Peter Parker is giving up the Spider-Man mantle to his clone Ben Reilly.
And he might even be 'dying' to do it.
But merely weeks after teasing his death and announcing his latest exit from his own title, Marvel just reminded the world that even by comic book standards, Peter's 'death' or sabbatical from the Spider-Man identity, will be short-lived.
Why? Because in August 2022 Marvel Comics will be celebrating the 60th anniversary of Spider-Man, and you can bet your bottom dollar they're not going to be celebrating with the clone.
Make no mistake, comic book publishers love a reason to publish extra-length anniversary celebration issues.
After characters reach the 10-year mark, almost any anniversary of a character's creation with a '0' or a '5' at the end will get special attention.
And issue anniversaries too. The numbers 25, 50, 75, and 100 will almost always get memorialized. And then pretty much every 50 issues after 100 (as rare as titles that these numbers seem to be these days).
And publishers will even take out a calculator and add up issues from separate series starring a character to hit round anniversary numbers.
Heck, in Batman's case, DC celebrated Detective Comics #1000 (opens in new tab) and just a couple of years later Detective Comics #1027 (opens in new tab), which was 1000 issues since the debut of Batman in 1939's Detective Comics #27.
And interestingly, DC has even fudged the anniversaries just a little bit between friends. Recently it celebrated the 80 anniversaries of Green Lantern (opens in new tab) and The Flash (opens in new tab), despite the fact the 80-year-old Green Lantern (Alan Scott) and Flash (Jay Garrick) are not the respective iconic characters most fans associate with those personas. That'd be Hal Jordan and Barry Allen, who both debuted in 1959.(opens in new tab)
But that's neither here nor there. Spider-Man is a different animal and Marvel is a different publisher.
We already noted that it is somewhat unusual Marvel Comics is sidelining Peter, along with Scarlet Witch and Doctor Strange just as all three characters' MCU counterparts return in December's Spider-Man: No Way Home and March 2022's Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. But Marvel announcing their Spider-Man 60th-anniversary plans over a year before the fact is the best indicator Peter will make a triumphant comeback from whatever ails him or forces him into retirement just in time for the celebration - and almost certainly with a brand, spanking new Amazing Spider-Man #1 in August 2022.
Because frequent relaunches and new #1s are part of Marvel Comics' publishing model in the 21st century.
So while Ben Reilly fans can enjoy his return (whichever Ben Reilly returns) it almost certainly will not be him blowing out 60 candles next year. That'll be Peter, very likely joined by Mary Jane, probably along with some new twist on his status quo, likely resembling the core things readers like about Spider-Man, including the character who is under the mask.
Speaking of comic book deaths, Newsarama examines the rare comic book deaths that still matter.