Peter Parker, that friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, is about to truly launch himself as the friendly MCU Spider-Man this summer, as Spider-Man: Homecoming hits theaters this week. The wall-crawler made his official debut in Captain America: Civil War last year, but this is his first solo movie, and it looks like Peter (Tom Holland) is in for a rough ride. After his adventures with the Avengers, Spidey is riding high, but as he starts to stretch his wings as a superhero, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr) isn’t too pleased with his efforts. With a host of new villains and some growing pains to deal with, the events of Homecoming promise to be far from easy for Peter to deal with.
Of course, this is nothing compared to some of the things that Spider-Man has come up against in the comics. An angry mentor and Vulture (Michael Keaton) on the loose are small potatoes for a character who has been killed, beaten, exploded, buried alive, and more. The Marvel universe certainly hasn’t always been kind to Spidey, and there are some fairly major injuries in his comic book history… so we’ve rounded up fifteen of the most brutal the hero has ever suffered.
15. Glider To The Chest
Death by glider has to be one of the more brutal ways to go – and was even used in the original Spider-Man, although this film used it to end the life of Green Goblin, not Spidey. Even in the comics, it was never Peter Parker who was impaled by a glider… it was an alternate Spider-Man, Ben Reilly.
A clone created by the Jackal, Ben Reilly actually took up the web-slinging mantle for a time, becoming the Scarlet Spider. This version of the character was significantly lighter than the original at the time, and had a surprisingly popular run in the Marvel universe, but it couldn’t last. The original Peter Parker returned as Spider-Man after a fight in which Ben Reilly sacrificed himself to save Peter from the Green Goblin. In this final battle, Reilly takes the full brunt of the glider, knocking him off a building to die on the street in Peter’s arms.
14. Turned Into A Literal Spider
In Spider-Man: Disassembled, Peter Parker goes through a horrific transformation, thanks to the unwanted advances of an insect-controlling mutant known as the Queen. The Queen, a mutant created by the military, is half-insect (but looks fully human), and when she discovers Spider-Man, she wants to mate with him to create a new human-insect hybrid. Peter is, unsurprisingly, not particularly interested, despite her nearly managing to seduce him with a kiss.
Turns out that that kiss actually altered Spidey’s DNA, however, and as the arc continues, Peter Parker is transformed into a spider-monster, which rips out of his body in a series of painful changes. After he becomes entirely spider, however, he eventually dies, and a new Peter Parker is born out of the corpse of the giant spider, with enhanced powers that allowed him to win the day and return to being more man than spider, not the other way around. It’s…a pretty dumb arc.
13. Electrocuted And Knocked Off A Skyscraper
In the Marvel Knights Spider-Man, a series with a darker tone than usual, things kick off with the abduction of Peter’s beloved Aunt May… an event that sends Spider-Man on a desperate hunt to get her back again. Contacting his friends in the superhero world, and his informants in the criminal one, Spidey is eventually led to believe that Electro and Vulture are responsible, but when he goes after them, he ends up in a battle with Electro that he cannot win.
After being electrocuted, beaten up, and launched backwards by an exploding car, the villain finishes off his fight by knocking Peter clean off a skyscraper. Usually, this wouldn’t phase the web-slinger, but in his physically and emotionally weakened state, he’s not able to use his web-shooters to save himself, and he crash lands on a cab waiting in the street below. His injuries are severe enough to send him to hospital for surgery, although he obviously pulls through.
12. Loses A Leg
In the alternate MC2 universe, Spider-Man was injured so badly that he had to hang up his mask for good, when a final battle against an arch-nemesis ended with him losing his leg. In this world, Peter Parker’s life is almost the same as it is in the primary Marvel universe, up until the moment that his daughter, May Parker, is born. Two years after her birth, he is fighting the Green Goblin (Norman Osborne) in an epic throwdown that ends up costing Norman his life. The Green Goblin’s death comes at a price, however.
Spider-Man loses a leg, and despite a prosthetic and a cane, he gives up his life as a hero. It’s a major loss to a huge character, but this does allow for a teenaged May Parker to eventually don the spider-suit and become a hero in her own right, creating a whole new Spider-Man mythology in this alternate universe.
11. Beaten Almost To Death
The MCU version of the Civil War story arc may have introduced Spider-Man to this cinematic universe with a cameo appearance, but Spidey is a much bigger part of the original comic event. In the books, the wall-crawler initially sides with Tony Stark on the issue of the superhero registration act, unmasking himself publicly in support of registration for all heroes. However, Peter Parker soon realizes that he may not have made the best choice, and defects to the other side.
Stark, of course, isn’t thrilled about this turn of events, and sics a group of supervillains on the young hero. As a result, Spidey is overwhelmed and beaten nearly to death, before being saved by the Punisher and brought to Captain America and his Secret Avengers. He survives, but he loses his Iron Spider suit, a whole lot of blood, and ends up with multiple fractures. Recovering, he returns to his classic red and blue suit, and finishes the war on the other side.
10. Poisoned By An Experimental Virus
In Web of Death, Peter Parker suffers a much longer and more drawn-out agony than in many of the other injuries on this list – thanks to the Owl. This classic villain took Spidey down with the help of the Vulture, whose claws were dipped in an experimental chemical virus, developed by the military. This fight left Peter infected with the virus, and knowing that his death was drawing closer every day. He’s barely able to keep up with his superheroics, as the virus causes his body to slowly shut down.
In a surprise twist, it is Doc Ock who comes to the rescue, brewing up a cure for his arch-enemy because Octavius wants to keep him around to beat him on his own terms! The cure itself nearly kills Spider-Man, though, and Doc Ock has to battle to resuscitate the wall-crawler in the end. Although he recovers, Owl’s virus would have got the best of him if it weren’t for Doc Ock.
9. Trapped In A Web-Ball
Spider-Man has tangled with Venom plenty of times over the years, as the alien symbiote has done its best to take him down while merged with a whole range of other characters. While Eddie Brock was playing host to the symbiote, he nearly managed it, too.
In The Amazing Spider-Man #300, Brock’s Venom was able to lure Spidey into a battle at a church, attempting to kill him in retribution for ruining his career. It looks like Spider-Man will win the day at first, using the Fantastic Four’s sonic blaster. However, Venom is able to catch his heel with webbing, and whips him back around to take him out. When Spidey awakens, he is trapped inside a giant ball of webbing inside the church bell tower – and as the church bells ring, he’ll be killed. As the bells start to ring, only his super-strength keeps him alive long enough to break free.
8. Driven Insane By Green Goblin
As an arch-nemesis, Green Goblin has definitely managed to hurt Peter Parker on several occasions, but it isn’t just his body that the nefarious Norman Osborne has targeted – he’s also done his level best to destroy Spider-Man’s mind. At one point, Osborne managed to trick Parker into using hallucinogens (by sneaking them into his toothpaste, of all things) and listening to hypnosis CDs, before kidnapping him and taking him to his mansion. There, he tortures Peter, denying him water, electrocuting him, beating him, and seeking to drive him out of his mind in an attempt to make him ‘choose the darkness’ and become the heir to the Green Goblin mantle.
Eventually, our hero breaks free, finding the inner strength to escape and win out over Goblin, but according to Norman, it’s already too late. He has made Peter accept some of his own darkness, and while Peter is able to return to his normal life, this torture stays with him for a long time.
7. Head Bashed In With A Rock
The events of the Infinity Gauntlet event saw a huge number of Marvel’s favorite superheroes bite the dust (temporarily, of course) – and that includes Spider-Man. Unlike most of the others, however, Spidey wasn’t killed by the Mad Titan himself. Instead, it was Terraxia who…bashed his face in with a rock.
In a “cosmic battle on the edge of the universe“, where Thanos was busy taking out the major players in the Marvel Universe, Spider-Man took on his creation, Terraxia, who had just killed Iron Man. He hoped to dispose of her while Thor and the others handled Thanos himself. Despite his best efforts, however, she is easily able to overpower him, and she ends up smashing his head in with a rock. Thankfully, Nebula is able to get her hands on the Gauntlet after Thanos becomes the universe itself, and undoes everything that happened because of the Mad Titan – including the untimely death of Spider-Man and the other heroes.
6. Dies In A Chemical Explosion
Spider-Man ends up dying in a Thanos storyline a second time, too, in 1991’s appropriately titled Death At The Hands Of Thanos. However, just as in Infinity Gauntlet, it isn’t Thanos who actually kills him. Instead, Spidey dies in a simple rescue, without a single supervillain in sight.
As he’s swooping over the city, he sees two window-washers begin to fall as the ropes holding their platform up snap. He manages to save them, but realizes a moment too late that a machine on the falling platform is full of freon, and it’s going to hit a mother and her young daughter. In a truly heroic act, he uses himself to shield them from the blast, but is only able to save the mother before being killed by the resulting chemical explosion. Thanos comes into it when Peter journeys to the afterlife, where Thanos and Death are waiting for him. In the end, he battles Thanos for the life of the little girl, and Death releases both of them back to life again.
5. Crucified by Kulan Gath
Spider-Man crosses over into an X-Men title for this time-warping adventure (that didn’t go to well for the wall-crawler). When the sorcerer from the Hyborian Era (think Conan the Barbarian) finds himself in modern day New York, he immediately decides to take over the city by turning it into a version of his own time period. This means that while all of the people living there are unchanged (except for their costumes, that is), all of the buildings, technology, and surroundings are transported into a version of the Hyborian Era.
Kulan Gath grows in power to the point that when Spider-Man tries to take him on, he ends up getting captured and having his own abilities drained. Gath then brutally tortures him (and calls him Man-Spider). He strings Peter Parker up and puts him through as much pain as he can for pretty much an entire issue — even crucifying the hero — before the timeline is magically reset, bringing him back to life.
4. Exploded By Sandman
This may have happened in an alternate universe, but it’s still a particularly brutal death to befall everyone’s favorite wall-crawler. In Marvel Zombies Return, the undead version of Spider-Man has been transported to another world, one that looks like his original one, but that has gone un-ravaged by the un-dead superheroes. It turns out that this is actually the past, and his appearance here spells the end for the living Spider-Man of this time.
After zombie Spidey freaks out the Sandman by killing and eating various members of his rogue’s gallery, Sandman runs away and bumps into the real Spider-Man. Thinking that they are one and the same, Sandman decides that the only thing to do is to kill him – so he pours his body into Spider-Man’s mouth, before bursting out of him, exploding him from the inside and celebrating having killed him. Meanwhile, after Zombie-Spider-Man finds all his friends infected a second time around, he rips off his own face in self-loathing.
3. Shot And Buried Alive
Being buried alive has to be one of the most sadistic things that a villain could do to a hero, and it’s famously happened to Spider-Man in Kraven’s Last Hunt. This dark storyline sees the hunter come to the Big Apple to prove that he can take down the wall-crawler and, shockingly, he ends up succeeding. On the rooftops, Kraven shoots Spider-Man with a dart that drugs him, making him hallucinate and then causing him to collapse. On it’s own, this isn’t too bad, but Kraven isn’t finished with him yet.
He then shoots him at close range, and buries him alive, suit and all. It takes two weeks for Spidey to recover, and then to find the strength to claw his way out of his own coffin and discover that Kraven has been posing as Spider-Man and wreaking havoc, destroying his good name. In the end, Kraven is the one to truly die, but not by Peter Parker’s hand — instead, he ends up killing himself.
2. Shot, Beaten, And Killed By An Exploding Truck
In the aptly named Death of Spider-Man, Peter Parker doesn’t just get brutally injured once, but over and over again. His downfall starts when Green Goblin breaks out of a SHIELD prison and takes a handful of other villains (Doc Ock, Electro, Vulture, and Kraven) with him. He’s after Spider-Man, while Spidey is trying to help Captain America and the Ultimates battle rogue agents from Nick Fury’s team. In the process, the Punisher takes aim at Cap, and Peter leaps in front of him, taking the bullet himself.
Now grievously injured, he encounters the Goblin’s villainous friends, who beat him half to death. Almost at the end of his rope, he then has to face Goblin himself, who is determined to kill Peter — and might have succeeded, if MJ didn’t steal a truck and drive it straight into the baddie. With Goblin weakened, Peter is able to use the last of his strength to pick up the truck and smash it over his enemy, killing him… but causing the truck to explode, resulting in his own death as well (in the Ultimate verse, anyway).
1. Eye Ripped Out And Eaten In Front Of Him
In the arc The Other: Evolve Or Die, Spider-Man deals with possibly his worst beating yet when he goes up against Morlun. A magically-created hunter, Morlon was designed to hunt and kill beings with ‘totemic’ powers, which apparently includes Spider-Man. Phenomenally strong and with the ability to drain the life-force of anyone he touches, Morlon was too much for Peter Parker, especially as Peter was already dying by the time these two met.
The pair battles their way through the buildings of the city (and even through J. Jonah Jameson’s office!), before a final showdown at Empire State University. Spider-Man fights him until he breaks his own knuckles, but it barely slows Morlon down – and the fight is lost the moment that Morlon rips Peter’s eye out and eats it in front of him. From there, the villain beats Spider-Man to a bloody pulp, leaving him to die on the street.
What other horrific injuries has Spidey suffered over the years? Let us know in the comments!
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