The story of Peter Parker is known by people the world over. A nerd gets bitten by a radioactive spider and the rest is history. During his time as SPidey since, Peter has come across many different spider-people, including Spider-Women, Spider-Girls and even a Spider-Monkey, but Peter has always been the main Spider-Man. That said, 616 Peter isn’t necessarily the best there is at what he does.
Different spider-people and even alternate versions of himself have better powers, better instincts and sometimes are even just better at being Peter himself. Though Pete has been through more than enough to prove himself as Spider-Man, here we are going to take a look at the others who have been through their own trials and have come out on top in ways Peter couldn’t have.
SPOILER WARNING: The following discusses spoilers for Spider-Man events like “Spider-Verse,” as well as Spider-Family books, like “Silk.”
The Spectacular Spider-Ham is not a pig. (Stay with us here.) In actuaity, Peter was born a simple spider who was bitten by May Porker, an elderly pig who had created a radioactive hair dryer and doused herself in radiation. After biting Peter, he transformed into an anthropomorphic pig and discovered he had retained his spider abilities. Adopting the last name of Porker after his “aunt,” Pete teamed up with characters such as Captain Americat and Iron Mouse to fight villains such as the Swine
Spider-Ham is definitely the comic relief of the Spider-family, and being a cartoon pig for sure lends to that. As comical as Spider-Man can be, the porcine avenger can be blown through a building, watch some stars run around his head, then shake it off and come back with everything he has. Spider-Ham is what happens when you mix Spidey with Looney Toons, and the result is good old fashioned cartoon fun… and a genuinely surprising amount of power.
Jessica Drew got uranium poisoning when she was a child in 1931, which forced her father to inject her with an untested spider serum and seal her in a genetic accelerator to try and save her. After being in stasis for decades, Jessica awoke to find she had no memories of her life before and that she had aged very slowly. Discovering that she had powers (through the unfortunate way of killing her first lover), Jessica wound up being taken in by Hydra and becoming one of their best assassins. Eventually, Jessica became a double agent for S.H.I.E.L.D and grew into the hero we know today.
Spider-Woman can do some of the same thing that Spider-Man can such as the all crawling, speed and strength, but she has some of her own abilities which give her an edge on Spidey. Jessica can also fly and use “venom blasts,” which can stun or even kill a person. She is also immune to all radiation and generates pheromones which attract men and repulse women, making her very hard to resist or fight, respectively.
13. BLACK WIDOW (JESSICA DREW)
The Jessica Drew of the Ultimate Universe was a clone of Peter Parker created by Otto Octavious and Ben Reilly in order to make a Spider-person specifically for the CIA. Her fellow clones include Kaine, Tarantula, Scorpion and Richard Parker. Initially calling herself Spider-Woman, Drew worked for the CIA, Ultimates, Young Ultimates and S.H.I.E.L.D. While getting to spend time with Peter Parker, she was able to find herself and become her own person.
Being a clone of Peter Parker makes life tough to get through as your own person. Jessica was able to not only find her own path, she was able to work alongside Peter and then Miles Morales after the Ultimate Universe Peter died during an intense battle with Norman Osborn. Jessica has the uncanny ability to produce organic webs with seemingly no end. The other big mark in her favor is her ability to work in a team and especially to take orders, a skill set most other Spiders lack.
12. SPIDER-MAN NOIR
Peter Parker was raised during the Great Depression by his activist Aunt May and Uncle Ben. After finding his Uncle’s mutilated body, Peter decided to use the sense instilled in him that good would always overcome evil and became an investigative reporter to find the real bad guys.
Spider-Man Noir gets a place on this list because, even though he is Peter Parker, he’s from a different dimension and timeline who got his powers from a spider and a mystic relic, as opposed to a radioactive spider. These differences, alongside the dark and gritty take on the character, more than make him different enough. With the same abilities as 616 Peter, organic webbing being the biggest difference, Noir Peter prefers to use his agility and acrobatic ability to leap from place to place as opposed to using the webbing to swing around. This version of Peter also has no aversion to guns and uses a revolver regularly.
11. SPIDER-GIRL (MAYDAY PARKER)
Mayday Parker is the daughter of Peter and Mary Jane in an alternate reality where the child survived her birth. Peter and Mary Jane had always hoped that Mayday wouldn’t develop her father’s powers, but they did know that it was a possibility. Once in high school, those powers did indeed develop and she took her old Uncle Ben Reilly’s costume and started to fight crime, at first trying to keep it away from her father, but eventually letting him know what she was doing.
With all of the powers of her father, Mayday also has all of the best character traits of each of her parents. As beautiful, charismatic and popular as her mother, she also had the brains and luck of her father. She was one of the best on the basketball team in her school until her powers developed, where she stopped to be fair to everyone else, proving that she also inherited her sense of honor and good judgement from both of her folks.
For wealthy business owner Ezekiel Sims, his spider powers were a means to an end. After he got his powers, he used them for personal gain as opposed to going the heroic route that Peter wound up walking. With the fortune he had amassed, he built a business empire, but within the walls, the mysterious man had built a couple of bunkers; one on top of the building, the other underneath. These were built with the sole purpose of protecting Peter Parker and Cindy Moon from the Vampiric Molun, who wanted to drain the spider totem life force from their bodies.
Ezekiel is better than Peter at looking out for himself. While this may not be the most admirable trait, some would argue that Peter needs to be able to do that if he’s ever going to be happy. Peter could be in the middle of villains succeeding in taking over the world, get a phone call from aunt may telling him she needs milk, and he would let the world burn to help his aunt. As admirable as this may be, it would help to stop and prioritize every now and then.
Silk is a more recent addition to the Marvel Universe and her story is very similar to Spidey’s in the beginning, but then took a much more boring turn. Peter had always thought that the spider that bit him and gave him his powers had scurried off and died, but before it could, it bit a girl by the name of Cindy Moon. Not long after Cindy realized she had powers she was sought out by Ezekiel Sims who would make the same offer to her that he would wind up making to Peter years later. Cindy took his offer to protect her family more than herself, and stayed for years in a bunker underneath the flagship building of Ezekiel’s business empire.
Silk has the same powers as Spider-Man but they are for the most part much more potent with her. As a for instance, Silk does not use web-shooters. Silk’s webbing is entirely organic and from her introduction for a short time, she used the webbing as a makeshift costume. Also, Silk’s spider-sense is much stronger than Peter’s. Also because they were bitten by the same spider, they have an almost insatiable desire to… be together.
Eddie Brock was a photographer for the Daily Bugle who thought he had caught his big break when a serial killer called him looking to turn himself in. Eddie jumped at the chance to make a name for himself and wrote the article about the man’s confession, who then turned himself in. It was later on when Spider-Man caught the actual bad guy and revealed that the man Eddie helped put away was a fraud looking for attention, that Eddie found his career in ruins and a new despise for the Web Slinger.
Joining with a symbiote and taking the name Venom, Eddie learned he wasn’t the only one with a deep seeded hatred for Spider-Man; he also learned his identity. What solidifies Venom’s place on the list, and as a spider-person, is the fact that the symbiote absorbed powers. Not only is he stronger, an after effect of this is the ability to be completely ignored by Spider-Man’s spider-sense; taking out one of Spidey’s best defenses and making Venom one of his most potentially deadly enemies.
7. SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN
Dr. Otto Octavius is one of Spider-Man’s greatest enemies, so when Ock found out that he was going to die, he made peace and accepted his fate… okay, not really. Ock made the only rational decision and created a way to swap his mind into Spider-Man’s body to take over the life of the man who had always thwarted his plans. This itself backfired on him when he succeeded in his plan and not only got Peter Parkers body, but all of his baggage. Everything Peter had ever been through ran through Ock’s head and as Peter lay dying in Doc Ocks body, Ock made a promise to live up to his legacy, but do it better.
In the “Superior Spider-Man” series, Ock did become better than Peter in a lot of aspects. Ock immediately went back to college to get Peter’s degree because he refused to be called anything other than Doctor. He also created spider-bots which would patrol the city and send him alerts so that he could decide if a crime warranted his attention. This more methodical (and, when he acted, savage) way of being a hero gave Ock something that Peter always seemed to be at odds with: having a life.
6. SPIDER-MAN 2099
Miguel O’Hara was forced into being the Spider-Man of 2099. A genius geneticist who worked at Alchmex, Miguel wanted to leave his job after constant pressure to test a process that would imprint genetic code into human physiology. After succumbing and testing the process, the test subject died, which was the final straw for Miguel. Turning in his resignation, Miguel’s boss Tyler Stone handed him a drink, which had been laced with a radically addictive drug that latched itself onto the user’s DNA and formed an addiction that could not be beaten. He did this in hopes of forcing Miguel to stay with the company. This forced Miguel to use the genetic imprint process on himself, yet even with interference in an attempt to murder him, Miguel survived and was granted spider powers.
After the transformation, Miguel found that he now had red eyes, noticeably larger canine teeth, retractable talons in his hands and feet and spinneret’s in his forearms. Miguel is also more brutal in a fight than his predecessor, but still unwilling to kill… for the most part.
Going by the moniker of Spider-Woman in her home universe, “Spider-Gwen” is in every way a rebel. After her mother died, Gwen’s father George tried to instill upon his daughter the ideals that he himself believed in, but Gwen’s more creative nature usually put the pair at odds. After being bitten by a radioactive spider and given web-shooters and a costume by Janet Van Dyne, the now retired hero known as the Wasp, Gwen’s got even more… creative. Although at first, she was drawn to the freedom her powers gave her, Gwen came to realize that she could do goo, especially when her father mentioned how much good Spider-Woman could do.
Still, it took a harsh reality of her friend Peter Parker turning himself into a Lizard and subsequently dying for Gwen to embrace her responsibility. Spider-Gwen, while still a new player to the Marvel Universe, is extremely popular, and for good reason. Not only does she have all the powers of Spidey, including web-shooters that never run out of juice (thanks to Janet’s design), she also has a keen analytic mind from her career police officer father. Having the senses of a journalist like Peter is great, but inherited police skills slightly trumps them.
4. SPINNERET (MARY JANE PARKER)
Mary Jane Parker is in no way new to comic books. The red-headed bombshell has been knocking the socks off of fans since her inception, but it was only recently that Marvel decided to give Mary Jane her own powers… kind of. In her respective timeline, Mary Jane and Peter had a daughter named Annie who has developed powers of her own, but using them would be a mistake that could have outted the family secret.
After the defeat of Regent at the hands of Peter, Mary Jane and Annie, Peter reverse engineered the power suit that gave Regent all of his powers so that Mary Jane could fight alongside him with powers that mimicked his own under the name Spinneret. Mary Jane’s biggest issue was that her daughter doesn’t like to listen when told to stay back and not join in the fight. If someone hurts her baby, though, the momma bear comes out of MJ and even Peter knows to get out of her way.
3. SPIDER-MAN (MILES MORALES)
A bite from a radioactive spider is apparently a surefire way to get super powers. Miles Morales was bitten by an enhanced spider (experimented on by Oscorp) and found that he had amazing abilities just like Spider-Man. Miles, however, wanted nothing to do with them. He had just been accepted into a charter school and decided to leave the heroics up to the real Spider-Man. After trying and being unsuccessful at coming to Spider-Man’s aid in his final fight, Miles finally decided to put on a mask and keep the legacy of Peter Parker going.
Miles not only gained the same powers Peter Parker had, he also gained a few other abilities that Pete never had, like invisibility-like camouflage, venom blasts similar to 616 Spider-Woman and his patented finishing maneuver: a spider sting, which has been known to bring down some of the heaviest hitters in both the Ultimate and the 616 universe, all with one little touch. While he may not benefit from the experience of Peter, he does approach ever situation with a youthful vigor and childlike sense of wonder! That makes him almost impossible not to like.
2. SCARLET SPIDER (KAINE)
Kaine as the Scarlet Spider was a character long in the making. The original clone of Peter Parker, Kaine had started to deteriorate, but survived and started hunting bad guys in a very Spawn-esque outfit. Over time, Kaine would wind up in Houston, converting to heroism and taking up the mantle of the Scarlet Spider. His main prey were human traffickers, and Kaine did not have any issue spilling blood.
In addition to the normal spider-powers, Kaine also has a healing factor from an augmentation in his DNA due to the cloning process, his own organic webbing that comes from his forearms. He also has an immunity to Spidey’s Spider-Sense and what’s called the Mark of Kaine, which allows him to burn anything he comes into physical contact with. The biggest extra that Kaine has is The Other. The same being that brought Peter back to life and was rejected brought Kaine back to life as well, and although hesitant to embrace The Other initially, he accepted its power.
1. SPIDER-MAN (BEN REILLY)
Ben Reilly was supposed to be the perfect clone of Peter. For a time, the two of them believed that Ben was in fact the original and Peter was the clone. When this was on everyone’s mind, Peter got the idea to embrace fatherhood and decided to stop being Spider-Man, letting Ben take over in his stead. Even though Ben completely believed himself to be the original, he still sacrificed his own life in a battle against Green Goblin to save Peter. It was at that point when he dissolved into dust that proved Peter to be the original. But you can’t keep a good clone down…
Ben had matching powers to Peter with an intellect to match as well. Ben’s biggest accomplishment was his newly assembled web-shooters. Ben’s version of the famous piece of tech also includes impact webbing, tracer discs and stingers coated in a paralyzing agent. These modifications make Ben’s web-shooters much more bulky than Peter’s, which is why he wears them on the outside of the costume. Ben recently returned to comics, first as the quasi-villainous Jackal, and soon, once again stepping into his old Scarlet Spider duds!
Can you think of anyone else who is better at being Spider-Man than Peter Parker? Let us know in the comments!