Posted - July 16, 2014 | Updated : August 27, 2015

Marvel Knights Spider-Man 9
Last Stand Part One

After the colorful side roads taken since way back in Marvel Knights Spider-Man 2 we finally come full circle to resolving the mystery encountered at the end of Marvel Knights Spider-Man 1 . Namely: Where in the world is May Parker?

A lot of things need to be explained, so this issue pushes aside the action for some necessary talk.

It starts with Peter who is thinking about how many people he has had to bury over the years. There's even a flashback to his younger days when Ben Parker was still alive. It's a curious little sequence that has the thirteen-year-old Peter getting caught crying by Uncle Ben. Here's the reason why.

thirteen year old peter parker crying

Once again I have to bring out the phrase "commonality of human experience". I must have been nine or ten when I first became aware of the concept of death. I have a grandmother who practically raised me and whom I love very much and just like Peter I couldn't help but be aware of how old she was, and just like Peter I was scared that a person I cared for very much would leave so early. I was nine and silly in that nine-year-old way and I remember lying in bed closing my eyes and holding my breath and imagining I would be in a coffin. It felt so terrible and my nine-year-old brain would think that my grandmother would someday find hereself in such a situation and I would cry. Just like Peter. Commonality of human experience.

Peter's flashback is an incomplete history of the Spider and it includes a wonderful Terry Dodson rendition of the Green Goblin vs. Spider-Man.

green goblin vs. spider-man

The whole point of the nostalgia trip is to make us aware that all these deaths weigh heavy on Peter and he does not want Aunt May's death to be added to the list.

And now, the answer to the question: Who is responsible for the disappearance of Aunt May?

There are two.

First: the mastermind .

Second: the henchman .

It is Mac Gargan the Scorpion who tells the story. He begins in World War II, when the first super-heroes began appearing. At this point, Terry Dodson gives us a very welcome panel featuring the Invaders.

the invaders by terry

The story goes that the rise of super-powered mystery men (and women) during the middle of the twentiieth century became a cause of alarm for the 1%. In order to counter the threat, the rich set about creating divisiveness between the masked powers - thus creating super-heroes and super-villians.

One of the best things about Millar's narrative is that it effectively explains why some heroes keep meeting the same villains over and over again - these villains were "assigned" to those heroes. Elegant isn't it?

So onwards the decades went with this kind of setup. Norman Osborn, a member of the 1%, was a key part of it until he went crazy and became one of the super-villains himself. Now that Spider-Man put Osborn behind bars the 1% are anxious that he might "spill the beans" on them. Therefore Osborn has detected subtle but indeniable signs that the noose is beginning to tighten around his neck. He simply knows too much to be left alive. Therefore, he had Aunt May kidnapped in order to blackmail Peter to free him from jail.

You can just imagine what Peter feels like.

peter parker walking

This panel is very powerful and representative of those life moments when we're backed into a corner, on the verge of panic unable to think straight. What happens next is baffling, but baffling in a delightful way.

Things, for Peter, get just a tad more intolerable. When your problematic about something, what's the last thing you want? A distraction. This is just what Peter gets in the form of one of his students asking for some help with science studies.

peter parker talking to
					a student

Spider-Man is a hero because Peter is a hero, not the other way around. So Peter masters himself, sits down, and helps. Those of you who know what its like to be in tough life situations will appreciate the Herculean effort it took for Peter to push aside the "Aunt May issue" and help out with homework. Then something inexplicable happens and its shown in these panels.

peter parker the tutor

I have no idea what that was about, but judging by Peter's smile, something good about the Aunt May situation just happened. This is the most significant cliffhanger of this issue.

The less significant but more visually striking cliffhange is this.

mac gargan and venom

Mac Gargan and Venom. What gives?

It's the issue that aims to answer most of the question marks of the past story arcs. It clears a path for a conclusion of a story that began all the way from the first issue of Marvel Knights Spider-Man .

Get your copy here .