WARNING: The following article features what appear to be spoilers for Amazing Spider-Man #26, set to release on Wednesday, May 31st. Do not read further if you want to avoid knowing what happens in the issue.
Later this month Marvel is set to release Amazing Spider-Man #26. The issue is written by Zeb Wells and illustrated by John Romita Jr., the latest in the team’s run on the title. In promotion for the issue, Marvel has called it “The most shocking issue of Amazing Spider-Man in 50 years.” Here’s the solicitation for the story:
Now fully in the present, the Emissary has returned and his power is so far beyond Spider-Man’s abilities. The heroes may figure out a way to win, but the cost of victory will be so immense that you may hope they don’t…
And here’s the cover:
For months Marvel has been hyping the issue as a major turning point for Spidey, teasing that a major character will die, and strongly hinting that it would be Mary Jane Watson. Earlier today, though, grainy photos of pages purportedly from the end of the issue made their way online and revealed the story’s actual victim: Ms. Marvel Kamala Khan.
Here are the pages, which first appeared in a Reddit post and have since circulated on social media, as they’ve appeared online: low-resolution, cropped, with illegible dialogue and no context around the events.
Needless to say, people on social media were (and are) not happy. “Amazing Spider-Man,” “Ms. Marvel,” and “Zeb Wells” have all been trending on Twitter for much of the day, with many commenters calling for Wells’s head and bemoaning the state of the webslinger’s signature series. There’s also been celebration from the Expected Variety of Simpletons who are happy for racist, misogynist reasons to see Kamala killed off.
ASM SPOILERS ARE OUT IN THE WORLD! If you don’t want to be spoiled on May 31st’s ending, AVOID THE INTERNET SOMEHOW!
— Nick Lowe (@nick_lowe_) May 16, 2023
This morning ASM editor Nick Lowe tweeted to warn fans about the spoilers. The tweet is currently being ratioed pretty handily in a combination of replies and QRTs.
So look. There’s no way in heaven that Kamala Khan is dead for good. She’s too valuable as intellectual property to stay gone. She’s been a wildly popular character among young, female readers, a demographic Marvel absolutely wants to court. Beyond her appeal in the comics, Iman Vellani brought the character to life in one of the most well-reviewed Disney+ Marvel Cinematic Universe shows in years, and is set to reprise the role later this year on the big screen in The Marvels. From a practical standpoint, Kamala’s death just doesn’t make any sense.
Many folks online have also objected to Kamala dying in the pages of Amazing Spider-Man, a series in which she has played virtually no role save for as a supporting character to Peter Parker. If Marvel really wanted Kamala’s death to matter, it would’ve been bigger than this, in a linewide event book or otherwise in a series in which Ms. Marvel is a headliner. Having her die in ASM feels like an afterthought, and smacks of fridging the character for the sake of making headliner Peter Parker sad.
There’s also a question of just where this leak came from. The pages in the photos sure look final, but Marvel’s usually pretty tight with their stuff. Press sites who receive review books from the publisher only get them a few days before release to avoid possible leaks, and comic shops would at most get them a week early, and only in the case of a holiday impacting shipping schedules. This is a book that comes out in two full weeks. Where did these photos come from? Who took them, and how did they get their hands on a copy of this comic so early? Could this have been an inside job from a disgruntled employee upset about Ms. Marvel’s death? Pure speculation, but stranger things have happened.
Now obviously, we currently have no context for the pages that have leaked. The circumstances of Ms. Marvel’s apparent demise are still unknown. What is known is that death is very, very rarely a permanent state for characters in superhero comics, and with the X-Men literally having the means of resurrection at their fingertips, a mechanism for Kamala’s return is already in place. Bringing her back through Krakoa might also have the added benefit of making her a mutant, which would line the comic version of the character up with the MCU version nicely.
All will of course be revealed when Amazing Spider-Man #26 lands in comic shops and digitally on Wednesday, May 31st.