Superman did it. Batman did it. Earlier this year, The Human Torch did it. And now … Spider-Man is being killed off in issue No. 160 of Ultimate Spider-Man. Last Fall, Marvel Comics announced that there were plans in the works for the Ultimate Spider-Man comic book series to go out with a bang and this week, that bang has come. The final issue of Ultimate Spider-Man will be released tomorrow … and in it, Peter Parker will be killed off. Click below to check out the cover artwork of Ultimate Spider-Man Issue No. 160 along with some pages from inside the issue as well as some deets about how Parker will meet his end.
The lights are going out for Peter Parker, the high school student bitten by a radioactive spider whose wall-crawling and web-slinging antics have made him a touchstone of Marvel Comics’ universe of heroes and villains.
The publisher said Tuesday that Parker’s alter ego, Spider-Man, will finally succumb to one of his most pernicious foes in the final issue of “Ultimate Comics Spider-Man” due out Wednesday.
Fans of Spider-Man need not worry much, though, because the Ultimates imprint is separate from Marvel’s bigger universe. Whatever fate may befall Ultimate Spider-Man won’t count in the pages of the other series, including Amazing Spider-Man. The death, while dramatic, is not entirely unexpected. In November, Marvel said that the Ultimate Spider-Man was going to face an uncertain fate in the latest storyline by writer Brian Michael Bendis fittingly titled “The Death of Spider-Man,” an eight-issue arc that saw the return of original series artist Mark Bagley. Bendis and Bagley had worked together on the series for 111 issues. Bendis told The Associated Press that in issue No. 160 Parker fights valiantly but will pass on, heroically, in a pitched fight. To whom? “He will pass heroically, but he will die at the hands of the Green Goblin,” Bendis said, recalling his nearly 11 years writing the title, which debuted in October 2000. The death is real and in Marvel’s Ultimate Comics imprint, death is not something taken lightly. Characters in that universe are dead and gone, never to return. The roll of the deceased already includes Magneto, Wasp and Wolverine, among others. “Ten years ago, Brian Bendis and Mark Millar changed the way people saw super heroes with the birth of the Ultimate Universe. With ‘Death of Spider-Man’ the two have done it again, creating a story just as big, and something that would really resonate with fans,” said Mark Paniccia, Marvel senior editor. “But Peter’s death doesn’t signal the end of their larger plan — it’s the start of one of the most ambitious stories you’ve ever read in comics.” Bendis said that Parker’s death won’t be in vain and hinted that the Ultimate Spider-Man may not be gone forever. But what exactly is to come, that’s something he’s not willing to share, at least not yet … Axel Alonso, Marvel’s editor-in-chief, said there’s never been a Marvel Universe without a Spider-Man, so killing the character is a big step. “We’ve never seen a world without Spider-Man, a world without Peter Parker, so his death is a significant event for the Ultimate Comics universe and we’re going to see how quickly it changes everything,” he said, adding that the fallout from Parker’s death will play out in the upcoming “Ultimate Comics Fallout” as the company retools its Ultimate universe.
I kinda love the way the Ultimate universe works … because normally, when superheros are killed off in comic books (much like dramatic characters are sometimes killed off on soap operas), they always tend to come back to life somehow. Altho I feel that killing off major comic book characters like this can feel gimmicky (ie. as a way to get fans to buy up copies of the comic to keep as collector’s items), I do think telling the story of the Death of Spider-Man can be a compelling one. To be honest, I thought the death of Spider-Man would come at the hands of Julie Taymor and her dreadful Broadway musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark … but, I guess, Marvel Comics wanted to reserve the honor all for themselves. Peace out, Peter Parker! We’ll miss you!