One Spider, Many Bites: Tracking the Web of Marvel’s Spider Heroes
There are many parallel realities in which different characters received that fated spider-bite, or were shaped by the legacy of Spider-Man and were imbued with an altered form of spider-power. And with great power… Well, you know how it goes.
Let’s take a look at five of Marvel’s web warriors who all inherited that great responsibility as a result of one radioactive spider.
Earth-616: Peter Parker (Spider-Man) and Cindy Moon (Silk)
The Earth-616 origin story of Spider-Man is one of the most famous in all of the Marvel Universe. Enrolled at Midtown High School, Peter Parker was bitten by a radioactive spider at a science exhibit, and then acquired the proportionate strength and speed of an arachnid, along with the ability to stick to walls.
After learning a hard lesson about responsibility following the death of Uncle Ben, Peter made the decision to become a dedicated costumed hero, and the rest of was history. Or so fans thought, until the Original Sin event in 2014…
The story of the original radioactive spider didn’t end with Peter’s powers. In 2014, Marvel introduced Cindy Moon, a classmate of Peter’s at Midtown High who was also present at the science exhibit on that fateful day. After the spider bit Peter, it crawled off and bit Cindy mere moments later, imbuing her with similar but slightly altered abilities to Peter- including a spider-sense, the ability to wall-crawl, and the power to shoot organic webbing from her fingertips.
Her powers were uncontrollable at first, and she was locked away by a man named Ezekiel for her own protection against a man named Morlun, who was hunting spider-powered heroes. Silk reemerged recently to become a prominent spider-hero in the Marvel Universe, primarily based in the 616 universe, teaming up with her classmate Peter and other Marvel heroes.
Earth-65: Gwen Stacy (Spider-Gwen)
Across the Spider-Verse, in Earth-65, Gwen Stacy was bitten by a radioactive spider rather than her classmate Peter Parker. She took on the name Spider-Woman, but fans more commonly refer to her as Spider-Gwen. The powerless Peter Parker turns to science in order to take revenge on his bullies at Midtown High, becoming the Earth-65 version of the Lizard.
Spider-Gwen had to subdue Peter, and was met with hostility from The Daily Bugle and from her own father George Stacy, a police chief with the NYPD. Although her story takes place in an alternate version of Marvel’s main continuity, the spider that bit her was the exact parallel of the one that bit Peter Parker on Earth-616.
Earth-1610: Miles Morales (Ultimate Spider-Man)
Earth-1610 is known as the Ultimate universe in Marvel Comics. Miles Morales took on the mantle of Ultimate Spider-Man after the death of his reality’s Peter Parker, when an Oscorp scientist began experimenting with Parker’s blood in order to recreate his spider-powers. Aaron Davis, known as the Prowler, stole the formula and unwittingly brought home an altered spider, which bit his young nephew Miles and gave the child his abilities.
Because of the Oscorp experimentation, Miles’s powers vary slightly from the original spider formula, including the ability to camouflage himself and to perform dangerous Venom strikes. Ultimate Spider-Man also has a precognitive spider-sense and the ability to cling to walls. He might not have been bitten by an exact parallel of the original spider, but his powers are still derived from that original bite.
Earth-928: Miguel O’Hara (Spider-Man 2099)
Miguel O’Hara was born in New York City after the end of the “Heroic Age,” the time in which Marvel’s modern heroes were most prominent. As a teen prodigy, he was enrolled in the Alchemax School for Gifted Youngsters, and eventually became the head of the genetics program at Alchemax. Miguel’s research was greatly inspired by surviving records of Spider-Man.
Eventually, Miguel has his DNA overwritten when a jealous subordinate tampers with one of his machines. He survives the process, but finds that 50% of his DNA has been rewritten with a spider’s genetic code, based on the one that originally bit Peter Parker. As Spider-Man 2099, he has spider talons on his hands and feet, can make organic webbing from his forearms, and can cause temporary paralysis with venom from his fangs.
Who could have imagined that the one radioactive spider would spin quite a web of heroes across the Marvel Universe? Who is your favorite spider-based superhero?
Don’t miss your chance to add these spider-heroes and more to your web of Marvel collectibles!