My 6 Favorite Alternate Spider-People
This week sees the release of the movie Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, and I am super excited! All word of mouth and reviews paint this as a possible masterpiece! The trailers are excellent. The cast is top notch. We could be looking at a game-changer here!
And if that’s not enough hype, how about a listicle of my favorite alternate Spider-Men?
There have been a bajillion different Spider-Men and Spider-Women over the years, many of whom show up in the new movie. There have even been two very recent comic book crossover stories about Spider-Man teaming up with an untold number of alternate reality versions of him. And there are movie, video game and cartoon versions on top of that. There are so many different Spider-People in comics!
And these six are my favorite! They’re not all alternate reality versions of Peter Parker. Nor are they all Spider-Man. This is just a list of all the knock-off, clone, alternate and sometimes completely unrelated additional Spider-People that I love in comics!
6. Ben Reilly
Ben Reilly is the infamous clone of Peter Parker. I started reading Spider-Man comics towards the tail-end of the Clone Saga, so I wasn’t exposed to what everybody hates about the Clone Saga. All I saw was Spider-Man teaming up with some cool alternate clones, and then Ben Reilly took over as the new Spider-Man for awhile, in a cool new costume. And before he had that cool Spider-Man costume, he was the even cooler Scarlet Spider! Mock him if you will, but Scarlet Spider was legit cool. As was Ben Reilly. He had all the heroism of Spider-Man, he just seemed younger and cooler somehow. Then they killed him.
“Ben Reilly” was brought back recently through even more cloning, but it doesn’t feel the same, so I don’t even consider it the “real” Ben.
5. Ultimate Spider-Man
Miles Morales is great. He’s an awesome new character and there have been a lot of good stories about him. But I liked Ultimate Peter Parker better. Writer Brian Michael Bendis really struck a chord with the younger, rebooted Peter and his journey through superheroics and young adulthood. He was more relevant and personable than normal universe Peter Parker, and his trials and tribulations made for awesome comics. Then they killed him.
Spider-Girl was my jam back in the 90s, around the same time I started reading the Clone Saga. The story of May “Mayday” Parker was a fun one, full of 90s glee. May was the daughter of Peter and Mary Jane, set about 15 years in the future. Marvel created an entire alternate universe around this future — called MC2 — and they had several other comics to go along with Spider-Girl, but Mayday was the only one who lasted. She was fun, she was heroic, she was a damn cool legacy character. Marvel tried to cancel her comic several times, but fans rose up in support of her. She’s not dead, and keeps coming back in big alternate reality crossovers, so at least she’s still around.
Amalgam Comics is one of the greatest bits of comic book lore. When Marvel and DC teamed up to not only write a big Marvel vs. DC crossover, but also create a whole slew of new partnership comics, where they fused their superheroes together to create the awesome new Amalgam Universe. If you’ve never had the pleasure, that’s a damn shame. I only owned a couple of issues of Amalgam Comics, one of which was Spider-Boy. The fusion of Spider-Man and Superboy was a hip, heroic teenager fighting the likes of Bizarnage and King Lizard. Not the very 90s leather jacket and hip straps. Spider-Boy was radical!
If anybody ever tells you that the new recent Spider-Woman costume redesign is bad, you let them know that the redesign is the reason I’m a big Spider-Woman fan today! I never used to care for the character, but the redesign led me to pick up her new comic out of curiosity, and writer Dennis Hopeless instantly won me over! It was a weird little comic, constantly pulled around by Big Event Crossovers, but it was awesome, Spider-Woman was awesome and now I’m a pretty big fan! She’s a tough-as-nails ass-kicker who always gives it her all and isn’t afraid of some romance on the side. And her costume redesign is perfect!
Kaine is the original failed clone of Peter Parker, similar to Ben Reilly. When the Jackal was making all these clones of Spider-Man, Kaine was the first one to not die immediately. He wasn’t perfect, though, and was covered in scars and had other problems. He made for a pretty great mystery antagonist during the Clone Saga, and I didn’t really care for him at the time…but Kaine has become pretty badass since. Returned in recent years with a haircut, a shave and a “no-more-fucks-to-give” attitude, Kaine is the surly brother that Peter Parker never asked for. He’s been generally cured of his cellular degeneration, and is really just a duplicate of Peter Parker. But he doesn’t want Peter’s life or to interfere at all. He just wants to go off and do his own thing, not even necessarily a superhero thing. But he still dons a bitchin’ costume redesign as the new Scarlet Spider whenever he’s dragged back into action. He’s great!