Dying Wish

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"Dying Wish"
The front cover of The Amazing Spider-Man #700, the series' final issue published in December 2012. Art by Mr. Garcin.
Publisher Marvel Comics
Publication date November – December 2012
Genre
Main character(s) Spider-Man
Doctor Octopus
Creative team
Writer(s) Dan Slott
Penciller(s) Humberto Ramos, Richard Elson
Inker(s) Victor Olazaba
Letterer(s) Chris Eliopoulos
Colorist(s) Edgar Delgado, Antonio Fabela
Editor(s) Stephen Wacker
Collected editions
Spider-Man: Dying Wish ISBN 0-7851-6523-1

"Dying Wish" is a three-issue comic book storyline in The Amazing Spider-Man, first published by Marvel Comics between November and December 2012 and featuring the fictional superhero Spider-Man. Starting with a prologue in The Amazing Spider-Man #698 and ending in The Amazing Spider-Man #700, "Dying Wish" brought over fifty years of Marvel's publication of The Amazing Spider-Man comic series to an end, and ushered in the new series The Superior Spider-Man in January 2013. The story concluded a storyline started in The Amazing Spider-Man #600 where it is revealed that the Spider-Man villain Doctor Octopus is terminally ill from his years of crime and fighting superheroes. Aware of his impending death, Doctor Octopus sets in motion a series of plans to create his legacy, that ran through the March 2012 story "Ends of the Earth" and finished in "Dying Wish", where the villain successfully swapped consciousnesses with Spider-Man's alter ego Peter Parker, thrusting the hero into his decaying body.

The story was controversial, concluding with the death of Parker in Octopus' body, and Octopus surviving as the now Superior Spider-Man. "Dying Wish" encompassed some of the best selling comics of 2012, with issue #700 listed as the 4th best selling comic of the year.

Publication history[edit]

Images containing the major story reveals of The Amazing Spider-Man #698 and #700 were leaked before their commercial release.[1] The controversial ending of The Amazing Spider-Man #700 was leaked on December 14, 2012, twelve days before the issue's December 26 release date and four days before retailers were to receive the issue. Slott responded to the leak by asking readers to wait for the full comic and experience the ending in context.[1] When writing #698, Slott struggled with writing the dialog for Doctor Octopus in Peter Parker's body, wanting to convey a subtle difference "weird enough that you kind of go, 'Man, they're not getting Peter's voice right this issue'", without giving away the reveal that the two had switched bodies.[2]

Synopsis[edit]

Lead-up[edit]

In The Amazing Spider-Man #600 (July 2009), Doctor Octopus is revealed to be rapidly dying from the injuries he has sustained from a career of fighting superheroes, particularly his nemesis Spider-Man. This sets in motion a series of plans first aimed at saving his life (in the 2010 storyline "Origin of the Species") and later at wiping out over seven billion people so that he will be remembered for his infamy (in the 2012 storyline "Ends of the Earth").[3] Octopus is repeatedly foiled in his attempts and following "Ends of the Earth", he is incarcerated in the Raft and left awaiting death in a life-support machine.[4][5]

Main plot[edit]

Starting in The Amazing Spider-Man #698 (November 2012), Doctor Octopus remains incarcerated and incapacitated in the Raft. Roused from an inactive state, he struggles to utter the words "Peter Parker".[6] Elsewhere, Spider-Man is shown working through his day, while his inner monologue details him living up to his full potential as a scientist and a man, including romantically reuniting with Mary Jane Watson.[7] Responding to Octopus' calls for Spider-Man's alter ego, he goes to his ailing villain's bedside.[8] There is revealed that at an unspecified point, the pair have swapped consciousnesses: Octopus has transferred himself into Parker's body and vice-versa using a special golden Octobot-a remotely controlled device of Octopus' design.[9][10] Octopus intends to take Parker's life and let Parker die in Octopus' body.[11] In The Amazing Spider-Man #699 (December 2012), doctors struggle to keep Parker alive as Octopus' body continues to fail.[12] As Parker contemplates the evil that Octopus may be doing as Spider-Man, he realizes he has access to Octopus' memories and learns of the golden Octobot and how it rewrote his brain patterns with Octopus'.[13] Using Octopus' body's remote mental connection to the Octobot, he controls and uses it to activate one of Octopus' failsafe plans; summoning a group of supervillains to the Raft to liberate him.[14] Hydro-Man, Scorpion and the Trapster free Parker, believing him to be Octopus, and he begins a plan to capture Octopus.[15]

In The Amazing Spider-Man #700 (December 2012), Octopus learns of Parker's escape and attempts to flee the country by plane, leaving only long enough for his body to die.[16] Meanwhile the Trapster uses various technologies to prolong Parker's life.[17] A large electric shock delivered during the process sees Parker experience an ambiguous vision of the afterlife where he meets the people he has lost including Gwen Stacy and Uncle Ben. Ben encourages Parker to put a stop to Octopus, and Parker awakens in the real world.[18] Octopus decides to remain in New York City and gather all of Parker's loved ones together in Avengers tower.[19] While Parker attempts to repair the recovered golden Octobot, Octopus sends law enforcement after him.[20] To prevent his villainous companions from harming the police, Parker incapacitates Trapster and escapes with Scorpion and Hydro-Man.[21] Together they infiltrate Avengers tower, with Parker hoping to find help in repairing the Octobot, but they are confronted by Octopus.[22] Learning that J. Jonah Jameson is also in the tower, Scorpion and Hydro-Man abandon Parker to pursue Scorpion's agenda against Jameson.[23] When Scorpion attempts to kill Jameson's father's wife, Parker's aunt May, Octopus intervenes to protect her and experiences a flash of Parker's childhood memory of his aunt.[24] As Scorpion attacks him again, Octopus reactively responds to his body's Spider-Sense and punches him with his full strength, punching Scorpion's jaw off and incapacitating him.[25] Seeing that Octopus has almost killed someone using his body, Parker restrains him and throws himself and Octopus out of a window in an attempt to kill them both.[26] Octopus manages to form a cushion from webbing, saving them both.[27] Parker takes control of the Octobot and strikes Octopus, but it fails to work; Octopus reveals he added shielding to the area to prevent another transfer.[28] As Octopus prepares to finish Parker, Parker uses their connection via the bot to intentionally inflict his memories on Octopus, from his childhood to the multitudinous losses he has experienced and his transformation into Spider-Man, but modifying the memories to feature Octopus in Parker's place.[29] The memories subdue Octopus and make him realize the error of his ways. He promises to keep the people safe as Parker finally dies.[30]

In the final scene, Octopus promises that with his ambition and intelligence, he will be a Superior Spider-Man.[31]

Aftermath[edit]

The storyline concluded the over fifty year run of The Amazing Spider-Man and saw the death of Peter Parker, and his replacement as Spider-Man by Doctor Octopus in his own 2013 monthly ongoing series The Superior Spider-Man. Other character progression included Mary Jane Watson becoming romantically involved with Octopus believing him to be Peter Parker,[32] the reconciliation of J. Jonah Jameson and his long-estranged father, J. Jonah Jameson Sr.,[33] and the introduction of a "soul molecule" concept to the villain Hydro Man, a singular molecule that contains his consciousness.[34]

Additionally, a tie-in issue, The Amazing Spider-Man #699.1, saw that Parker's escape from the Raft enabled the escape of Michael Morbius. This lead directly into the launch of the second volume of the self-titled monthly series Morbius: The Living Vampire in January 2013.[35]

Reception[edit]

Fan reaction to the story was very diverse, with some criticizing Peter's death, some celebrating the change, and others argued that his death would likely be reversed,[36] though Slott subsequently maintained this will not be the case.[37] Following the leak of the story's conclusion featuring Spider-Man's death, Slott received death threats that he considered serious enough to report to the authorities.[38] However, Slott stated that the negative responses were a minority and that he had largely received positive feedback.[36] Spider-Man co-creator Stan Lee admitted that he was initially taken aback by the concept of the storyline, but decided to keep an open mind toward it.[39]

Sales[edit]

The first installment of the story in The Amazing Spider-Man #698 sold an estimated 81,350 issues in its initial run, an increase of 21,472 from the previous issue's estimated 59,878 sales.[40] Sales of Issue #699 fell slightly to 74,901, but Issue #700 sold 200,957 units, making it the number 1 selling comic of December,[41] and according to North American comic distributor Diamond Comic Distributors (DCD) it was the fourth best selling comic of 2012, followed by #698 at number 94 and #699 at number 130, and the tie-in issue #699.1 at number 182.[42]

Issue Published Estimated no. of units sold Sales chart position Ref.
#698 November 2012 81,350 13 [40]
#699 December 2012 74,901 14 [41]
#700 December 2012 200,957 1 [41]

A hardcover trade of the issues was released in March 2013.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Sunu, Steve (December 14, 2012). "UPDATED: "AMAZING SPIDER-MAN" #700 ENDING LEAKS ONLINE". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved January 8, 2013. 
  2. ^ Ching, Albert (November 27, 2012). "Slott Talks AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #698's Big Twist [SPOILERS]". Newsarama. TechMediaNetwork, Inc. Archived from the original on January 11, 2013. Retrieved January 11, 2013. 
  3. ^ Slott 2012d, pp. 16–17.
  4. ^ Slott 2012d, p. 21.
  5. ^ Slott 2012, pp. 2–3.
  6. ^ Slott 2012, pp. 2–5.
  7. ^ Slott 2012, pp. 8–14.
  8. ^ Slott 2012, pp. 18–19.
  9. ^ Slott 2012, p. 20.
  10. ^ Slott 2012b, pp. 18–20.
  11. ^ Slott 2012, pp. 20,22.
  12. ^ Slott 2012b, p. 3.
  13. ^ Slott 2012b, pp. 6–10.
  14. ^ Slott 2012b, pp. 10,12-13.
  15. ^ Slott 2012b, pp. 15–18,20.
  16. ^ Slott 2012c, pp. 4–5.
  17. ^ Slott 2012c, pp. 6–7.
  18. ^ Slott 2012c, pp. 7–13.
  19. ^ Slott 2012c, pp. 19–20,33.
  20. ^ Slott 2012c, pp. 21–22.
  21. ^ Slott 2012c, pp. 23–25.
  22. ^ Slott 2012c, pp. 29–31.
  23. ^ Slott 2012c, p. 33.
  24. ^ Slott 2012c, pp. 35–36.
  25. ^ Slott 2012c, pp. 37.
  26. ^ Slott 2012c, pp. 38–40.
  27. ^ Slott 2012c, p. 40.
  28. ^ Slott 2012c, pp. 40–43.
  29. ^ Slott 2012c, pp. 44–47.
  30. ^ Slott 2012c, pp. 48–49.
  31. ^ Slott 2012c, pp. 51–52.
  32. ^ Slott 2012c, p. 28.
  33. ^ Slott 2012c, p. 26.
  34. ^ Slott 2012c, pp. 34.
  35. ^ Keatinge 2012, pp. 4–5,29.
  36. ^ a b Stump, Scott (December 27, 2012). "Death of Spider-Man’s alter ego has fans crawling up walls". MSNBC. NBCUniversal. Retrieved January 11, 2013. 
  37. ^ "Death of Spider-Man’s alter ego has fans crawling up walls". The Today Show. December 27, 2012. 
  38. ^ Sunu, Steve (December 18, 2012). ""AMAZING SPIDER-MAN" WRITER DAN SLOTT RECEIVES DEATH THREATS VIA SOCIAL MEDIA". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved January 8, 2013. 
  39. ^ Ethan Sacks (December 28, 2012). "Marvel Comics explains why they killed off Peter Parker in 'Amazing Spider-Man #700' so close to Stan Lee's 90th birthday". New York Daily News. 
  40. ^ a b Mayo, John (December 11, 2012). "Sales Estimates for November , 2012 - "All New X-Men" Leads Marvel Now! Sales Domination". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on January 8, 2012. Retrieved January 8, 2013. 
  41. ^ a b c Mayo, John (January 15, 2013). "Sales Estimates For December, 2012 - "Amazing Spider-Man" Finale Tops Charts". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on January 11, 2013. Retrieved January 15, 2013. 
  42. ^ Sunu, Steve (January 8, 2013). ""THE WALKING DEAD" DOMINATES DIAMOND COMICS' 2012 TOP 500 LISTS". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on January 11, 2012. Retrieved January 11, 2012. 

Bibliography[edit]