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

First appeared: Web of Spider-Man #118

The Clone Saga is probably the worst thing that ever happened to Spider-Man. In an attempt to update Spidey’s world, his long missing clone returned to New York under the name Ben Reilly, and he wasn’t leaving any time soon. Ben wasn’t going to let Peter have all the web-swinging fun now that he was back in NYC. So Mr. Reilly dyed his old costume red, got some ankle pouches, ripped the sleeves off a hoodie and viola: the Scarlet Spider is born!

Above: How Ben quickly pieced together his new costume

Out of all the things that happened during the Clone Saga, I think the Scarlet Spider is the most salvageable. Some may mock the hoodie, but I think it’s the second best alternate Spidey costume, only bested by the Symbiote suit. Plus, Ben added new tools, like impact webbing and poisoned stingers, the first such improvement to the Spider-arsenal in decades. Sadly, once Ben started his brief run as Spider-Man, the Scarlet Spider died, and within a year Ben was dead too. But I still love to see the outfit make a comeback in special situations like this one.

First appeared: Amazing Spider-Man #529

In the lead-up to the status quo changer Civil War, Spider-Man joined the Avengers and became real good pals with Tony Stark, aka Iron Man. After Peter died a little bit (he got better), Tony felt Pete needed something better than a cloth costume, and started making an Iron Spider outfit. Peter soon had a shiny new gear full of inventive tricks, which only made Pete feel more in debt to Stark, who would later convince Peter to unmask in front of the whole world.

Above: Just because he's bulletproof, doesn't mean that isn't painful

But back to the costume. It not only enhanced Spidey’s strength and speed, but it also allowed him to glide, not unlike the 2099 Spider-Man that this costume replaces in Shattered Dimensions. The Iron Spider suit also made him bulletproof, not that Peter had gotten bad at dodging bullets all of a sudden. And Shattered Dimensions cuts Spidey’s three new robotic arms, which is greatly appreciated, as they were completely idiotic. Three robo-arms plus two arms plus two legs equals seven appendages, one short of how many a spider has. To quote the Thing, “it makes it look like you can’t count.” Anyway, once Peter turned on Tony during the Civil War, he quickly went back to his classic colors and didn’t look back.

First appeared: Web of Spider-Man #100

To Spider-fans in the ‘90s, Web of Spider-Man was always the least important of his four monthly comics. Nothing that happened in Web really mattered, but as it rolled around to its 100th issue, something had to happen in this landmark comic, especially to go with the fancy foil cover. And so for one issue only Peter sported some glossy armor to take on a dangerous team of villains. And even though he made it in seemingly a matter of hours, it looks pretty well designed.

Above: Love the design on the knuckles

Above: And almost as fast as he got it, the armor is gone

It only let Spidey get hit a little harder and make a nice entrance. After punching the bad guys for a little while, soon they got the advantage and froze/melted the armor, trapping him inside. It forced Spidey to break out of his new duds, destroying it in the process, never to be seen again. It did get turned into an action figure, but other than that, Shattered Dimensions is the first time this suit has been used since its gimmicky inception.

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