ByTom Bacon, writer at
I'm a film-and-TV fan who grew up with a deep love of superhero comics! Follow me on Twitter @TomABacon or on Facebook @tombaconsuperheroes!
Tom Bacon

2016 is drawing to a close, and fan attention is now turning to next year's slate of superhero films! One of the most exciting of these movies is Spider-Man: Homecoming, the first solo Spider-Man movie to be part of the . We already know that this version of Spider-Man is very, very different to anything we've seen before; Tom Holland's Peter Parker is younger than both Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield, and we're set for some high school hijinx with Michael Keaton's Vulture.

Another of the key differences, though, is that this Peter Parker isn't a solo superhero. He was introduced in , and his cinematic debut immediately established a strong dynamic with Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark. We know that and will still be working together in Spider-Man: Homecoming, but the lesson of the comics is that Peter Parker should be very careful before he lets himself get too close to Tony Stark.

Let's Take a Look at the Comics!

The New Avengers go public. [Credit: Marvel Comics]
The New Avengers go public. [Credit: Marvel Comics]

Over in the comics, Spider-Man and Iron Man had teamed up countless times — but in 2004/2005's New Avengers they finally became teammates. It didn't take long for Peter to impress Stark, and the two began to build a close friendship. After an attack on Peter's family left the Parkers homeless, the whole family (Aunt May included) moved into Avengers Tower, and the relationship between Peter and Tony gradually began to change. Rather than just a teammate, Tony found himself slipping into a whole new role — almost as a surrogate father.

The buildup to the "Civil War" event saw Spider-Man's costume destroyed, and Stark took it upon himself to give Peter a new outfit — the fan-favorite 'Iron Spider' costume, which featured everything from cloak technology to web-wings for gliding. With political pressure building to police the superhuman community, Stark took Spider-Man on as a protege, even taking him along to a controversial Senate committee.

The gorgeous Iron Spider costume. [Credit: Marvel Comics]
The gorgeous Iron Spider costume. [Credit: Marvel Comics]

A superhuman disaster at Stamford forced the government's hand, and the Superhuman Registration Act was soon law. Although it was a difficult decision, Spider-Man chose to side with Tony Stark and register with the government. He and Tony agreed to go further than anyone else, though, with Peter publicly unmasking.

The consequences were dire to say the least, and soon Peter was regretting his decision. When he learned some of the unethical decisions behind the pro-registration forces — such as their Negative Zone prison for unregistered superheroes — he switched sides. To Spider-Man's shock, he soon learned that Stark had actually prepared to use the Iron Spider costume against him. It even included functionality to allow Iron Man to freeze Spider-Man in place. Needless to say, the friendship between the two was seriously damaged, although they have worked together since.

The MCU Takes a Cue from the Comics

You can easily see hints of this dynamic in the MCU. Even in Civil War, Tony Stark seemed to be slipping into a father-son relationship with Peter; in the aftermath of all this, he's started giving Spider-Man technology. We know, for example, that Spider-Man: Homecoming will see Stark add web-wings to Spidey's outfit for gliding. It's not hard to see a hint of the Iron Spider costume in these web-wings, suggesting that we may well see the costume develop through the sequels.

We have to remember that the MCU's Tony Stark is just as flawed as the comic book version, and is likely to have an agenda. The events of Civil War crippled his Avengers — he was essentially left with only a disabled War Machine and a guilt-stricken Vision.

He didn't take rejection well. Image: Marvel Studios
He didn't take rejection well. Image: Marvel Studios

Although Spider-Man is only fifteen years old, he was able to take on several well-trained Avengers, and he's strong enough to easily catch Winter Soldier's punches. Stark has to be gearing him up as a future Avenger.

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If the MCU follows the pattern of the comics, Peter's friendship with Tony Stark may well become one that he regrets. The signs are that this version of Spider-Man is going to stay very close to Stark for the foreseeable future — and that may not be a good thing.


Do you think it's wise for Spidey to be too close to Iron Man in the MCU?

(Poll Image: Marvel Comics)


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