This was going to be my review of Amazing Spider-Man 700 (ASM 700) by Dan Slot, but we have covered that on our site already – here. Instead, I’m going to reflect on the issue and the series from a more personal perspective. If you have NOT yet read ASM 700, you will want to stop reading right now. You’ve been warned.
I read issue 700 as soon as it was released on Dec. 26, 2012 (in my car outside of Alpha Comics), and began writing this a few days later, once I had time to digest its stunning contents.
By way of background, I’ll never forget the first comic book I ever read. It was Amazing Spider-Man. My mom bought it for me at the grocery store when I was very young. I was wowed by this character who could climb walls and crack jokes for a reader of any age to understand. I continued to read Spider-Man, and many other comics, even as I grew older and others may have grown out of them. I’ll never forget the last Amazing Spider-Man story I ever read, when Peter Parker – aka Spider-Man – died. And, I cried.
When I read the final page of this book I wasn’t angry, I was sad. It felt like I had just said good-bye to a long-time friend. To understand why I felt this way, you must remember that Peter Parker was a down-on-his-luck kid, mocked, teased, beat up and he viewed himself as a perpetual underdog. There was something inspiring about Peter Parker. That was his ability to continue to move forward, and get back up when he must have felt the world constantly pushing him to the ground. Even in his superhero role, he defeated the biggest of bullies: Doc Ock, Kraven the Hunter and Venom. (Well, he beat Doc Ock 99.9% of the time – that is until issue 700.)
I grew up with Peter Parker and I saw myself in Peter Parker: Teased and beaten down. There were days when I’d come home from elementary school, run upstairs, close my door to the world and open a Spider-Man comic. It was my way of escaping my real-life tormentors. Here was a hero that I could relate to. Like him, I knew that leaning on my friends and family was the key to getting back up and going to school day after day – even when I really didn’t want to – and never stopping being myself.
While my young life was difficult, in spite of it I grew up to be a better man. The bad times didn’t define me, but they influenced my outlook.
It’s still hard to picture Spider-Man without Peter Parker under the mask, but I know that as in life, just because you may never see a person again, it doesn’t mean they ever truly disappear. I’d like to thank Stan Lee, and every other Spidey artist and writer (Dan Slott included), because it was their Spider-Man stories that helped me though some of the most challenging times in my life.
Farewell, Peter Parker. You will be missed, but not forgotten.
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