We all want to be Spider-Man! At least, I did. Ok, do, I still do. Just imagine how fun it would be to have those powers! Beating up bad guys with my super-strength! Dodging things with ease with my Spidey-Sense! Web-swinging across skyscrapers! I mean, I'd have to move to a bigger city, but still!
It's too bad Peter Parker gets ALL the fun right? Well, actually, he doesn't! Believe it or not, Parker isn't the only one who got to wear the Spidey suit, and swing around town!
Don't believe me? Check out these 4 times Spider-Man was someone other than Peter Parker! It won't help any of us become Spider-Man though...
[NOTE: You won't see Miles Morales or Spider-Gwen in this article. Mainly because EVERYBODY knows who they are, or at least should, since they're about to become the mainstream Spideys and all. But, just in case you don't know much about the two, you can learn about Miles by clicking here, and learn about Gwen (and a theory o' mine) here. Enjoy!]
1. Ben Reilly
There are a few unwritten rules when it comes to writing a Marvel comic. One rule is that if you want to create a successful series, at some point you're gonna have to introduce time travel. Just look at the X-Men for a good example of that.
But if you don't want to introduce the tons of paradoxes and inconsistencies that come along with time traveling, you can go for the next best thing; cloning! That's what Spider-Man creators did when they introduced the newest character in Peter Parker's life, Ben Reilly.
Ben is a clone of Peter Parker, created by the evil genius The Jackal! Ben was implanted with the memories of Peter, making him believe that he was the real Parker. Which made things really awkward when the two came face to face.
After teaming up with the real Parker to save a Gwen Stacy clone, Ben appeared to have died in an explosion. In reality, Ben had survived the explosion, but decided to leave New York, dying his hair blonde and giving himself the name "Ben Reilly". Because "Peter Parker Test Clone Subject" was too much to put on a license.
After awhile, Ben returned to NYC, and after a brief stint with his own identity, the Scarlet Spider, he became the Sensational Spider-Man, after Peter retires to take care of his unborn child (which is another, pretty sad ending story altogether).
Unfortunately, Ben's time as a hero was tragically cut short. When the Green Goblin attacked Peter and Ben, and threatened to blow up a building with Peter's friends inside, Ben tried to evacuate them. Though he succeeded, he ended up getting hit by the Goblin's glider and falling several stories off the building and onto a taxi below.
His clone body quickly decomposed, but not before he told Peter that the name Spider-Man was his responsibility again. He died, proving once and for all, that if your name is Ben, you should probably stay away from Spider-Man.
2. Otto Octavius
Yep, Dr. Octopus, sworn enemy of Spider-Man, became Spider-Man. Now, this one is kind of a cheat. Technically, the body inside the Spider-Man suit is Peter Parker's, but it isn't Peter inside there.
Remember when I said that implementing time travel and cloning were surefire ways to make a successful Marvel story? Well there's also a third surefire way, body-switching. Dr. Otto Octavius, terminally ill from his years of experimentation and fighting superheroes, devises a plan to live longer than expected.
During a battle with Spider-Man, Otto used a mind-swapping Octobot to switch brains with Peter. It works, with Peter, trapped in the ill man's body, eventually dying. Otto's plans in Peter's body consisted of ruling the world, tarnishing Parker's name and...I don't know, impressing all the ladies with his new and improved young body like men in their midlife crisis do with Ferraris.
Unfortunately for the supervillain, Peter's brain also came with all of Peter's memories, and his mindset. Though he eventually repressed the memories, which were trying to consume his memories and transform him into Peter Parker in and out of mind, he never forgot them. And because of this, he reformed, and promised himself and the dead Peter that he would become a better Spidey than he ever was, a more 'Superior' one. Which is exactly what he called himself.
Of course, being a genius inventor and all, Otto couldn't be seen running around New York City with those dingy old rags, so he made a few super cool modifications to the suit.
The modifications included black HUD display lenses, four 'Spider-Arms' similar to his 'Octopus Arms', and some cool retractable talons, that also doubled as explosive darts!
Otto would go on to be Spider-Man for a whole YEAR, until finally allowing Peter's consciousness (which was apparently there the whole time somehow, because...comics) to take control.
3. MacDonald Gargan
First off, go ahead and get your laughs out about this guys "couldn't be any more comic book if it tried" name.
Done yet? Ok then, now, ahem.
MacDonald Gargan was one of Spider-Man's toughest adversaries, the Scorpion. Just like in the wild, Scorpion and Spider were sworn enemies, and Gargan was foiled in his efforts to cause mayhem in Manhattan again and again by the wall-crawler.
Mac would eventually become the new host of the Venom Symbiote, after the symbiote found Gargan, and sympathized with his hate for their mutual enemy. He allowed the symbiote to take control, and didn't hold back at all, letting the alien virus get larger and larger as Gargan's hatred for Spider-Man grew!
Eventually, the symbiote got a little too much for Mac to handle, and so Norman Osborn (the Green Goblin) offered him a medication that reset the symbiote to the size it was when it possessed Spider-Man. Along with this, he extended an invitation to Gargan, to his new team of villains pretending to be heroes, known as the Dark Avengers.
His reign as Spider-Man ended when the real Spider-Man and Ms. Marvel managed to rip the symbiote from his body, ending the relationship between the two. Mac would eventually go back to being Scorpion; but honestly, after becoming a near-unstoppable eating and killing machine with all the powers of Spider-Man and then some, it was probably never the same.
4. Brian Kornfield
Not every different Spider-Man is 100% human, or a human clone. Brian Kornfield was born in Broadway, New York, raised by a single mother, after his father had died when he was young. Brian, a huge fan of superheroes, especially Spider-Man, tried to message the web-slinger several times, but never got a letter back. Probably because Spider-Man didn't have a P.O box, I mean, one would assume he didn't have one...
When Brian became an adult, his elderly mother was attacked and mugged. Angered, he promised to find the men responsible and make them pay. He would eventually get help in fulfilling his promise, in the form of Dwarf, a minion of the powerful demon Chthon (not even gonna try to pronounce that letter jumble). Dwarf offered him powers similar to that of Spider-Man's, but with a catch. Dwarf's magic transformed Brian into a horrifying spider-human hybrid!
He just ran with it, using his new abilities to track down and kill his mother's muggers.
As Spider-X, Brian believed that his purpose on Earth was to destroy all the evil that was on it; meaning no criminal, no matter how small was safe. Spider-X came to blows with many heroes during his career, including Ghost Rider, Morbius and the real Spider-Man.
He was eventually killed when a battle with the supervillain Zzzax caused the energy absorbing villain to explode, killing them both. Unlike Zzzax however, Brian was not retconned back into existence.
Well, that's it for this IDENTITY CRISIS! If you're a spider-fan, make sure to read up on your history of the new Spider-characters, Miles Morales and Spider-Gwen, they're really intriguing characters!
In the meantime, which alternate Spidey was your favorite?