The More Peter Changes, the More He Stays the Same in Peter Parker: the Spectacular Spider-Man 306

by Spencer Irwin

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Peter Parker’s been a lot of things in his 50+ years of existence — a bullied high school student, a harried college student and photographer, a loving husband, a clone, a CEO — but none of those roles have ever changed who Peter really is inside. This holds true in Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man 306, an issue that asserts that, no matter how much Peter changes, he’ll always be a hero.

Chip Zdarsky, Adam Kubert, and Juan Frigeri aren’t messing around when it comes to changing Peter, either, using the Vedomi fail-safe capsule to overwrite Peter’s DNA, quite literally changing his insides down to their smallest component. For good measure, they even kill and “reboot” him.

That’s a word with a loaded history in comics, and that’s likely an intentional choice. It’s easy to see the similarities between what the fail-safe does to Peter and what various new Spider-Man creative teams do; both tinker with his insides, amplify or discard certain memories or abilities, or sometimes even kill him and bring him back to life.

In Spectacular 306 Zdarsky and company specifically heighten Peter’s abilities as well as give him access to all his memories, allowing him to recall every experience he’s ever had in his life. There’s some intriguing possibilities there (especially the cut to Mary Jane when Peter says that he can “see everything” — does “everything” include retconned marriages?), but Peter quickly pushes them aside. There’s a vicious alien force threatening to destroy the Earth, after all, and that means Spider-Man is needed. The fail-safe may have changed his insides, but it can’t change who is truly is inside: a hero.

And in Spectacular 306 being a hero means dying, being rebooted, and immediately, knowingly marching right back off towards your certain death yet again in order to save the entire planet. This issue is Peter at his most heroic, even in the midst of massive physical and emotional upheavals (we haven’t even mentioned the recent discovery that Teresa actually is his sister yet). Peter will always be willing to make the heroic choice, the sacrifice play, because long long ago he learned that with great power must also come great responsibility, and that’s a truth about Peter Parker that will always remain true no matter what how drastically anything else about him changes.

The conversation doesn’t stop there. What do you wanna talk about from this issue?

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