Ever since the Avengers were disassembled back in 2004 the Marvel Universe has become a dark place. A superhero civil war turned friend against friend, Captain America was assassinated and the fallout of a secret invasion by Skrulls left Norman Osborn as the most powerful man in America. All the while my pull list was ballooning as I was suddenly buying more Marvel comics than ever before. Characters that I had never paid much attention to suddenly became interesting to me, particularly Iron Man and Captain America. One look at the sales charts suggested that I was not the only one who felt that way. All of Marvel's major events during this period landed at number one, and during some months Marvel captured half the market share.
Now the powers that be have decided bring this era to an end with the dawn of a new decade. After Siege, the Marvel Universe will enter "The Heroic Age" making it a more optimistic place. Despite my love for the current dark and gritty Marvel Universe I cannot help but think this is a good idea. For the past few years fans have been hit over the head with big event after big event along with several related tie-ins and miniseries. While these books have sold well, one has to wonder when fan patience will wear thin and "event fatigue" will finally settle in. The Heroic Age will most likely offer a more stable status quo for the Marvel Universe and thus a break from all the major shake ups that have occured year after year. Plus, you can only have your heroes moping about for so long before you want to see them finally pick themselves up and kick some ass.
How will this new age affect Spider-Man? Let the speculation begin! For starters I would be surprised if Spidey was not announced as one of the Avengers post-Siege. New Avengers has been Marvel's top selling title in no small part due to his presence on the team. It will be fun to see Spidey rub elbows with what looks to be a more traditional Avengers team. The general public of the Marvel Universe will likely put more faith in their heroes after they take down Osborn, which will lead to Spider-Man receiving more public adoration than he is used to.
Obviously the events of Siege will have ramifications for the Osborn clan that will play out during the Heroic Age. It is possible that Harry will become a superhero using the American Son armor, much to Peter's chagrin, in an attempt to salvage the Osborn name. If Norman survives Siege I expect him to go back to playing mostly in Spidey's corner of the Marvel Universe.
Aside from that, I cannot see life changing all that much for Peter Parker. Compared to the recent shake ups Spidey has undergone; his new powers, the unmasking and One More Day, the changes brought about by the Heroic Age seem minor. And that just might be the best part.