We all know Spider-Man. Whether it’s from having appeared in five feature-length films, starring in countless animated and live-action TV episodes, or being plastered all over your childhood bedroom, Spider-Man is one of the few elite superheroes that is recognizable to nearly everyone on the planet. His popularity and iconic status hasn’t faded since his character’s debut in August 1962 on the pages of Amazing Fantasy. He’s your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, he does whatever a spider can, and we know everything there is to know about him.
At least, that’s what we think. But like any character that’s been around for six decades, it turns out that Spider-Man can do a heck of a lot of stuff that barely anyone knows about. A result of having stories continually published and his character entirely reinvented between the covers of so many various comic book titles over the years, Spider-Man has steadily acquired an arsenal of exciting – and sometimes ridiculous – powers that we have yet to see in mainstream Spider-Man stories.
So to fill you in on everything there is to know about Spider-Man, we present you with 10 Superpowers You Didn’t Know Spider-Man Has.
10. Increased Metabolism
So this explains why Peter Parker is always so skinny; he has a super-metabolism. And while being able to eat as much garlic bread as he wants without getting fat is undoubtedly something to throw in the plus column of being Spider-Man, it’s tricky to keep track of exactly how his metabolism affects certain parts of his life.
Some examples of this power in the comics include drugs that don’t have the same effect they would have on a human, which would require him to take a much larger dose to feel the appropriate effect. However, the same cannot be said for alcohol, as during one battle with the Hobgoblin, Spider-Man’s balance, coordination, and reflexes are severely limited because he had – without his knowledge – consumed spiked punch at a party he attended earlier. So, while other toxins, poisons, and high-fat foods can quickly be crushed by Spider-Man’s super metabolism – including the effects of being bitten by a vampire – just don’t ask him to be any fun at a party; you know, in case he has to save New York later that night or something.
9. Mystical Powers
There has always been a thread throughout Spider-Man comics where he has questioned the origins of his powers. Whether it be the slap-dash explanation given in the Amazing Spider-Man films, or the psychedelic Madame Web route that the animated 1994 Spider-Man TV series went down, Spider-Man is always looking for answers, and sometimes those answers are that his powers came from something mystical.
In the past, Dr. Strange has tied Spider-Man to an ancient prophecy, as well as the Lord Order and Master Chaos (a group of cosmic beings) taking credit for making the spider bite Peter Parker. Mystical powers would also explain Spider-Man’s infamous spider-sense; his ability to detect threats in a perceived psychic manner. However, given Peter Parker’s love for science and all things that can be explained by reason, Spider-Man’s mystical powers have always been on the back-burner, generally tossed aside for more simple explanations involving radiation or DNA splicing.
Yes, just like Deadpool or Wolverine, Spider-Man has the ability to heal himself. If you thought he was just a wisecracking teenager who swings around and avoids injuries, well, he is that, but if he ever does sustain an injury it turns out that he has less to worry about than most other people.
After the events of “The Other” storyline in 2005, Spider-Man’s abilities had been permanently heightened, including his ability to heal. While he mentions to Aunt May that he had always known he healed fast, his healing ability got ramped way up, allowing him to take massive beatings from Rhino and Jack O’ Lantern during the Civil War comics. Fractured bones, blood loss, and everything in between can be fixed in a matter of hours, and it is said that the entire make-up of Peter Parker’s body had been changed for maximum health efficiency; including an enhanced skeleton, muscular, and nervous system, and not to mention the perfect vision he gained after his infamous spider bite.
7. Super Strength
He’s no Superman, but Spider-Man isn’t just a scrawny kid who can bench press 20 pounds. Similar to Ant-Man, Spider-Man takes his strength from the insect that his name comes from, and he is said to have the proportional strength of a spider. Considering that he’s a human and not a tiny arachnid, however, his proportional strength means he can generally lift up to 10 tons. While this may sound like more than anyone would ever expect Spider-Man to be able to lift, at one point following the events of “The Queen” story arc, his strength increased by more than double; allowing him to lift 25 tons.
If that doesn’t sound like the Spider-Man you know, you may have to rethink Spider-Man, as during the “Secret Invasion” storyline Spider-Man knocked a Tyranosaurus Rex out in one punch. Other examples of his super-strength include his ability to leap several stories high, or across an entire city street. He is also able to run faster than a speeding car, though the reason we’ve never seen this depicted in a film is because web-slinging just looks so cool, so why show Spider-Man running?
6. Communication with Spiders
This is some Ant-Man type stuff right here, as it turns out that Spider-Man can telepathically communicate with spiders and – sometimes – other insects (and yes, we know that spiders aren’t technically insects). While this power is decidedly less useful than Ant-Man’s ability to control ants, Spider-Man is able to sense a spiders presence or instantly be able to recognize what kind of spider it is. Why is this anything that would help him be a better superhero? Well, it’s not really, unless a spider is crawling on Mary Jane and Peter Parker can detect that it is poisonous and then dispose of it. But that has yet to happen in the comics, mostly because it would be a boring two panels.
The only time that Spider-Man’s spider-communication did come in handy is during “The Queen” storyline, when Spider-Man was able to communicate with every human that had an “insect gene,” finding out from them how to deactivate a bomb. Since then however, this power has rarely been discussed, and it remains one of the more elusive – and useless – powers in Spider-Man’s arsenal.
5. He Can Turn Into a Man-Spider…
Actually, this may be one of Spider-Man’s more useless powers; but it’s one that’s come up more than once. Spider-Man has been known to mutate into a giant spider, doing away with his mechanical webbing in favor of organic webbing, and shedding his human body in exchange for… a spider body.
In “The Other” arc, Spider-Man creates a cocoon for himself, emerging from near-death totally healed. Essentially turning into a spider and fixing his broken bones, missing teeth, and even the eye that Morlun had ripped out of him and eaten, Spider-Man is able to heal himself, doing what Tony Stark called resetting his odometer. While Spider-Man did not physically turn into a spider on this occurrence, in the 1994 animated series Spider-Man, Spider-Man mutates into “Man Spider,” a creature that he was unable to control – even with Doctor Connors’ help – and he ultimately had to go to another dimension to be cured.
4. Spider Stingers
The reason we keep mentioning “The Other” storyline is because it was one of the first big Marvel crossover events in modern times, and it changed Spider-Man cannon in a lot of different ways. One of these ways was when Spider-Man was consumed by rage, allowing his spider traits to overtake his human ones. As a result of this, Spider-Man’s eyes turned glowing red, he developed night vision, fanged teeth, and sharp spider stingers.
Contained in his arms and coming out of his wrists, Spider-Man’s stingers were coated in venom that caused temporary paralysis and sometimes death. Though Spider-Man couldn’t control the deployment of these stingers, they were deployed when he found himself in danger or confronted by characters linked to Spider-Man’s aforementioned mystical powers.
3. Utility Belt
When you think of superheroes with utility belts, Spider-Man is not generally your first thought. And while he might not have batarangs or choking gas capsules in there, Spider-Man’s utility belt has still been used to get him out of some sticky situations; or at least it helps him get paid, because that’s where he keeps his camera.
Containing extra web cartridges, a Batman inspired Spider-Man signal light, and spider-tracers, Spider-Man’s utility belt is a rarely mentioned part of Spider-Man history, but an essential one. Mostly because a backpack would be too bulky, a messenger bag would get in the way of his aerodynamics, and carrying his camera around his neck would give away who’s really taking the pictures of Spider-Man that J. Jonah Jameson keeps screaming for people to get him.
Alright, now it’s just sounding like Spider-Man is straight up stealing his tech from other superheroes. With the Spider-Mobile car, something that we’ve never seen in a film and thankfully is never talked about by fans, Spider-Man followed in the steps of Batman by having his own branded super-vehicle. But the problem is, the whole concept behind Spider-Man is that he doesn’t need to drive. Why sit in New York City traffic when you can swing above it? Well, according to the comics, a car company – Corona Motors – offered Spider-Man the use of a new engine they wanted to promote by putting it in a Spider-Mobile car. Despite being rightfully apprehensive at first, the story goes that Spider-Man was eventually tempted by endorsement fees, so he hired Johnny Storm to help design the car, and he ended up with a dune buggy fit with web-launchers. So… Yeah.
Though the Spider-Mobile got off to a good start with Spider-Man, it is eventually wrecked after its revealed that Spider-Man has never learned how to drive. And while you’d think super-genius Peter Parker would know not to get behind the wheel without a license, he ultimately comes to his senses and regrets getting the Spider-Mobile, calling it “hokey.” But not before The Tinkerer gets his hands on the wrecked car, modifying it to be able to drive up walls, and uses it against Spider-Man. But the sooner we all forget about this the better.
1. Iron-Spider Armor
Here’s something we’re hoping to see when Spider-Man makes his appearance in Captain America: Civil War; the Iron-Spider costume. First seen in, you guessed it, “The Other,” Tony Stark creates a new suit for Spider-Man to help augment his new powers. Decked out in signature stark red and gold, the costume is Stark’s design and thus includes a variety of gadgets and Iron-Man-esque mechanical spider-arms to help Spider-Man see around corners and manipulate objects.
During the “Civil War” storyline, Spider-Man uses the suit, and the mechanical arms, to fight Captain America, and there’s no doubt that the suit gives Spider-Man advantages that he wouldn’t normally have. Other features of the suit – and thus Spider-Man’s enhanced powers – include bullet-proofing, a built-in emergency scanner, and audio/video amplification. The suit also allows Spider-Man to breathe underwater, and it’s “smart liquid metal” materials allows it to shift into different shapes and even look like previous versions of Spider-Man’s costume; or even his street clothes. And while all of these powers helped to make Spider-Man exponentially more powerful than he ever was before, a secret override in the suit allowed it to be deactivated by Stark in case Spider-Man ever switched sides in the Civil War conflict.
Which of these powers do you think deserves more time in the spotlight? Are there any we missed? Let us know in the comments!