Marvel’s Superman Just Killed Spider-Man’s Aunt May


In the Heroes Reborn event, a powerless Peter Parker still finds his way to heroism after Marvel’s Superman analog Hyperion kills Aunt May.

Warning! Spoilers for Heroes Reborn: Peter Parker, The Amazing Shutterbug #1 ahead!

In Marvel’s Heroes Reborn event, a powerless Peter Parker still finds his way to heroism after Marvel’s Superman analog kills Aunt May. The Reborn event explores a Marvel universe in which the Avengers never existed. Instead, a superhero team called the Squadron Supreme, a twisted pastiche of the Justice League, serves as Earth’s mightiest heroes. The shifted history ripples throughout the Marvel universe and one of the biggest changes involves a smart, nerdy high schooler from Queens.

In this world, Peter Parker was never bitten by a radioactive spider, Uncle Ben was never shot, and Spider-Man never came to be. Peter graduates as valedictorian and Aunt May and Uncle Ben have a few more blissful years together. A couple of years into college and far away from his high school bullies, everything seems to be going well for Parker. But his life is turned upside down when he sees a superhero soaring through the sky and decides to follow with a camera-equipped drone he developed.

Related: Marvel’s Superman Just Brutally Murdered Galactus

The superhero Peter follows is Hyperion, Marvel’s counterpart to Superman, who is headed into battle with a G-list villain of little threat. Nevertheless, Hyperion uses excessive force and recklessly flings a billboard at the villain. Through his drone, Peter witnesses the billboard crash into a civilian-filled department store. Aunt May happened to be shopping there and was killed. Following May’s death, Peter drops out of college to get a job and take care of Uncle Ben. He winds up at the Daily Bugle using his drone technology to capture footage of the heroes he resents in action. The once bright-eyed valedictorian with big dreams becomes aimless and resentful of the world. Uncle Ben catches up to Peter to see if he can bring back the determined, hopeful man he and May had raised. The always wise Uncle Ben delivers a supplement to his famous line with the altered, “You don’t have to have great power to do great things. But first, you have to want to.”

Inspired by Ben’s words, he decides to leave the Daily Bugle. To finish out his last day, he heads to the rooftop to take some final pictures of heroes in action. In moments, a world threatening force called the hive annihilation comes directly for him. Hyperion uses his breath to freeze the hive. Careless as usual he misses one and darts off to fight the next threat. Parker, knowing even one of the hive could kill everyone in the building, becomes a hero the moment he sees those around him in danger. He uses his wit to create a distraction to allow the civilians to evacuate the building. He then devises a weapon to fight the last of the hive. Without powers, he mistimes his attack and is infected with the bug. He’s immediately transformed into an eight-legged, spider-like creature. In a final act of heroism, Peter jumps out the window to sacrifice himself and save everyone else.

Although readers find out Peter survived the fall in Heroes Reborn #2, his sacrifice fulfills his destiny of becoming the noble hero his Aunt May and Uncle Ben raised him to be. Without Aunt May’s untimely passing at the hands of Hyperion, Peter would never have learned that being a hero and doing great things has nothing to do with wearing a costume or having superpowers. The Heroes Reborn event is still in its early stages and promises to eventually pit the “reborn” Avengers against Marvel’s Justice League analog, the Squadron Supreme. Fans will hopefully see Peter Parker return and play an important role as the memory of Aunt May will always remind him of why the Squadron Supreme are not true heroes.

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