Spider-Man remains Marvel’s top-selling superhero, from the comics to the world of cinema and television. While his history spans nearly seventy years, the unlucky, yet always wisecracking superhero has found ways to stay relevant. One factor may be his various adventures, some ranking among the best storylines in the history of comic books.
This doesn’t mean that all of Spider-Man’s most popular tales don’t suffer any fallout. From avid fan reactions to certain life-altering events, some of these attention-driven stories have garnered backlash and created unnecessary tropes that have gone on to affect the wall-crawler.
10/10 Spider-Man: Life Story Was A Mediocre Retelling
Spider-Man: Life Story was a fun retelling of the life of Spider-Man, going chronologically as if Peter grew up as he should in the world of comics. However, with the challenge of recounting events in a new light, several key events and appearances either had little explanation or no development other in passing.
With Peter being the main focus, it didn’t allow other various characters and their revisions to be expanded on, missing an opportunity for more development. Unlike other series, like Marvels, the book could have gone further with the concept of reimagining an alternate universe, and its leading superhero.
9/10 Brand New Day Broke Years Of Continuity
Brand New Day saw the status quo of Spider-Man once again change after the decision to end his and MJ’s union in the tragic One More Day storyline. Single once more, multiple writers and artists teamed up to try to recapture the glory days of the web-slinger, now as a single adult. Fans originally on board to see the result were shocked at the outcome.
Besides introducing new characters and a few subplots, the development Peter had undergone was quickly wiped away, reverting to the unlucky loser he had been in his early years. What promise the series had slowly dissipated thanks to multiple creatives taking the helm and leaving several plots unanswered or becoming a complete letdown.
8/10 Maximum Carnage Saw A Rising Villain Go Nowhere
The creation of the villainous Carnage was a response to the edgy concepts Marvel experimented with in the 90s. While Venom was still popular among Spider-Man adversaries, Carnage saw massive fan appeal. To capitalize on his growing success, Marvel released the 14-part crossover event series ‘Maximum Carnage.’
A true testament to the 90s, the event saw Spider-Man and several of his prominent allies at the time try to stop Carnage and other enemies while on a killing spree. While the event did well, the aftermath saw fan burnout for Carnage, who slowly faded away from the limelight. While still a notable villain, the series inevitably ended the character’s successful streak for a time.
7/10 The Black Suit Spider-Man Years Were Originally Uneventful
During the 80s, Marvel released the limited series Secret Wars, pitting fan-favorite heroes against iconic villains. During the miniseries, Spider-Man received a makeover in the form of the symbiote, a living organism that not only repaired his suit, but also enhanced Peter’s abilities. So when Spider-Man returned to New York, he took the symbiote with him, bringing a more mature tone to the series.
While the change may have seemed controversial to long-time readers, fans came to appreciate the costume change for a time. However, during his stint with the symbiote suit, Peter’s stories seemed to be underwhelming at best. The elements that made his time with the alien costume memorable came later, thanks to a combination of the creation of Venom and various adaptations expanding the story.
6/10 Kraven’s Last Hunt Was Undone
Kraven’s Last Hunt explored one of Spider-Man’s most powerful adversaries at the time. Kraven’s obsession with beating his mortal enemy saw the hunter take down and assume the identity of Spider-Man. The dark and complex story explored the ideas of superiority and what it means to be a hero, a lesson Kraven tragically failed.
While Kraven’s Last Hunt is regarded as one of Spider-Man’s classic storylines, the tale deviated after Kraven’s return from the dead, seeing the status quo again take form. His return made the story seem pointless, with mentions of this event coming across as a battle with little impact overall.
5/10 The Spider-Verse Opened An Unnecessary Floodgate
Over the years, multiple versions of the famous wall-crawler from across the multiverse have existed. Spider-Verse saw a collection of fan favorites and recently created Spider heroes join forces to confront a common threat. The series was influential not only in comics, but various forms of media when exploring alternate realities.
With that being said, the series tried to recapture the magic with more crossover events and tie-in comics, making the concept outdated and a hindrance to new readers. Plus, with other heroes also trying to copy this idea but with middling results, it showcases the problem when trying to milk a good idea dry.
4/10 Spider-Man: Torment Isn’t A Memorable Story
There was a defiant change in the 90s in comics, deconstructing heroes and putting them in darker, more complex stories. Todd McFarlane, a rising artist known later for his creation Spawn, developed and drew a storyline for Spider-Man, refurbishing the character for the times and pitting him off against the Lizard and Calypso.
While the five-part miniseries broke sales records at the time, the story was messy and all over the place. While the artwork sold the book, it lacks a deep and satisfying tale that stands the test of time. Spider-Man: Torment is a product of its time that can be enjoyed in design alone.
3/10 Slott’s Spider-Man Flip Flopped Between Ideas
Dan Slott’s interpretation of the wall-crawler had promised in the beginning. He introduced new characters and interesting subplots during his run, such as The Superior Spider-Man and The Spider-Verse, which did well with readers. Sadly, with every good development lies changes that nearly damage the character.
Trying to recapture the soap opera years of the 60s and 70s, his version of Peter Parker constantly regressed in personality and maturity. Along with the mediocre cast and several unnecessary events that went nowhere, the result was a run comic that split most of the audience and ended on an underwhelming note.
2/10 Spider-Man No More Lasted One Issue
The life of a superhero can significantly impact a character’s professional and personal life. The naturally unfortunate Spider-Man has seen his fair share of breaking points over the years. One story arc, Spider-Man: No More by Stan Lee and John Romita Sr., saw Peter officially renounce his superhero status for good, throwing his costume in the trash.
The story has seen multiple adaptations, usually highlighting one of Spider-Man’s worst decisions. Fans may have forgotten that the story itself is only one issue, with Peter returning the mantle in the end. With Peter abandoning his moniker time and time again, the story created a cliché that fans either love or hate, knowing well that Parker will always go back to the status quo.
1/10 The Death Of Gwen Stacy Hasn’t Given Her Peace
After Stan Lee’s iconic run on The Amazing Spider-Man, the title was given to Gerry Conway. During his stint, he and artist John Romita Jr devised a plot to end the life of Gwen Stacy, Peter’s romantic partner at the time. Her death at the hands of the Green Goblin not only sold well, but remains one of Spider-Man’s most tragic stories.
Unfortunately, as in the world of comics, nobody stays truly dead for long. In Gwen’s case, her legacy has been a roller coaster of secrets and apparent returns, with many imposters trying to slip up Spider-Man. The more Marvel has milked her death and resurrection, the less of an impact her death has become over the years.
NEXT: 10 Spider-Man Runs Every Fan Should Read