Posted August 12, 2012 by Mikael Angelo Francisco in Comics

50 AMAZING SPIDER-MOMENTS, Part 2: The Career-Driven Spider-Man!

Welcome to the second installment of 50 AMAZING SPIDER-MOMENTS!

In this five-part feature, we’ll take a look at 50 of the greatest and most interesting moments in Spider-Man’s history. (Check out Part 1 HERE!)

Today, let’s look at 10 of Spider-Man’s most significant career-defining moments through the years.

We’ll see how Spider-Man has developed as both an individual superhero and a team player. We’ll also take a look at his development as Peter Parker, both in terms of career choices and personal relationships. How does this guilt-tripping worrywart balance his private life and his superhero life? What happens when the two meet?

Happy 50th birthday, Spider-Man!

Photobucket40. Spider-Man: Future Founder! FF #1 (March 2011)

When Johnny Storm, the Human Torch, was seemingly killed in the Negative Zone, the one person who took it as hard as the rest of the Fantastic Four was none other than his best superhero pal, Spider-Man. It thus comes as no surprise that Spider-Man willingly and readily took his place in the reorganized Fantastic Four, now known as the Future Foundation, to honor Johnny’s last request to Reed Richards (Mr. Fantastic).

Sporting a new (and extremely cool) white-and-black costume, Spidey stepped into the role of  wisecracking youth on the FF with relative ease. It doesn’t hurt that he possesses an intellect that could match Mr. Fantastic’s, and that he has already earned the respect of the Invisble Woman and the Thing thanks to many years of working together. The team had a quite few interesting adventures before it was revealed that Johnny was still alive, managing to take control of Annihilus’s army. Johnny is now back on the active roster of the FF, leaving Spidey to take a backseat and become a reservist of sorts.

Hey, at least they let him keep the cool costume.


Photobucket 39. Johnny Finds Out! Spider-Man/Human Torch #5 (July 2005)

Spider-Man and the Human Torch have worked alongside each other for many, many years. They’ve matured as superheroes together, and they know each other’s fighting styles enough to be able to tell a doppelganger from the real deal; just ask Ben Reilly. (Oh wait, he’s dead, you can’t.)

Anyway, given that these two are the Abbott and Costello of the superhero set, it’s actually quite surprising that, for the longest time, Johnny didn’t have any idea who Spidey really was. Imagine his shock upon finding out that Peter Parker, the guy who almost stole his girl many years ago, takes photos of his superhero buddy Spidey and not him for a living (imagine that!), and eventually married a supermodel, was actually the Amazing Spider-Man! In addition to that, imagine how pissed he was when he found out that Reed, Matt Murdock (Spidey’s other super-BFF, Daredevil) and even freakin’ Luke Cage found out before he did!

Nevertheless, they soon patched things up, and the revelation of Spidey’s secret identity to the Torch only served to further strengthen the familial bond between the Parkers and the FF…and the already very strong friendship between Webhead and Matchstick.


Photobucket 38. Together Again! Amazing Spider-Man #491 (April 2003)

Peter and Mary Jane reconcile in this issue, after years of suffering from a strained marriage which involved, among other things, MJ being thought dead in a plane crash. Yep.

Anyway, the story revolves around Peter and MJ being stuck in the same airport after nearly missing each other due to taking non-corresponding flights. Throw a botched assassination attempt on Dr. Doom – and an undercover Captain America’s attempt to work with Spider-Man to save him – into the mix, and we end up with the kind of kooky comic book adventure that can only end with Peter and MJ finally patching things up. Peter also formally introduces MJ to Captain America in this story, addressing one of MJ’s minor pet peeves about their relationship: the fact that he never introduces her to his friends.

Also, as with Marvel Fanfare #1, it’s downright impossible to not love that epic J. Scott Campbell cover.


Photobucket 37. “Follow Me…To The Ends Of The Earth!” Amazing Spider-Man #682-687 (March-June 2012)

Doctor Octopus is dying, and with the help of a reconstituted Sinister Six, he wants to take the rest of the world with him!

Managing to defeat even the mighty Avengers, Spider-Man is forced to team up with the Black Widow and Silver Sable in order to try to put an end to Doc Ock’s nefarious plan. Enlisting the aid of heroes all over the world, Spidey works overtime to disable Ock’s bombs and thwart his master plan.

This story has it all: action, comedy, quick thinking on Spider-Man’s part… and heartbreaking casualties. More than anything else, however, Dan Slott and Humberto Ramos show that at this point in Spider-Man’s career, there are many heroes (and villains!) who are willing to pledge their allegiance to him in the name of a greater cause…

…Even if it meant following him to the ends of the Earth.


Photobucket 36. Peter Parker: Photographer! Amazing Spider-Man #2 (May 1963)

ASM #2 is noteworthy not only for showing that a bald geriatric in a bird suit can still pose a threat if properly armed (as if we all didn’t know that already), but also for introducing an aspect of Peter Parker’s life that would define him for many years, even across various media interpretations – photography.

Plagued with money problems and deciding to take matters into his own hands, Peter decides to take his own pictures as Spider-Man and sell them to the Daily Bugle. This marks the start of Peter’s somewhat dysfunctional (but always amusing) working relationship with the man who would give both Napoleon and Hitler a run for their money…the cigar-chomping, fast-talking J. Jonah Jameson.


Photobucket 35. Hope Looms Over The Horizon… Amazing Spider-Man #648 (November 2010)

One of the many outstanding things about Peter Parker is that he’s smart. He’s a total science geek who can hold his own in a four-way conversation with Reed Richards, Hank Pym and Tony Stark. Tony himself has said on many occasions that if only Peter took the time to apply himself and his intellect in more productive ways than his endless mid-fight wisecracking, he would be a major driving force in the world of science.

In this issue, Peter gets hired by Horizon Labs, one of the pioneer research and development bodies in the Marvel universe. As a member of Horizon’s think tank, he gains access to his own private, spacious laboratory, with all the facilities necessary to achieve scientific breakthroughs in a combo that would make even the world’s greatest Tetris player bow his head in shame.

Thanks to the technology at his disposal, Peter Parker not only improves his reputation in the scientific community, he also gets to design very useful instruments in his never-ending fight against crime, would-be world conquerors, and bullies who like to stuff smart kids in lockers.


Photobucket 34. I Want To Be An Avenger! Amazing Spider-Man Annual #3 (November 1966)

It’s amazing that we’re living in a time when Spider-Man, the poster boy for misunderstood heroic loners, is an active member of not one, but TWO major superhero teams. For more that four decades, Spider-Man was a bona fide solo operative, and this issue explains why.

Invited to join the ranks of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, Spidey is tasked with finding and bringing the Hulk to Avengers Mansion. Flaring tempers, differences in methodologies, and the Wasp’s illogical disdain for spiders soon come to light, and the situation is further complicated by the fact that the Avengers fail to tell Spider-Man exactly why they wanted the Hulk. Finding the Hulk and taking pity on the creature, Spider-Man does what he thinks would save the not-so-jolly green giant from harm. Reporting failure, Spidey swings off, leaving Captain America and the rest of the team to wonder if they made a mistake in selecting Spidey as a potential Avenger.

Spider-Man would eventually become a part of the team as a reserve Avenger, but it would also take almost forty years before he becomes part of an active roster…


Photobucket 33. The Fantastic Five…Not! Amazing Spider-Man #1 (March 1963)

Spider-Man’s ill-fated attempt to join the Avengers was not his first shot at trying to find a spot on a superhero team, though. Greatly pressured by money problems left and right, Spidey gets the bright idea to apply as the FF’s fifth member. Unfortunately, things go south as soon as he sets foot in the building. Thinking that provoking them would prove to be a good test of his abilities, he picks a fight with the FF, which eventually turns into a very disappointing verbal exchange for our hero. He ends up leaving a very bad first impression on the team; however, Susan Storm (the Invisible Woman) notes that there may be more to him than meets the eye.

It’s funny how, many many years later, he would be handpicked to join the team by his best friend, who happens to be the same member of the FF who was more than willing to burn him to a crisp in this comic.

Also, in this issue, Spider-Man fights his first supervillain: the Chameleon*!


Photobucket 32. Spider-Man: Outlaw?! Web of Spider-Man #50 (May 1989)

Spider-Man, Silver Sable, Sandman, Rocket Racer, Will-O-The-Wisp, Puma, and the Prowler come together in an attempt to prove Spidey’s innocence in a supposed robbery.

This “team”, the Outlaws, had a relatively short career; however, a career that involved facing both the Avengers and Excalibur is never one to scoff at, no matter how brief.

This makes the list because this is one of the rare instances that demonstrates not only Spider-Man’s natural capacity to lead, but also the positive impact he leaves on some of his rogues. Heck, Sandman even became an Avenger at one point (the less said about that, the better, though).


Photobucket 31. If At First You Don’t Succeed… New Avengers #1 (January 2005)

The Avengers have always been all about a bunch of good guys banding together to defeat an evil no single hero could handle. In this case, it was a massive breakout at the Raft, a maximum-security prison for the world’s worst supervillains.

Captain America believed that it was fate that brought this ragtag bunch of former Avengers and loners together, after the disastrous events of Avengers Disassembled. Whatever it was, it was certainly powerful enough to bring both of Marvel’s biggest cash cows to the Avengers fold – Spider-Man and Wolverine. For Spider-Man in particular, this speaks volumes about just how much he has developed as a hero through the years, and the respect the superhero community has for him now. He has, indeed, come so far from the brash, misunderstood youth who kept getting talked down by the likes of Iron Man and Thor.

This is definitely a major point in Spidey’s history, and deserves to be included in this list just as much as Spidey’s own origin story (oh look, a spoiler for a future installment).

That’s it for part two of 50 AMAZING SPIDER-MOMENTS! Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for the next 10 entries on this list. Also, feel free to leave your thoughts in the Comments section!

*Note: Chronologically, Supercharger was the first costumed villain Spidey ever faced (see Amazing Fantasy #16-18, published Dec. 1995-Mar. 1996). However, Chameleon is widely considered his first supervillain mainly out of respect for Amazing Spider-Man #1 (Chameleon’s “first supervillain” status was even used as a plot point by Paul Jenkins in his two-part Chameleon story in Webspinners: Tales of Spider-Man #10-11).

Mikael Angelo Francisco