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If you’ve been keeping up with this site at all, you know that I am a giant comic book nerd. The moment any type a comic book game is announced I am right on the scene with a rundown on how that characters history could play out in a game. Bar none, Spider-Man is my favorite hero of all time, so next week’s new release, Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions, has been on my radar for awhile. And no Spider-Man game before it has gone as in-depth into Spider-Man’s history of alternate costumes and universes, which is great for an uber-nerd like me.
But maybe you like all the colorful alternate costumes you’ve seen Spidey wear as pre-order bonuses, but are confused about why Peter Parker would ever wear them in his alternate identity. Well, if I can again put the thousands of dollars and years I’ve wasted on comics to good use, let me guide you through the rich history behind Spidey’s alternate costumes. Some were major events that changed the status quo for years, others were gimmicks that barely lasted ten pages, but all are worth remembering. And if you’re curious about the three main alternate dimensions, check out this piece I did a few months back.
First appeared: Amazing Spider-Man #329 (in costume)
A few months before Amazing #329, Spidey was involved in a lab accident and all of a sudden he started developing incredible new powers. He was strong enough to trade punches with the Hulk, he could mentally control his webbing, shoot lasers and even fly. He even took on Magneto single-handed. Something was up, but nobody was sure what. Eventually another X-Men villain, Sebastian Shaw, decided to put Spidey’s new powers to the test by throwing three Sentinels at him. To make matters worse, for a reason too complicated to explain, Norse god Loki magically empowered them and transformed them into one giant robot, the Tri-Sentinel.
Soon the source of Spider-Man’s new powers were revealed so he could fight the metal menace. The Enigma Force is a cosmic power that senses great danger in the universe and imbues incredible power to beings near the threat, turning them into the hero Captain Universe. Spidey realizes he’s become Captain Universe to destroy the Tri-Sentinel, which he eventually does by blasting it with all his power at once. Enemy thwarted, his powers leave him, making Spider-Man his old self again. So there, months of build-up pays off in a costume change that lasted ten pages. Obviously in the game you only get the get the cosmic suit, not the god-like power.
First appeared: Spider-Man: Legend of the Spider Clan #1
The wheels can move slow even in the modern comic book world, but after some time Marvel Comics realized that kids today love that gal-darned Japanese manga. In response, Marvel created the Marvel Mangaverse, which starred manga and anime-inspired versions of all their heroes, including Spider-Man. This time around he was no science nerd eating his Aunt May’s wheatcakes, he’s a ninja out to avenge the death of his Sensei and Uncle, Ben.
After Ben, the head of the Spider Clan of ninjas, is killed by Venom, an evil ronin, Peter swears revenge. His Aunt May is equally worrisome in this dimension, so Pete dons a red and blue outfit so she won’t know the danger he’s in. Eventually our hero finds Venom, who was sent to kill all the Spider Clan, including Peter, by the evil Sumo wrestler Kingpin. After fighting Venom to a stalemate, they separate, and Venom leaves to murder the Kingpin and take over as the head of an evil clan of ninjas. The Spider-ninja suit is only useable in the Ultimate universe, which is fitting, as Ultimate Spidey is the only one close to the small stature of manga Spider-Man.
First appeared: Peter Parker, Spider-Man #90
Shortly after the end of the disastrous Clone Saga, Peter Parker was Spider-Man once more and was trying to find his bearings now that he was back in the red and blue. Meanwhile, the recently returned Norman Osborn (aka Green Goblin) was doing his best to frame Spider-Man for murder. As all this was going on, a doorway to the Negative Zone just opened up in New York City. Thanks to the help of boring ‘90s hero SHOC, Spidey isn’t ripped inside out in the antimatter dimension, but it does alter his cloth costume.
The Negative Zone is fully populated and at the time was under the tyranny of the bombastic brute, Blastaar (sorry, it’s hard to write about comics without sounding like Stan Lee). After helping some freedom fighters attack Blastaar’s army, Spider-Man then has another costume change, this time in the all black clothes of the resistance leader, Dusk. So there you have it, Spider-Man’s Negative Zone costume is then replaced by one more alternate costume, which he wore for a few months, instead of just eight pages.