Spider-Man: The Death of Jean DeWolff" is one of the most famous Spider-Man comic book stories. It was originally published as a four-part story in "The Spectacular Spider-Man" comic book issues 107-110 in 1985. The story was written by Peter David and illustrated by Rich Buckler.

The story begins when Captain Jean DeWolff, a New York City police captain, is found murdered. Spider-Man, aka Peter Parker, decides to investigate the murder along with Daredevil (Matt Murdock), and they begin to look into the case. Their investigation reveals that Jean DeWolff's killer is dressed in a police uniform and goes by the name "Sin-Eater." Sin-Eater is a dangerous criminal who wants to cleanse the world of sins by killing people he deems morally irresponsible.

Peter David has written the story brilliantly, which is evident right from the start. The dialogue convincingly delves into the mind of a dying person, adding to the power of the story's hook. Once you've read the first couple of pages, you can't put the story down. You have to read it to the end.

Usually, in comic books, the death of characters does not reveal their other sides. In this case, Peter David takes full advantage of the situation. At the beginning of the story, Peter Parker witnesses an elderly person being robbed and assaulted. Peter reacts strongly to this and apprehends the perpetrators as Spider-Man. In fact, in this scene, we see a side of Spider-Man that is rarely seen in movies. Spider-Man promises the robber that he won't move an inch, allowing them to hit him once. The criminals gladly accept the offer and strike Spider-Man simultaneously. One has a stiletto and the other brass knuckles. However, Spider-Man dodges the blows, and one of the robbers childishly points out that Spider-Man had just promised not to move. In response, Spider-Man knocks both of them unconscious and admits that he lied. The movie version of Spider-Man is a polished hero, but on the pages of comic books, Spider-Man can be a mean jerk. He taunts criminals but doesn't cross the line by being brutally violent.

Upon hearing of Jean DeWolff's death, Spider-Man is shocked. He wants to know who is responsible and starts investigating the case immediately. Spider-Man admits that what drives him forward is that he liked Jean.

Spider-Man deals with Jean's death, and then Sin-Eater kills again. Spider-Man tries to apprehend Sin-Eater using his usual style: casual, humorous dialogue. However, during the confrontation, unfortunate accidents occur, and Spider-Man gains a new trauma. Our hero continues his inner journey toward darkness.

While investigating Jean's apartment, Spider-Man finds not clues, but evidence that Jean had feelings for him. Spider-Man removes his mask, and sorrow is evident on Peter Parker's face. He regrets that they never had the opportunity to get closer. From this point on, Spider-Man is determined to do whatever it takes to catch Sin-Eater. He traverses New York, squeezing information out of criminals. He even puts one criminal's life in danger while interrogating him.

After encountering betrayal, Spider-Man crosses the line. He even vows aloud to kill Sin-Eater. To my knowledge, this has only happened once before in Spider-Man's stories. Spider-Man vowed to kill the Green Goblin because he murdered Gwen Stacy. Thus, this reaction from our hero is not new. However, the storytelling style moves the protagonist away from his values very subtly. The reader believes that Spider-Man has crossed the line after all that has been told. The change is believable due to each small nuance.

The most visible theme of the story is our justice system. Why must we trust the system, and why can't we take the law into our own hands? On one shoulder, Peter Parker has his grief, driving him toward darkness, and on the other shoulder, Daredevil, who strives to remind him of justice. This is one of those stories where the reader gets a glimpse into a comic book character's innermost self and experiences the character as a real person.

"The Death of Jean DeWolff" is a significant story in Spider-Man's history, not only for its dark and serious tone but also because it addresses themes such as justice, morality, and retribution. The story is also known for deepening the friendship and collaboration between Spider-Man and Daredevil. The story is so strong that it became a cornerstone for the origin story of Spider-Man's enemy, Venom.

If you haven't read this story, it's worth checking out! It's a classic and a high-quality one at that. The illustrations don't fall short of the story's quality; they are stylish and effectively convey the story's atmosphere.

This is not a traditional Spider-Man story. People who expect Spider-Man to face colorful villains will not find that in this story. Instead, it is more of a detective story set in the world of superheroes. When you understand that, you enjoy the ride.

5/5 stars