Spider-Man: 5 Superhero Secrets

My Secret Senses Are Tingling

Spider-Man: “This is starting to sound like a bad comic book plot!”

Spider-Man: the Animated Series, (I Really, Really Hate Clones), season 5, episode 12

Spider-Man is Marvel’s most iconic hero. He’s been featured in movies, TV shows, and too many comics to count. We’ve seen his backstory so many times that the MCU skipped it and just makes an occasional allusion to it. You’d think we know everything about Spider-Man by now. But you would be wrong.

Thousands of stories conceal secrets of triumph and torment, not to mention incredible and incompetent stories and characters. Here are five little-known secrets about Spider-Man.

#5 Spider-Sorcery

Ezekiel: I’m about to yank your chain like nobody else ever has before, and nobody ever will again. So listen carefully. Did the radiation enable the spider to give you those powers? Or was the spider trying to give you those powers before the radiation killed it? Which came first? The radiation? Or the power? The chicken or the egg or the power?

Amazing Spider-Man #30

Ever since Amazing Fantasy #15 back in the ’60s, we’ve known that Spider-Man’s powers came from a radioactive spider bite. In 2001, a new character named Ezekiel appeared and revealed that Peter Parker was actually tapping into a “Spider Totem”. The spider that bit him had been sent to give Peter a connection to the Totem, which had picked Peter as its new champion.

Spider-Man’s connection to the Totem attracted a vampiric villain named Morlun, who feeds on totem bearers. Spidey was killed by Morlun, but his soul encountered a personification of the Spider Totem called The Great Weaver. After a lengthy conversation about Peter’s nature as both a spider and a man, The Weaver resurrected him with new powers. These included organic webbing, an enhanced Spider-Sense, and the power to grow stingers from his wrist.

Marvel has since built an entire mythos around the Spider Totem. This includes a connection to the African god Anansi, a seer named Madame Web, and a temple of Spider worshipers in Peru. It was also revealed that one of the forces holding the multiverse together is “The Web of Life”, which is basically The Force from Star Wars.

#4 Spider-Man: Threat or Menace?

[A woman is falling off of a bridge]
Spider-Man: [narrating] “You’ve dreamt of this every single night, Parker. Just make it work this time. Hit every major joint, don’t take any chances! You can’t afford to screw this up again!

Superior Spider-Man #31

For all his talk of great power and great responsibility, Spider-Man’s presence brings constant death and devastation to his loved ones. His enemies frequently target his family. Just marrying Spider-Man is dangerous. The Green Goblin once poisoned Mary Jane to force her to miscarry. The Kingpin had Aunt May shot, causing Spidey to sell his marriage to the demon Mephisto to save her.

Even Spider-Man has accidentally killed some of his loved ones. He once used a device to make Doctor Octopus’ tentacles go haywire. The flailing appendages damaged the roof where they were fighting. Debris rained down and crushed Captain George Stacy, the father of Spider-Man’s fiancee, Gwen, and the local Commissioner Gordon equivalent.

Green Goblin kidnapped Gwen shortly after her father’s death. She was brought to the George Washington Bridge and used as bait for an ambush. Spidey survived, but Gwen was knocked off the bridge during the fight. Spider-Man shot a web to catch her, and the sudden stop snapped her neck, killing her instantly.

I hate to say it, but J. Jonah Jameson has a point. Spider-Man is a threat and a menace.

#3 Send in the Clones

Spider-Man:What’s with the hoodie?
Scarlet Spider:Hey, it gets the job done.
Spider-Man:Especially if your aim is to paralyze your foes with laughter.
Scarlet Spider:You done yet? Want to take a shot at the Scarlet Spider moniker?
Spider-Man:Way too easy. I’ll save it for later.

Spider-Man: The Real Clone Saga

A villain called The Jackal cloned Spider-Man in the 1970’s. The clone and Spider-Man fought to the death and readers were left wondering if the survivor was the original. The question was raised again when the clone returned in 1994.

Spider-Man investigated the person calling himself Ben Reilly and fighting crime as the Scarlet Spider. Spider-Man found a seemingly never-ending army of clones created by The Jackal. Even worse, he began to find evidence that Ben had been the original Spider-Man all along and that he was the clone. (Does your head hurt yet? It will soon.)

Behind the scenes, Marvel was in the middle of a bankruptcy and they were willing to do anything for cash. They realized that the Clone Saga was popular and stretched it past the breaking point. The saga spanned hundreds of issues across a dozen books by the time the executives finally let it die and counted their money in peace.

The saga was made worse by constant attempts to include new villains, virtual reality, and edgy masterminds with names like Scrier or Judas Traveler. The Clone Saga ended with Scarlet Spider being revealed as the real clone, Green Goblin as the ultimate mastermind, and the word “clone” being virtually banned from Spider-Man stories.

#2 Superiority Complex

Doctor Octopus:P-Peter…Parker
Spider-Man: [unmasking] “Yes. I’m Peter Parker.
Doctor Octopus:No… I’m Peter Parker.
Doc Ock: [In Spider-Man’s body] “Not anymore, Spider-Man.

Spider-Man: Dying Wish

Doctor Octopus learned he was dying during the event Ends of the Earth. With the little time he had left, Doc Ock created a device that would allow him to swap his mind with Spider-Man’s. The device worked and Peter died while trapped in Ock’s body. With his arch-enemy dead, Ock swore that he would be better than him in every way. He would become the Superior Spider-Man.

The Superior Spider-Man, or SpOck as fans quickly dubbed him, soon learned the hassles of Peter’s life, specifically the difficulty in juggling work, friends, and superheroics. Matters worsened when Peter Parker’s ghost started haunting SpOck.

Superior Spider-Man’s story ended when a woman he loved was kidnapped by the Goblin King. Doctor Octopus realized how badly he had screwed up his life and erased his mind so that Peter’s ghost could take control of the body and save her. His last thoughts were admitting that Peter had always been the Superior Spider-Man.

But don’t think this is the end of Doctor Octopus. Hydra resurrected him by placing his brain into a Spider-Man clone in exchange for his assistance. The Superior Spider-Man is dead, but the Superior Octopus is just starting.

#1 Family Business

Spider-Man: [looking at a picture of his parents.] “People know my parents died in a plane crash. But I still can’t tell anyone they were government agents. I wish I knew more about them. I wish anyone did.

Spider-Man (PS4)

Wish granted. The ultimate Spider-Man secret is his family’s intrigue-filled past.

Richard Parker was a highly decorated soldier who had worked alongside Nick Fury. He was eventually recruited by the CIA, where he met Mary Fitzpatrick, daughter of the legendary agent “Wild Will” Fitzpatrick. They soon married and had kids. Yes, plural. Hold your horses; we’ll get back to that.

Richard and Mary were a deadly team, working alongside several contemporary heroes against saboteurs and spies. While returning from a mission against Hydra, sabotage caused their plane to crash.

More recently, Spider-Man was rescued by a CIA agent named Teresa Parker. The two had mutual goals and worked together. They quickly realized that Teresa was Peter’s long-lost sister. She was hesitant to believe the truth, thinking it was a trick, but eventually came around. 

They’re the Luke and Leia of web slingers… when writers remember that she exists

Didya Get All That?

These secrets can’t evade our Spidey-Senses.

Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures

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