I’m sure majority of us can agree that the original Spider-Man is the best Spider-Man of all time. Debuting in 1963, in the classic red and black attire, Spider-Man has become one of the most popular heroes to-date. Since Spider-Man’s debut, especially lately, there has been dozens of alternate reality versions, clones, and successors to the Spider-Man throne. There has been many debates on which versions stand out over the others, I’m here to shine some light on some of my favorite versions.
Here are my top 5:
Otto Octavius learns that he is dying due to prolonged exposure to radiation. Little did Parker know, Otto had been strategically planning on how to take over Spider-Man’s body, trapping Parker in Otto’s dying body. This was a complete Freaky Friday situation. Otto takes over Spider-Man’s body, but not before going through all of Parker’s memories, reliving Spider-man’s origin to the death of Gwen Stacy and the lives Parker has saved. These memories trigger Otto to fully understand that with great power comes great responsibility. Otto makes a vow to then become a better Spider-Man than Parker, thus Superior Spider-Man is born. This version of Spider-Man is ruthless. He is a hero with villain tendencies, and this is before his version interacts with the Venom symbiote. The most shocking moment was when he shot another villain at point blank in the face. This wasn’t an idea that was welcomed by fans in the beginning, I remember early on, many fans questions Slott’s decision to “kill off” Spider-Man in the manner that he did. However, by the end of the Superior Spider-Man run was met with much praise. If you are reading any current issues featuring Earth-616 Peter Parker, then I’m sure you know by now that Parker is back in his original body, which I won’t go into details, but if you haven’t read The Superior Spider-Man yet then I highly suggest picking up the trade. Superior Spider-Man ran for 33 issues and is some of Dan Slott’s best work to date, right next to The Superior Foes of Spider-Man.
This version takes place in 1933, during The Great Depression. Peter Parker tries to stop a gang called The Enforcers and is swiftly beat down. The Enforcers work for Osborn who is a crime lord that goes by the name The Goblin. The Enforcers is this universes version of the Sinister Six, and consists of Ox, Kraven, Vulture, The Chameleon, Fancy Dan, and Montana. Ben Urich is the primary focus early on in this series. Urich saves Parker and he takes him in as his disciple. While spying on the Enforcers in a warehouse, a spider artifact breaks, unleashing hundreds of spiders that begin to attack the Enforcers. Peter is bitten as well, and immediately passes out. While he is unconscious, Peter visions the Spider God, who explains to Peter that he only kills with those who are evil or ill-intent. When he wakes, he finds himself wrapped in a cocoon, upside down. When he emerges, he discovers he has new abilities. This version of Spider-Man takes place in a darker universe and is known for using a gun. This version of Spider-Man shares many of the same powers as the original Spider-Man minus the ability to stick to walls. Spider-Man Noir is part of the Marvel Noir Universe, released back in 2009. The Marvel Noir universe took elements of film noir and combined their with our favorite Marvel Heroes. Spider-Man wasn’t the only one to get a Noir makeover, some other amazing stories came from Daredevil, Deadpool, and Punisher.
Debut: Ultimate Fallout #4 (2011)
In the Earth-1610 “Ultimate” Universe, Peter Parker is the original Spider-Man. Normal Osborn, as the Goblin, recruited the Sinister Six and went after Peter Parker directly at his own home. After an epic and emotional battle, both Spider-Man and Norman Osborn had died. Meanwhile, The Prowler, who broke into Oscorp to steal a serum, ended up walking away with more than that. It turns out Osborn had hired Doctor Marcus to recreate the Spider species that bit and gave the original Spider-Man his powers. This spider crawled into the bag of The Prowler during his heist. Miles visited his uncle and he is bitten by the spider and blacks out. It isn’t until later that Miles discovers his uncle is The Prowler. Out of fear, after getting bit, Miles begins to discover his powers similar to Peter Parker. Early on there is a lot of self-doubt within himself. He is struggling with the idea of becoming another Spider-Man and living up to the name. As he is struggling with this idea, him and his best friend discover that the Original Spider-Man has died. Between this, running into the Ultimates, and having an emotional conversation with Aunt May, Miles proudly takes up the mantle of the new Ultimate Spider-Man. After the initial announcement of the ethnicity of the new Spider-Man, the fans were pretty split down the middle. Half embraced the changed while others believes it to be a publicity stunt. Axel Alonso, Marvel’s editor-in-chief, said it best,
“People who say this is a PC stunt miss the point. Miles Morales is a reflection of the culture in which we live. I love the fact that my son Tito will see a Spider-Man swinging through the sky whose last name is “Morales”. And judging from the response, I can see I’m not alone.”
Miles Morales was created by Michael Michael Bendis and Sara Pichelli and draws inspiration from Donald Glover and President Obama. His father is African American and his mother is Puerto Rican. Miles is the second latino character to don the Spider-Man mask, the first being Miguel O’Hara. Aside from the initial controversy, Miles proved to hold his own in the comics, and can be currently see in the ongoing Secret Wars arc. Miles Morales has also made an appearance on Disney’s Ultimate Spider-Man: Web Warriors cartoon where Donald Glover was the voice of him. Miles has been one of my favorite characters to debut in the Marvel universe in the last decade and I have continuously followed his arc from day one. The good thing about these different universes, prior to Secret Wars, was that I could read Amazing Spider-Man if I needed my Peter Parker fix then turn around and read Ultimate Spider-Man to dig into a completely different story with Miles Morales.
Debut: Spider-Man 2099 (1992)
Spider-Man 2099 was created by Peter David and Rick Leonardi in 1992. Miguel O’Hara definitely has an interesting story and one hell of a dysfunctional family. At one point he works for Tyler Stone who he despises and later learns is his dad. His brother becomes the Goblin, his half brother is Venom. Miguel is an engineer who works for Alchemax and lives in New York in the year 2099. He attempts to recreate the powers of the original Spider-Man. He tests on another human subject with failed results and decides to quit Alchemax. Before he can, Tyler Stone tricks him into taking a drug that gives Miguel no other choice than to continue his work at Alchemax. After an experiment goes wrong, Miguel gains powers and then becomes the new Spider-Man of 2099. Miguel initially works on a cure for these new symptoms but later realizes that he these powers are a gift to make a difference. As Spider-Man he vows to take down Alchemax. Miguel uses an old costume from a Day of the Dead festival to become the Spider-Man of 2099. In the early 1990’s, several characters, including Doctor Doom, Punisher, X-Men are all re-imagined for a new universe taking place in the year 2099. Some of these characters were forgotten but out of all the 2099 run, Miguel O’Hara’s 2099 still stands strong. The 2099 world has recently been revisited in the ongoing Secret Wars 2099 run.
Debut: Edge of Spider-Verse (2014)
She isn’t technically Spider-MAN, Spider-Gwen (or Spider-Woman) is a great alternative version of the webbed hero and one of the best. Spider-Gwen made her debut 2014’s Edge of Spider-Verse #2 and became an instant hit amongst readers. In fact, Spider-Gwen gained a large enough fan base that Gwen now has her own series. In this universe, Gwen Stacy is bitten by a radioactive spider instead of Peter Parker giving her the abilities of a spider. She uses these powers for personal gain, even joining the band called The Mary Janes as their drummer.
In this reality, Peter is saved from Gwen after being bullied. Peter is inspired by Spider-Woman’s powers and created a serum in an attempt to gain powers such as hers. This backfires and Parker turns into the Earth-65 version of The Lizard. Gwen is forced to fight him and during the battle Parker dies. It was at this moment where Gwen decides to use her powers for good. This isn’t simply a copy-and-paste origin story from Marvel.This version of Gwen Stacy is unlike any we have seen in previous comics. This version comes with her own brand of snarky humor and isn’t quite the damsel in distress we have seen in previous iterations. Gwen is on the run from the police force, which is led by her father Captain Stacy. Several familiar faces make appearances in the Spider-Gwen series, from an epic battle between Frank Castle and Gwen to Matt Murdock working as a hired hit man for the Kingpin.
I think everyone can agree that Spider-Gwen is a bad ass. Not even a full year after her debut Spider-Gwen’s costume is one of the most popular characters among Cosplayers. I look forward to seeing where each her story leads into the future.
It’s difficult to limit this list to just five, as there are so many out there that deserves recognition from Ben Reilly to May “Mayday” Parker. We would love to hear which are your favorite and why. Which Spider characters, in your eyes, deserve recognition? With last year’s Spider-Verse storyline, we saw several new Spider characters introduced. Which of those characters would you like to see more of? Comment below or tweet us at @GeeksWithWives with the hashtag #Spidertember.