The Gathering of Five and The Final Chapter

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"The Gathering of Five"
Cover to The Amazing Spider-Man #441, cover to the first issue of "The Final Chapter" and showing the fictional Gathering of Five. Art by Rafael Kayanan.
Publisher Marvel Comics
Main character(s) Spider-Man
Creative team
Writer(s) The Sensational Spider-Man
Todd DeZago
The Amazing Spider-Man
The Spectacular Spider-Man
John Byrne #262
Howard Mackie #263
Peter Parker: Spider-Man
Howard Mackie
Penciller(s) The Sensational Spider-Man
Joe Bennett
The Amazing Spider-Man
Rafael Kayanan
Peter Parker: Spider-Man
Norman Felchle #96
John Romita, Jr. #97
The Spectacular Spider-Man
Luke Ross
Editor(s) Ralph Macchio
Collected editions
The Gathering of Five ISBN 0-7851-8529-1

"The Gathering of Five" and "The Final Chapter" are 1998 storylines published by Marvel Comics. The stories are interconnected with no issues being published between the last issue of "The Gathering of Five" and the first issue of "The Final Chapter," and the fictional Gathering of Five that was being prepared for during the first storyline actually taking place in the first issue of "The Final Chapter." Both storylines are crossovers between all of the Spider-Man titles being published at the time (The Amazing Spider-Man, Peter Parker: Spider-Man, The Spectacular Spider-Man, and The Sensational Spider-Man). It also marked the cancellation of both The Spectacular Spider-Man and The Sensational Spider-Man while "rebranding" The Amazing Spider-Man and Peter Parker: Spider-Man by renumbering the issues to start again with a new "Issue One," as mandated by Editor-in-Chief Bob Harras.

The storyline proved controversial with fans, as it resurrected the character of Peter Parker's elderly Aunt May, who had been killed off at the height of the "Clone Saga" three years earlier in The Amazing Spider-Man #400. Tom DeFalco, who had left months earlier with his Identity Crisis storyline, had originally intended Peter and Mary Jane's daughter, May Parker, to be returned to them by Kaine (this story thread was later used as the branching point for the MC2), but Mackie and Byrne insisted they have the older May revived so she could fit into their new relaunch.

Plot summary[edit]

The Gathering of Five[edit]


Norman Osborn and Gregory Herd have a meeting with Hamilton Cromwell of the Neomancers to try to persuade him to join The Gathering of Five and bring his piece to the ceremony. Cromwell wants no part of the ceremony and warns Osborn and Herd they should not perform the ceremony either. Herd returns later in his Override costume to steal Cromwell's piece. Spider-Man sees him entering the building and tries to prevent him from stealing the piece, but he is able to escape with the piece. Herd convinces Osborn to allow him to take Cromwell's place in the ceremony, instead of payment, for stealing the piece so he may try to heal his wife.

The Scriers mention a fight with Kaine, but are still able to deliver a "package" to Osborn. Alison Mongrain is found by Joe Robertson in Paris.[1]

A Hot Time in the Old Town[edit]

Spider-Man fights the Molten Man as he walks a straight line of destruction through the city in a trance-like state to try to kill Alison Mongrain, who has returned to New York City with Joe Robertson. Osborn convinces Morris Maxwell to bring his piece and join The Gathering of Five. Maxwell reveals that all participants in the ceremony must come willingly.[2]

Web of Despair[edit]

Madame Web asks Spider-Man to retrieve an artifact for her, and he does without knowing what it is. She then takes it to Osborn as she volunteers to be a participant in The Gathering of Five, because she will die soon if she does not gain immortality from the ceremony.[3]

A Day in the Life[edit]

Spider-Man stops various minor crimes and an unknown person brings the last piece for The Gathering of Five to Osborn.[4]


Spider-Man stops Override after he robs an armored car. While in police custody he is able to escape and reclaim the money he stole. He steals the money so his wife Annie will be fine in case anything goes wrong during The Gathering of Five.[5]

The Final Chapter[edit]

And Who Shall Claim a Kingly Crown?[edit]

Mattie Franklin is revealed to be the mystery person who brought the final piece necessary for the ceremony. The Gathering of Five is performed and each participant appears to receive one of the gifts or curses. When the Molten Man attacks Alison Mongrain and Joe Robertson in front of the Parker house it is revealed that Osborn implanted something in his brain so that he would ceaselessly go after the tracking device that he had given to Mongrain as a necklace. Mongrain gives the Molten Man the necklace for him to destroy, but after his attack had already fatally wounded her. Before she dies she is able to tell Mary Jane "May is alive."[6]

Let the Heavens Tremble at the Power of the Goblin[edit]

Spider-Man fights the Green Goblin as he tries to get to the Osborn hunting lodge in upstate New York. Spider-Man believes the Green Goblin is holding his daughter alive there and that she did not die at the end of the Clone Saga because of what Mongrain told MJ. At the end of the issue it is revealed that Aunt May is actually alive and the one the Green Goblin was holding prisoner.[7]

The Triumph of the Goblin![edit]

The Green Goblin allows Spider-Man to take Aunt May without a fight. Spider-Man brings her to Reed Richards to test what she is, believing her to be an imposter or clone. Using a blood sample from one of Peter's science experiments as a child Richards is able to confirm her identity, but there is a mysterious device implanted in her brain that will eventually kill her if not removed soon. Spider-Man then fights the Green Goblin until the Green Goblin declares that he has finally killed Spider-Man.[8]

The Final Chapter[edit]

At the very beginning of the issue it is revealed that the Green Goblin received the curse of insanity rather than the gift of power from The Gathering of Five and he only believes that he has killed Spider-Man. In reality Spider-Man had defeated the Green Goblin and during the fight, while ranting like a maniac, the Green Goblin revealed that it was the real Aunt May currently under the care of Reed Richards and it was actually a paid actress infused with Aunt May's DNA who Spider-Man had believed to die before (in The Amazing Spider-Man #400). He also revealed that if the device in Aunt May's brain is removed it will trigger bombs all over the world. One final pumpkin bomb makes the Daily Bugle building nearly collapse until Spider-Man is able to save the building. He then is barely able to get to the hospital in time to tell Reed Richards about the device. Richards and the other surgeons are able to fix it so the device stays in Aunt May, thereby not triggering the bombs, while not killing her as it stays. Peter also tells Mary Jane that he is quitting his career as Spider-Man and burns his costume.[9]

Reading order[edit]

The Gathering of Five

  1. The Sensational Spider-Man vol. 1 #32
  2. The Amazing Spider-Man #440
  3. Peter Parker: Spider-Man #96
  4. The Spectacular Spider-Man #262
  5. The Sensational Spider-Man vol. 1 #33

The Final Chapter

  1. The Amazing Spider-Man #441
  2. Peter Parker: Spider-Man #97
  3. The Spectacular Spider-Man #263
  4. Peter Parker: Spider-Man #98

Powers gained in the ceremony[edit]

Participant Power/curse assumed to have gained[6] Power/curse actually gained
Norman Osborn Power Madness[9]
Madame Web Death Immortality
Mattie Franklin Knowledge Power[10]
Gregory Herd Immortality Death[11]
Morris Maxwell Madness Knowledge[11]

Further exploration[edit]

Mainstream continuity[edit]

Aspects of The Final Chapter resurfaced in major storylines through the second volume of The Amazing Spider-Man. Following Peter's retirement, the true recipient of the Gathering's gift of power, Mattie Franklin, the niece of J. Jonah Jameson, assumed the role of Spider-Man, but her inexperience led to a brutal assault at the hands of another "Gathering" recipient, Gregory Herd. Peter saved Franklin, shielding his own identity, and reclaimed the mantle of Spider-Man in order to help Iceman take down Herd (as Shadrac). Franklin would later briefly become Spider-Woman, and was given her own title, but she proved unpopular and the title was folded. Madame Web was also revealed to have gained the gift of immortality from "The Gathering of Five".

Norman Osborn would resurface as the Green Goblin in a loose trilogy of storylines written by Roger Stern, Howard Mackie, and Paul Jenkins in 2000, where Osborn reclaimed his sanity and brainwashed Peter, intending to mold him into a successor far worthier of the Osborn name than his son Harry.


The Final Chapter provides one of the more crucial aspects of the MC2 Spider-Girl timeline. Written by Tom DeFalco, the Spider-Girl title made full use of the intended climax to DeFalco's arc, returning the younger May to the Parkers rather than the elderly version. An alternate ending to this arc also kills off Osborn, and severely injures Peter, costing him one of his legs, and ending his career as Spider-Man. The gathering is not completed at this point in time (due to Peter's actions),[12] but Mattie is seen escaping with the rituals equipment and later succeeding in gaining power for herself and youth for Madame Web as with the 616 continuity.[13] DeFalco later placed the events of the Gathering a further two years ahead after Mayday was returned to The Parkers.

In October 2008, the 25th issue of The Amazing Spider-Girl featured a back-up strip revealing how Kaine fought against the Brotherhood of the Goblin, infiltrated Norman's mansion, and recovered an infant Mayday, who was being cared for by the father of Fury The Goblin Queen, who was also present at the mansion that day as a young child. However, Norman had successfully cloned Mayday, creating a "twin" that would lay dormant in stasis for twenty years with notes left behind claiming her to be the true Mayday, with Fury passed down the code necessary to awaken her. This clone, known as "Project: Changeling" was eventually activated by Fury and assumed the life of the Mayday raised by The Parkers, who had been severely injured and abducted, Mayday however recovers and eventually persuades the clone to join her side and together they free Peter from the grip of Norman Osborn in a psychic duel.


  1. ^ The Sensational Spider-Man #32
  2. ^ The Amazing Spider-Man #440
  3. ^ Peter Parker: Spider-Man #96
  4. ^ The Spectacular Spider-Man #262
  5. ^ The Sensational Spider-Man vol. 1 #33
  6. ^ a b The Amazing Spider-Man #441
  7. ^ Peter Parker: Spider-Man #97
  8. ^ The Spectacular Spider-Man #263
  9. ^ a b Peter Parker: Spider-Man #98
  10. ^ The Amazing Spider-Man vol. 2 #2 (January 1999)
  11. ^ a b The Amazing Spider-Man vol. 2 #3 (February 1999)
  12. ^ Spider-Girl #49
  13. ^ Spider-Girl #39

External links[edit]