April 24, 2010

Ye Olde School Cafe’: The Death of Gwen Stacy pt 2

Welcome back to the conclusion of The Death of Gwen Stacy in Ye Old School Cafe‘. This week we will bear witness to the most emotional day in the life of Peter Parker. Yes, bigger than Uncle Ben dying, in my opinion! I think this had a huge effect on Spidey and Peter that would take him years to overcome, if ever!

To recap, we’ve seen Peter missing Gwen, who’s gone away to Europe. Then we saw the re-emergence of Spidey’s greatest foe, The Green Goblin. All the while that this is going on though, Harry Osborn, Peter’s friend and roommate, is battling a drug addiction. To make matters worse for Harry, his girlfriend Mary Jane is hitting on Peter every chance she gets. All these things have led up to Harry overdosing on LSD, and Norman going insane again….

We see Spidey clinging to the window outside the home of Norman Osborn and watching his friend Harry lose his grip on reality. He realizes that he needs a friend now more than ever, so he changes back to Peter and enters the house. He’s immediately grabbed by Norman, who tells him to get out. MJ and Gwen are visiting also and get the same treatment. Harry tries to get out of bed but falls down, blacking out from the pain. Peter then goes to the Daily Bugle, but is told to go home by Jonah because he’s sick and Jameson doesn’t want Peter “contaminating” the office. As Peter leaves, he quickly changes into Spider-Man to get home fast. Meanwhile, Norman is at home starting to lose his grip on reality so bad, he thinks he sees Spider-Man in his office. He sees Spidey lunge at him, but when he attempts to grab him he disappears. This pushes Norman over the edge completely, and he reverts to his Goblin persona. He flies off on his glider vowing to kill Peter Parker and Spidey!

Spidey makes his way home, but soon discovers that something is awry. He finds a Goblin Lantern and flips out because he thinks Gwen was there and the Goblin snatched her. He immediately swings out of the window and lets his Spider Sense guide him to the G.W. Bridge. There, he discovers the Goblin, with Gwen lying unconscious at his feet. The two begin to fight without regard for each others’ lives, and Spidey soon realizes that with his illness, he needs to finish the fight sooner than later. He webs the Goblin and punches him as hard as he can, but only knocks the Goblin away for a few short seconds. Peter then concentrates on getting Gwen out of there, but when he turns his back on the Goblin, he makes a terrible mistake. The Goblin, who’s recovered from Spidey’s punch, knocks Peter over and also pushes Gwen off of the bridge. Spidey leaps to his feet and shoots a web down at Gwen’s legs. His web reaches, but the sudden stop from her fall snaps her neck like a twig. Spidey of course doesn’t figure this out right away, but when he pulls her to the top, he sees that she has died. The Goblin swoops by to mock Spidey about her death, and then goes as far as to blame him for it. Spidey tells the Goblin that he will pay with his life for this callous act!

The next scene shows another brawl between Spidey and the Goblin, but this time the Goblin realizes that Spidey isn’t playing around anymore. After some back and forth, the Goblin manages to slip away. Spidey then swings down to Gwen, who’s surrounded by cops and on-lookers. Spidey tells them all to back off and give him room. He holds Gwen in his arms and tells her that he won’t let anybody hurt her, and it’s going to be just like it was before. He then flashes back to times when the two were very much in love and spent every minute together. Then, Spidey also takes on some of the blame for her being killed, because she was close to Peter and that’s what ultimately caused her demise. The cops try to bring Spidey in for questioning, but he flings them around like rag dolls and makes his escape. Spidey then changes to Peter and goes to visit Norman in his home for some payback. He isn’t there, but Harry is, and he wants Peter to stay, but he’s so angry about Gwen that he walks out on Harry. His next stop is the Bugle to talk with Robbie about Norman’s whereabouts. They talk about some warehouses Norman owns, but then they are interrupted by Jonah. Spidey is in no mood for his antics, so he webs his mouth shut and departs.

Spidey stakes out a hideout of the Goblin’s, and sure enough he comes flying through the door. Spidey abruptly kicks him off of his glider and begins a pugilistic assault that eventually leaves the Goblin stunned. Spidey then snaps back to reality and talks himself out of killing the Goblin. He understands that if he kills the Goblin, he’s just as bad as he is. While Spidey is having this epiphany though, the Goblin is slowly coming to his senses. He sees Spidey is having second thoughts about putting him away, so he talks to Spidey, but all the while is using his remote controlled glider to make an attempt to impale Spidey. The Goblin’s glider comes swooping in at Peter who is initially unaware, but then is alerted by his Spider-Sense that he’s in danger. He ducks out of the way and the Goblin is then impaled by his own device. After all is said and done though, Spidey remarks about how hollow he still feels, and the Goblin’s death didn’t help fill the hole in his heart. Peter eventually returns to his apartment to find Mary Jane there waiting to console him. She tells peter how sorry she is for his loss, but he tells her to just go away. She acts as if she’s going to, but then stays anyway.

Well, that’s it for this epic love story gone wrong. Is it any wonder why Peter is so messed up? First, his Uncle Ben dying from a situation he could have stopped. Now, the woman he loved killed right before his very eyes. Great trade to sit down and read, especially in one sitting. You really get a feeling for how Peter is totally devastated from this loss when he tells the fun loving MJ to get lost at the end. There’s a little bit of controversy about how Gwen actually died. The way I see it, is the way I told it. I see the pics and it shows a “snap” when Spidey’s web grabs her leg. The Goblin does make a comment to Peter though that a fall from that height would have killed anyone. I guess he’s saying a heart attack maybe? Well, either way, Gwen is pushing up daisies at this point so who cares. Thanks for tuning in, and I’ll see you next week for another great story!

Billy Dunleavy



  1. Kristin

    Seriously, what the hell, MJ? Insensitive ‘ho.

    When you fall from a great height…yeah I guess the pressure and speed can affect your heart. Usually a weaker heart, I would think. Or the force of the fall itself (even if she landed in water) could be deadly.

  2. Billy

    @Kris- I think the Goblin was just babbling. Why would the word “snap” appear at that point if it was a heart-attack? Cause of death…broken neck!

  3. Kristin

    Well, I was just commenting on your mention of the controversy.
    To me, it’s more like Goblin is saying, “She would have died whether or not you tried to save her.”

  4. didn’t marvel do a poll with MJ and Gwen a while back? I know who Kris would have voted for lol

    This was one of pete’s defining moments in his life and several great issues in the Spider-Man series

  5. Billy

    @Speech- Yeah, I believe Marvel did and unless I’m mistaken, Gwen won easily. 🙂

  6. A classic story to close out the Silver Age.

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