Is Spider-Man the best superhero ever? He is certainly the most profitable. In 2016, Spider-Man moved $1.3 billion worth of Web-Head products, and now that Spidey is making regular appearances in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, he’s not going away anytime soon. Let’s not forget that there’s more than one Spider-Man swinging around the streets of New York City, too! Miles Morales has been a welcome addition to the Spider-Man franchise and his animated movie will debut in December 2018. With the Wall-Crawler around for 50 years, have we learned everything there is to know about Peter Parker? Thanks to events like The Other and Avengers: Disassembled, you may not know Spidey after all!
In the storyline The Other, Spider-Man learned that his powers, although due to a radioactive spider bite, were derived from a spider-totem. In the storyline Avengers: Disassembled, Spider-Man was augmented by the Spider-Queen Adriana, but in what ways? How did these events and more change the Spidey that we’ve known and loved since 1962? Do you know the mechanics behind how Spider-Man wall-crawls? What are the differences between Peter Parker’s powers and Miles Morales’? Which one of the two men are technically immortal? These answers and more as we look at 15 dark secrets about Spider-Man’s body.
15. SPIDER-SENSE COULD BE MAGICAL
Although not featured at all in Spider-Man: Homecoming, one of Spider-Man’s signature powers is his spider-sense, drawn as wavy lines emanating from his head. For a guy that literally throws himself into danger, it’s a helpful power to have. His spider-sense alerts him of potential danger, but why would a bite from a radioactive spider alert Peter Parker to oncoming threats? It could be due to not to mutation, but to magic.
The Other is a storyline that examines Spider-Man’s possible mystical roots relating to a spider god known as The Great Weaver. Although most of Spider-Man’s powers are derived from a genetic mutation from a radioactive spider bite, magic does make for a better explanation when trying to explain why Spider-Man is able to accurately predict the trajectory of a bullet or the intention someone has to attack him.
14. SUPERHUMAN EQUILIBRIUM
If you’re drawing the Hulk, you better be prepared to draw lots of muscles. For Spider-Man, it’s about showcasing his agility and speed. You can’t successfully swing through the skyscrapers of Manhattan without having lightning fast reflexes. As speedy as Spidey may be, the one power that he may call upon the most his his equilibrium.
Ever feel dizzy after stepping off of a roller coaster? Imagine how you must feel after being Spider-Man for a day, swinging from buildings, doing tumbles and flips, and inverting yourself countless times. It must be like performing an Olympic gymnastic routine non-stop for hours. Superhuman equilibrium is what allows him to maintain his balance on things you wouldn’t normally balance on, like clinging to a wall or on a thinly spun spider-web, walking from building to building.
Spider-Man is not as fast as the Flash, but he is certainly a fast-moving target, so fast that he’s been shown to dodge machine gun fire. Spider-Man has used his speed and agility to create a unique fighting style, but although Web-Head’s quickness is important when fighting against villains, it’s most helpful when he’s swinging from building to building, because when you’re traveling as fast as Spider-Man does on his web, a mistake could be deadly.
Just how fast is Spider-Man traveling? Under optimal conditions, Spider-Man can travel as fast as 120 miles per hour, and that’s a dude in spandex swinging around the city, as opposed to being in a vehicle traveling that fast. To put it in perspective, most vehicles involved in a collision at that speed are virtually obliterated by the impact, so it takes a combination of spider-quickness (as well as spider-sense) to help him navigate at those speeds.
12. ORGANIC WEB SHOOTERS
Spider-Man’s ingenuity was embodied in the invention of his web-shooters. Not only did he invent the mechanism that shot out the web, he also chemically designed the fluid as well. His spider-webs are incredibly strong, yet harmlessly dissolve after exposed to air for an hour. However there was a time where Peter Parker didn’t need his inventions because he could produce webs on his own.
In the Avengers: Disassembled storyline, Spider-Man meets the Spider-Queen Adriana and has his powers augmented. Spidey no longer needs mechanical web-shooters because he can now generate webs organically from his wrists. The Disassembled storyline began in August 2004 and mirrors the events in the Sam Raimi Spider-Man trilogy, which began in 2002. In the movies, Spider-Man’s webs are organic in nature and learning how to shoot them is one of the many challenges Tobey Maguire faces in his road to learning his new powers.
In Spider-Man: Homecoming, Spidey is clinging to the Washington Monument and he’s able to call upon some Stark Tech in the form of a spider-drone that pops out of his chest insignia. This seemed to be a more advanced version of the spider-tracer, an invention that helps track people and objects that Peter Parker invented with no help from Tony Stark. Peter even found a way to combine his technological prowess with his unique powers.
His spider-tracer can either be thrown or launched from his web-shooters onto his target, but instead of using a technological tracking device, he’s able to use his spider-sense, accurate to about 100 yards. Spider-Man’s clone, Ben Reilly, can also biologically detect the tracing signal but May Parker, his daughter from an alternate reality, cannot. Daredevil, who has a radar sense, can also to a degree detect the signal emitted from the spider-tracers.
10. MORE THAN JUST HIS HANDS AND FEET STICK TO WALLS
Spider-Man has accrued lots of nick-names ever since his debut in Amazing Fantasy #15 back in 1962. Sometimes he’s called Web-Head, Spidey, Web-Slinger, and also Wall-Crawler. So, just how does the Amazing Spider-Man crawl up and down walls? In Sam Raimi’s 2002 Spider-Man, it’s due to tiny hairs on his hands and feet that allow him to adhere to even glass. Other versions have him scaling walls due to van der Walls forces, involving the attraction and repulsions between atoms. This kind of adhering is not limited to his limbs.
Spider-Man can adhere to surfaces using pretty much any part of his body. He’s stuck to surfaces via his back, and he’s even used his powers to keep his mask stuck to his face, which is probably how he keeps his mask on his face when swinging through the city at 120 mph.
9. AMAZING HEALING FACTOR
Hulk, Iron Man and Thor are some of the most durable characters in the Marvel Universe. They’ve taken significant beatings from enemies, survived unbelievable falls, and have even returned from the dead. However, these men are either covered in protective armor or built like tanks that were made to take punishment. What about spandex-wearing Spider-Man? What makes him so durable? What happens when his agility fails and he catches a punch from the Juggernaut?
The radioactive spider bite definitely enhanced his durability and ability to heal, and the storylines The Other and Avengers: Disassembled, Spidey’s powers get amplified. Although Spider-Man is able to crash into buildings and take punches from the Rhino, he’s still not so durable that he can survive a gun shot. Fortunately, Spider-Man heals at a much faster rate than most people, thanks to his increased metabolism.
8. CAN EMIT BIO-ELECTRIC SHOCKS
Don’t worry, we haven’t forgotten about Miles Morales! Miles made his debut in Ultimate Fallout #4 in August of 2011. He’s survived the destruction of Earth-1610 (also known as the Ultimate Universe) and has yet to make an appearance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Morales is bitten by a spider that also grants him superhuman abilities. Although Miles and Peter have almost identical powers, there are a few that Miles possesses that Peter does not.
Miles can produce something he calls a venom strike. Using his touch, he can produce a type of directed energy that can affect biological and non-biological material. For example, the venom strike can temporarily paralyze a person but it can also break apart chains or push objects. Like any cool video game character, he can charge the strike before he releases it, doing a wider range of damage to multiple opponents or objects at once.
7. HOW STRONG IS HE REALLY?
Spider-Man was always labeled as having the proportionate strength of a spider, so if that meant Spidey gains tons of weight he would be as strong as the Hulk? Gaining pounds would prevent him from being agile, so we doubt that’s a viable option. Spidey’s strength range is around Class 10, meaning that he can lift around 10 tons. Clearly he’s been seen to do greater feats but that might have been due to adrenaline or the need to rise to the occasion.
Spider-Man often has to pull his punches when fighting common thugs (can you imagine if a purse-snatcher was hit with ten tons of force) and after the storylines The Other and Avengers: Disassembled Spider-Man’s strength is technically doubled. When he had the powers of Captain Universe, he was strong enough to punch the Hulk literally into outer space. Knowing Spider-Man, of course, he would rather hit his foes with sarcasm and witty quips.
6. SUPERIOR SPIDER-AIM
Spider-Man’s strength and agility come to mind when you think about Spidey’s super powers, but he has a lot of secondary powers that help him survive against superior foes. If you think about it, Spider-Man’s aim is one of his most important powers. Granted, he’s not using guns like the Punisher or throwing a shield like Captain America, but his super-accurate aim is an essential part of being Spider-Man.
Spider-Man is always on the go. When he swings from building to building, he’s traveling at speeds over 100 miles per hour. When he’s fighting villains he’s dodging blows whilst simultaneously landing some of his own. What would happen without his accuracy? He would miss hitting a building with his web and take a fatal tumble to the street below or not land a punch which could result in a deadly counterstrike.
5. THEORETICALLY WILL NOT AGE
On Earth-1610 (the former Ultimate Marvel Universe), Dr. Conrad Markus was trying to replicate the Super-Soldier Serum for OsCorp. A thief called the Prowler stole some of this serum and without knowing, he also made off with a spider, which was also an experiment created by Markus. The spider got loose and eventually bit the Prowler’s nephew, Miles Morales, granting him superpowers in a similar fashion to Peter Parker. However, the formula known as OZ had different effects than that of the radioactive spider.
The bite from the spider did give Miles Morales very similar superpowers to Peter Parker, but there is one big difference that readers have yet to see. According to Norman Osborn, the Oz formula grants immortality, which allowed Osborn to return from the dead as well as Peter Parker. Is Miles Morales immortal? Pardon the pun, but only time will tell!
4. LINKED TO SILK
Peter Parker was bitten by a radioactive spider and given superpowers, but what happened to the spider after biting him? Before it died, the spider bit one other person, a woman named Cindy Moon. Moon developed powers similar to Peter Parker and took the superhero name Silk. She is not as strong as Peter but is faster with stronger spider-sense and can generate organic webs. Another power that she has involves Peter Parker directly.
Peter and Cindy find themselves extremely attracted to each other, but it goes beyond them finding each other attractive. Possibly due to the spider bite, or possibly linked to the spider-totem revealed in The Other storyline, the two find themselves drawn to each other. Peter theorizes that it could be them emitting pheromones or animalistic instincts urging them to mate.
3. PSYCHIC CONNECTION TO INSECTS AND SPIDERS
Why is it that heroes from our childhood find themselves getting their powers rebooted from time to time? Although Iron Man upgrades his armor regularly much to the delight of fans, most readers of Superman were scratching their heads in 1998 when he lost his cape, changed his costume, and had powers that were now based on electricity. In the 2004 storyline Avengers: Disassembled, Spider-Man added some new powers to his already diverse skillset.3
Spider-Man found himself with the ability to communicate with insects and spiders after being kissed by Spider-Queen Adriana. He also gained other powers like night vision and stingers, but most of these powers have not been addressed in recent issues of Spider-Man. When he did have his connection to arthropods, it was limited to detection and identification, as opposed to straight up control the way that Henry Pym had.
2. BEWARE OF RADIOACTIVITY
Peter Parker’s life changed forever when a radioactive spider bit him. The spider bite gave him fantastic superpowers, and it seems like radioactivity has played a role in the creation of other superheroes, such as Daredevil and Hulk. In an episode of Family Guy, Mayor West exposed himself to radiation to try and gain superpowers but winds up getting lymphoma. In real life, we know that radiation doesn’t grant people powers, but in the comic book world, radiation has other unforeseen ramifications.
In 2016, Marvel Comics released Spider-Man: Reign, which depicted an alternate timeline 30 years into the future. Peter Parker has retired from being Spider-Man, but is haunted by images of a dead Mary Jane. His wife has died due to radiation poisoning. It seems that radioactivity is still present in Peter’s body, as well as his bodily fluids, and she dies of cancer when they attempt to have children.
Although it’s not clear how Miles Morales may have a part in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, he will make his big screen debut in December 2018 in an animated film entitled Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. In the Marvel Universe alongside the teen versions of Cyclops, Hulk, Nova, Ms. Marvel, and Viv Vision, he formed a superhero team called the Champions.
Miles Morales has definitely been setting himself apart from Peter Parker. Although they have similar origins and powers, there are significant differences between the two. Besides having the ability to incapacitate enemies using a “venom strike” he also has the defensive ability to camouflage himself as well. Miles blends himself as well as his clothes into his surroundings. This is different from invisibility, which involves the person becoming completely transparent regardless of what’s around them.
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