Marvel Kills Two Classic Spider-Man Characters In Amazing Spider-Man #17

Amazing Spider-Man is ramping up to the “Dead No More” storyline with the appropriately-titled [...]

Amazing Spider-Man #17
(Photo: Alex Ross)

Amazing Spider-Man is ramping up to the "Dead No More" storyline with the appropriately-titled "Before Dead No More" lead-in story. As of today's Amazing Spider-Man #17, by Dan Slott and R.B. Silva, that story officially has a body count.

SPOILERS for Amazing Spider-Man #17 follow.

While Peter Parker has been splitting his time between being the CEO of Parker Industries and, secretly, being his own bodyguard, Spider-Man, his old foe, the Jackal, has returned and begun putting plans into motions without Peter's knowledge.

The Jackal has been enlisting the aid of several of Spider-Man's old enemies by restoring their lost loved ones to life. The catch is that these loved ones need a daily pill administered by the Jackal to stay alive, and so the villains are forced into indefinite service to the Jackal.

One of those villains is Electro, Max Dillon. Spider-Man cured Electro of his powers and sent him to prison as a normal human. The Jackal sent Rhino to bust Max and the Lizard out their cells and planned to restore Max's powers. Max was reluctant to go through with the process at first but agreed when the Jackal presented him with a woman named Francine, whom Dillon had believed dead.

Max had a good reason to believe Francine was dead. He had killed her. Back when he was first having problems with his powers, he was in a relationship with Francine, who is a fan of supervillains. Unfortunately, when the two shared a kiss, Max's powers misfired and he electrocuted her, killing her and charring her body.

Amazing Spider-Man #17
(Photo: R.B. Silva)

The Jackal cloned Francine from DNA taken from her charred cheek. Francine observes the Jackal's attempt to restore Max's powers, but the experiment fails, charging his suit but not his body. Unexpectedly, the DNA in Max's saliva that was mixed in with Francine's own DNA attracts the electrical energy to Francine. Desiring more, Francine leans in to kiss Max, reversing their previous fate by killing the original Electro.

Francine and Max
(Photo: R.B. Silva)

The villains didn't know at the time that they were being observed by the Prowler, Hobie Brown. Hobie's been working for Peter Parker as a Spider-Man body double to confuse people about Spider-Man's exact whereabouts relative to Peter (Hobie also doesn't realize that Peter is Spider-Man). The Jackal has set up a medical company called New U that promises all kinds of miracle cures for various diseases. New U offered to cure Jay Jameson - Aunt May's husband and J. Jonah Jameson's father – of his current affliction. Peter suspects New U is too good to be true, so he sends Prowler in to check things out.

Prowler infiltrates the New U complex with ease but reveals himself in an attempt to save Max's life, an attempt that the Lizard thwarts. Prowler tries to make a break for it, and the Jackal orders Francine to pursue, with clear orders to capture and not kill Prowler. Francine disregards the Jackal's commands and fries Prowler when she catches up to him.

Prowler(Photo: R.B. Silva)

That's not the end for Hobie Brown. He wakes up in a cloning device and is greeted by the Jackal, Rhino, and Francine (who now has her own Electro costume). By the end of the issue, Hobie has been convinced to join the Jackal's cause. Only then does the Jackal inform Hobie of the pill he'll have to take daily if we want to remain alive.

(Photo: R.B. Silva)

The cloning of Hobie Brown explains a lot about the upcoming Prowler ongoing series from Sean Ryan and Jamal Campbell, which will launch in October as part of Marvel NOW! The series has the tagline "You Only Live Twice," and the cover shows one Prowler burying another. The series is debuting as a tie-in to The Clone Conspiracy event, so the answer should have been pretty obvious, to begin with.

Prowler #1
(Photo: Travel Foreman)

Now fans are just left to wonder if the Jackal will ever bother to clone Max Dillon.

Amazing Spider-Man #16 is on sale now. Prowler #1 goes on sale Oct. 26, 2016.