Real Name: Dr. Peter Benjamin Parker
Otherwise Known As: Webhead, Wallcrawler, Webslinger
Member of: The Avengers
Featured In: Comic Books, Television Series, Film, etc.
Much like Batman before him, there are few who haven’t heard the name of Spider-Man never mind knowing the story of his origins. Bitten by a spider enhanced through the works of science, be it simple radiation or other more mysterious means, an ordinary boy became a hero of redemption, dedicating his entire life to helping the world to make up for the one mistake, the one sin, that stains his heart and soul.
However… like Batman, Spider-Man suffers not strictly from retconning but rather… variations. There are literally dozens if not a hundred variations of Spider-Man throughout Marvel Comics’ extended history from simple one-shot “What-If?” storylines to separately running series such as the Mangaverse or Ultimate series. DC Comics may be guilty of retconning their storylines every odd year or so but Marvel Comics holds the crown for creating so many variations of their characters that they actually created a numbering system to keep track of them all.
That and killing off characters that they no longer want to write about instead of simply, oh I don’t know, not writing about them at all!
… Sorry, sorry… I’m still more than a bit ticked on the fates of such characters like Stature, Toxin, Anti-Venom, and the entire FREAKING MANGAVERSE that got killed off for no good—!
… But I digress.
Growing up, I was an avid fan of the Spider-Man cartoons. Specifically the one featured on the then popular Fox Kids Saturday morning lineup in a time when Saturday mornings were worth getting up early for, and the one that came and went years before I was born, Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends. While I greatly enjoyed the latter in the form of what few VHS tapes I could find, it was the Fox Kids cartoon that truly introduced me to the world of superheroes.
Though I did watch the X-Men cartoon that aired at the same time, and even briefly crossed over for one particularly weird event, it was easier for my childhood self to follow Spider-Man’s story throughout the cartoon series as I had next to no idea how big the comic series was then never mind how it is now.
It wouldn’t be until some years later that I started to collect the comics first in the form of graphic novels and then in the then alternate retelling series entitled “Spider-Man Chapter-One” and its “sequel” series “The Amazing Spider-Man.” Chapter-One was essentially the earliest of Spider-Man’s stories retold in a more modernized setting whereas its “sequel” initially started out with those events, and countless others before eventually fading out into the mainstream original as it approached Spider-Man’s 600th issue.
That being said, I have not read the comics to the same degree I once did since the events of “One More Day” and especially so during the whole “Superior Spider-Man” debacle. To those who want to know why, I suggest watching Linkara’s review of the “One More Day” storyline. His opinions are akin to my own. Still, I hold onto the vain hope of this so-called “Renew Your Vows” event that’s to transpire in the near future… Because seriously, at this point in his life Spider-Man deserves more than a break from the constant crap heaved upon him.
Of his villains… That’s more along the lines of one long debate based on a lot of different factors. Most, if not all, of Spider-Man’s villains have impacted his life in various ways and while it’s no question as to who has had the most impacts, that being the Green Goblin, one can argue as to who delivered the most painful of blows, particularly in recent years.
Mephisto up and stole Spider-Man’s marriage and Doctor Octopus succeeded in taking over Spider-Man’s body and life just to name a few! At the time of this review, I can’t in good conscience state which villain I feel was the worst Spider-Man has ever had to face but I do promise to dedicate a blog discussing it in the near future.
Spider-Man’s powers have been changed many times throughout his history and incarnations but the staple ones have always been his ability to cling to most surfaces, the enhanced strength and agility of a spider to human scale, and the “spider-sense” that acts as a sixth sense warning him of imminent danger. Spider-Man’s other unique trait is his “webslinging” wherein he produces webbing to swing about the city and capture his foes. This webbing has commonly been in the form of his own scientifically created web-shooters but he has had the ability to produce them organically depending on the variation.
Like most heroes, Spider-Man is not without his weaknesses but the one that stands out the most to me is not something physical as it is emotional. Spider-Man is a hero of redemption and he can and will take the entire world’s problems on his shoulders if he believes himself to be the cause. Many of his greatest villans have exploited this trait whether they intended to or not. Don’t get me wrong, Spider-Man’s creed of “with great power comes great responsibility” is a great one but there have been moments where I honestly want to reach into the pages and smack him upside the head and chew him out for constantly putting himself down for events outside his control!
That being said though… The greatest moment from Spider-Man’s long history –at the time of this post anyway— was one that transpired more as a “birthday” event for Spider-Man. It was, altogether, a singular issue rather than a multiple-issues story event that makes it impossible to follow correctly outside of the graphic novel. During a magical brawl between Doctor Strange and Dormammu, a sort of SNAFU occurred wherein Spider-Man ended up seeing his beginning and his end and having the choice to stop both from transpiring but couldn’t bring himself to do it no matter the price that would be paid for them both. He then, with Doctor Strange’s help, had to relieve every major event in his life as Spider-Man to “fight” his way back to the present.
Do you have any idea what that means?
Spider-Man had to experience every hardship, every physical and emotional blow one after the other with no end. There was a two-page spread of Spider-Man and his entire gallery of villains and that alone would have been enough to drive most men to their knees in surrender. But not Spider-Man. Yes, for a moment, he faltered, but he got up. Again… and again… and again… That he emerged victorious and sane at the end of it all… In the years throughout the comics, Spider-Man has been around for roughly thirteen years. In actual years, Spider-Man has graced comic book pages for close to fifty-two at the time of this post. Either way you look at it, that’s a LONG history to go through in the span of a single day one after another.
Spider-Man well and truly deserves the title of World’s Greatest Superhero.