There are certain Spider-Man storylines that longtime fans are dying to see on the big screen. The Death of Jean DeWolff tops my list. Will we finally see Sin Eater introduced in an adaptation of Peter David’s pulp noir classic with Spider-Man 3? Recent rumors point to yes, so why don’t we take a closer look at Sin-Eater’s first appearance in Spectacular Spider-Man #107?
PCP and Shotguns Don’t Mix
The Copper Age gave us some of the best crime comics ever produced. Frank Miller’s Daredevil abandoned the often slapstick heroism of the past and reflected the pervasive societal ills of 1980’s America. His popularity led other Marvel titles to follow suit by tackling more adult themes. Those themes include the rampant crime of New York City. Amongst them was Peter David’s Spectacular Spider-Man. Here, David utilizes Spider-Man’s black suit and darker demeanor to portray the spirit of the city and announce the change in direction. Peter David’s work on SSM is the best of the series. It’s some of the best in comics, period.
Firstly, Peter David started his run in 1985 in SSM #107 with a shocking, watershed moment. This was the murder of Detective Jean DeWolff, a frequent guest star in Spider-Man titles after her introduction in 1976. The most startling aspect of her death was how unceremoniously it was portrayed. We aren’t shown the murder. There are no frills. The issue begins with the slain detective covered by a bedsheet. In true 80’s fashion, the culprit, Sin-Eater, is a madman warped by PCP. Armed with only a shotgun, he has no qualms about shooting a priest, a judge, or civilians.
What happens next?
Enraged, Spider-Man hunts down Sin-Eater, only to discover his true identity is Stanley Carter,. He is the detective in charge of the investigation. Next, Daredevil, another central character in the story, has to stop Spider-Man from beating Carter to death. The plot, true to the adult themes of the time, confronts the vigilantism and corrupt police of 1980’s New York City.
Peter David brings this story full circle by bringing Stanley Carter back in Spectacular Spider-Man #134. Now released from jail, we learn that Carter is crippled by Spider-Man’s attack. Then, Spider-Man is forced to confront his hypocrisy and the wreckage of his violence. Carter goes on to commit suicide by provoking the NYPD into shooting him to prevent another reign of terror by his alter-ego Sin-Eater. The satisfying symmetry of David’s storytelling in this run has rarely been matched in comics.
Spider-Man 3 Speculation
It is only a matter of time until Sin-Eater and The Death of Jean DeWolff make it to theaters. Frankly, our current political environment makes this an excellent choice for a movie adaptation. This classic touches on mental illness, drug use, gun violence, police corruption, and vigilante behavior. Marvel has shown a willingness to confront a variety of social issues in recent years and Tom Holland is now 24 years old. The Death of Jean DeWolff would allow Marvel and a mature Holland to tackle serious subject matter while shifting gears within the Spider-Man franchise.
After the death of Mysterio in Spider-Man 2, we saw wanted posters in the alleyway during the credits. Some have theorized Kraven will be introduced by hunting down Spider-Man. I personally like the theory of Stanley Carter, a detective, hunting our hero, only to end up being the villain himself. Maybe we even get the black suit (fingers crossed).
Marvel recently reacquired the rights to Daredevil from Netflix. As a result, there are rumors that he will be introduced to the MCU in the next Spider-Man movie. Spider-Man and Daredevil have frequently crossed paths over the years in comics. The Death of Jean DeWolff, however, is one of the first crossovers that comes to mind when thinking of the two. Is it a long-shot to think that Daredevil will make his MCU debut by stopping Spider-Man from beating Stanley Carter to death? I don’t think so. It would be an epic introduction and a classic moment.
Nick Spencer recently resurrected Sin-Eater in his Amazing Spider-Man run, bringing renewed attention to the long-forgotten character. Despite this, Spectacular Spider-Man #107 has a measly 63 9.8s on the CGC census. Returns in the last year have been flat, and fair market value has remained steady around $230. Currently, there are several listings below FMV for as low as $170, a fair price for a first appearance from a classic storyline that is now thirty-five years old. The small CGC population and flat FMV are exactly why this issue is a fun speculative purchase. Lastly, there is little downside and tons of upside with the lack of liquidity and the proper catalyst.
Peter David’s writing is too good to ignore. Plus, this is one of a handful of Spider-Man plot-lines fitting for the big screen and an older Tom Holland. The little downside? The low population. That, combined with the high possibility of a movie, makes Spectacular Spider-Man #107 a speculative purchase with explosive potential. If this story is finally adapted, The Death of Jean DeWolff will bring life to your collection.