The fate of the entire multiverse rests on the shoulders of a single surprising Spider-Verse hero who only exists because of careless editing.
The following contains major spoilers for Spider-Man #4, available now from Marvel Comics.
The fate of the entire Marvel Multiverse has fallen on the shoulders of a select few heroes, and they are in desperate need of help. As the ancient, malevolent Shathra’s insectile forces grow ever more powerful, the heroes’ numbers have been dwindling to a drastic degree. Thankfully, there is one hero left who might be able to turn the tide of battle, and he only exists thanks to a series of decades-old typos.
Spider-Man #4 (by Dan Slott, Mark Bagley, John Dell, Andrew Hennesy, Edgar Delgado, and VC’s Clayton Cowles) finds the remaining Spiders from across the multiverse struggling with dire straits they are in. Not only has another of their own been transformed into one of Shathra’s Wasps, but the primary Peter Parker, their supposed chosen one, has been erased from history altogether. Just when all hope seems lost, Madame Web and Spider-UK arrive with the next best shot they have of saving reality as we know it. Peter Palmer may not be the Spiderman fans know best, but he is the closest thing to the original that the multiverse has left to offer.
Marvel’s Peter Palmer is the Product of an Error
Adorned in a suit identical to Spider-Man’s original costume, Peter Palmer is a product of the character’s earliest era and a series of editorial errors. As far back as his first appearance in Stan Lee and Steve Ditko’s “Spider-Man!” from the pages of 1962’s Amazing Fantasy #15, the titular hero’s name has been occasionally spelled without its all-important hyphen (Spiderman). This on its own likely wouldn’t warrant the introduction of an entirely separate version of the character, but coupling that with a different alter-ego has opened the door for a new Wall-Crawler to save the day.
The Peter Palmer mistake was first made in 1962’s Amazing Spider-Man #1. This was repeated in various issues in the years that followed, though it never made any real difference to the story at hand, let alone the wider continuity of the Marvel Universe. At least, that wasn’t the case until recently, when the heroes of the Spider-Verse revealed the former “mistake” to be his own entity.
Can Spiderman Match Spider-Man’s Powers?
Despite his origin, the Marvel Multiverse is now lucky to have Peter Palmer. Even if he hasn’t evolved in the same manner as his primary counterpart, this Webslinger is still just as capable. Or rather, he is as capable as Peter Parker was sixty years ago, which begs the question of exactly what he has to offer when it comes to saving every reality in existence.
No matter how far behind the times Peter Palmer might be, the fact that he shares such a definitive tie to the Spider-Verse’s Chosen One offers some semblance of hope that he can take up that role in the battles to come. On the other hand, he probably hasn’t faced anything like what he is about to go up against. As such, it is hard to imagine that anything could prepare him for what he is being asked to do, although it is equally hard to imagine any version of him ever backing down when everything is on the line.