Anniversary issues for comic books are usually marked by some major event in the lives of the characters involved. It has been revealed through the solicits that THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #700 will be the final issue of the series. Of course we know the series is likely to immediately return with a new #1 issue as part of the upcoming Marvel NOW! initiative bringing new creative teams to titles and jumping on points for new readers.
Spider-Man is Marvel's most iconic character. The series comes out twice a month and Dan Slott has been doing a spectacular job on the series. Yet he's recently mentioned several times he will need to "go into hiding" once issue #700 is released. What could the brilliant writer possibly have planned that would cause Spider-Man fans to gather pitchforks and torches?
This will remain a well-guarded secret but as the issue approaches, there are tiny possibilities that are surfaces with each new issue. We'll look at what (most likely) tragic event will fall upon Spider-Man that could anger those that love the character. There will be some spoilers from THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #694.== TEASER ==
The Death of Spider-Man?
Despite comic readers' hatred of the gimmick of a comic book death, you can't argue that they still bring plenty of attention to a series through the media. If you've read recent issues, you know Spider-Man is about to be stuck in the middle of a "Goblin War." We've been seeing the original Hobgoblin ready to make his return to enact vengeance upon the current Hobgoblin, Phil Urich. Urich is proving to be more and more unstable and Kingsley won't be too happy. But the chances of Spider-Man being killed over their fight is minimal.
Plus Marvel already killed him in the Ultimate Universe.
Spider-Man's Identity Revealed
The spell Doctor Strange cast that made everyone forget Spider-Man's identity (during One Moment in Time) has lost some of its strength. Carlie Cooper already managed to find out. Peter has been careless with how much tech he's been inventing for Spider-Man as Peter Parker at Horizon Labs. It wouldn't take much for word to get out that Peter has a continued association with Spider-Man because of all the recent gadgets plus his previously connection of taking pics of him.
If Spider-Man's identity doesn't get revealed in this current arc, it appears it might be happening in issue #698. The solicit here states that Doctor Octopus will discover "who Peter Parker really is." Although, it seems a little odd that it mentions Peter and not Spider-Man. Issue #699 again mentions knowing "Peter Parker's secret" and wanting vengeance. He will put out a call to other Spider-Man villains.
There's also the chance that Alpha will make a return. Most likely it could be in answer to Doc Ock's call. He was defeated by Spider-Man and faced humiliation at his defeat. There was mention that he could make his return and being an angry kid, he could easily make the wrong decision that could lead to the unintended death of his former mentor. Alpha had it all and had it taken away. In his final appearance, he showed he still had some strength when he was at his locker. He's bound to make a return. We just don't know if it'll be this soon.
With Doc Ock, his time is running out. He's about to die. Back in issue #600, he found out that the repeated blows to the head caused brain injury. As he unleashed his latest scheme and was defeated by Spider-Man, he was going to "do something great" with what time he had left. He popped up from time to time and even caused a worldwide attack in the Ends of the Earth arc. He wants vengeance against Spider-Man but does that mean his death?
The chances of Spider-Man dying or getting killed doesn't seem too likely. We all know it wouldn't and couldn't last. Even if Spidey was killed, it wouldn't be forever.
Death of Aunt May?
In issue #694, Aunt May was injured during Alpha's attempt to win the fight the Avengers were involved in. Perhaps this was a sign of what's to come. We have seen the death of Aunt May before, which turned out not to be Aunt May (long story). Even though she's married J. Jonah Jameson SR. and was ready to live her life in Boston, she's still a major part in Peter's life. The two even co-starred in AVENGING SPIDER-MAN #11. Fans would indeed be upset if she were to die but I don't know if it'd be enough for Dan Slott to go into hiding.
Death of Mary Jane?
Despite having their marriage wiped out, Mary Jane still spends a lot of time with Peter. While Peter was dating Carlie, there were strong indications that she still had deep feelings for him. How could she not after everything they went through. Just because they are no longer married after One Moment in Time doesn't mean she stopped loving him. The same goes for Peter. He may have dated Carlie and hooked up with Black Cat again prior to that, but Mary Jane is still his rock.
Mary Jane has a nightclub now. She now has a little more purpose compared to being stuck sitting around being just another supporting character for Spidey.
Many readers are still feeling the sting of the marriage being dissolved. If Spider-Man's identity becomes public knowledge once again due to the magic spell wearing off, the marriage would have ended for nothing.
If Mary Jane ends up being a casualty in whatever plan Doc Ock has cooking, again, fans will be furious. Many still feel Peter and Mary Jane deserve to be together. Killing her off just means that Peter may never find happiness. Having her make some noble sacrifice to save Peter or someone close to him, thus turning the tables on her role, would give Peter another new level of guilt to try to cope with.
Spider-Man Changed Drastically
A final theory could mean the Spider-Man we know will be gone with AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #700. He could be severely injured (like in the M2 Universe with Spider-Girl) and have to either retire or gain some sort of artificial limb.
Along with this is the thinking that the Marvel NOW! teaser "Superior" is about Spider-Man's new book. Instead of being drastically changed due to an injury, his powers could be drastically amplified. The teaser doesn't mention any creators and only has a January 2013 date. This fits if ASM is ending on December 26.
What could possibly make Spider-Man "Superior" though?
In a recent interview with Marvel, Slott said the following:
Is it? It’s also going to be a thrilling tale of heroism! This is gonna be one that I know full-well, when people close that comic, there’s going to be a large portion of the fans out there whose next action will be to soak their torches in the gasoline, reach for the matches, sharpen their pitchforks, put on their night-vision goggles and go looking for me. “Why, why have you done this!”
What does all this mean? That doesn't sound like something that would make Spider-Man "superior."
Something big is coming. Marvel is taking advantage of Spider-Man's 700th and final issue (before relaunching the series). This is the time to do something memorable. After fifty years of Spider-Man stories, it's okay to shake things up a little bit. Of course we don't need some big horrific event just to make a great memorable story. We don't need to see another death in comics. There are other ways to tell good stories. Slott has been doing a great job on his Big Time run. Let's hope it ends in a spectacular way without resulting in the death of anyone.