Posted November 21, 2014 by Drew Bagay in Comics

The Top 10 Best Alternate Costumes of Spider-Man

Probably the only other Marvel character to rival Tony Stark’s sheer amount of armors is Spider-Man with his alternate costumes. And just like Iron Man, each of his costumes serve a purpose. Be it to counter a villain with a specific power set, or just depends on Peter Parker’s mood, Spider-Man’s alternate costume have become a big part of his mythos. In fact, the Spider-Verse event features “every Spider-Man ever,” which means we’ll get to see every costume Spidey’s worn over the years.

So in light of Spider-Verse, we broke down the top 10 best costumes of our favorite wall-crawler. Take note that we deliberately didn’t include the classic red and blue, since no matter how many times Peter switches costumes he will ultimately return to it, thus making it THE Spider-Man costume.


10. Stealth (Big Time)


First appearance: AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #650

As a means to combat the Hobgoblin’s sonic screams, Peter Parker, while working for Horizon Labs as a scientist, invented a new suit that’s immune to sound waves and has the ability bend light, allowing him to be invisible. Kaine would later on don the suit in the Spider-Island story arc then keep it for his own.

The lights on his costume change colors to reflect which mode it’s currently on – green for invisibility and red for anti-sound.

If it ever crossed your mind that the suit looks like it came out of the movie Tron, well, this suit debuted around the time Tron: Legacy was showing in theaters.


9. Future Foundation


First appearance: FF (vol.1) #1

After the death of his close friend Johnny Storm/Human Torch, Peter Parker was recruited by the Fantastic Four (or I guess the Fantastic Three) as part of his dying wish to join their new team called the Future Foundation. The team wore new white suits with black stripes to launch a new era for the FF.

Spidey’s suit is made up of “unstable molecules” and can morph into any appearance Peter desires. It certainly beats the hassle of costume changes. Plus, white definitely looks good on Spider-Man, and it is a welcome departure from his mostly dark-colored suits.


8. Scarlet Spider (Kaine)


First appearance: SCARLET SPIDER (vol. 2) #1

After keeping Peter’s Stealth suit, Kaine moved to Houston, Texas as a means to go to Mexico in hopes to start a new life. However, after saving a young girl he met named Aracely from a superpowered villain, the people of Houston cheered for him like a hero. Kaine’s sense of responsibility led him to stay and try his luck at being a superhero, as well as to protect Aracely.

Kaine’s sleek redesign of Peter’s stealth suit is a welcome departure from the Tron-like appearance of the original. Since it is Kaine’s own redesign after all, the crimson red color could possibly reflect his more aggressive attitude towards being a superhero. Moreover, it’s a great modern improvement that’s very fitting of the name Scarlet Spider.


7. Iron Spider


First appearance: AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #529

The Iron Spider was not Spider-Man’s first armored suit. In fact, in Web of Spider-Man #100, Peter wears a bulky, heavily armored suit that pretty much resembles a disco ball. So Marvel made sure that the next attempt to put Peter in an armored suit wouldn’t look as goofy as the first one.

When Marvel’s prologue to Civil War was happening, Tony Stark created a red and gold armored suit as a gift to Peter (they were pretty close at this time). The features of the suit are definitely what one would expect from its designer Iron Man — retractable mechanical arms, armored bodysuit, eye scanners, a glider function, and most importantly, it didn’t slow him down. The color scheme, of course, comes from Tony Stark signature Iron Man colors.

Peter only wears the suit during the first half of Civil War before switching sides to the Anti-Superhero Registration team led by Captain America, in which he goes back to his classic red and blue. While short-lived, the suit is a significant plot point of the event, and has appeared in several video games and toys. Plus, Peter really liked it.


6. Miles Morales


First appearance: ULTIMATE COMICS SPIDER-MAN (vol. 2) #1

Marvel’s decision to kill Peter Parker, albeit the Ultimate version one, and replace him with a new teenage character back in 2011 surprised everyone and even made mainstream news. Eventually, Miles Morales proved his worth to be next Spider-Man in the Ultimate universe and has appeared in lots of merchandise (even a crossover event with Earth 616 Spider-Man).

Similar to Peter’s origins, Miles received his powers after being bitten by a radioactive spider. He tried to honor the late Peter Parker by donning his classic red and blue suit but was heavily criticized to be in “bad taste.” S.H.I.E.L.D. then took him in and gave him a new slick black with red webbing costume that became his standard suit.

Sara Pichelli’s minimalistic design proved to be an instant classic, and easily became one of the best Spidey outfits out there.


5. Superior  II


First appearance: SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #14

While replacing the Ultimate Peter Parker with Miles Morales became widely accepted by fans, Dan Slott’s story arc Dying Wish proved to be controversial. In his final days, Dr. Octopus successfully swapped minds with Peter Parker, effectively “defeating” him and proving himself superior. Peter later died in Dr. Octopus’ frail body, but not before making Otto promise that he would continue Spider-Man’s legacy. Pretty wild, eh?

The final Superior costume is taken from Alex Ross’ original design for Spider-Man with a few minor changes. Otto added a lot of modifications to the suit when he was running around as Spider-Man — eye scanners, a communications device that allows him to control his Spiderbots, retractable mechanical arms (same as the Iron Spider, but it can be interpreted more as a homage to his true identity), and more. All these enhancements are Otto’s way of proving how much superior he can be compared to Peter in protecting the city, and he did just that.


4. Scarlet Spider (Ben Reilly)


First appearance: WEB OF SPIDER-MAN #118

Say what you want about the Clone Saga, it did bring us one of the best Spider-Men ever – Ben Reilly. After realizing he is only a clone of Peter Parker, Ben decided to be his own Spider-Man, and called himself the Scarlet Spider.

Wearing a solid red bodysuit, artist Tom Lyle added in a blue sleeveless hoodie for contrast which was an unconventional choice for a superhero. Scarlet Spider also wears his web-shooters and belt outside of his costume, as opposed to Peter’s wearing his inside.

The whole outfit screams ’90s design, but it’s surprisingly still one of the more popular costumes today that stood the test of time.


3. Ben Reilly


First appearance: SENSATIONAL SPIDER-MAN #0

So in the ’90s there were two Spider-Men running around New York. Eventually there came a time when Marvel decided that there should only be one Spider-Man, and that was Ben Reilly. Of course when he replaced Peter Parker, his Scarlet Spider duds just aren’t gonna work so he needed a new costume.

The new Ben Reilly Spider-Man costume retained the Scarlet Spider’s outside webshooters concept and modified the classic red and blue by rearranging the colors. Also the spider logo took over his whole torso. This design is a refreshing but familiar update to the original Spider-Man costume designed by Steve Ditko. It would eventually be adapted for the cult-favorite Spider-Girl, Mayday Parker.


2. 2099


First appearance: SPIDER-MAN 2099 (vol. 1) #1

Marvel’s 2099 line of comic books are mostly forgotten today, but there’s one that still remains popular and even has a dedicated following – Spider-Man 2099. In fact, Marvel even relaunched the title this year, written by his creator Peter David.

Set in the futuristic year of 2099, Miguel O’Hara, an engineer who worked for a company named Alchemax, was tricked by the CEO Tyler Stone into accepting a drink laced with hallucinogens after conducting a failed experiment on imprinting genetic codes. Thinking it would rid himself of the hallucinogens, Miguel decided to try the experiment on himself. His supervisor Aaron Delgado sabotaged the process in an attempt to kill him. However, Miguel survived the whole process and discovered his DNA was spliced with the genes of a spider. And thus, the Spider-Man of 2099 was born.

As opposed to the mostly red costumes of Spider-Man, this one is mostly blue with a big red skull-themed spider logo. His mask also incorporates the skull-theme. In addition, the costume has a web-like cape and claws on his gloves. Truly a fan favorite, Spider-Man 2099 has appeared in several video games, and even has a solo comic book.


1. Black/Symbiote


First appearance: AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #252

In Marvel’s Secret Wars event (the first one), Spider-Man’s costume was torn in battle and he was sent to a machine that could repair it. Unknown to Peter, that machine contained an alien symbiote that attached to him, analyzed his thoughts, and created a sleek minimalistic black costume. During his time with the symbiote, it gave him organic webbing and made him more powerful but at the cost of his health. Peter ditched it eventually, which then found its way to Eddie Brock, who became Venom.

After Peter ditched the alien symbiote, fans wanted him to wear it again that Marvel reintroduced the suit by making his then girlfriend, the Black Cat, sew him a new one (no parasitic symbiotes included). Black Cat thought the all-black look was sexy and asked Peter to wear it again.

It’s probably not a surprise that the black suit is still the best one. After all, it’s the only one that Peter occasionally changes back to, especially when the situation demands it (i.e. serious business). It represents Peter’s serious side, and allows him to be a little bit more aggressive towards his enemies.

The black costume has become iconic in its own and proved to be equally popular with the classic red and blue among fans. It has appeared in almost all Spider-Man video games as an alternate costume, toys, and even got featured in the movie Spider-Man 3 (though not the same design).


So that’s the top 10 best alternate costumes of Spider-Man. Do you agree or disagree? And what’s your favorite Spider-Man costume?

Drew Bagay

Drew is a lover of comic books, movies, and all things pop culture. He enjoys crime/thriller/noir fiction, playing the guitar, and taking long walks. He also doesn't like talking in third person.