Posted August 20, 2012 by Mikael Angelo Francisco in Comics

50 AMAZING SPIDER-MOMENTS, Part 3: “Stop Trying To Kill Me!”

Welcome to the third 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 and Part 2 HERE!)

Over the years, Spider-Man has had to put up with an insane amount of crap from lunatics who like to dress up as bipedal versions of zoo animals and throw bombs, tentacles or even their own body parts at him. Here’s a look at 10 of Spidey’s battles that have left a significant mark on the Spider-Man mythos…and tons of scars, both physical and emotional, on poor ol’ Spidey.

Happy 50th birthday, Spider-Man!

Photobucket 30. Maximum Money-Milking! Spider-Man Unlimited #1-2, Web of Spider-Man #101-103, Amazing Spider-Man #378-380, Spider-Man #35-37, Spectacular Spider-Man #201-203 (May-August 1993)

Maximum Carnage embodies pretty much everything wrong with 90s comics events: it was a long, stretched-out free-for-all involving a bunch of characters that don’t really belong together, with a conclusion that brought absolutely nothing new to the table and left no significant impact on Spidey’s history aside from being a shameless cash-grab. A fourteen-part story that could have easily been told in three, Maximum Carnage saw Carnage and his companions trying to throw the city into complete chaos and madness, until he was stopped by Spidey and his superhero pals.

It’s here on this list because, well, come on. How could you possibly ignore a FOURTEEN-part story involving your favorite superhero, no matter how shitty it turns out to be? That Marvel managed to stretch this to fourteen parts is definitely no small feat… however, the world would be much better off if all major comics publishers never did anything like this stunt again.


Photobucket 29. Ressssponssssible Parenthood! Amazing Spider-Man #365 (August 1992)

More than any other villain in Spider-Man’s rogues gallery, Dr. Curt Connors probably understands how it feels like to lose control. Seeking the means to regrow the arm he lost in the line of duty during wartime, Connors accidentally gains the (cursed) ability to transform into a human-sized reptile. In this state, the Lizard gains dominance and plans to remove all “warmbloods” from the face of the Earth and  turn it into a world ruled by reptiles.

Connor’s desire to lead a normal life stems mostly from his attachment to his family. In this story, we see him acting desperately in order to reverse his transformation and remove this “ability” from his system forever. This story shows us just how much Connors loves his son, Billy…

…And makes the recent Shed story in Amazing Spider-Man, where the Lizard gains total dominance and EATS Billy, all the more gut-wrenching and heartbreaking.


Photobucket 28. A Beautiful Hatred! Amazing Spider-Man #300 (May 1988)

Ah, Venom.

Truth be told, I was never really fond of the guy. He may be the most popular among Spider-Man’s rogues (and definitely one of the most visually stunning, despite the simplicity of his design), but I always did like Green Goblin and Dr. Octopus better than Mr. I’m-Gonna-Eat-Your-Brains. To be fair, though, Venom wasn’t always like that.

In his first appearance, Eddie Brock, a.k.a. Venom, was a legitimately creepy and sinister bad guy, a villain who was superior to Spider-Man in almost every conceivable way. He was bigger, stronger, more ferocious, and, thanks to the time the symbiote spent attached to Spider-Man, undetectable by Spider-Man’s legendary Spider-sense. His abilities were matched only by his host’s burning hatred for the wallcrawler, whom he blamed for the ruin of his journalistic career. Combining all of these abilities certainly paints the picture of a winner, wouldn’t you agree?

Unfortunately for Venom, Spider-Man managed to prevail in pretty much all of their battles, thanks to a combination of brains, agility and sheer luck. These days, the Venom symbiote is bonded to high-school-bully-turned-war-hero Flash Thompson, who is fighting on the side of the angels. In fact, Flash-Venom (as fans lovingly refer to him) is currently serving on the black-ops arm of the Avengers. I can’t imagine Spidey being too happy about that when he finds out, though!

The villainous side of Venom will always stand as a reminder that Spider-Man will never back down from any foe, no matter how badly the odds are stacked against him.


Photobucket 27. Like A Pig On A Spit! Amazing Spider-Man #542 (August 2007)

Wilson Fisk learns a lesson in pain, compliments of a not-so-friendly neighborhood Spider-Man!

After a sniper sent to assassinate him ends up putting his Aunt May in critical condition, Spider-Man suits up and traces the hit back to the Kingpin, who is still locked up behind bars, but is manipulating things to serve his ends. We end up seeing a side of Peter Parker we rarely get to see: an angry, super-powered adult, ready to go over the edge and stopping himself just in time to spare his unfortunate opponent. He beats Kingpin to within an inch of his life, and leaves the crime lord broken and bleeding, with the promise that if May dies, then Mr. Fisk will definitely be next.

This scene says it all, and still gives me the chills to this day. Lesson: You do NOT mess with with Spider-Man…and you NEVER mess with Peter Parker.


Photobucket26. The Unstoppable vs. The Unshutuppabble! Amazing Spider-Man #229-230 (June-July 1982)

Spidey’s no stranger to facing insurmountable odds. Our plucky hero never gives up; hell, he even managed to beat up Firelord once, pummeling the Herald of Galactus non-stop with his fists until the poor guy couldn’t stand anymore. However, just because he never gives up doesn’t mean he never gets scared even once in a while.

That said, I’m sure that this was one of those instances.

Coming to the aid of Madame Web, Spidey finds himself in the path of the unstoppable Juggernaut. It was Spidey’s speed and quick thinking that gave him the victory in this battle, because let’s face it: there is precious little that Spider-Man can do to hurt, much less apprehend, the Juggernaut.

…I still think he should have beaten Juggerlossus in AvX: VS #2, though.


Photobucket 25. Spider-Man: Shush… Marvel Knights Spider-Man #1-12 (June 2004-May 2005)

I’ll have to admit that quite a bit of personal bias went into the process of placing this particular story on the list.

This is probably my favorite Spider-Man story EVER. Despite all the elements and plot holes that work against it, it has enough strengths to stand on its own and deliver a 12-part yarn that both immensely entertains and pays respect to decades of Spider-Man history. A few stand-out moments here include the Venom symbiote bonding with Mac Gargan (the Scorpion), the formation of the Sinister Twelve, and a fantastic take on Peter Parker and Norman Osborn that shows how both men are so similar…yet so very different at the same time.

To borrow from the review I wrote for this story a few months ago: “This is the kind of story that any Spider-Man fan would want to sit down and read on a rainy day, indoors, with a mug of hot chocolate.” (Read my review for a more in-depth look at this Spider-Man epic!)


Photobucket 24. Come At Me, (Not) Bros! Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1 (1964)

What’s worse than one lunatic in a ridiculous outfit, trying his best to kill you? SIX lunatics in ridiculous outfits, trying their best to kill you.

In this issue, Doctor Octopus gathers 5 of Spider-Man’s most fearsome rogues in a coordinated attempt to take down the wallcrawler: Vulture, Sandman, Electro, Mysterio and Kraven. (The Green Goblin was also invited to join them, but he refused, preferring to work alone.) Spider-Man soon finds himself running a deadly gauntlet, laying the smackdown on each of his opponents, one after the other, until he finally faces Doc Ock and beats him in order to rescue his hostages – Peter’s then-girlfriend, Betty Brant, and Aunt May.

The Sinister Six would resurface again and again over the years (most recently during the Ends of the Earth storyline), featuring different members but abiding by the same mission statement: to destroy Spider-Man, once and for all!


Photobucket 23. Eight Limbs And A Stupid Bowl Cut! Amazing Spider-Man #3 (July 1963)

The third issue of Amazing Spider-Man introduced one of Spider-Man’s most brilliant and resilient enemies. In this issue, Doctor Otto Octavius, a reclusive genius, finds himself in an unfortunate accident that grafts four mechanical arms to his body and drives him insane. Calling himself Doctor Octopus, he then begins a long and illustrious career of matching wits and appendages with our friendly neighborhood webspinner.

Doc Ock is arguably Spidey’s second greatest foe, and perhaps the only reason Spidey prevails again and again is the (not-so-)good Doctor’s unbelievable hubris. Recently, he discovered that he was dying due to years of sustaining injuries from superpowered opponents, and decided to leave a lasting mark by proving himself the world’s foremost intellect…and letting the whole world literally burn, taking it with him into the afterlife. Thankfully, he was defeated yet again by the one man he would never willingly admit defeat to – the Amazing Spider-Man.


Photobucket 22. When Kraven Went Krazy! Web of Spider-Man #31-32, Amazing Spider-Man #293-294, Peter Parker the Spectacular Spider-Man #131-132 (October-November 1987)

Kraven’s Last Hunt is widely regarded as one of the best Spider-Man stories ever published. Allowing us a look into the tortured, addled mind of Sergei Kravinoff, we learn about his real motivation in relentlessly pursuing Spider-Man. After all, the shallow, superficial explanation about Spider-Man being “bigger game” can only be used so many times before it becomes unbelievable and boring.

This was a dark, violent, and mature tale. In this story, it is undeniable that the villain wins. He manages to kill the hero (or at least put him in a deep slumber and bury him six feet under the ground), claim his identity as a costumed “hero”, and surpass him in his own line of work, fair and square. And then, after the hero escapes from his coffin and confronts the villain, the villain spills his plan to the hero and sends him off to apprehend an even more dangerous foe.

And then the villain kills himself.

…Yeah, excuse me for a moment, I think I need a drink. Talk about depressing.


Photobucket 21. “It Was YOU All Along!” Amazing Spider-Man #39-40 (August-September 1966)

I mentioned earlier that Doc Ock was Top Two on the list of Spidey’s recurring headaches. Why is that, you ask?

Well, because this nutball in green and purple is definitely Top One.

Scientist, entrepreneur and one of New York’s most influential citizens, Norman Osborn hides a terrible secret. Consuming an experimental performance-enhancing serum developed by his own company, Oscorp, Osborn became faster, stronger and crazier than a soup sandwich. He then assumed the identity of the Green Goblin, wanting to take over the criminal underworld of the city. However, his pet project soon became that pesky wall-crawler Spider-Man, and he has spent many years of his career giving all sorts of grief to the webspinner.

In this two-parter, the Goblin finds out that Spider-Man is secretly Peter Parker. Managing to capture him, he eventually reveals his own civilian identity to Parker, culminating in a vicious showdown that leaves Osborn amnesiac. Escaping the burning warehouse where they fought their brutal battle, Parker clears Osborn of all suspicion and declares the Green Goblin dead. This would prove to be a fatal mistake, as the Green Goblin resurfaces and becomes a constant thorn in Parker’s side for many years, engineering the entire Clone Saga, rendering Flash Thompson comatose, influencing his son, Harry, to become the next Green Goblin… and, most importantly, setting in motion the events that caused the death of Peter’s first great love, Gwen Stacy.

That concludes the third installment 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!

Mikael Angelo Francisco