By Jim Beard
Though raised by his beloved aunt and uncle, Peter Parker’s parents also played their part in the young man’s development. Richard and Mary Parker lived lives of mystery which ultimately led to their demise, but their subsequent absence from Peter’s own life put him on the path to becoming one of the world’s greatest heroes, Spider-Man.
Now, with Richard and Mary Parker playing such a significant role in "The Amazing Spider-Man" in theaters and IMAX 3D, we bring you the full history of Spider-Man's parents from the original comics. Much of the Parkers' backgrounds remain classified, but enough is known to paint a picture of their fascinating careers as secret agents.
Spies Like Us
|Campbell Scott stars as Richard Parker in "The Amazing Spider-Man"|
Richard Parker, the younger brother of Ben Parker, joined the C.I.A. after a decorated stint in the U.S. Army Special Forces, and it's there he met the beautiful Mary Fitzpatrick, also a C.I.A. operative. After falling in love and getting married, Richard and Mary continued their roles as field agents and on one historic mission came into contact with--and rescued--the mutant called Logan.
Soon after, Mary gave birth to a son: Peter Benjamin Parker. Sadly, the two agents’ careers kept them away from home and Peter’s upbringing fell to Ben Parker and his wife May. During the boy’s early years, the Parkers crossed path with the third Red Skull, who sent an assassin to kill the couple; their lives ended as suspected traitors to the United States and young Peter became an orphan.
Read up on Mary and Richard Parker in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN MASTERWORKS VOL. 8, UNTOLD TALES OF SPIDER-MAN # -1 and SPIDER-MAN: UNMASKED!
Peter Parker grew up to become the super hero Spider-Man after a burglar shot and killed his uncle Ben. The boy never truly knew his parents, but after discovering their status as secret agents and traitors, he took it upon himself to dig down deep and uncover the truth. An accident during this mission killed the Parkers’ assassin, but before he died he revealed that Peter’s parents remained loyal to their country to the end. Spider-Man subsequently cleared their names and held Richard and Mary in even higher esteem.
You can see this story in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN MASTERWORKS VOL. 8!
|Richard and Mary Parker from the Spider-Man comics|
One day, in Peter’s adulthood, a man and a woman approached him and claimed to be Richard and Mary Parker, former prisoners and now returned to their country--and their son. Peter became convinced of the two’s story and welcomed them as his parents returned from the dead. May Parker held onto her suspicions, though.
Eventually, the truth came out: These Parkers existed only as Life Model Decoys--robots, essentially--sent by Spider-Man’s former friend Harry Osborn as revenge for his own father’s death. The LMDs’ orders from Osborn included attacking Peter, but in the end “Mary” exhibited motherly feelings for the young man and allowed him to escape their wrath. After the robots’ destruction, Peter went back to considering his parents dead and gone.
The entire saga of Richard and Mary's supposed return can be found in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #365-388!
In the Ultimate Universe, Richard Parker worked as a scientist, toiling away on not only a cure for cancer, but also to recreate the Super Soldier Serum that gave the world Captain America. During the latter experiments, Bruce Banner tested the serum on himself and transformed into the Hulk, accidentally killing Richard and Mary Parker and orphaning their young son Peter.
Later, during Peter's career as Spider-Man, he met a clone of himself who thought he was Richard Parker, the result of implanted false memories by Doctor Octopus.
Check out the Ultimate versions of the Parkers in ULTIMATE ORIGINS and ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN VOL. 17: CLONE SAGA!