The front cover of The Amazing Spider-Man #700, the series' final issue published in December 2012. Art by Mr. Garcin.
|Publication date||November – December 2012|
|Penciller(s)||Humberto Ramos, Richard Elson|
|Colorist(s)||Edgar Delgado, Antonio Fabela|
|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.
Images containing the major story reveals of The Amazing Spider-Man #698 and #700 were leaked before their commercial release. 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. 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.
In The Amazing Spider-Man #600 (July 2009), Doctor Octopus is revealed to be dying from the injuries he has sustained from a career of fighting superheroes, particularly 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"). Octopus is foiled in his attempts and following "Ends of the Earth", he is incarcerated in the Raft and left waiting death in a life-support machine.
Starting in The Amazing Spider-Man #698 (November 2012), Doctor Octopus remains incarcerated in the Raft. Roused from an inactive state, he struggles to utter the words "Peter Parker". 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. Responding to Octopus' calls for Spider-Man's alter ego, he goes to his ailing villain's bedside. "Spider-Man" reveals that at an unspecified point, the pair swapped consciousnesses: Octopus has transferred himself into Parker's body and vice versa using a special remote controlled Octobot. Octopus intends to live Parker's life and let Parker die in Octopus' body.
In The Amazing Spider-Man #699 (December 2012), doctors struggle to keep Parker alive as Octopus' body continues to fail. 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'. Using Octopus' body's remote mental connection to the Octobot, he controls and uses it to summon a group of supervillains to the Raft to free him. Hydro-Man, Scorpion and the Trapster free Parker, believing him to be Octopus, and he begins a plan to capture Octopus.
In The Amazing Spider-Man #700 (December 2012), Octopus learns of Parker's escape and attempts to leave the country long enough for his body to die. Meanwhile, the Trapster uses various technologies to prolong Parker's life. An electric shock delivered during the process causes Parker to experience a 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. Octopus decides to remain in New York City and gather all of Parker's loved ones together in Avengers Tower. While Parker attempts to repair the recovered golden Octobot, Octopus sends law enforcement after him. To prevent his villainous companions from harming the police, Parker incapacitates Trapster and escapes with Scorpion and Hydro-Man. Together they infiltrate Avengers Tower, but they are confronted by Octopus. Learning that J. Jonah Jameson is also in the tower, Scorpion and Hydro-Man abandon Parker to pursue Scorpion's agenda against Jameson. 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. As Scorpion attacks him again, Octopus overreacts and punches off Scorpion's jaw. Seeing that Octopus has almost killed someone using his body, Parker grabs Octopus and jumps out of a window in an attempt to kill them both. Octopus manages to form a cushion from webbing, saving them both. 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. 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. The memories subdue Octopus and make him realize the error of his ways. He promises to keep the people safe as Parker finally dies. In the final scene, Octopus promises that with his ambition and intelligence, he will be a Superior Spider-Man.
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, the reconciliation of J. Jonah Jameson and his long-estranged father, J. Jonah Jameson Sr., and the introduction of a "soul molecule" concept to the villain Hydro Man, a singular molecule that contains his consciousness.
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.
Octavius remains active as Spider-Man for most of the run of the new The Superior Spider-Man comic, until he sacrifices himself to restore Peter's consciousness in order to defeat Norman Osborn's latest scheme.
During the Spider-Verse storyline, it was revealed that Octavius's scheme to download himself into Spider-Man failed in Earth-94, a world where Spider-Man was still Ben Reilly (Although it is unclear if the entire scheme failed or if Reilly was simply able to re-take his body before Octavius's body gave out).
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, though Slott subsequently maintained this will not be the case. (The decision was indeed reversed when The Amazing Spider-Man was re-launched in April 2014) 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. However, Slott stated that the negative responses were a minority and that he had largely received positive feedback. 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.
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. 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, 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.
|Issue||Published||Estimated no. of units sold||Sales chart position||Ref.|
A hardcover collection of the issues was released in March 2013.
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- Slott, Dan (w), Ramos, Humberto (p), Olazaba, Victor (i)Delgardo, Edgar (col)"Dying Wish Part 2: Outside the Box" The Amazing Spider-Man 699 (December 2012), New York, NY: Marvel Comics
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- Slott, Dan (w), Ramos, Humberto (p), Olazaba, Victor (i)Delgardo, Edgar (col)"Dying Wish Part 3: Suicide Run" The Amazing Spider-Man 700 (December 2012), New York, NY: Marvel Comics