Even casual Marvel-ites know that the name Peter Parker goes hand in hand with the super hero moniker Spider-Man. That's been a stone cold fact since the web-slinger graced his first comic book cover way back in 1962…except for the past year, of course.
Yes, while the face behind the iconic mask may look like Peter Parker, the brain behind Spider-Man's every move for the past 12 months has been Otto Octavius! After pulling off a super switcheroo, Doc Ock became determined to be the superior Spider-Man. But with his reign swinging towards its exciting conclusion in April's SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #31, we thought it appropriate to spotlight some of the other heroes that have taken on the Spider-Mantle.
Many generations after Spidey's first appearance, the brilliant scientist Miguel O'Hara took on the name Spider-Man after a lab accident rewrote half of his genetic code to perfectly match spider DNA. With his enhanced physical abilities, organic web-shooters, and deadly finger talons, O'Hara became the Spider-Man of the year 2099. After a storied super hero career in the future, Miguel found himself stuck in the past in SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #17.
After years spent in exile following his debut in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #149, Peter Parker's clone Ben Reilly donned web-shooters and fought alongside Spider-Man as Scarlet Spider. But when doctored test results falsely revealed Reilly to be the real deal, Parker packed his bags and peaced out. While the former wall-crawler settled down with his wife Mary Jane, Scarlet Spider became the one and only Spider-Man – for a hot second. Reilly's reign ended heroically when he dove in front of a Goblin Glider meant for Peter Parker.
In another alternate future, Gerry Drew – the son of Spider-Woman Jessica Drew – became Spider-Man. A rare blood disorder threatened to shorten Gerry's lifespan, so his mother subjected him to the genetic experiments that granted her spider-ish powers in a last attempt to extend Gerry's life. The treatments didn't work, but they did give Gerry powers and a desire to make his limited time count. This future Spider-Man teamed up with Peter Parker's teenage daughter, May, who also fought crime as Spider-Girl. The middle-aged Peter Parker eventually found a cure for Gerry's disease, which led him to hang up his tights and go back to being a normal teenage boy.
Anytime Peter Parker retires, someone new suits up to swing through the streets. Nature abhors a Spider-vacuum so much that an inexperienced teenage girl named Mattie Franklin rushed to fill the void during one of Peter's recent vacations. Mattie had to wear elaborate body padding and make do without web-shooters in order to fill Spider-Man's boots. Her heroic efforts inspired Peter Parker to suit up once more, and Mattie continued on as Spider-Woman – a super hero identity that required 100% less body padding.
After being bitten by another one of Oscorp's radioactive spiders, young Miles Morales reluctantly stepped into the super hero fray following news of Spider-Man's death. Remember what we said about a Spider-vacuum? As the new premier hero of the Ultimate Universe, Miles had quite a steep learning curve as he figured out his powers, stitched together a Spider-suit, and dealt with his predecessor's legacy. But unlike a few of the Spider-Men on this list, Ock's Superior Spider-Man included, Miles' tenure doesn't have an expiration date. Pretty soon, Miles Morales' name might be as synonymous with Spider-Man as Peter Parker's.
To find out the final fate of Otto Octavius, check out SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #31, on sale April 16th!