Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions and the origins of its alternate costumes

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.

Cosmic Spider-Man

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.

Mangaverse Spider-Man

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.

Negative Zone 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.

Above: The crappier costume Pete wore by the end of the issue. Probably won't be seeing it in Shattered Dimensions

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.


  • ballplayer27 - September 5, 2010 12:02 p.m.

    Okay, I love me some onomatopoeia, but "ZANSH" is not the sound of anything. Also, what the hell is up with the new recaptchas? Fractions with random punctuation? Usually I only recaptcha sexual innuendos, but this is some BS: cresti 1933/34," And it has the nerve to tell me me type the two "words". Only one of those even had a chance at being a "word"
  • elpurplemonkey - September 4, 2010 7:21 a.m.

    Great article Hank. Spidey is my favorite superhero also, and I'm really looking forward to Shattered Dimensions. Kind of unrelated but, as I kid I watched the 90's animated series and had my mind blown (in a bad way) when I saw that Scarlet Spider comic. I didn't know anything about comics and that literally only had like 30 single issues of unrelated and obscure comics. One such issue was the one where Peter Parker dies and Ben takes over. I then assumed Peter Parker was really dead, like, forever. I later (years later) learned that comics aren't set in stone and there are different series and whatnot. But damn, that Scarlet Spider issue really fucked my head up with regards to my concept of Spider-Man (great outfit though.)
  • Leyviur - September 4, 2010 5:27 a.m.

    The Spider Armor was used in the 90s Spider Man animated series. It was worn by an alternate reality Spider Man who had use his powers to gain fame and fortune and ended up being arrogant and self-involved as a result.
  • aJAWSOMEocelot - September 3, 2010 8:38 p.m.

    Great article, Hank, awesome to see somebody else with so much love for spidey! D-Double thumbs-up!
  • Wolverine08 - September 3, 2010 3:44 p.m.

    It's also nice to see that Stan 'the man' Lee is doing voice overs to this , just like the PS1 game, my favourite Marvel video game. It's also a relief to hear that it isn't free roam like *puke* Spiderman 3 game...ewww. hopefully this'll wipe away those sad times.
  • GR_HenryGilbert - September 3, 2010 2:11 p.m.

    @jmcgrotty Yes that series started as simply Spider-Man, but with issue 75, which ended the Clone Saga and made Peter the only Spidey once more, they changed it. They made it Peter Parker, Spider-Man to make the point that Peter is the ONLY Spidey again, and it remained that way until the series' end.
  • philipshaw - September 3, 2010 11:51 a.m.

    Great article but I'm going to wait for reviews to see if the game is worth getting, for me it could go either way
  • SausageLozenge - September 3, 2010 11:07 a.m.

    @ WebSwinger LOL me too.
  • jmcgrotty - September 3, 2010 8:59 a.m.

    The comic that Negative Zone Spider-Man debuted in was called "Spider-man," not "Peter Parker, Spider-Man" even though the cover of the issue does actually say Peter Parker on it.
  • JachAnen - September 3, 2010 8:01 a.m.

    I watched Spider-Man on TV in the 90's, and Spider-Armor is in the last episode along with other Peter Parker's from other dimensions, One with Octo's arms and Spider-Armor is a Tony Stark version of Spider-Man, as everyone knows his secret identity, he's a billionaire, he's built a Spider-Man robot which is giant and his suit is advanced, especially love the lasers he got on top of his hands. Feel like there is more mentions plus the one with Spider-Armor in the show is awesome and not a gimmick.
  • garfunkling - September 3, 2010 6:58 a.m.

    Now i know i'm probably the minority here but i liked the 2099 spiderman. All the other 2099 series were crap but i thought that villain that evolved to spidermans attacks was a worthy foe.
  • Spocksjock - September 3, 2010 5:14 a.m.

    Was not the Spider Armor used in the 90's animated TV show? Like the last episode of it. I think so, I really loved that episode, where they had to fight Spider-Carnage.
  • spideralex90 - September 3, 2010 4:37 a.m.

    Cosmic Suit is the best of this bunch i think, but i'm going with Noir or 2099 as my favorite overall.
  • NeoKef - September 3, 2010 3:57 a.m.

    Up until now, I barely had an interest in this game. But after seeing those costumes and remember playing them in the PS1 games, I may buy this game day one.
  • darkvare - September 3, 2010 3:10 a.m.

    ha you forgot when the spider armor appeared on the tv series when madame web joined a lot of spider mans from different universes
  • Skruff - September 3, 2010 1:44 a.m.

    I think One More Day was a far bigger travesty to Spider-Man than the Clone Saga was.
  • hardcore_gamer1990 - September 3, 2010 1:07 a.m.

    Spider-armour was a pickup in the PS1 neversoft game... And The Scarlet Spider, Captain Universe, the Symbiote, and others were used as alternative costumes, in that and it's sequel. The Amazing Bagman shoouold have been in...
  • Psylockerules - September 2, 2010 11:46 p.m.

    *sigh* why cant this much effort be put into a good x-men game :(
  • GearsofRabies - September 2, 2010 11:24 p.m.

    Henry, what's so bad about the clone series? I'm sort of a casual Spidey fan I haven't read many of the books. Could you enlighten me?
  • GR_HenryGilbert - September 2, 2010 11:06 p.m.

    @PKozyra64 Yes, in the '90s animated series, that is what rich Peter Parker wore, but it never happened in the comics.

Showing 1-20 of 30 comments

Join the Discussion
Add a comment (HTML tags are not allowed.)
Characters remaining: 5000