A Web Line Through Time- Major Moments in Spidey’s History
By Hector Ramirez
Hey there Clashers! It’s 2012 and with that comes the 50th year of everyone’s favorite web slinger. Every month this year, your friendly neighborhood clasher, yours truly, is doing a special piece on the wall crawler; starting with this timeline of some his biggest checkpoints thus far. So grab your web shooters, shoot out a line and lets go for a swing.
A very familiar story to all true fans of the medium. Meant to only fill a few pages in Amazing Fantasy # 15, Stan Lee and Steve Ditko wrote the story of a 15 year bookworm by the name of Peter Parker. A social outcast, Peter spends his time at science demonstrations and museums. While at one of these demonstrations, a spider became irradiated and bit young Peter; giving him the speed, agility, and proportionate strength of a spider. Using his powers, Peter became a wrestler which made him kind of cocky so when a thief robbed the arena he was performing at he stepped aside allowing the man to escape. That same man broke into his home killing his Uncle Ben and it is then that Peter heeds his uncle’s great advice “with great power comes great responsibility.” While this story has been told and retold time and time again, that quote remains and as does the greatness that is Spiderman.
ORIGINAL CLONE SAGA
While attending Empire State University, Peter fell in love with the beautiful Gwen Stacy. Unfortunately, he wasn’t the only one. Professor Miles Warren was infatuated with the young Ms. Stacy as well to the point of obsession. To get rid of Peter, Warren created a clone of him. Believing himself to be the real Spiderman, the clone sought to destroy Peter. After the battle that ensues, Peter eventually throws the clone into a smoke stack believing him dead. As any true fan knows this sets up for a very important storyline, Marvel’s good at set ups.
DEATH OF GWEN STACY & THE "DEATH" OF NORMAN OSBORN
Every great hero has equally great villains. One such villain for Spiderman has to be Norman Osborn aka the Green Goblin. Willing to do everything and anything to hurt Spiderman, after discovering his secret identity the Goblin decides to attack Peter through his emotions. Norman kidnapped Peter’s beloved Gwen and takes her to the Brooklyn Bridge. Upon Peter’s arrival, Norman pushed Gwen over. Spiderman shoots out a web line to catch her but the sudden upward jerk snapped her neck, killing her. Needless to say, Peter was distraught and a seemingly final battle between Spiderman and Green Goblin ensued. The battle ends when Norman attempts to impale Peter with his glider only to get impaled himself courtesy of Spider-sense. Osborn was seemingly killed but oddly enough his body goes missing. Cue dramatic music.
THE COURTSHIP & MARRIAGE TO MARY JANE
While he was heartbroken at the loss of Gwen Stacy, Peter does eventually start dating again. While he’s dated a plethora of women the most prominent relationship in his history would have to be the one with Mary Jane Watson. The girl next door with a dark past, MJ was constantly running from her problems. At one point, she even ran from her feelings for Peter but eventually she settled down and married the web swinger. Their marriage wasn’t always ideal but I guess that’s the case when you marry a costumed crusader, I bet Lois Lane could attest to that. As with any marriage there are ups and downs the downs a bit worse than most but in the end it’s Mary Jane that was always there helping him get through things. The thought of going home to her is what kept Peter going.
THE SYMBIOTE (BLACK SUIT) SAGA
When the Beyonder kidnapped the worlds greatest villains and heroes to partake in the Secret Wars, Peter Parker’s costume needed to be replaced. He found a machine that produced a small black glob that enveloped him in a black costume resembling that of Julia Carpenter aka Spiderwoman which is what Peter wanted. Thinking it was some sort of alien nanotechnology he started using it in place of his red and blue suit. After a while Peter starts to notice something is off, his attitude is changing, and he wakes up feeling completely exhausted sometimes even finding himself out web-swinging with no recollection of leaving his bed. Eventually Peter finds out that the suit is actually a living organism bent on controlling its host. Peter manages to rid himself of the symbiote but it transfers itself to Eddie Brock who hates Spiderman. The black suit is definitely a fan favorite, even Felicia hated to see it go and made him a cloth version of it which he wears until Venom completely freaks out Mary Jane and she asks him to stop wearing it.
Speaking of Eddie Brock, the introduction of this particular villain/anti-hero into the web-slingers life as Venom gave Peter a whole new problem. With the symbiote and Brock’s combined hatred for Spidey, added with its enhanced spider powers its not exactly an easy feat for Pete to beat. And it doesn’t help that the symbiote has been in Peter’s mind and knows all his secrets; not to mention it nullifies his spider-sense so yea they’re a problem. Even though they have worked together and Brock does try to reform and does his best to help people, the symbiote’s vicious nature does tend to win over Brock’s attempts at being a hero until he eventually gets rid of it just to find out it gave him cancer. Ironically, his extended connection to the symbiote transformed his white blood cells into an Anti-Venom symbiote that fights radiation as well as crime.
THE "DEATH" OF HARRY OSBORN
After learning of his father's death in a battle with Spiderman, Harry Osborn swears vengeance against the wall crawler. Taking on the mantle of the Green Goblin, Harry winds up in multiple battles with Spiderman. Eventually losing his memory, Harry and Peter become friends again. Unfortunately, this is short lived when the Hobgoblin forces him to become the Green Goblin again. Harry defeats Macendale and considers becoming a super hero but Peter talks him out of it. Later, Harry suffers psychological trauma causing him to become the strongest he’s ever been and is re-consumed with his hatred for Spidey. Planning to kill Peter and all of his father’s enemies, Harry rigs his home with explosives and throws a dinner party not realizing his son and Peter’s wife were also there. Harry leaves Spidey incapacitated after a pretty one sided battle and arms the explosives before learning of Normie and MJ’s presence. Peter convinces Harry to save the two when he laid paralyzed. Realizing he left his best friend to die, Harry doubles back saving him but getting caught in the blast which triggers a side effect of his goblin formula killing him. But fret not Clashers, for Harry returns because of the events of One More Day.
THE "RETURN" OF PETER'S PARENTS
As quite obvious as it is, Harry Osborn was responsible for quite a bit of douche baggery during his stint as the Green Goblin but the one thing that really takes the cake is when he attacked Peter emotionally by making him believe his parents were alive. You see as some of you may know Peter’s stay with Ben and May was supposed to be temporary but while out on a top secret government mission his parents were both killed. Fast forward Harry hired the Chameleon to create to androids of Peter’s parents to pluck at Peter’s heartstrings, like I said douche baggery. Eventually his “parents” “die” revealing their falsehood. This infuriates our hero causing him to lash out against the Chameleon nearly beating him to death. This plotline is good because it shows that super heroes are people too and even they have breaking points. Some things are sacred and Harry and the Chameleon really crossed the line.
THE CLONE SAGA
Remember that very important plotline I mentioned earlier? Well guess what? That clone Peter “killed” didn’t really die. SURPRISE!!!! Taking on the name of Ben(in honor of Uncle Ben) Reilly (Aunt May’s maiden name), he traveled the country keeping tabs on Peter through May whom he convinced that he was a distant relative. While touring the country another of the Jackals clones the wretch known as Kaine follows Ben around attempting to kill him believing he meant harm to Peter. Realizing this wasn’t true kaine backed and was later killed After a few years Ben decides to return to New York creating the identity of the Scarlet Spider. At first he’s taken as a joke but after some impressive heroics he’s taken a bit more serious even though nobody remembers his name. Eventually teaming up with Pete. They work well together but at some point Norman Osborn decides to mess with Peter’s head by introducing the possibility that Peter is in fact the clone which haunts the both of them.
BEN REILLY AS SPIDEY
After being framed for murder Spiderman is marked an outlaw and with Osborn in control of the Daily Bugle he makes sure the word is spread. In order to keep fighting crime, and to try and clear his name Peter dawns four new identities. Using a flying apparatus invented by Hobie Brown aka the Prowler he becomes the Hornet gaining the trust of Osborn by claiming Spiderman was not an issue. Under the alias of Ricochet Peter found himself going up against the Black Tarantula again, teaming up with the revenge seeking Delilah. As Dusk Peter dawned a dark stealth suit he acquired in the Negative Zone and rescues the Trapster who has replaced him as the biggest bounty in New York with Spiderman’s “disappearance”. Finally we have the golden boy known as Prodigy. With invulnerability, super strength and able to jump insane distances and a personality “so square it makes Captain America seem radical” as Peter himself put it. Eventually Peter gathers the evidence needed to clear Spiderman and as Prodigy presents it to the public to Norman Osborn’s displeasure. Later four aspiring young heroes take on Peter’s four new aliases and form the group known as the Slingers with the wall crawler as their inspiration.
THE OTHER/ORGANIC WEBS/MORLUN
After finding out he is dying of some unidentifiable disease, Peter also has to deal with the fact that the vampiric entity known as Morlun has returned from the grave to seek revenge on him. Spidey eventually encounters Morlun; who hands him the beating of a lifetime and rips his eye out, leaving him to absorb later. Pete is rushed to the hospital where MJ stays with him. Morlun attacks and Mary Jane stupidly tries to intervene. As Morlun attempts to end her life, Peter becomes a spider beast and kills Morlun before dying himself. To protect his identity, the Avengers take his body to Stark towers where it is reduced to a husk. A new and improved Peter later emerges from a cocoon. With new powers such as organic webbing, he has to fight his corpse that is being controlled by spiders. After being defeated, his spider filled corpse retreats to the sewers.
NEW AVENGERS/CIVIL WAR/ONE MORE DAY
SECRET INVASION/DARK REIGN
Some of the superheroes in the Marvel Universe are replaced by shape shifting aliens named Skrulls. They try taking over Earth starting a huge war, with the queen disguised as Jessica Drew (Spiderwoman) since before the formation of the New Avengers. All of Earth’s warriors, regardless of alignment, jump into the battle. But it is Norman Osborn getting the killing shot on the Skrull queen. SHIELD is disbanded and replaced by HAMMER, which is run by Osborn, who puts together his own team of Dark Avengers; villains who are actually take up identities of other heroes such as Ms Marvel taken up by Moonstone, Venom Mac Gargan being Osborn's Spiderman, Daken becoming Wolverine & Bullseye as Hawkeye to name a few. Most of the real heroes are forced undergroun,d including Spidey. Osborn uses his power to pursue personal vendettas; like trying to kill the web head, force the Cage family under his control and try to kill Nick Fury, who continues to run SHIELD underground. Of course, he fails. Osborn makes his biggest mistake by teaming up with Loki and pushing the mentally unstable Sentry to attack Asgard which eventually gets him thrown from power and arrested.
Peter is banned from being a newspaper photographer ever again and winds up homeless. With a recommendation from Marla Jameson, he gets a job at Horizon Labs. Meanwhile, Phil Urich has gone completely insane and become the Hobgoblin by killing the original; adding to the Hobgoblin arsenal with sonic laugh he kept from his time as the "good" Green Goblin. To battle Phil, Pete develops a special harmonics suit which makes him immune to the laugh. Also in this plotline, Alistair Smythe returns bent on getting revenge on J. Jonah Jameson. He turns people who hate him (Jameson) into Spider Slayers and turns Mac Gargan back into an updated Scorpion. Here’s a kicker; they all have a spider-sense. In order to defeat them, Spidey develops a spider sense killing bomb. Unfortunately, he is forced to withstand the blast, losing his own spider sense in the process. Angered by the defeat of his Spider Slayers, Smythe tries to kill Jameson himself but his wife Marla gives her life to thwart the assassination attempt. Fed up with all the death in his life, Peter vows no one else will die on his watch; not even Smythe or the emotionless killer Massacre who were both to face the death penalty on Jameson’s orders.
FUTURE FOUNDATION/SPIDER ISLAND
To prevent an Annihilation Wave (a massive, killing legion that are responsible for several planets destruction and nearly wiping out the Skrulls) from the Negative Zone, Johnny Storm aka the Human Torch seemingly sacrifices himself. Believing Johnny is dead, the remaining members of the Fantastic Four and Spidey watch his video will asking that the team not be disbanded and that Peter take his place on the team. Feeling that continuing to call themselves the Fantastic Four and using the same uniforms would be disrespectful, they renamed the team the Future Foundation and dawned uniforms made of unstable molecules that can be altered with just a thought. At this time, Manhattan is infested with bedbugs which have been genetically altered by Miles “The Jackal” Warren to administer a spider virus. This virus endows its host with spider powers but eventually turns them into giant spiders under control of the Queen, a failed super soldier who once fought Spidey and Captain America Steve Rodgers. Jackal resurrects the imperfect clone Kaine, renaming him Tarantula to go with his monstrous form and kidnaps Steve Rogers turning him into the equally monstrous Spider King. A huge battle ensues between heroes and spiders that ends with Peter administering a cure made of Eddie Brock’s Anti-Venom symbiote using a whole bunch of octo-bots from the police evidence locker even turning Kaine into a perfect clone.
And that was our history lesson for this month. Next month: The MANY LOVES OF SPIDERMAN! Until then, Keep Clashing.