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  1. #1
    Marked for Redemption David Walton's Avatar
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    Question Thread Drift: Previous Spider-Man Endpoints

    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Mets View Post
    Grant Morrison also suggested in Supergods that the thing that distinguished Peter Parker from other Silver Age superheroes, Kennedy Men (smart, successful, handsome with hot girlfriends) like Reed Richards, Ralph Dibny and Barry Allen was that he didn't get the girl. In that case, it's more fitting for Spider-Man to not ride off into the sunset with the love of his life.

    If you think about the end points of Spider-Man's story, it didn't really end with his personal life in a happy place.
    Amazing Fantasy #15 could have been the only Spider-Man story ever published.
    Amazing Spider-Man #33 is sometimes mentioned as the conclusion of Lee/ Ditko's run.
    Amazing Spider-Man #38 was the last Lee/ Ditko story.
    Amazing Spider-Man #122 was considered the end of the silver age.
    One More Day was the end of the first chapter of Spider-Man.
    Ultimate Spider-Man died a teen martyr.
    The first Spider-Man film ended with Peter realizing he has to be alone.
    Amazing Spider-Man is building up to the Death of Gwen Stacy.
    There are other good 'end points,' though.

    ASM 200 ends with Peter having saved Aunt May's life and confronted the burglar who killed his uncle, as well as embracing his powers.

    Kraven's Last Hunt would function as a nice bookend, as Peter rises from the grave just as he begins his new life with Mary Jane.

    The Clone Saga could have ended with Peter walking off into the sunset with Mary Jane to raise their child.

    Spider-Girl has Peter happily married with children, living his life as a forensic scientist.

    I imagine Peter's story having a happy ending along those lines.
    "I came to the conclusion that the optimist thought everything good except the pessimist, and the pessimist thought everything bad, except himself." -- G.K. Chesterton

  2. #2
    Moderator Mister Mets's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Walton View Post
    There are other good 'end points,' though.

    ASM 200 ends with Peter having saved Aunt May's life and confronted the burglar who killed his uncle, as well as embracing his powers.

    Kraven's Last Hunt would function as a nice bookend, as Peter rises from the grave just as he begins his new life with Mary Jane.

    The Clone Saga could have ended with Peter walking off into the sunset with Mary Jane to raise their child.

    Spider-Girl has Peter happily married with children, living his life as a forensic scientist.

    I imagine Peter's story having a happy ending along those lines.
    ASM 200 wasn't the end of Wolfman's run. Nor was Peter's private life in a stable place.

    The Clone Saga featured the revelation that the real Peter Parker wasted five years of his life with the mistaken belief that he was the clone. So it fits the idea of Spider-Man not getting the happy ending.

    The wedding has sometimes been mentioned as an endpoint, but I don't quite buy that. Some of the creative teams stuck around, and it was soon followed by writers doing sequels to the earlier work, with JM Dematteis featuring a follow-up to a Marvel Team Up Vermin story, and Peter David bringing back the Sin-Eater. In Amazing Spider-Man #300, Michelinie resolved his subplot about the villain who knew that Peter Parker was Spider-Man, and was able to bypass the spider sense.

    Kraven's Last Hunt would have plenty of sequels, including The Child Within, Soul of the Hunter and Grim Hunt.

    Spider-Girl is a spinoff of a What If?

    Amazing Spider-Man #149/150 is probably the only endpoint where Peter got the girl. The writer tied up his loose ends, and left the book after Peter Parker faced a tremendous challenge, and made his peace with a great tragedy.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Mets View Post
    If you think about the end points of Spider-Man's story, it didn't really end with his personal life in a happy place.
    Amazing Fantasy #15 could have been the only Spider-Man story ever published.
    Amazing Spider-Man #33 is sometimes mentioned as the conclusion of Lee/ Ditko's run.
    Amazing Spider-Man #38 was the last Lee/ Ditko story.
    Amazing Spider-Man #122 was considered the end of the silver age.
    One More Day was the end of the first chapter of Spider-Man.
    Ultimate Spider-Man died a teen martyr.
    The first Spider-Man film ended with Peter realizing he has to be alone.
    Amazing Spider-Man is building up to the Death of Gwen Stacy.
    None of those are truly "end points", they are just issues you personally selected. I could make a case, citing my own "end point" issues that proves a more fitting end is one where he finds true love.

    Amazing Fantasy #15 could have been the only Spider-Man story ever published. Yes, no issues could have ever got published also.
    Amazing Spider-Man ?? (one of the ones with Peter and Betty together) could be mentioned as the conclusion of Lee/ Ditko's run.
    Amazing Spider-Man #122 was considered the end of the silver age, and MJ matured enough to settle and care for Peter.
    Spectacular Spider-Man #27, the conclusion of Jenkins saga, ended with Peter and MJ together.
    One More Day was the interlude for the of the fourth chapter of Spider-Man.
    Ultimate Spider-Man died a teen martyr, in the arms of his true love with whom he had rec
    The third Spider-Man film ended with Peter realizing he had to be with MJ.
    Amazing Spider-Man ended with Peter attempting to reconcile with Gwen.

    And now for some other end points, which are more credible as end points.

    Spider-Man: The Final Adventure ended with Peter and MJ together.
    Spider-Man: Back in Black ended with the Sensational Annual, where MJ and Peter declared that they would always be together.
    Peter and MJ were together as a married couple in the final Spider-Man comics before the '99 renumbering.
    Spider-Girl is about a married Peter and MJ raising a family.
    Last edited by Russell; 12-10-2012 at 04:51 AM.

  4. #4
    Marked for Redemption David Walton's Avatar
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    Yeah, when I think of endpoints I'm speaking of stories that feel like they could function as an ending, whether that was the intention or not.

    ASM 200 brings things full circle. In a single issue, Peter deals with the loss of his powers and what they meant to him, stops a would be crook and runs into the security guard from AF 15, confronts his uncle's killer, and feels pretty good about being Spider-Man again.

    KLH is a pretty powerful metaphor for Peter being born into a new life with Mary Jane. If you separate it from what followed, I could easily see Peter retiring as Spider-Man after he'd dealt with the demons Vermin represented.

    The Clone Saga's intended conclusion and Spider-Girl are probably the most obvious argument that Peter will find some semblance of a normal life with MJ.

    Basically it all comes down to personal preference. There's plenty of stories to pull from where Pete's story doesn't end well. He's the last to fall during the Martian Invasion, but he falls. His mask ends up as a trophy in the Maestro's collection. Peter David had that one-shot issue of FNSM where MJ was a widow.

    My own feeling is that Peter goes through hell on a consistent basis in ASM, but he eventually finds some semblance of a normal life.

    I'll admit I'm a sucker for a happy ending, and Peter Parker deserves it more than most.
    "I came to the conclusion that the optimist thought everything good except the pessimist, and the pessimist thought everything bad, except himself." -- G.K. Chesterton

  5. #5
    Elder Member CMBMOOL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Mets View Post
    It's a few weeks too early for this discussion, because we don't know what's coming in Amazing Spider-Man #700, and where it leaves Peter Parker. But it probably wasn't pointless.

    Regardless of what Wacker says, I'm sure there are plans to bring back Peter Parker as Spider-Man. Bucky Cap got thirty issues, while it took a little under an year and a half to bring Bruce Wayne back as Batman, so if this takes just as long, Peter Parker will make his triumphant return at around the time Amazing Spider-Man 2 comes out. This isn't to suggest that Superior Spider-Man will be pointless, as there can be some interesting long-term consequences when a lesser-known character headlines such a major book.

    I would imagine that more loose ends would be tied up if Peter Parker's story were coming to an end. It would seem absurd not to do a story in which Peter learns that Flash Thompson is Venom if Slott and Marvel knew that there would be no opportunities to ever tell that story.

    If I'm wrong, Mary Jane is still going to be a part of the book. So those stories could easily require her not to be married to Peter Parker.

    Grant Morrison also suggested in Supergods that the thing that distinguished Peter Parker from other Silver Age superheroes, Kennedy Men (smart, successful, handsome with hot girlfriends) like Reed Richards, Ralph Dibny and Barry Allen was that he didn't get the girl. In that case, it's more fitting for Spider-Man to not ride off into the sunset with the love of his life.

    If you think about the end points of Spider-Man's story, it didn't really end with his personal life in a happy place.
    Amazing Fantasy #15 could have been the only Spider-Man story ever published.
    Amazing Spider-Man #33 is sometimes mentioned as the conclusion of Lee/ Ditko's run.
    Amazing Spider-Man #38 was the last Lee/ Ditko story.
    Amazing Spider-Man #122 was considered the end of the silver age.
    One More Day was the end of the first chapter of Spider-Man.
    Ultimate Spider-Man died a teen martyr.
    The first Spider-Man film ended with Peter realizing he has to be alone.
    Amazing Spider-Man is building up to the Death of Gwen Stacy.

    Then what about Spider-girl and the MC-2 fate of Peter Parker ?

  6. #6
    Were You There? Michael P's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Mets View Post
    One More Day was the end of the first chapter of Spider-Man.
    No, Amazing Spider-Man 33 was the ending of the first chapter of Spider-Man. I would put One More Day as the end of the fourth or fifth chapter.
    "If you can't say anything good about someone, sit right here by me." - Alice Roosevelt Longworth, on manners

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  7. #7
    Moderator Mister Mets's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Russell View Post
    None of those are truly "end points", they are just issues you personally selected. I could make a case, citing my own "end point" issues that proves a more fitting end is one where he finds true love.

    Amazing Fantasy #15 could have been the only Spider-Man story ever published. Yes, no issues could have ever got published also.
    Amazing Spider-Man ?? (one of the ones with Peter and Betty together) could be mentioned as the conclusion of Lee/ Ditko's run.
    Amazing Spider-Man #122 was considered the end of the silver age, and MJ matured enough to settle and care for Peter.
    Spectacular Spider-Man #27, the conclusion of Jenkins saga, ended with Peter and MJ together.
    One More Day was the interlude for the of the fourth chapter of Spider-Man.
    Ultimate Spider-Man died a teen martyr, in the arms of his true love with whom he had rec
    The third Spider-Man film ended with Peter realizing he had to be with MJ.
    Amazing Spider-Man ended with Peter attempting to reconcile with Gwen.

    And now for some other end points, which are more credible as end points.

    Spider-Man: The Final Adventure ended with Peter and MJ together.
    Spider-Man: Back in Black ended with the Sensational Annual, where MJ and Peter declared that they would always be together.
    Peter and MJ were together as a married couple in the final Spider-Man comics before the '99 renumbering.
    Spider-Girl is about a married Peter and MJ raising a family.
    These weren't just issues I selected.

    If Amazing Fantasy #15 hadn't sold out, it would have been the only Spider-Man book ever published. Its success led to a new Amazing Spider-Man title for Marvel, but it could have been the equivalent of a pilot that never went to series.

    The Master Planner Saga is widely considered the highlight of Lee/ Ditko's Amazing Spider-Man run. And it came towards the tail end, with the next five issues dealing with the aftermath for Peter Parker.

    Mary Jane's decision to comfort Peter didn't make Gwen Stacy's death any less tragic, although you're right that there was the hint that Peter Parker wouldn't be alone.

    I preferred Jenkins to JMS, but his run had no discernible impact on what JMS was doing in the main title. So Jenkins's final issue isn't something an Amazing Spider-Man reader would consider a conclusion.

    The third Spider-Man film also suggested that Peter had to choose between being Spider-Man and being with MJ. The series ended without a true conclusion, the way Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 and The Dark Knight Rises were finales for those series. There was also the problem that the first two films were among the best superhero films ever made, while the last was considered average at best.

    Spider-Man: The Final Adventure was written at a time when Peter Parker was believed to be the clone. It's the equivalent of giving a supporting character a sendoff.

    I don't consider the '99 renumbering a conclusion because Howard Mackie remained as writer, and spent the first few issues resolving plot threads introduced in The Gathering of the Five/ The Final Chapter.


    Quote Originally Posted by David Walton View Post
    Yeah, when I think of endpoints I'm speaking of stories that feel like they could function as an ending, whether that was the intention or not.

    ASM 200 brings things full circle. In a single issue, Peter deals with the loss of his powers and what they meant to him, stops a would be crook and runs into the security guard from AF 15, confronts his uncle's killer, and feels pretty good about being Spider-Man again.

    KLH is a pretty powerful metaphor for Peter being born into a new life with Mary Jane. If you separate it from what followed, I could easily see Peter retiring as Spider-Man after he'd dealt with the demons Vermin represented.

    The Clone Saga's intended conclusion and Spider-Girl are probably the most obvious argument that Peter will find some semblance of a normal life with MJ.

    Basically it all comes down to personal preference. There's plenty of stories to pull from where Pete's story doesn't end well. He's the last to fall during the Martian Invasion, but he falls. His mask ends up as a trophy in the Maestro's collection. Peter David had that one-shot issue of FNSM where MJ was a widow.

    My own feeling is that Peter goes through hell on a consistent basis in ASM, but he eventually finds some semblance of a normal life.

    I'll admit I'm a sucker for a happy ending, and Peter Parker deserves it more than most.
    Peter may deserve a happy ending, but one of the things that made Spider-Man unique was that the character often didn't get what he deserved.

    When trying to determine endings, I look at several things. Did the writers consider it to be some sort of ending? It helps if it's the conclusion of a major run. So One More Day would count, as it marked the conclusion of JMS, Peter David and Sacasa's runs on the title. Amazing Spider-Man #149/150 would count as it marked the conclusion of Conway's run on the title.

    Could it have been the final Spider-Man story? Here publishing history is more important than artistic merit. If the first Spider-Man film had flopped, that would have been it for the series. Likewise with Amazing Fantasy #15, the last issue of a cancelled anthology title.

    Did it mark the conclusion of a particular philosophical approach to the series? Although this might actually apply to Kraven's Last Hunt, which bought the new creative teams of Amazing Spider-Man, Spectacular Spider-Man and Web of Spider-Man time to start telling ongoing stories of Peter and Mary Jane Parker. Technically, the Sin-Eater sequel could also fall in that category, as it was Peter David's last work on the series before Conway took over.

    It also arguably applies to Sensational Spider-Man Annual One/ FNSM #23 and Sensational Spider-Man #40, essentially the last stories before One More Day, which went for an Illusion of Change approach over a more consistent Commitment to Change. That said, there were some Back in Black loose ends which got tied up in One More Day.

    Asking if it could function as an ending is a bit arbitrary because much of it depends on your own impression of what the end of the series should be like.
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  8. #8
    Marked for Redemption David Walton's Avatar
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    It's no more arbitrary than treating ASM 33 as though it's an endpoint when the series has gone on another forty eight years...
    "I came to the conclusion that the optimist thought everything good except the pessimist, and the pessimist thought everything bad, except himself." -- G.K. Chesterton

  9. #9
    Veteran Member Leocomix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Mets View Post
    It's a few weeks too early for this discussion, because we don't know what's coming in Amazing Spider-Man #700, and where it leaves Peter Parker. But it probably wasn't pointless.

    Regardless of what Wacker says, I'm sure there are plans to bring back Peter Parker as Spider-Man. Bucky Cap got thirty issues, while it took a little under an year and a half to bring Bruce Wayne back as Batman, so if this takes just as long, Peter Parker will make his triumphant return at around the time Amazing Spider-Man 2 comes out. This isn't to suggest that Superior Spider-Man will be pointless, as there can be some interesting long-term consequences when a lesser-known character headlines such a major book.

    I would imagine that more loose ends would be tied up if Peter Parker's story were coming to an end. It would seem absurd not to do a story in which Peter learns that Flash Thompson is Venom if Slott and Marvel knew that there would be no opportunities to ever tell that story.

    If I'm wrong, Mary Jane is still going to be a part of the book. So those stories could easily require her not to be married to Peter Parker.

    Grant Morrison also suggested in Supergods that the thing that distinguished Peter Parker from other Silver Age superheroes, Kennedy Men (smart, successful, handsome with hot girlfriends) like Reed Richards, Ralph Dibny and Barry Allen was that he didn't get the girl. In that case, it's more fitting for Spider-Man to not ride off into the sunset with the love of his life.

    If you think about the end points of Spider-Man's story, it didn't really end with his personal life in a happy place.
    Amazing Fantasy #15 could have been the only Spider-Man story ever published.
    Amazing Spider-Man #33 is sometimes mentioned as the conclusion of Lee/ Ditko's run.
    Amazing Spider-Man #38 was the last Lee/ Ditko story.
    Amazing Spider-Man #122 was considered the end of the silver age.
    One More Day was the end of the first chapter of Spider-Man.
    Ultimate Spider-Man died a teen martyr.
    The first Spider-Man film ended with Peter realizing he has to be alone.
    Amazing Spider-Man is building up to the Death of Gwen Stacy.
    I've seen ASM 200 considered the end (resolution of the burglar plot) after that a new dynamic is created with the Black Cat
    ASM 149 end with the death of Peter Parker
    Annual 21 is an end too (a new dynamic is created with Venom)
    ASM 400 as well

  10. #10
    Senior Member Chris S.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Walton View Post
    It's no more arbitrary than treating ASM 33 as though it's an endpoint when the series has gone on another forty eight years...
    Yea I'm not sure I get this discussion of endpoints. I could see a discussion for a focus shift, but an endpoint?

    And OMD wasn't pointless because it erased the marriage. How could that be considered pointless?
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  11. #11
    Moderator Mister Mets's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael P View Post
    No, Amazing Spider-Man 33 was the ending of the first chapter of Spider-Man. I would put One More Day as the end of the fourth or fifth chapter.
    Fair point. Wacker described One More Day as the end of the first chapter in an early letter to the editor, and I would say that there was a difference in direction/ focus. But you could make the argument that there were other second and third and fourth chapters.

    Quote Originally Posted by David Walton View Post
    It's no more arbitrary than treating ASM 33 as though it's an endpoint when the series has gone on another forty eight years...
    ASM 33 could be considered the end of the beginning, as can 122 or 149/150. It depends on how you look at it.

    It was the high point of the first run, and came towards the end of it. It's been mentioned a few times by others. Empire State also became a consistent part of the status quo with ASM 34.

    Quote Originally Posted by Leocomix View Post
    I've seen ASM 200 considered the end (resolution of the burglar plot) after that a new dynamic is created with the Black Cat
    ASM 149 end with the death of Peter Parker
    Annual 21 is an end too (a new dynamic is created with Venom)
    ASM 400 as well
    ASM 400 was smack in the middle of the Clone Saga, and ended with a major cliffhanger. The Dematteis/ Bagley creative team also stuck around for a few more issues.

    I've mentioned 149/150. And you could make the case that this marked the end of Peter's growth as a character. Conway's run was wrapped up. Peter Parker ended up with MJ. Wein would go on to depict a mostly stable status quo, in which several beats of Conway's were reversed, with Doctor Octopus returning from the dead, and Harry Osborn becoming one of the gang again.

    Venom had been seeded a few earlier Web of Spider-Man issues, before ASM Annual 21. But there is a clear demarcation between the wedding era and what came before, including a significant overhaul with the creative teams, and resolution of plot threads.

    I'm not sure what the ending is though. Is it the Mad Dog Ward crossover? Is it the stories before Amazing Spider-Man #290, which kicked off Michelinie's run on the title and featured the proposal?

    You could consider Amazing Spider-Man #290-295, Web of Spider-Man #29-34, Spectacular Spider-Man #128-133/136 as part of a transitional period, before you had consistent creative teams writing about a married Spider-Man.
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  12. #12
    Marked for Redemption David Walton's Avatar
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    I get why ASM 33 could be seen as an endpoint. I just don't see why you're saying other selections are arbitrary.

    With the exception of Bendis' USM arc, none of these stories were written with the intention of ending Peter Parker's story. It might be that Ditko had said all he wanted to say by ASM 33, but he went on for another few issues, and ASM has continued for nearly fifty years without him. So it seems silly to say that ASM is a legitimate artistic measure of how Spider-Man's story should end, but ASM 200 or Spider-Girl or Kraven's Last Hunt aren't. If anything, the more recent examples had the added benefit of pulling from several more decades of Spider-Man's history. When you've got a character who's been around for fifty years, you can't really tie them down to one man's interpretation. Especially since even then Spider-Man was being filtered through two artistic visions.

    Morrison's point about Peter never getting the girl isn't really as applicable post-Romita. He tends to get the girl, lose the girl, get the girl. Rinse, wash, repeat.

    I'll put it like this: If you can say Pete never gets the girl in a hypothetical ending because that's the pattern, you can just as easily argue that he never dies (at least, not for long) because...that's the formula.

    Like I said before, it all comes down to personal preference. Some people like to see the Batman issue where Ra's is believed dead and he spends the night with Talia as a hypothetical endpoint. Others prefer the Batman Beyond version...or even the Earth Two one.

    I'll argue there's nothing in Peter's story up to this point that suggests he can't settle down eventually and live a semi-normal life. And it's worth noting that the most popular alternate future take says as much.

    But ultimately, it's a story....and like any story, there's other versions! That's the beauty of it.
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  13. #13

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    Ralph Dibny and Barry Allen? Not sure I would call their ending a happy, got the girl type of thing just yet. Reed Richards, ok, but he's never lost the girl. Totally incomparable with Peter Parker.

    Batman is close, as we have discussed before. But his ends are typically not exactly unhappy, but are typically unmarried/not with a girl.

    As to the thread's premise, I would put most of that into the particular pathos of the Lee era. Lee loved pathos! His favorite character to write was the Silver Surfer, who practically bleeds pathos. So looking at the various endpoints cited, many are from that era or, like the movies, were heavily influenced by the Lee era. Its partly the character and partly just the era.

    The married years had a different kind of pathos. Things were more about losing MJ and May rather than about just losing May. I maintain that the misery quotient of Peter is directly proportional to the number of NPCs he has to worry about. With a wife is demonstrably more stressful and potentially filled with pathos than without a wife. The Clone Saga era was really intense, mostly because MJ was there to worry about. Spider-Man Reign, which was based on a married timeline, is probably the saddest end to Peter Parker yet published.

    (USM was potentially saddest because he died, but he was shown being pretty happy in the afterlife, too, so its a wash.)
    Last edited by Scott Taylor; 12-10-2012 at 03:59 PM.
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    Senior Member Xenon's Avatar
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    The only "ending" to the series that I think actually wraps up things is 122. It's a tragic ending to be sure, but it's an ending with that leaves just the right amount of hope.

    Let's break it down.

    1) It's a poetic bookend. The saga of Spider-Man began because Peter Parker failed to act and it shattered his world and cost him his closest loved one. The end comes with the death of his closest loved one because he acted.
    2) It finally deals justice to the one villain in Spider-Man's world who had successfully evaded justice through the entire run up until that point. Green Goblin was the white whale up to that point. He pushed Peter to his limit and then got away scot free. Even when he was captured, Peter covered for him and let him go about his life. 122 ends with the death of the Goblin at his own hands, dealing him poetic justice and finally leaving Spider-Man's greatest foe defeated.
    3) Up until 122, Spider-Man's life is, essentially, on track. He's dealt with hardships, to be sure, he's changed courses, but that's the normal course of life. We all have hurdles to overcome. But he had overcome. He had found the woman he truly loved, he had struggled with and mostly accepted his role as Spider-Man, he had gotten a full ride to college that was obviously going to pan out thanks to his brilliance, and he had even made peace with his old tormentors and found acceptance as Peter Parker. 121-122 snaps that path to a close,and sure enough, his life has never again been nearly as on track as it was then. It's is, even in the thousands of comics that came afterwards, still basically an ending.

    The Clone Saga ending with Peter riding off into the sunset is also an "ending" to the series (or could have been), but it comes with some caveats. Still the second strongest point, but a distant second.
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    Member derekakadrock's Avatar
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    ASM #33 works as a potential ending because it brings things full circle from the beginning perfectly. Peter does nothing and loses Uncle Ben; Peter gives his all and saves Aunt May.

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