Spider-Man is insanely popular. In fact, it may not be stretching things to say that he’s the most popular comics character ever created. His popularity has endured for decades, and fans have enjoyed countless comics, cartoons, toys, and more movie incarnations than you can shake a can of web fluid at. At this point, it’s easy to assume we know almost everything about our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. That’s one of the reasons fans were so excited that Spider-Man: Homecoming was not an origin story -- we’ve already read and watched that origin until we’ve memorized every detail!
Despite the popularity and many incarnations of Spider-Man, there’s a few things about this character that fans never stop to think about. These are the things that are utterly absurd, even in a world of flying goblins and unstoppable green rage monsters. And once you notice these things about Spider-Man, you’ll never be able to see the character the same way again. If you want access to these things that make no sense about your favorite hero, you don’t have to visit Doctor Strange or Madame Webb. Instead, all you have to do is keep scrolling to check out 15 things that make no sense about Spider-Man!
15 THAT FLIMSY COSTUME
One of the things about Spider-Man that makes so little sense it has become a plot point on multiple occasions is his simple, flimsy costume. Obviously, the costume started as something he designed and sewed himself, but all these years later, he’s still wearing it. Every day and night, Spider-Man is going up against bullets and death rays and pumpkin bombs and metallic tentacles wearing the equivalent of some pajamas.
Aside from an occasional gimmick issue or brief storyline, we don’t see him wear any kind of metallic armor or otherwise supe his suit up in any way.
Ultimately, the silliness of his flimsy costume is that much more noticeable because of just how often we see Spider-Man get injured, making Peter Parker seem pretty dumb for a genius.
14 HIS SPIDER-SENSE
In many ways, Spider-Sense is Spider-Man’s signature power. Sure, he can stick to walls and has a lot of athletic prowess. However, it’s his ability to sense danger and get out of the way of it that defines him. Unfortunately, it also doesn’t make any sense.
At certain times, the power works like a low level ESP, allowing him to know when someone is about to attack. At other times, it warns him about his proximity to things like live wires while he’s sneaking around. And it’s even sensitive enough to know if a gun is out of bullets! However, given this info, it seems like it should be going off constantly: if it’s a passive power, he is constantly surrounded by things that could kill him (plenty of potential dangers in his own home). And how it knows a gun is harmless when the gunman doesn’t is utterly insane!
13 THE CITY'S DISTRUST
Different writers, comics, and movies have presented this in different ways, but on quite a few occasions, we have seen New York distrust Spider-Man in a big way. Obviously, part of this is the influence of J. Jonah Jameson (more on him in a minute), but New York’s distrust of a costumed vigilante seems really bizarre. After all, the city is full of “respectable” heroes like the Avengers and the Fantastic Four.
If most of the city respects other costumed good guys, why would they disrespect another costumed do-gooder?
On top of that, they would have seen Spider-Man help (and eventually join) both groups of heroes. It seems very much like the average citizen has just singled Spider-Man out for no real reason at all.
12 JAMESON'S DISTRUST
Like the city itself, J. Jonah Jameson continues to distrust Spider-Man. Only in his case, it goes beyond distrust and into irrational hatred. And as the years have gone on, his hatred of Spider-Man has made less sense than ever before.
Above all else, Jameson is a news man. He is supposed to be dedicated to finding the truth and then sharing that with his readers. When it comes to Spider-Man, though, Jameson is obsessed with controlling the narrative and making everyone hate him. At first, he is distrustful of what he sees as a criminal vigilante. However, by this point, Spider-Man has saved Jameson’s son, saved the city, and saved the planet on multiple occasions. Jameson literally owes his life and his family’s life to Spider-Man, yet he hates the hero for no particularly discernible reason.
11 IS HE A MUTANT OR NOT?
One aspect of Spider-Man that doesn’t make a lot of sense (especially to casual readers) is whether he is a mutant or not. It’s a sensitive subject to Spider-Man himself, and various changes to the Marvel Universe over the years have made it more difficult to answer.
RELATED: Powers You Never Knew Spider-Man Had
For instance, some people say you either have the X-gene (like the X-Men) or you don’t and Spider-Man doesn’t, open and shut, right?
However, there are some mutants who may not have that particular gene (such as Franklin Richards). Others say that if you are born human and get powers later, you’re a mutate, not a mutant (think Hulk or Captain America). However, the Spider-Totem theory posits that Peter Parker was born destined to inherit these powers from a mystical force. In that sense, he was not born normal -- he’s not quite human, not quite mutant, and not quite mutate.
10 HIS IMMACULATE HEALING FACTOR
It may be petty to point out, but Spider-Man’s healing factor is all over the place. This is obviously due to the dramatic needs of different writers and different stories: sometimes, Spider-Man’s healing factor rivals Wolverine, and he comes back from near death in no time at all. Other times, we see him nurse injuries such as broken ribs for several days.
It gets even more complicated when you look at some of the fights he gets into. For instance, we know that Spider-Man is vulnerable and can get killed. But he survives and quickly recovers from hits by characters like the Hulk that should turn him into paste (or at least put him out of commission for a few months). Bottom line? This power is so confusing that fans have spent decades trying to get a handle on it!
9 HIS SUPER-STRENGTH
Like his healing factor, Spider-Man’s exact level of super-strength is something that it’s tough to get a good handle on. For instance, in many comics he seems to be able to lift a regular car with ease, and that’s the limit of his strength: not quite the Hulk, but physically much stronger than characters like Captain America or Wolverine.
However, other comics show Spider-Man casually tossing tanks around, which are much heavier.
And movie fans have seen his body stop a train, which is a level of strength we once associated with Superman (“more powerful than a speeding locomotive”). And in Homecoming, we saw him (albeit briefly before getting help) hold a 3,600-ton ferry together after it was split in two! So, how tough is Spider-Man? The answer will always be “as tough as the writer needs him to be.”
The ability to crawl on walls is one of the main things we associate with Spider-Man. In fact, you’re probably so used to seeing it that you’ve never noticed how it makes no sense. In fact, this may be the weirdest Spider-Man ability of them all! We are told that his power allows him to stick to various surfaces. However, how does a power contained in his body work through his suit?
The comic book answers have varied greatly: Stan Lee once wrote that it was static cling (no, really), while his alternate universe daughter uses something called “bio-magnetism.” And an old Marvel handbook called Spider-Man’s ability to crawl walls the ability to use “inter-atomic attractive forces.” And people even nerdier than Peter Parker will try to say he’s using van der Waals force, but even that doesn’t make sense given the ways he sticks to surfaces!
7 WEB FLUID
Much of Spider-Man’s mobility comes from his special web fluid. It lets him swing all around the city, fight bad guys, and then leave them conveniently webbed-up for the police to find. However, the way his web fluid seems to work is pretty damn insane.
First, there’s the idea that it hardens that quickly -- from liquid in a canister to something that can withstand tons of pressure in about one second!
Then there’s the idea that it disintegrates after a few hours, making it go from super-study to completely non-existent. Finally, as Tony Stark himself once noted, Peter Parker could make a fortune patenting this amazing fluid, but he chooses to stay poor and only use the fluid to beat up mentally ill people in a variety of masks!
Spider-Man’s origin is so well-known that people who have never picked up a comic book can recite it: he is bitten by a radioactive spider and gains fantastic spider-like powers. However, a character named Ezekiel in the comics presented another theory: that the spider already had powers and was deliberately trying to give them to Peter before the radiation killed it.
This led to a weird story about how there are great Spider-Totems who are given spider-like powers by mystic forces throughout the ages. At the time, it was a fun “what if?” re-imagining of Spider-Man’s origin, but it doesn’t make a lot of sense, and the idea directly contradicts many of the stories that came before and after this revelation. And as we’ve outlined, Spider-Man is not a character who needs any help when it comes to not making any sense!
5 HIS CAREER
The first thing Spider-Man does with his powers is try to make some quick cash, but his selfishness inadvertently leads to the death of his Uncle Ben. This is the reason we are given for why Peter Parker doesn’t use his powers to advance his career. However, his chosen career makes basically zero sense.
For most of his adventures, he is content to be just a low-paid photographer for the Daily Bugle. This made sense when he was just a teenager, but makes less sense as he grows up.
And to be fair, some comics have shown Peter actually shown Peter working for places like Horizon Labs and (thanks to Doctor Octopus) briefly running his own company. However, Spider-Man’s stories get the reset button more than anyone else, and he always goes back to using his great powers and mind to simply help report the news.
4 HIS RELATIONSHIPS
Mary Jane quickly became one of the most iconic women in all of comics. Her romance with Peter is both playful and intense, and it shows us how amazing they can be as a couple. Unfortunately, that relationship often doesn’t make sense.
You can pretty much blame this one on the writers. “Happily ever after” doesn’t make for good ongoing drama, so there are increasingly weird events that pull them apart and push them back together. They have been happily married; they have also had their relationship erased after Peter makes a deal with the devil to save Aunt May. Their relationship has even been disrupted by Tony Stark trying to date Mary Jane! To be a Spider-Man fan is to realize that these two characters that are happiest together will never get to stay together, which is both crazy and sad.
Another lingering question fans have about Spider-Man: just how radioactive is he? He’s powered by the bite from a radioactive spider, and his classic cartoon jingle tells us to “listen bud, he’s got radioactive blood.”
However, the idea of him being radioactive only pops up on occasion, usually in the most horrific way!
In Spider-Man: Reign (a future storyline that is like a mashup of Spider-Man and Dark Knight Returns), we find out that Mary Jane has died because of Peter Parker. He thinks to himself it’s because of his radioactive fluids: “and not just blood...every fluid.” That’s right, true believer: making love to Mary Jane killed her. Once you know this, it kind of changes how you look at every single romance Spider-Man has!
2 WEIRD EVOLUTION
Most of this list of things that make no sense about Spider-Man focus on a single power or aspect of the character. In this case, though, it’s an entire storyline that doesn’t make sense. What are we talking about? We’re talking about “The Other.”
In this story, we see Spider-Man kill or attempt to kill multiple people, get his eye ripped out and eaten, and actually die. He then comes back to life with a bunch of weird new powers, including night vision, wrist stingers, organic webbing (like in the early movies) and sharp fangs. He eventually sheds his skin and is more like his normal self, except that he retains some of his new abilities. Except for the small fact that most writers seem to have forgotten about these new powers. Then again, who wouldn’t want to forget a story this weird?
1 TALKING TO SPIDERS
You’ve seen Spider-Man swing, thwip, and use his spider-sense to dodge just about anything. However, you’ve probably never seen him talk to spiders! However, this is a power he has that makes little sense...which is probably why the writers just gave up on it.
As you may have guessed, this was another one of his weird new powers that he got as part of the events in “The Other.”
And on one memorable occasion, this ability lets Spider-Man track down some bombs and dismantle them before they can kill hundreds of people. However, it’s still weird to imagine that anyone thought this was a good ability for our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man to have. It’s almost like somebody set out with the explicit intent of making Ant-Man cry!