By Ben Morse
It’s only been a week, but more than a few folks who when they talk people listen have come to the same conclusion: AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #655 by Dan Slott and Marcos Martin really struck a chord.
The powerful issue followed the consequences of Marla Jameson’s death at the hands of Alistair Smythe in issue #654, from her husband Jonah’s silent suffering to Peter Parker’s guilt and remorse. Slott composed a powerful and haunting story matched in impact by Martin’s immaculate and heartfelt heart.
In the midst of the story, the duo presented their masterpiece: a mind-bending two page spread by Martin in which Spider-Man stumbled through his psychedelic dreamscape searching for Marla to give him absolution and along the way encountering the other friends, family, allies and lovers he’s lost over the years.
|Black and white art from AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #655|
You can see the piece in black and white to your left and in color a bit further down; with the help of Dan Slott, we now present a comprehensive guide to the characters featured in this sequence, including when and how they met their demise.
Top row, left to right
SALLY AVRIL (first appeared in AMAZING FANTASY #15, died in UNTOLD TALES OF SPIDER-MAN #13): A high school classmate of Peter Parker’s who turned him down for a date then later adopted the costumed identity Bluebird in hopes of becoming Spider-Man’s sidekick; killed in a car accident speeding to the sight of a battle involving Spider-Man to take photographs.
NICK KATZENBERG (first appeared in WEB OF SPIDER-MAN #50, died off-panel): Daily Bugle photographer with low moral character who once attempted to blackmail Peter Parker, but also developed an odd friendship with him; died from lung cancer brought on by years of cigarette smoking.
NATHAN LUBENSKY (first appeared in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #47, died in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #336): Retirement home resident who met, fell in love with and became engaged to Peter Parker’s Aunt May; killed by The Vulture while helping Spider-Man save May, whom the villain had taken hostage.
UNNAMED WAITRESS (first appeared in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #559, died in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #560): Waitress who filed a lawsuit against actor Bobby Carr after he lost his temper with her and was killed by his super-power stalker, Paper Doll.
|The death of Captain Stacy|
CAPTAIN GEORGE STACY (first appeared in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #56, died in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #90): Heroic police captain, father to Peter Parker’s girlfriend, Gwen Stacy, and a paternal mentor to Peter himself; killed saving a child from falling debris during a fight between Spider-Man and Doctor Octopus, revealing to Peter he knew his secret identity and asking him to take care of Gwen with his last words.
Right-hand middle section, top to bottom
BILLY CONNORS (first appeared in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #6 (1963), died in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #631): Son of Doctor Curtis Connors, aka The Lizard; killed by The Lizard, who was attempting to subvert the Connors persona.
MARTHA CONNORS (first appeared in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #6 (1963), died in SPIDER-MAN: QUALITY OF LIFE #4): Wife of Doctor Curtis Connors, aka The Lizard; died from complications during an operation after contracting terminal cancer.
JACKPOT I (first appeared in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN FREE COMIC BOOK DAY #1, died in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN ANNUAL #35): Alana Jobson, powerless vigilante who acquired a super hero registration identity and fought crime alongside Spider-Man; died from an overdose of Mutant Growth Hormone, which she was taking in order to simulate powers.
LISA PARFREY (first appeared in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #550, died in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #551): New York City mayoral candidate; killed by Menace, who was seeking to secure the position for her father, Bill Holister, without his knowledge.
SEAN ROCKWELL (first appeared and died in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #560): Corrupt manager of actor Bobby Carr who was secretly supplying DB publisher Dexter Bennett with his whereabouts in order to provide invasive coverage; killed by Paper Doll.
Bottom row, left to right
|The death of Ben Reilly|
THE SCARLET SPIDER (first appeared in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #149, died in SPIDER-MAN #75): Ben Reilly, a clone of Peter Parker who had both his own costumed identity and also briefly became Spider-Man while Peter was retired; killed in battle by Norman Osborn, aka The Green Goblin, and combusted afterwards due to his unstable genetic makeup.
KAINE (first appeared in WEB OF SPIDER-MAN #118, “died” in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #635): Imperfect clone of Peter Parker who served as both an enemy and ally to him and Ben Reilly over the years; took Peter’s place and sacrificed his life to the Kraven Family to buy Spider-Man time, but unbeknownst to anybody, apparently survived.
NED LEEDS (first appeared in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #18 (1963), died in SPIDER-MAN VERSUS WOLVERINE #1): Reporter for the Daily Bugle, husband of Betty Brant, and sometime rival to Peter Parker; framed as the original Hobgoblin and killed by agents of The Foreigner, hired by Jack O’Lantern to secure the villainous identity for himself.
TIM HAMMOND (first appeared in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #248, died off-panel): Young boy suffering from leukemia that claimed to be Spider-Man’s biggest fan and got to meet his hero—who told him his origin and even unmasked—shortly before his death.
SPIDER-WOMAN III (first appeared in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #262, died in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #634): Mattie Franklin, young woman with similar powers to Spider-Man who donned her own costume and took over the Spider-Woman identity; sacrificed by Sasha Kravinoff to bring her son, Vladimir, back from the dead.
FREDERICK FOSWELL (first appeared in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #10 (1963), died in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #52): Daily Bugle reporter who became the criminal Big Man, but later reformed; stepped in front of a bullet intended for Bugle publisher J. Jonah Jameson out of gratitude for having received a second chance.
LANCE BANNON (first appeared in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #208, died in WEB OF SPIDER-MAN #114): Daily Bugle photographer and Peter Parker’s chief professional rival; killed by the villain F.A.C.A.D.E after learning his or her secret identity.
|The death of Gwen Stacy|
GWEN STACY (first appeared in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #31 (1963), died in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #121): Peter Parker’s longtime girlfriend and perhaps the love of his life; kidnapped by The Green Goblin and thrown off the Brooklyn Bridge, her neck snapped when Spider-Man attempted to save her.
THE BOOKIE first appeared in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN FREE COMIC BOOK DAY #1, died in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #582): John Ladue, fixture at the Bar With No Name who took bets on superhuman conflicts; attempting to repay a debt to Spider-Man, who had saved his life, The Bookie ran afoul of police officers attempting to frame the hero for a murder spree and was killed to keep him quiet.
CAPTAIN JEAN DEWOLFF (first appeared in MARVEL TEAM-UP #48, died in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #107): New York Police Captain and public supporter of Spider-Man, the only one he had on the force; shot by her unbalance lover Sergeant Stanley Carter, aka the Sin-Eater, who had become unhinged following the death of his partner and felt Jean represented the system that had allowed the crime.
EZEKIEL (first appeared in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #471, died in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #508): A wealthy man endowed with mystical spider powers that mentored Peter Parker and attempted to help him develop his connection to his own abilities; nearly sacrificed Peter to supernatural beings in order to keep his powers, but changed his mind and gave his own life instead.
OKSANA SYTSEVICH (first appeared in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #617, died in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #625): Waitress who fell in love with and married the original Rhino; killed by the new Rhino to lure his reformed predecessor out of retirement.
|Art from AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #655|
BENNETT BRANT (first appeared and died in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #11): Brother of Betty Brant who owed a gambling debt to criminal Blackie Glaxton; shot during a fight between Glaxton’s gang, Doctor Octopus and Spider-Man.
CHARLEMAGNE (first appeared and died in SPIDER-MAN VERSUS WOLVERINE #1): Skilled mercenary and assassin who was among Wolverine’s best friends; on the run, “Charlie” sought a quick death by interjecting herself into a fight between Wolverine and Spider-Man, taking a punch meant for the former by the latter, and becoming the only person Peter Parker has ever killed.