The Implications of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #698 [SPOILERS]

***Yep, more Amazing Spider-Man #698 spoilers are here, so don't read if you're looking to avoid such things.***

 

After days of build-up from writer Dan Slott, Amazing Spider-Man #698 is here, and with it, a major development: Doctor Octopus has somehow managed to pull a Freaky Friday on Peter Parker, meaning that Otto Octavius is living it up with Peter's spider-powers while no one's the wiser, and Peter is trapped in Doc Ock's broken, nearly dying body. Bad times for Spidey.

While exactly how this happened (and how long it'll last) remains to be seen — there's still two more issues to go of Amazing Spider-Man, including the fateful #700 — let's look at some of the broader implications of the move, as we inch closer to January's Superior Spider-Man #1, billed as starring a Spider-Man that is not Peter Parker.

DEATH IS THE WORD

It might have been kind of obviously already, but the recently released preview to Amazing Spider-Man #700 seals it: Much of the "Big Time" run written by Dan Slott, which started in fall 2010, has been about death.

 

Things started just a couple of issues in with what appeared at the time to be the new Hobgoblin, Phil Urich, decapitating the original Hobgoblin, Roderick Kingsley (turns out it was Roderick's twin brother Daniel). Then came the deaths of Marla Jameson, which caused Spider-Man to vow "no one dies" on his watch — until, apparently, Silver Sable and Rhino both did during "Ends of the Earth" (both appear in the "afterlife" scene in the #700 preview).

So if things were to truly come full circle in the last issue (for now) of Amazing Spider-Man, the death of Peter Parker seems as good a place as any to stop. Though it doesn't look like it'll be that simple. (And hey, maybe the "rest" Uncle Ben talks to Peter about in that preview is much less severe than actual death. The guy does deserve a break.)

DOC OCK PASSES GREEN GOBLIN?

Batman — Joker. Superman — Lex Luthor. X-Men — Magneto.

For Spider-Man, it's not that simple, as strong cases can be made for either Doctor Octopus or Green Goblin being the character's archenemy. Among other crimes, Green Goblin committed the biggest, most famous and frequently homaged offense in Spider-Man history: murdering Gwen Stacy. There's also the rich personal connection of him being the father of one of Peter's best friends (and a former Goblin himself), Harry Osborn. He's often been considered Spidey's de facto No. 1 archvillain, as seen in the first two Spider-Man movies: Green Goblin was the villain for the first, Doc Ock in the second.

 

But Norman Osborn has a couple of disadvantages in this competition: He was inactive in real-world time for more than 20 years during his presumed death post-Amazing Spider-Man #122, meaning that many comic book readers came of age without ever seeing much of him. And though he's done plenty of dastardly deeds since then, he's turned into more of a villain for the Marvel Universe as a whole, plaguing the Avengers in multiple recent stories.

Doc Ock has been around even longer than the Green Goblin (though he was also dead for a while), and at this point is much more defined as a specifically "Spider-Man" villain. And if he really does succeed in killing Peter Parker (and even though he's been shown talking to Uncle Ben in Heaven, let's still rate that as "highly dubious" at this point), that would seemingly cement his position at the top of the list.

Of course, with Norman Osborn apparently waking up for his coma in Amazing Spider-Man #697 and escaping out the window, it seems likely that he's involved in whatever happens next.

WEIRD ROMANTIC HISTORY

 

So, Amazing Spider-Man #698 established that Doctor Octopus, in Spidey's body, has all of Peter Parker's memories, as well as his own. Meaning that he's the only person in the Marvel Universe that has memories of romantic liaisons with both Mary Jane and Aunt May.

We think.

(And yes, Doc Ock only attempted to marry Aunt May as part of a villainous scheme, but he did clearly have warm feelings towards her, as hinted at in issue #698.)

SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN STATUS

 

As pointed out earlier on this site, with two more issues of Amazing Spider-Man — including the much-hyped #700 — left before Superior Spider-Man #1, it's all but guaranteed that there are many twists left to go in this story, and that Doc Ock-as-Spidey (let's go with "Doc Spidey") is assuredly not the status quo for too much longer.

But — what if it is? The hook of Spider-Man's greatest villain attempting to best him as a superhero is a strong one, and could lead to all sorts of intriguing directions. Like the one right below this sentence.

BAD NEWS FOR BAD GUYS?

 

And if we do get to see Doctor Octopus run around in Spider-Man's body for an extended period of time, what does that mean for the villains of the Marvel Universe? Doc Ock has worked with a ton of them over the years, specifically in the various incarnations of the Sinister Six.

Given the unique knowledge he must have about many of Spidey's usual bad guys, his long history of ruthlessness and his genius-level intellect, if Doc Ock put his mind to it, he might actually be better — superior, if you will — than Peter Parker at defeating villains.

DON'T FORGET ABOUT ALPHA

 

It's been said that the upcoming Alpha miniseries, debuting in February, ties in to the ongoing Spider-Man developments in as-yet unrevealed ways. The original USA Today article announcing the series clearly stated, "Alpha's relationship to Spider-Man will also change as of Amazing issue 700," and "much of the teen's miniseries directly spins out of some of these big events."

That comic is written by Joshua Hale Fialkov, but Slott — the character's creator — might not be quite done with him, especially given the conspicuous way the character was introduced, and then quickly left the book. It's at least possible that the superpowerful "Parker Particles" that gave Alpha his abilities might play a role in the story, if not Andy Maguire himself.

It's also worth noting that the USA Today piece said that Magurie "has to fly back to New York every couple of weeks on a Horizon private jet and check in with Peter on how he's doing," thus implying that Peter Parker is still alive (and working at his dream job) after #700, though it's not clear yet where everything fits, timeline-wise.

ONE MORE DAY UNDONE?

 

Amazing Spider-Man #700 preview: Peter Parker in Heaven. Or, perhaps more likely, a dream sequence that looks like Heaven. But still.

"One More Day": Peter Parker and Mary Jane's marriage is written out of history due to a deal with the devil, Mephisto.

Now that he's gone from one extreme to the other, does that mean that the shocking change in #700 could be the undoing of one of the most controversial developments in superhero comic book history?

Well, probably not. After all, Slott has said that Spider-Man and MJ are going to get back together in Superior, but Spider-Man won't be Peter Parker. But it's something to think about over the long weekend.

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