Death – How Green Goblin Brought Aunt May Back From the Dead

Death – Obituary

The Green Goblin brought back Aunt May, but was this a good thing for Peter in the long run?

WARNING: The following contains potential spoilers for Spider-Man: No Way Home, in theaters now.

In Spider-Man: No Way Home’s most pivotal scene, viewers see Willem Dafoe’s Green Goblin responsible for the death of Peter Parker’s beloved Aunt May played by Marisa Tomei. The aftermath of this scene is sure to define the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Peter Parker, as he finally learns from his beloved Aunt that “with great power, comes great responsibility.” Peter losing his mother-figure seems to be a trend in other Spider-Man-related media, as the 2018 video game Marvel’s Spider-Man also sees Peter lose Aunt May to Doctor Octopus’ Devil’s Breath virus. While Aunt May has “died” a few times in the comics, her fate has never seemed as final as it has in the MCU and video game adaptation.


Keeping Aunt May alive has often resorted to many strange retcons in Spidey’s history. The unwillingness for Marvel to kill off Aunt May always seems to be associated with holding back Peter’s character development. To attest to this fact, Aunt May was shot in the lead-up to “One More Day” by J. Michael Straczynski and Joe Quesada where his marriage to Mary Jane Watson would be completely erased. In another famous ret-con, the man responsible for her murder in the MCU, the Green Goblin, was the the one responsible for bringing her back into Peter’s life. This storyline and the way it brings back Aunt May poses an interesting “What If” for fans, as the “May” that Peter and fans originally thought was coming back wasn’t the elderly aunt, but Peter and Mary Jane’s daughter.


Related: Marvel Officially Declares Aunt May, Doc Ock ‘Comics’ Hottest Couple’


In the comics, Aunt May originally died in Amazing Spider-Man #400 by J.M. DeMatteis, Mark Bagley, and Larry Mahlstedt, which saw Peter Parker by his Aunt’s bedside (after she revealed she knew he was Spider-Man) in one of the most touching moments seen in mainstream comics. That was until “The Gathering of Five” and “Final Chapter” story arcs (by Todd DeZago, John Byrne, Howard Mackie, Joe Bennett, Rafael Kayanann, John Romita Jr., and Luke Ross) where Peter Parker would be drawn into a conflict with his arch-nemesis, Norman Osborn, who he originally believed to have kidnapped his stillborn daughter, only to find the “May” Norman has held captive is his aunt.


This retcon to Aunt May’s death leads to one of the most convoluted explanations seen in comics. While he is fighting Spider-Man, the Goblin reveals that he had faked her death by hiring a dying actress who was genetically altered to look like May. Even though this seems to be stretching plausibility even by comic book standards (and Osborn never reveals his motivation for doing this), it nonetheless brought a staple character back into the mythos and provided a return to the status quo. “The Gathering of Five” retcon is interesting as it can lead fans to wonder how Spider-Man comics would be different had it been Peter’s daughter that was the one to be rescued at the end of that storyline.


Related: How Spider-Girl Helped Green Goblin’s Grandson Move Past His Family Legacy


The idea of Peter Parker and Mary Jane not only being happily married but also raising a family of their own, is an idea that can be seen in various alternative universes and timelines. The MC2 Universe’s Spider-Girl/Spider-Woman (May Parker herself), the Spider-family centered Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows ongoing which ran from 2015-2018, Spider-Man: Life Story by Chip Zdarsky and Mark Bagley, and Marvel’s Dark Ages by Tom Taylor and Iban Coello, all feature some variation of Peter Parker married and with a daughter. While these series remain popular alternative universes, 616 Peter never seems to get to the life milestone of having children of his own to raise.


Much like being married, having a child is seen by some to be aging the Peter Parker too much, and like having his Aunt May dying off for good, it’s also seen as too much of a departure from the status quo Spidey fans have been used to over for over 50 years. The delicate balance between character progression and familiarity is a delicate balance that comics seem to always be grappling with.

KEEP READING: The New Spider-Man’s Son Became the Daredevil of Marvel’s Next Generation

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What Is An Obituary

In national newspapers an obituary (obit for short) is a news article that reports the recent death of a prominent person. Although it tends to focus on positive aspects of the subject’s life this is not always the case. According to Nigel Farndale, the Obituaries Editor of The Times: “Obits should be life affirming rather than gloomy, but they should also be opinionated, leaving the reader with a strong sense of whether the subject lived a good life or bad; whether they were right or wrong in the handling of their public affairs.”

In local newspapers, an obituary may be published for any local resident upon death. A necrology is a register or list of records of the deaths of people related to a particular organization, group or field, which may only contain the sparsest details, or small obituaries. Historical necrologies can be important sources of information.