While Spider-Man‘s red and blue suit is one of the most iconic in superhero media, Peter Parker has also experienced his fair share of radical redesigns. From Tony Stark’s Iron Spider suit to his black symbiote costume, Spider-Man has had some amazing alternate looks, though he always returns to the old classic eventually. But what happens to these other costumes when Spider-Man is done with them? It turns out, they’re often claimed by other heroes.
Yes, there’s a bizarre trend in Marvel Comics with old Spider-Man costumes returning as the identities of new heroes – enough of them to form their own successful superhero team. Here are the ten coolest heroes who started life as a rejected Spider-Man costume, but who have since made his discarded personas their own.
10 The Scarlet Spiders, aka Red Team
After winning the superhero Civil War, Iron Man went ahead with his plan to assign a superhero team to every state in America. To accomplish that, he set up the Initiative – a training camp for young vigilantes. One of the stars of the Initiative was Michael Van Patrick, aka MVP. MVP lacked superhuman powers, but was a natural peak human, existing at the top level of human strength, speed, and stamina. Sadly, MVP was killed while training, only to be cloned by the former supervillain Baron von Blitzschlag, who considered his perfect genetics too valuable to lose. The Scarlet Spiders were the result.
Three genetically perfect humans programmed with the muscle memory of Spider-Man, the clones were given Tony Stark’s Iron Spider suits – abandoned by Spider-Man when he defected to Captain America’s team during Civil War. The triplets worked in tandem as Red Team – introduced in Dan Slott and Stefano Caselli’s Avengers: The Initiative #3 – but two were eventually killed in the line of duty. The final Scarlet Spider grew jaded with the Initiative’s secrets, unmasking to the public in order to reveal Blitzschlag’s criminal cloning of MVP. As the Scarlet Spiders, the clones had their normal enhanced physiques, plus a huge range of gadgets, including bulletproof armor, camouflage that could transform their appearances, and retractable spider-arms which they’d been trained to use in combat.
Spider-Man’s ‘Identity Crisis’ story arc saw him framed for murder, with a $5,000,000 bounty placed on his head. While Spidey was able to evade his pursuers, constant attacks by civilians made it impossible for him to help others, putting lives in danger. Peter made the surprising decision to create four different personas, allowing him to continue fighting crime. Of course, Spider-Man being Spider-Man, he chose to have a little fun with it.
First appearing in J.M. DeMatteis and Luke Ross’ Spectacular Spider-Man #257, Prodigy was a persona designed to mock traditional, straightlaced superheroes, with Peter putting on an arrogant performance when in costume. However, once Spider-Man’s name was cleared, he threw away the costumes, only for them to be taken up by four young heroes. Ritchie Gilmore became the new Prodigy, gaining super-strength and durability from enchantments cast on the costume.
Another result of ‘Identity Crisis,’ Peter designed the Ricochet costume to play in favor of his agility, debuting the costume in Tom DeFalco and Joe Bennett’s Amazing Spider-Man #434. Not only does the costume offer maximum maneuverability, but it also comes with disc-shaped weapons which can be bounced off surfaces and fitted with additional features, such as EMP blasts. After Spider-Man, the mutant hero Johnathon Gallo became the new Ricochet, since the persona perfectly suited his enhanced agility and reflexes. Johnathon joined Ritchie and the other ‘Identity Crisis’ legacy heroes in forming the Slingers, and continues fighting crime to this day.
Though the Dusk persona also came out of ‘Identity Crisis,’ its origin is different to the other heroes. Introduced in Howard Mackie and John Romita Jr.’s Spider-Man #90, Dusk is a legacy title handed down between the greatest warriors of the Negative Zone, who fight against the realm’s tyrannical rulers. During a battle in the Negative Zone, Spider-Man was asked to take on the role by its previous holder in order to maintain the resistance’s morale.
Spider-Man brought the costume back as one of his ‘Identity Crisis’ personas, and Cassie St. Commons later took on the Dusk mantle, but tragically died during an early outing. Shockingly, the costume brought Cassie back, now in a state between life and death. She gained control over the Darkforce Dimension, allowing her to summon dark energy and teleport, and her undead state granted her clairvoyant visions. The Dusk suit isn’t just black, but was uniquely created to blend with shadows and darkness, making Dusk the ultimate unseen hero.
The last of the Slingers, the Hornet persona allowed Spider-Man to utilize his technological genius with an armored suit – albeit one so heavy, he could only wear it because of his spider-strength. After Spidey, Eddie McDonough took on the Hornet persona, establishing a heroic legacy which has gone on to inspire new heroes – Melinda McDonough became the Red Hornet after being inspired by her uncle, and currently the former Prowler Hobie Brown is using an upgraded version of the armor (which he originally helped Peter construct.) The costume – debuting in Todd DeZago and Mike Wieringo’s Sensational Spider-Man #27 – enhances the user’s strength, includes a jetpack for flight, and can generate electric blasts.
5 Gold Goblin
A recent addition to Marvel lore, the Gold Goblin is Spider-Man’s old enemy Norman Osborn, aka the former Green Goblin. After his sins were purged by the Sin-Eater, Norman was consumed with regret for his past, and started working to help Spider-Man. Indeed, it was during a mission when Peter was under attack (in Zeb Wells and John Romita Jr.’s Amazing Spider-Man #13) that Norman grabbed a prototype suit that was meant to be for Peter and used it to race to his help. Spider-Man turned down taking the armor, and allowed Norman to use it as a new hero, dubbed ‘Gold Goblin’ by the press. The Gold Goblin armor mimics many of Norman’s Green Goblin weapons and powers, including enhanced strength, flight via a weaponized glider, and a variety of non-lethal grenades.
The most surprising entry on this list, few people know that Deadpool’s costume was canonically created for Spider-Man. In Christopher Priest and Paco Diaz’s Deadpool #36, fans get a series of flashbacks to Deadpool’s early life right after escaping Weapon X. Constructing his vigilante identity, he visits a costume shop frequented by superheroes and asks what he can get for fifty bucks, ending up with a suit which bears the label “Thanks but no thanks, S.M.” – a costume commissioned by Spider-Man, but ultimately rejected. The comic goes on to show that over the years, Deadpool has kept buying his costume from the same store, with its evolving design blamed on the owner never bothering to keep the design on file.
While this type of meta joke is perfect for Deadpool, it also references the fact that the character was directly inspired by Spidey’s popularity and personality. In an interview with Vulture, co-creator Rob Liefeld noted he’d grown up with a Spider-Man “who would make fun of you or punch you in the face and make small cracks. That was the entire intent with Deadpool … He’s Spider-Man, except with guns and swords.”
3 Venom (Eddie Brock)
Not just a rejected costume of Spider-Man, but the ultimate example of the ‘evil costume’ trope that has plagued a host of superheroes, from Flash to Iron Man, Venom is an alien being who was initially mistaken for a synthetic costume. Officially debuting during the Secret Wars event, Spider-Man believed he was using a machine to generate clothing that other heroes had mentioned, but accidentally released Venom from imprisonment. The suit gradually increased Peter Parker’s aggression until he realized the truth and forced it to abandon his body. Unfortunately, the symbiote was then found by Peter’s rival Eddie Brock, who debuted as the new villain Venom in Amazing Spider-Man #299, by David Michelinie and Todd McFarlane.
The archetypal antihero of the 90s, Venom has vacillated between conflicted hero and outright villain, depending on the wearer – Flash Thompson served on the Secret Avengers as Agent Venom, Mac Gargan became a Dark Avenger with the suit, and Eddie Brock finally became a true hero after learning about the alien being’s origin. Today, Eddie has become the godlike King in Black, passing the symbiote to…
2 Venom (Dylan Brock)
Eddie Brock’s long-lost son with Anne Weying (who also wore the Venom suit as She-Venom), Dylan is Marvel’s current Venom. Dylan is a unique combination of human and symbiote DNA, and a mystery that’s still being unraveled in Marvel lore. However, after Eddie became the King in Black, he passed on his Venom symbiote. Dylan’s Venom has all the powers of the original – strength, speed, regenerative healing, and versatile shapeshifting – but also boasts some control over other symbiotes due to his own biology. A costume that Spider-Man randomly found on a patchwork planet has now been worn by three or more heroes who have saved the world.
1 The Splendiferous Spider Hero
In Al Ewing and Greg Land’s Mighty Avengers #1, the team face an alien invasion and call on anyone and everyone for help. One such ally is the vampire hunter Blade, who is willing to lend a hand, but can’t be seen doing so, as he doesn’t want his supernatural quarry to know he’s in America. Thankfully, Blade is at a costume fitting with Monica Rambeau when the call goes out, and – like Deadpool before him – grabs something from the discount rack at a reasonable $5. Blade quickly switched to the Ronin suit and identity, making his rip-off Spider-Man identity a short-lived but fondly remembered addition to Avengers history.
In Marvel canon, a good idea rarely goes unused for long, and so it makes sense that whenever Spider-Man has a great new look that can’t last, it eventually ends up adorning a new hero who can give it new life – as these ten crime-fighters prove.
Source: Abraham Riesman, Vulture
A weird trend with awesome results. Read More