How Doctor Strange Solves Spider-Man's Identity Crisis in the Comics

The secret is out: Peter Parker is Spider-Man. Framed for murdering Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) and publicly unmasked by The Daily Bugle's J. Jonah Jameson (J.K. Simmons) in the final moments of Spider-Man: Far From Home, graduating high school student Peter Parker (Tom Holland) is facing an identity crisis. No longer able to separate his superhero life from his normal life, he asks his Avengers ally Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) to make the entire world forget Peter Parker is Spider-Man — everyone except his Aunt May (Marisa Tomei), best friend Ned (Jacob Batalon), and girlfriend MJ (Zendaya). But Peter tampers with Strange's incantation, putting his loved ones in even greater danger when the botched spell unleashes multiversal villains out for revenge against Spider-Man.

In the comics, Spider-Man unmasks himself as a public show of support for the government's Superhero Registration Act championed by mentor Iron Man (Civil War #2). When an assassin's bullet intended for the fugitive Peter Parker hits his Aunt May, she's beyond being saved by medical science (The Amazing Spider-Man #538). 

(Photo: Marvel Comics)

Desperate for a miracle, Peter turns to the Sorcerer Supreme to save his dying Aunt May (Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #24). Even Doctor Strange can't cure the gravely injured May, telling Peter, "The universe calls us home when it is time for us to go. For your aunt, it is that time." 

Feeling guilty and responsible for May's impending death, Peter makes a deal with the devil: the demon Mephisto. In exchange for Peter and Mary Jane's marriage, wiped from existence as if it never happened, Mephisto saves Aunt May (The Amazing Spider-Man #545). 

(Photo: Marvel Comics)

Though it's believed for a time Mephisto also restores Spider-Man's anonymity during the Brand New Day storyline, One Moment in Time reveals Peter again consults Doctor Strange after one of his enemies targets and nearly kills Mary Jane. To keep his loved ones safe, Peter tells Strange: "I need the world to forget I'm Spider-Man." (The Amazing Spider-Man #640). 

After conferring with Tony Stark and Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four, Doctor Strange conjures a fusion of magic and sorcery to create an "anamnesis storm" wiping all history — recorded and remembered — of Spider-Man's secret identity. Strange casts the spell and creates a protective cell making Peter Parker the sole guardian of mistakes that never transpired. 

At the last possible moment, Peter brings Mary Jane into the spell as the entire world forgets the face beneath Spider-Man's mask — everyone except Mary Jane (The Amazing Spider-Man #641).

(Photo: Marvel Comics)

Starring Tom Holland, Zendaya, Marisa Tomei, Jacob Batalon, Willem Dafoe, Alfred Molina, Jamie Foxx, and Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange, Spider-Man: No Way Home swings into theaters on December 17.