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Sunday, 27 April 2014

Tintin's Top Ten: Greatest Spider-Man Losses

Tintin's Top Ten

Greatest Spider-Man Losses


With the Amazing Spider-Man 2 set to rock the world next week and the release of the latest volume of Amazing Spider-Man NOW, it was time to have some fun with the web slinger. 

ASM 2 promises to have a gauntlet of villains for Spider-Man to run through, Electro being at the top of the list. To top it off Spider-Man faces the threat of Green Goblin and with it the idea has been planted for one of his tragic moments in the comics to come to life on screen.

As the above picture shows, Emma Stone is dressed as Gwen Stacy in a familiar attire for comic book fans. It's an ominous sign.

Let's enjoy...

10. An Ultimate Loss

Ultimate Spider-Man 'Death of Spider-Man'. Issue 156-160. Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley  

Let's start of with a sort of honorable mention to the Ultimate Universe. Here Spidey faces the threat of the Ultimate Six, but above all a very very mad Green Goblin. Their fight is brutal and around Peter's Queens neighborhood with his mask off and the world watching. Spider-Man fighting for his life manages to save his family and ends up stopping Goblin in his tracks at the expense of his own life. 

As Peter lays dying he iterates these words; 'It's okay... I did it. Don't you see... it's okay. I did it. I couldn't save him. Uncle Ben. I couldn't save him... no matter what I did. But I saved you. I did it. I did...' 

9. Losing The Rhino 

Amazing Spider-Man. Issue 617 and 625. Joe Kelly and Max Fiumara

With Paul Giamatti all set to make an extended cameo as Aleksei Sytsevich AKA Rhino in next weeks big film, it's fitting that the character becomes an important lesson for Spider-Man. 

Post The Gauntlet story where Spidey took on a plethora of his villains, Rhino gives up and vows to become a better man. This leads to early parole and eventually falling in love with and marrying Oksana. But happiness for a former super villain can only stay so long, a new Rhino arrives and calls out Aleksei. 

Spidey intervenes and urges Alexsei not to give up his good life to chase a mad man. Eventually though the new Rhino attacks and kills Oksana, forcing Alexsei's hand. The two face off and the old Rhino destroys the new. 

Rhino proceeds to vow vengeance on Spider-Man for stopping him the first time, Spidey learning that once and for all Alexsei is dead and only the Rhino lives on. 

8. A Father Figure Dies

Amazing Spider-Man. Issue 90. Stan Lee and John Romita Sr.

Ever since Uncle Ben's loss, Peter Parker had been a lost child wandering into an adult world while death became a constant for the web crawler. 

It spurred him to become Spider-Man and since then things changed on the surface as he gained love in Gwen Stacy but under the surface he carried the burden of his secret. 

At the time he met Gwen's father retired Captain George Stacy, a man who would become a sort of father to the lost Peter and become the only staunch supporter for the masked web crawler. For quite a while George suspected that Peter was indeed Spider-Man. 

During a melee on the rooftops with Dr. Octopus, debris fell downwards. George Stacy, ever the hero, would push a child out of harms way being dealt a crushing blow. His last words to Spider-Man were;

'Be good to her, son! Be good to her. She loves you so very much', indicating that he knew Peter's secret and to make sure Gwen was safe with him. A touching moment and another hallmark death that has defined Peter's legacy.

7. Unrequited Love

Peter Parker, Spectacular Spider-Man. 'The Death of Jean DeWolff' Issue 107-110. Peter David and Rich Buckler

To see a friend die and find out they loved you more than you knew or anyone ever could can be really heart wrenching, and Spider-Man felt that. Jean DeWolff was the captain of the NYPD who initially mistrusted the web crawler, thanks to J Jonah Jameson's Bugle editorials on him. 

Eventually getting to know the man, she began to respect, admire and above all else love him. DeWolff was another staunch supporter of what Spider-Man stood for, and as such by the laws of comic book writing; She had to go. 

When she is killed by her ex-boyfriend Sin-Eater, Spider-Man goes into action. He comes to the realization that DeWolff cherished him when he sees his pictures, including one where Black Cat's head has been cut off an replaced by Jean's in her apartment. 

This makes him angrier and when Sin-Eater threatens to kill the woman Peter first fell in love with (Betty Leeds), he beats him to a pulp. But before he can kill him, Daredevil fends off Spider-Man. Sin-Eater is sent to prison not before a mob wanting to lynch him and Daredevil forced to go at it alone. 

DD calls out to a dejected Peter, and Spidey saves the day once again. 

It's a tragedy that showed Spider-Man could go to extreme lengths to protect those he loves and still is able to remind him off the hero within.

6. The Goblin, The Hero

The Spectacular Spider-Man. Issue 200. JM Dematteis and Sal Buscema

Harry's obvious descent into villainy starts from the beginning. With a negligent father, Harry becomes an aloof teenager with many a friend around him. Peter joins him at Empire State University, what started as a rivalry over Gwen and Peter's shyness perceived as snobbery, both Harry and Peter would go on to be best friends and eventually room mates. 

But with Peter's 'extracurricular activities' keeping him away, Harry once again felt abandoned. This turns him towards drugs. It eventually causes him to lose Mary Jane while his father subsequently descends to a whole other level of madness. 

Harry then bears witness to the death of his father as Green Goblin against Spider-Man. He protects his father's identity and buries him vowing vengeance on Spider-Man. He begins building his father's company back and soon discovers the betrayal of Peter and his greatest secret. 

This pushes him to pick up his father's mantle as he become the new Goblin to threaten Spidey. A lot of convoluted stories occur with Harry losing his memory (like in Spider-Man 3). He starts a happy life with wife Liz Allan and son Norman Osborn Jr. 

He once again dons the costume to take down The Hobgoblin. Eventually deciding that these memories are not worth anything. 

But he's brought back once again and comes to the realization that until Peter is done, the Osborn family can never be balanced. Tormenting Spider-Man, Harry is unable to kill Peter. Harry eventually faces Spider-Man when he sees him spying on an Osborn outhouse. 

Harry uses a new super goblin formula to paralyze Spider-Man and blasts everything in sight, so as he can kill both of them. But he comes to the realization that Mary Jane and Norman Jr. are also there, he saves them and Peter but at the cost of his own life when falling to exhaustion. 

It was a heroic death with blame being traced back to both Peter Parker and Norman Osborn's negligence of the broken boy. 

5. Spider-Man No More

Amazing Spider-Man. Issue 50. Stan Lee and John Romita Sr.

On the milestone 50th issue of Amazing Spider-Man, Romita Sr. and Stan Lee would craft one of the most iconic stories for the Web crawler. Spider-Man No More became one of the earliest greatest losses for Peter Parker, but more importantly a victory as it fortified the lesson he learned not so long ago thanks to Uncle Ben. 

With Spider-Man becoming a burden he can't bear, Peter Parker decides to give up being Spider-Man and enjoy his life. But he realizes that he cannot stop, because the city needs a hero, it needs Spider-Man. Peter remembers his Uncle and his last words, and learns the true worth of the words that 'With Great Power, Comes Great Responsibility'.

It's such an iconic moment that it formed the basis for Sam Raimi's Spider-Man 2. Including the iconic shot above.  

4. The Hunter gets His Prey

Web of Spider-Man, The Amazing Spider-Man, The Spectacular Spider-Man. Issue 31-32, 293-294, 131-132. JM DeMatteis and Mike Zeck

Considered the best Spider-Man story ever, Kraven's Last Hunt sees the titular villain hunting down Spider-Man and finally getting his prey after years of struggles and fights. Before Doc Ock proved to be Superior, Kraven suited up as Spider-Man after burying him to protect the city with a vicious edge. 

Spider-Man returns from near death, he confronts Kraven and makes the Hunter go mad. Kraven defeated and without purpose commits suicide and implicates the web crawler, leaving him a farewell gift of misery.

Years later, the vicious circle would continue when Kraven's children came looking for vengeance. 

On a personal one on one physical front with a villain, this was Spider-Man's biggest defeat.

3. A Superior Takedown

Amazing Spider-Man. Issue 683-700. Dan Slott

In his 50th year, Spider-Man was subject to a mental take down that would have repercussions for him for the next year or so. Spider-Man's battles against Doc Ock and his Octobots gave the nefarious villain access to Spider-Man's mind, eventually prompting the bad doctor taking over Spider-Man's mind and body. 

A mind/body swap occurs, and Peter in a dying Dr. Octopus's body valiantly fights to salvage his life. He dies but is able to imprint his memories on Octopus, leaving a lasting impression that urges Doc Ock as Spider-Man to become a hero. 

With that Doctor Octopus vows to be a better Spider-Man than Spider-Man, a Superior Spider-Man. 

2. A Love Lost

Amazing Spider-Man. 'The Night Gwen Stacy Died' Issue 121-122. Gerry Conway, Gil Kane and John Romita Sr.

Gwen Stacy's loss is a ghost that will forever hunt Spider-Man no matter what he does. Like with Uncle Ben, it's her death he is to blame for. Kidnapped by Green Goblin, it forces Spider-Man to confront his vaunted foe. 

In a bid to stop the Goblin, Gwen gets thrown off a bridge and Spidey is quick to catch her with a webbing. But when he gathers his senses he sees that the recoil snapped her neck and killed her. It's a brutal death that sends Spider-Man rattling eventually bringing him close to killing Norman. 

Eventually this death would be watered down by the idiocy of Marvel, without even bringing Gwen back to life her legacy was tarnished. But I choose not to remember that. 

Gwen Stacy has thus gained such an iconic status, that she now holds a special place within Marvel lore alongside Uncle Ben such that no matter what; she can never be resurrected. 

It seems ASM 2 will honor that this year when Emma Stone's Gwen Stacy will lose her life as Spider-Man and the Goblin do battle on screen.

1. Great Power Comes Great Responsibility

Amazing Fantasy. Issue 15. Stan Lee and Steve Ditko

With Spider-Man everything can be traced back to one moment, when he let that thief go and faced away from his responsibilities. It cost him everything, the man who raised him and with it any chance of a normal life.

Spider-Man's loss of his Uncle moved him to use his powers to do right by the world and honor his uncle's memory, in turn Peter Parker lost every chance to lead the normal life. Even then Uncle Ben comes to Peter and assures him that he is proud of his son and believes that he has made a successful life and become a true hero and man despite all the hardships. 

Uncle Ben's death will forever be a recycled tragedy wherever Peter ends up, but in a tragic way it's the greatest lesson the young man could learn to becomes in truth the greatest superhero...

...The Amazing Spider-Man

Your Friendly Neighborhood, 

Aneesh Raikundalia           

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