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Spidey Speculation on...Amazing Spider-Man #700

Posted by Mike McNulty, a.k.a. Stillanerd 29 July 2012




So where's Waldo?
It certainly has been quite some time since my last series of far-fetched predictions, Spidey fans. Maybe some of you are wondering why I never kept track of what I got right and wrong about “Ends of the Earth” like I did “Spider-Island.” Chalk this up to an internet connection problem that wasn’t resolved until the story was already well underway, as well as a growing disinterest in the overall story in general. Besides, it was becoming apparent that virtually everything I had guessed about that story was utterly wrong, save for how Doc Ock’s plan would have something to do with accelerating global warming. In any case, I sincerely apologize.

Still, there had to be some way to make it up to all of you, dear readers. And wouldn’t you know it, the kind folks at Marvel have delivered to us Spidey-fans a potential gold mine of possibilities, theories, and guesses that your humble prognosticator just couldn’t pass up: Amazing Spider-Man #700.

We’ve been told that the aftermath of “Ends of the Earth” will lead into this story, that every story from now to December is leading up to this one issue, and that the repercussions of aftermath of this issue will forever change Spider-Man as we know him and have “seismic changes” on the entire Marvel Universe. If that weren’t enough hyperbole, both Spider-Man editor Steve Wacker and Marvel’s Editor-In-Chief Axel Alonso have suggested that this year, the 50th Anniversary of Spider-Man, may be Spider-Man’s "final year” and that maybe “Pete has gone as far as he can go as Spider-Man.” And with the announcement of Marvel NOW!, that several titles are going to be re-launched with new #1 issues in the wake of Avengers vs. X-Men over the course of October 2012 to February 2013, many are presuming the Amazing Spider-Man will be one of those titles--especially when Marvel Director of Communications Arune Singh stated at this year’s Sand Diego Comic Con that Amazing Spider-Man would indeed be affected by Marvel NOW!So what do I think is going to happen? Well, to properly answer that question, I first have to talk about what I think is going to take place in the story that is apparently going to take place just before issue 700, something that is titled…

DYING WISH

In an interview with MTV, Dan Slott revealed that this would be the name for the story in Amazing Spider-Man #698 - #699. Naturally, this has caused all kinds of speculation on various message boards that someone, perhaps a major character, is going to die in this story, and guesses have ranged from Aunt May to Mary Jane to Julia Carpenter, aka the new Madame Web. However, there is already a character who is dying who has already expressed his “dying wish.” That person is none other than Doctor Octopus.


Because shiny metalic surfaces and LED lighting
 make for the perfect underwater camflouge. 
At the conclusion of “Ends of the Earth,” Doc Ock has been apprehended, imprisoned and put on a life-support machine that, supposedly, blocks any telepathic commands he can send to his robotic arms or octobots. However, at the end of Avenging Spider-Man #8, we can see that one of the octobots is still clearly active. How? Well, remember way back in Amazing Spider-Man #600 when the octobots tried to sabotage electronically Aunt May J. Jonah Jameson Sr.’s wedding, and later kidnapped Jameson Sr., despite the fact Doc Ock stated that his personal feelings for May had no bearing on his plans? That established that not only are Doc Ock’s octobots controlled by him mentally but that they also act on his subconscious desires. Stands to reason there would be some residual brain patterns from Doc Ock pre-programmed into the octobots that would allow them to keep functioning despite Doc Ock’s higher brainwaves being blocked. Also, if they are acting purely on his subconscious desires, their first order of business would be to free Doc Ock, which, given their ability to possess people, could be easily done.

Now why would Doc Ock want to be free if he’s just mere moments away from death? Because gradually wasting away in Ryker’s hospital ward is not how Doc Ock wants to go out; his ultimate goal, as he stated in “Ends of the Earth,” is engage in a “battle to the death” with his arch-enemy Spider-Man, either to kill Spidey before he dies, or for Spidey to kill him. That very well could be the explanation behind the titular “Dying Wish.”
 
SPIDER-MAN: MURDERER?
 
BTW, no truer words have been spoken by MJ
 than what she tells Peter in this scene.
But surely Spidey wouldn’t go as far as killing Doc Ock, would he? After all, we know that Spidey has a strict “no killing” policy when it comes to his enemies, and as he told Julia Carpenter/Madame Web back in Amazing Spider-Man #666, the moment he takes a life “he’d stop being Spider-Man.” And that’s exactly the point.

As he told Mary Jane in Amazing Spider-Man #688, Peter adopted his vow of “When I’m around, no one dies” because he was growing sick and tired of people that he knew and cared about being killed because of him, that “believing he could [save everyone all the time] was all that kept him from going crazy.” Now, becasue he was forced to sacrifice Silver Sable to stop Doc Ock (if in fact, given what Julia says in Amazing Spider-Man #690, Sable actually is dead) his failure is already starting to take an emotional toll and affects how he fights bad guys. As seen in the latest storyline “No Turning Back,” Peter has developed a very short fuse, becoming more ruthless, less inhibited, and doesn‘t crack as many jokes; and in light of his promising that “When [he’s] done with Morbius, he’s not going to resemble a vampire anymore, living or otherwise,” this appears to show Peter is now willing to cross the line into potentially killing his enemies. So, given the right circumstances, Peter can now be easily pushed into taking Doc Ock’s life no less than by Doc Ock himself.

It would take much, either. Not only would Peter still be furious at Doc Ock for what he has done, but imagine if a newly freed Doc Ock is now acting on what once were subconscious desires and thoughts? He could be searching for his lady love, Aunt May, tearing up New York in an effort to find her, which is more than enough for Spidey to go after him. Moreover, considering Spidey was able to mentally control the octobots on two separate occasions (once during Amazing Spider-Man #600 and another time during “Spider-Island”) Doc Ock could learn from them that Peter Parker is Spider-Man.  And because he now knows everything about Spidey, he could have the octobots attack everyone Peter as they are fighting, and Doc Ock could say that Mary Jane Watson is about to die and there‘s nothing Peter can do to stop it--unless Spidey kills him, thereby shutting down the octobots. This would make Spidey go ballistic, and once he took Doc Ock’s life in pure blind rage, Spidey would realize the horror of what he has done, that Doc Ock did win in the end, and that he has betrayed everything he was supposed to stand for.

Thus, when issue #700 starts, Peter will, of course, be facing the repercussions of his actions and, because he has been driven to take a life, is likely entertaining the possibility of quitting being Spider-Man “for good.”

Not a fair staring contest for Doc Ock if you ask me
since the "eyes" on Spidey's mask can't blink.
 SPIDER-MAN NO MORE…AGAIN

Now I know what you’re thinking: wouldn’t Peter giving up being Spider-Man be an abdication of his responsibility? However, there are actually three answers for this. First is the obvious one that Mayor J. Jonah Jameson would certainly cite this as proof he was right about Spider-Man being a “menace” all along, and considering how anti-Spider-Man the new police chief Pratchett is, he’d be more than happy to carry out Jameson’s will in issuing a warrant for Spidey “dead or alive.“ Second, Peter would believe the greater responsibility would be for him to quit because he would know that he could easily get into a situation again in which he would be forced to take a life to save lives, and Spider-Man has never been about that. And if Peter cannot live up to that ideal, then he shouldn’t be Spider-Man.

That leads to the final answer: Andy Macguire, aka Alpha.
Yeah...this punk.

Marvel hasn’t been the least shy about talking about the obvious parallels between Peter and Alpha even before Amazing Spider-Man #692 (Alpha’s debut) hits the stands. His origin story is very similar to that of Peter’s; he’s a 15-year old high school student just like Peter used to be when he first became Spider-Man; he, according to Dan Slott, is “everything Peter wished he could have been back in high school”; and finally, his name is a mash-up of both Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire, the two actors who have played Spider-Man in the movies. It’s everything but showing Alpha dressed in the Spider-Man costume sans mask at this point. Perhaps we’ve already seen Alpha as the new Spider-Man in the Marvel NOW! teaser, which would also explain why Spidey’s costume has been slightly altered, and it wouldn’t surprise me if the last page of Amazing Spider-Man #700 is Alpha swinging over the Manhattan skyline in that very costume.

Hmm...reminds me of a certain cartoon currently running
 on Disney XD.  Purely conicedential, I'm sure.
It’s also been revealed that, given how Alpha gets his powers, Peter feels responsible for him. Passing the Spider-Man mantle onto Alpha and continuing to train and mentor him would be an extension of that idea, creating a similar dynamic as seen among Bruce Wayne and Terry McGuinnis in Batman Beyond. It wouldn’t even matter that Alpha has different powers, which appear to be energy-based in nature; in fact, energy-based powers would make it easier for him to replicate Spidey’s. He presumably would have super-strength and speed, and, if he can fly, that would allow him to still leap great distances and wall crawl. If he can sense energy signatures, that would give him a “spider-sense.” Plus, he would be able to have new “spider powers” like energize the webbing, magnetize objects, “sting” his opponents with a touch. That would also get Alpha out of the apparent jam of having a public identity, as also revealed by Dan Slott and others.

Relinquishing his identity as Spider-Man will also allow Peter to be able to get back together with Mary Jane, something which has been teased as far back as Amazing Spider-Man #648. “One Moment in Time” also clearly established that, while Peter continued to be Spider-Man, he and MJ could never be more than just friends despite their love for each other. With Peter no longer having to be Spider-Man, that would no longer be a problem, and would allow both Peter and MJ to confess to that they still have feelings for one another and take another chance on love. Thus, we get the answer for what Dan Slott said about us getting “The Monkey’s Paw” in that we’re “getting what we want, just not the way we want it.”

SO WHAT DOES HAPPEN IN ISSUE #700 THEN?

Of course, Peter deciding to quit being Spider-Man and passing it onto Alpha cannot be the only story in the 700th issue, since it will, undoubtedly be extra-sized. So what could that other story be? Well, remember how I mentioned Doc Ock looking for Aunt May? Well, what if he’s looking for her because Aunt May has been abducted…by the guy who his Aunt May’s new husband that has been claiming to be J. Jonah Jameson’s dad all this time?

"Supersexyawesomedisembodiedheadflashforwardpowers, go!"
In Madame Web’s vision in Amazing Spider-Man #689, we see someone wearing a Spider-Man like half-mask who as a white mustache and goatee. The only character who comes to mind who has that specific facial hair is J. Jonah Jameson, sr., but the mask, as others have pointed out, evoke images of a Spider-Man villain long thought to be dead--The Tarantula. Based on the other images in that vision, they all appears to be linked to what could be the events that are to happen in the upcoming Hobgoblin/Kingpin “Danger Zone” (Amazing Spider-Man #695 - #697). If the solicits for that particular story are anything to go by, it seems that the Kingpin will acquire the means to create the spider-sense jammers but, instead of shutting off Peter’s spider-sense, it will overload it, thus making it so he’s not sure where the danger is coming from while also giving him a splitting headache in the process. But the jammers would also affect anyone who is connected to the “web of life” or who has spider-like powers; thus a consequence would be that the man who thought he was Jameson Sr. would regain the memories and powers of the Tarantula.

Now you might ask “What would Jonah's dad be doing in New York? Didn’t he and Aunt May move to Boston?” Well, that can easily be explained with, given how Aunt May couldn’t get in touch with Peter during “Ends of the Earth” and he still hasn’t gotten back in touch with them, this would make them want to visiting Peter for a few days to see what is going on, and the jammers get triggered right at that moment. As for why the Tarantula would look like Jameson’s dad, this could be the result of genetic tampering. And who is capable of genetic tampering? The same person who first hired Tarantula way back during the original Clone Saga--the Jackal.

Funny how little Slott has talked about him after "Spider-Island."
  Then again, it IS the Jackal, so...
Remember, the Jackal was still alive at the end of “Spider-Island” and in possession of the Spider-Queen's remains to harvest her DNA. But what if, because of what the Spider-Queen had mutated into, she cannot be cloned, meaning that the Jackal has to use another host body? So he decides to settle on using Aunt May as a guinea pig? This of course means that, just before he gives up the webs, Peter has to save his Aunt May before the Jackal carries out his plans.
  
SO WILL AMAZING SPIDER-MAN BE RENUMBERED AFTER ISSUE #700?

My short answer: probably. Along with the Marvel NOW! teaser, admitted that Spider-Man would indeed be affected by the upcoming Marvel comics re-launch. And, we also have been told that there is at least one title not affected by Avengers vs. X-Men that would be getting the Marvel NOW treatment as a result of the changes that happen in that particular title. And if the “Alpha becomes the new Spider-Man” theory holds water, then it makes sense for Amazing Spider-Man to be re-launched with a new number #1, since it’s would be a new story about a brand-new Spider-Man as opposed to Peter Parker’s.

This has also lead to some wondering whether or not Dan Slott would also step down as lead writer of Amazing Spider-Man, as well. Interestingly enough, Marvel hasn’t exactly given a straight-forward “yes” or “no” answer for this question, but that after the 700th issue “Dan [Slott] will definitely have to hide.” Then there is this tweet from Steve Wacker in the wake of the miniseries Thanos: Son of Titan getting a last minute cancellation before the first issue is even out in print: “[Joe Keatinage] and Rich Elson both have projects coming up in the Spidey office that we’ll be announcing soon. They're bloody great!” Hmm…is this the new creative team of The Amazing Spider-Man?  It could very well be just a story for Avenging Spider-Man and Dan Slott will still be on board Amazing.

Then again, maybe, as usual, I’m reading too much into all this. Unless there really is something to that dubious Mayan Apocalypse, we are sure to find out what's really going on over the next five months when Spider-Man closes out his 50th year. Until then, I’ll be keeping much better track over upcoming developments this time around. After all, we may be following the adventures of a different webhead this time next year.

Julia Carpenter--still the most useless psychic ever.


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