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The term “comic book death” refers to a situation where a well-known comic book character – usually a major protagonist or antagonist – dies, only to be resurrected after some time and brought back to the main narrative. Lots of big characters have experienced this kind of death (Batman, Superman, Captain America, etc.), and while most of them have come back – even Bucky and Jason Todd – Spider-Man’s Uncle Ben still remains the only major character never to have been resurrected, most probably because his death plays such an integral part in Spider-Man’s origin. While we’re on the topic of Spider-Man and comic book deaths, we have decided to give you a list of all the times Spider-Man – the Peter Parker version of the character – has died in the comic books.
The list is going to contain all the main narrative (Earth-616) death, as well as the deaths of alternative versions of Peter Parker and his deaths in derivative materials. Each death is going to be expanded with some additional information about the circumstances surrounding it so you are going to get a full insight into every event. Enjoy!
How and when did Peter Parker die?
As far as we have managed to find out, Peter Parker has died 9 times in different iterations of the character as of January 2021. Most of them were from alternative universes, while the main universe and derivative materials have two each. This list is not going to include the many deaths of many alternative universe Peter Parkers caused by Morlun and his family, which part of the larger Spider-Verse narrative; these have been included because there are really too many Peter Parkers that died during these events to simply list. If you’re interested in them, though, we can refer you to this link. Before we tell you about them, we have decided to give you the summary in a table:
|1||What If? #4||1989||Earth-1089|
|2||Infinity Gauntlet #4||1991||Earth-616|
|4||Amazing Spider-Man #500||2003||Earth-312500|
|5||Ultimate Spider-Man #160||2011||Earth-1610|
|6||Amazing Spider-Man #700||2013||Earth-616|
|7||Edge of Spider-Verse #2||2014||Earth-65|
|8||Avengers: Infinity War||2018||Marvel Cinematic Universe|
|9||Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse||2018||Earth-TRN700|
Now, let us describe all of the situations:
1. What If? #4 (1989)
In October 1989, Marvel showed us a story involving the Earth-1089 version of Peter Parker. This version appeared in only one issue, where it was shown that this version of Peter Parker bonded with the Venom symbiote to become Spider-Man. Yet, the Venom symbiote permanently bonded with Parker – as he was hesitant in asking for Mr. Fantastic’s help in removing it – and started killing him. It fed on his brain and quickly aged him so that when the symbiote left his body for Hulk’s (Venom knew Parker was dying so it found another host), Peter Parker was 85 years old and on the brink of death. After one last goodbye with Aunt May, he was found dead by Mr. Fantastic; he was researching ways to kill the symbiote when he died.
2. Infinity Gauntlet #4 (1991)
During the Universe’s fight against an overpowered Thanos with the Infinity Gauntlet, Lady Death – the love of Thanos’ life – suddenly left him, after which he created Terraxia to replace her. She was created in his likeness, but had several imperfections so that she would not be a perfect clone. Terraxia was extremely powerful; she managed to rip-off Iron Man’s head and when Spider-Man came and attacked Thanos, she immediately defended her creator, beating him to a pulp with a rock. She then showed the bloody rock to Thanos as proof that Spider-Man was dead. This was Spider-Man’s first major death in the main continuity of Earth-616 but he was revived then the effects of Thanos’ chaos were annulled.
3. Ruins #2 (1995)
This version of Peter Parker from the Ruins series, an alternative continuity, has a pretty bizarre and morbid twist to Spider-Man’s origin. Peter Parker is a student who works for the Daily Bugle to pay for his college tuition. Okay. Nothing knew. One day, he gets bitten by a radioactive spider with a mutated virus that he himself experimented on. A twist, but still okay. He becomes Spider-Man now, right? Not exactly. Parker visits the newspaper and infects Philip Sheldon with the spider’s virus. Sheldon dies. Soon after, Parker himself manifests a rash and becomes ill, ending up hospitalised. The end result? You can see in the picture above… just horrible. We didn’t actually see this version of Peter Parker die, but it’s quite obvious that the poor guy died in horrible pain.
4. Amazing Spider-Man #500 (2003)
Seen in Madam Web’s view of the future, this storyline presents a possible future for Peter Parker who, after having killed Kraven the Hunter out of revenge, became much darker. He ended up being expelled from the Avengers and even killing Doctor Octopus, his archenemy. He continued to be a dark hero in New York City, but at one point he becomes a fugitive from the law. At the end of Madam Web’s vision, Peter Parker visits aunt May’s grave, knowing that the younger version of him is watching him. The NYPD approach him and offer him the chance to surrender, which he refuses; having no other choice, the policemen gun him down and kill him.
5. Ultimate Spider-Man #160 (2011)
This alternative version of the character has quite a biography and it actually appeared for quite some time in Marvel’s publications. Still, in 2001, Marvel decided to give this version of the character a proper send-off in the storyline “Death of the Greatest Hero of All”, which resulted in the death of this Earth’s Peter Parker. It all started when Spider-Man took Punisher’s bullet aimed at Captain America and, with the bullet inside him, weakening him, then went on to battle against Norman Osborn and the Six. Spider-Man put up a good fight, but he was already weak and he sustained several fatal injuries during the fight, which ultimately led to his death in the hands of Mary Jane Watson.
6. Amazing Spider-Man #700 (2013)
The last issue from the “Dying Wish” storyline saw Peter Parker die for the second time in the main narrative continuity. In the last issue, Otto Octavius, who was dying, already managed to swap bodies with Peter Parker, thus becoming Spider-Man, while the latter became Doctor Octopus. The real Peter was determined to get his body back so he went after Doctor Octopus for one final confrontation. Despite the brutal fight, a shared moment (when both of them share the memory of losing uncle Ben and, afterwards, all the emotions Spider-Man had to go through in his career) made this an emotional farewell and one of the best comic book deaths in history. As Otto Octavius, in Spider-Man’s body, realises that he does not want Parker’s life, Parker, in Octavius’ body, says it is too late and makes Octavius promise that he is going to continue being Spider-Man; Octavius makes that promise. This is how Peter Parker died and how the Superior Spider-Man was born.
7. Edge of Spider-Verse #2 (2014)
In this universe, Peter Parker doesn’t really become Spider-Man; it is Gwen Stacy who becomes the arachnid-themed superheroine known as Spider-Woman. Peter Parker is a bullied high school student and a good friend of Gwen’s, who also has romantic feelings for her. Fed up with being bullied, he steals a formula from Dr. Curt Connors and becomes the villain Lizard. The formula is unstable and Peter has trouble controlling his Lizard persona, which ultimately leads to a confrontation with Spider-Woman. Although he pleads her to stop, she defeats him; as a result of the sustained injuries, Peter Parker dies. Before he died, though, he said that he just wanted to be special like Gwen and his actions inspired her later heroic acts as Spider-Woman.
8. Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
After the Avengers fail to stop Thanos twice, the Mad Titan snaps his fingers and activates the full powers of the Infinity Gauntlet. Thanos’ plan was to eliminate half of all the living beings in the universe, but on a random basis, without any specific criteria. This resulted in the deaths of some of the Avengers, among which was also Peter Parker, a.k.a. Spider-Man, who was one of the victim of Thanos’ snap. We all remember his emotional farewell with Iron Man. Luckily for all Spider-Man fans, the effects of Thanos’ snap have been reversed in Avengers: Endgame and Peter Parker was brought back to life and will have an important role in future MCU stories.
9. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)
“Blonde Peter Parker”, as he is colloquially known, is this universe’s main Peter Parker and he was part of the same dimension as the movie’s protagonist, Miles Morales. During his clash with Kingpin, a clash Miles Morales witnesses, Peter Parker is killed by the powerful supervillain, thus dying in the main continuity. This led to Miles Morales becoming that universe’s main Spider-Man and later interacting with all the other Spider-Men from the large(r) Spider-Verse. His death was thus not in vain, as it led to the formation of a group of Spider-Men, who would eventually stop Kingpin and his evil plans. A sequel was announced so we’ll definitely be seeing more of this universe.
Who has killed Peter Parker so far?
Now that we have explained all the circumstances regarding all the deaths of Peter Parker (Spider-Man), we are going to give you another summary, this time of all the characters that have killed Spider-Man, and with that table, we are going to finish today’s article (the numbers correspond to the table above):
|#||Murderer||Cause of Death|
|1||Venom symbiote||Rapid ageing caused by the permanent fusion between Peter Parker and the Venom symbiote|
|2||Terraxia||Head bashed in with a rock|
|3||Radioactive spider||Body completely infected from the virus and the radiation from the spider|
|4||NYPD||Gunned down by the policemen after refusing to surrender peacefully|
|5||Multiple contributors||Died from a gunshot from the Punisher and from several injuries while fighting Norman Osborn and the Six|
|6||Doctor Octopus||Died after swapping bodies with the dying Otto Octavius, who then became Spider-Man, while Peter Parker died in the villain’s body|
|7||Spider-Woman||Dies after a battle with Gwen Stacy, this Earth’s Spider-Woman|
|8||Thanos||Killed as part of Thanos’ snap with the Infinity Gauntlet|
|9||Kingpin||Beaten to death by Kingpin personally|
We hope you had fun reading this and that we helped solve this dilemma for you. See you next time and don’t forget to follow us!