Appearing in "No One Gets Outta Here Alive!"
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Synopsis for "No One Gets Outta Here Alive!"
Spider-Man swings through New York with a bottle of barbecue sauce for Aunt May and going through the rest of his "to do" list involving picking up Mary Jane and paying rent. He notices two window washers in jeopardy when the cables from their platform snap. As he swings in and saves them, the platform continues to fall toward a giant cooling tank full of Freon.
The platform hits the tank, causing a tidal wave of Freon to rush over to a nearby roof where a mother and daughter are hanging out the laundry. He sets the window washers on a nearby rooftop and dives to save the mother and daughter. For his trouble, he is exposed to a lethal amount of the chemical, his heart stops, and has an out of body experience.
His soul observes his physical form lying motionless and begins to reflect on his life with the perspective that death gives. He realizes that he spent his time worrying about everything and as a result never enjoying life to the fullest.
His essence rises above the rooftops, the city skyline, and past the clouds, he hears a baby scream and wonders if he will see his mother again. As he continues on his journey toward "The Light" he realizes that he's overwhelmed at the prospect of seeing Gwen Stacy again. Much more so than leaving Mary Jane behind.[Continuity 1] He quickly arrives at the junction point where symbols from all religious denominations converge to form a single afterlife. Mythological items, religious symbols, and other spiritual tokens converge into what Peter calls a religious junkyard. Peter muses that this is the altered state that enlightened people seek, and is a bit disappointed. Just as he arrives at the prospect of this being limited by his mind, he encounters Thanos - who is in possession of the Infinity Gems - and the embodiment of Death. This comes as a shock because had Spider-Man thought that Thanos was dead.[Continuity 2] Thanos explains that only those claiming to be "heroes" warrant this level of attention. Their lives are spent in a futile effort to save lives already claimed by death.
Thanos creates a window back into reality and shows him the results of his latest heroic act: saving the woman and her daughter from the Freon. The woman is standing near the body of Spider-Man, saying that she hates him while cradling her daughter. She was exposed to the freon as well and is also in a near-death state. To prove his point, Thanos shows him that the daughter has appeared in this realm. Peter demands that the girl be released from Death's grip. Thanos claims that it is impossible.
Impossible or not Peter attacks Thanos to force him to release the little girl. Thanos' claims that "nothing is solved physically" in this realm and that "beyond death, there is no will or desire" fall on deaf ears as they continue to fight. Thanos tells Peter that his efforts as Spider-Man were a complete waste of time. The only result from his "heroics" is ultimately the creation of more villains who in turn cause more misery and destruction than he could ever possibly correct.
Death eventually separates them. After some consideration into the matter, she agrees with Peter and – much to Thanos' dismay – releases both of them from her realm.
Once Spider-Man wakes up, he realizes that the daughter is still alive and in need of medical attention. With a grateful mother's appreciation, he takes her to the nearest hospital and immediately begins to worry because the bottle of barbecue sauce for Aunt May shattered during the rescue.
- Peter's parents, Richard and Mary Parker died on a mission for the CIA as revealed in Amazing Spider-Man Annual #5. Peter's first love, Gwen Stacy, was murdered by the Green Goblin in Amazing Spider-Man #121.
- Spider-Man first encountered Thanos in Marvel Two-In-One Annual #2. At the time of this story, Thanos was commonly believed to have been dead after the events of that story. However, Thanos had recently been resurrected in Silver Surfer (Vol. 3) #34.
- First and only known appearance to date besides flashbacks
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