblin King going to war. Osborne and Parker have a pretty heavy relationship and with Ock only able to access a fraction of what Parker experienced—its sure to be a major tell.

So while Spidey-Ock has Mayor J. Jonah Jameson blackmailed and is going around dishing out death sentences to villains like the Spider-Slayer its pretty fair to assume that things will come to a head eventually, despite Slott’s protestations. In fact, me think the man doth protest too much.

Does that mean that the return will be without ramification? No, not at all. Peter Parker may see himself fairly wealthy and a doctor by the time Ock is done…or not. It seems that while Ock was at first running a tight ship, by issue 20 of Superior, the ol’ Parker luck is starting to set in. Does that mean that what we see as an ending to this era is the ending we expect. I sure hope not, Dan Slott is a better writer than that, and hasn’t failed in his many years long run on Spidey to pull a satisfying and entertaining swerve.

Especially considering how nicely he is actually setting up elements of 2099 to come into fruition and have a much more direct relationship to modern-day Spider-Man’s cast as events. Does Miguel O’Hara (time stuck in the present and assuming the name Michael O’Mara) have anything to do with this? Hard to tell. Very hard to tell. But probably…Dan Slott is not a man for superfluous story elements. There’s no “third Summers brother” here. Everything has a purpose, a beginning, a middle, and an end. So really the question here is less “Will or When will Peter Parker return?” but “How and with what ramification?” In the meanwhile, Superior is consistently entertaining, and as Spider-Man, Otto has never been more interesting…and maybe Spider-Man hasn’t been either. At least not for a good long while.

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