- The Final Chapter (comics)
The Final Chapter was a four-part storyline from
Marvel Comicspublished in 1999. It ran across three major Spider-Mantitles at the time (" The Spectacular Spider-Man", "", and " The Amazing Spider-Man"), with the intention of closing one ("Spectacular"), and "rebranding" two ("Spider-Man", and "Amazing"), back to "Issue One", a mandate from Editor-in-Chief Bob Harras. It was written by John Byrne, and illustrated by both Byrne and John Romita Jr.
The storyline proved controversial with fans, as it resurrected the character of
Peter Parker's elderly aunt May Parker, who had been killed off at the height of The Clone Sagaseveral years ago in "Amazing Spider-Man" Issue 400. Tom DeFalco, who had left months earlier with his Identity Crisisstoryline, had originally intended Peter and Mary Jane Parker's daughter, May Parker Jr, to be returned to them by Kaine, but Mackie and Byrne insisted they have the older May revived so she could fit into their new relaunch.
The storyline immediately followed events from
The Gathering of Fivearc, and the opening chapter deals with the five summoned by Osborn acquiring their "gifts".
Believing he has acquired the gift of power,
Norman Osbornbecomes the Green Goblin once again, scheming to mutate humanity with a DNA bomb he is developing.
Following a clue from a dying
Allyson Mongraneregarding the safety of "May", who he believes to be his daughter, Peter Parker pursues Osborn to his mansion, where a battle reveals that his Aunt May, not his baby girl, is alive and well. Osborn seemingly triumphs over Spider-Man, even unmasking him in public, but in the final installment, it is revealed that the entire battle was a delusion of Osborn's mind. In reality, he had acquired the gift of madness from the gathering, and had been reduced to an insane, rambling, and defeated individual.
Spider-Man successfully prevents the
Daily Buglebuilding from collapsing, but despite saving much of New York, Spider-Man is still mistrusted and labeled a public menace. Once more, Peter burns his Spider-Man costume, satisfied that one of the most important women in his life is with he and Mary Jane yet again.
Aspects of "The Final Chapter" resurfaced in major storylines through the second volume of "Amazing Spider-Man". Following Peter's retirement, the true recipient of the Gathering's gift of power,
Mattie Franklin, the niece of J. Jonah Jameson, assumed the role of Spider-Man, but her inexperience led to a brutal assault at the hands of another "Gathering" recipient, Shadrac. Peter saved Franklin, shielding his own identity, and reclaimed the mantle of Spider-Man in order to help Icemantake down Shadrac. Franklin would later briefly become Spider-Woman, and was given her own title, but she proved unpopular and the title was folded. Madame Webwas also revealed as being a member of "The Gathering", having gained the gift of youth.
Norman Osborn would resurface as the Green Goblin in a loose trilogy of storylines written by
Roger Stern, Howard Mackie, and Paul Jenkinsin 2000, where Osborn reclaimed his sanity and brainwashed Peter, intending to mold him into a successor far worthier of the Osborn name than his son Harry.
"The Final Chapter" provides one of the more crucial aspects of the
MC2 Spider-Girltimeline. Written by Tom DeFalco, the "Spider-Girl" title made full use of the intended climax to DeFalco's arc, returning the younger May to the Parkers rather than the elderly version. An alternate ending to this arc also kills off Osborn, and severely injures Peter, costing him one of his legs, and ending his career as Spider-Man.
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