Few comic book characters have the sheer worldwide popularity of Peter Parker, the Amazing Spider-Man. The friendly neighborhood web-slinger has been one of the top dogs at Marvel Comics for decades now and is rivaled only by the two caped crusaders patrolling the DC Comics universe when it comes to media visibility. Still, despite nearly everyone growing up with some form of Spider-Man or another, very few can say that they’ve actively kept up with his published adventures since reaching adulthood. To put it mildly, Peter Parker’s been through some stuff in the meantime.
Casual fans may be most surprised to learn that the fate of their favorite wall-crawler has been in the hands of one solitary man for the better part of the decade. Writer Dan Slott is in the midst of a truly historic run on the title, having now been behind more Spidey tales than Stan Lee himself. While there are few bigger fans of Peter Parker than Slott, some critics on the Internet have accused him of secretly harboring a grudge against Spidey, based on the sheer amount of awful things he’s personally put our hero through. While that seems unlikely, it can’t really be argued that there have been some devastating Spider-Man storylines under the pen of Dan Slott. Here are some of the most horrible things that have happened to Spider-Man.
The most serious of consequences suffered by Spider-Man during Slott’s run began with this horrific revenge brought on by Doctor Octopus. Doc Ock was dying from a degenerative disease, and when his last crack at world domination failed, he decided to go for the ol’ brain swap trick. Ock managed to swap his brain into Spidey’s body and vice versa, meaning he had access to all of Spider-Man’s powers and memories, along with a much better body. Peter Parker, meanwhile, was left in the dying and decrepit frame of Otto Octavius. All of this was revealed in the thrilling twist ending of Amazing Spider-Man #697, during which the reader had no idea they were reading the adventures of Doctor Octopus until the final page.
While the entire Superior Spider-Man experience was undoubtedly awful for Peter Parker, one moment, in particular, stands out. Peter was not entirely erased from existence, but lived for awhile as a sort of “force ghost,” stuck inside Doc Ock’s head and forced to watch him commit atrocities. During his adventuring around his own brain, Peter managed to gain access to Doc Ock’s memories, which he immediately regretted. Some may remember that Doc Ock was once engaged to Aunt May, and Spidey discovered firsthand that the couple didn't exactly remain chaste before the wedding. This is the kind of horrific event that could only happen in a comic book.
Spider-Man managed to put up a valiant effort to reclaim his body from Doctor Octopus, using the villain’s own body to attempt a counterattack. Sadly, this ultimately failed, and Peter Parker died while stuck inside the body of one of his greatest enemies. Thankfully, Peter managed to force Doc Ock to relive his memories before he expired, which caused Doc Ock to learn about the whole “great power, great responsibility” thing and convinced him to make an attempt at being a hero.
Just because Spider-Man is now a jet-setting CEO doesn’t mean that tragedy has stopped affecting his life. His latest brush with death came when his father-in-law, Jay Jameson, contracted a serious illness. A mysterious corporation, New U Technologies, offered to step in with some revolutionary medical treatment, but Spider-Man’s patented spider-sense warned him that they were up to no good, so he convinced Jay to turn down the treatment. Spidey ended up being entirely correct, as the Jackal was behind New U, but he was unable to communicate this with his family, leading to them blaming him when Jay passed away.