"Kraven's Last Hunt"
No matter how much drama can be brought to a superhero film, or what odds the star can be made to face, audiences witness the events knowing that, no matter what happens, the hero will survive - usually victorious. That wasn't the case with J.M. DeMatteis and Mike Zeck's "Kraven's Last Hunt," which saw the classic villain defeat, kill, and bury Spider-Man.
In the weeks to follow, Kraven the Hunter would slip into his own version of Spidey's uniform, and carry out the same mission (as he saw it). Becoming something closer to Batman than Spider-Man, Kraven's attempts to show that he could be even more effective than the webslinger - as Peter's friends and loved ones got used to a world without - brought several insights into heroism that made the storyline one of the character's most acclaimed.
Peter Parker would (obviously) return, but the point was made: Peter Parker doesn't become Spider-Man, or conceal himself when playing either part. Peter Parker is Spider-Man, in a way few other heroes could relate to. Seeing this story adapted to film would likely only be possible years down the line, but the themes and messages at play make its value clear.
If Sony decided fans and audiences needed to be reminded why there's only one Peter Parker in a world of superheroes - or why his presence shouldn't be taken for granted - then Kraven is the right man for the job.
It's no secret that most Spider-Man fans were hoping to see the villainous symbiote known as Venom done justice on film. And although Spider-Man 3 sought to tackle that charge, most fans were not left satisfied (for several reasons). If the new plan for Sony is to start making Spider-Man films and spinoffs with greater frequency - as is rumored - then Venom is a top candidate. But we wouldn't suggest the version already seen on film: we instead nominate the being known as "Agent Venom."
For the unfamiliar, Peter Parker's professional rival Eddie Brock wasn't the only character to bond with the alien Venom symbiote (resulting in the vicious beast seen in Spider-Man 3). That honor also falls to "Flash" Thompson, Peter's high school bully-turned-close friend. When Thompson joined the armed forces and lost both legs in combat, his willpower and resolve made him a prime candidate for an... experimental program.
Bonding with the Venom entity not only rewarded Flash with a set of artificial legs, but blessed him with almost all of the previous Venoms' powers (enhanced strength, senses, and web-shooting). Only able to wield the suit for a time before it began to take over, Agent Venom proved to be the best of both worlds: all the presence and action that Venom fans loved, with a refreshing twist on the man beneath the black.
It was no secret that a spinoff Venom film was part of Sony's previous plan, and we hoped for some time they would tackle Flash's version, for the sake of differentiating the origin story from Peter Parker's, if nothing else. But before a spinoff series comes into the mix, pairing a new Peter Parker's rise to greatness with his friend's (doomed) attempt to do the same could prove a winning combination.
There's no question Venom tops the list of most coveted Spider-Man villains on film, but Carnage isn't far behind. If Venom is typically seen as a darker reflection of Spidey, then Carnage proves the difference between being 'bad' and being downright evil. Fittingly, then, it's Venom that Carnage has to thank for its creation.
When former Eddie Brock reunited with the Venom symbiote and escaped from prison, it left behind a mysterious offspring of its own - soon discovered by Brock's cellmate, serial killer Cletus Kasady. Merging with Kasady's blood, Carnage was born, granting a villain as depraved, crazed, and bloodthirsty as DC Comics' Joker powers and gifts that put those of Spider-Man to shame.
Carnage would prove too much for Spider-Man, necessitating first a team-up with Venom (making the fan-favorite villain into a fan-favorite antihero), and in "Maximum Carnage," a collection of several heroes and antiheroes to bring the monster down for good. By then, the action, insanity, and impact of a traditional "Spider-Man" story had been blown to bits.
If the Amazing Spider-Man films showed us anything, it's that superhero films require some core thread - delivered and expanded upon, not teased at a snail's pace - to pull fans along for the ride. There's no doubt Venom could be such a twist, whether alien or engineered. Carnage is just one story and set of characters spun out of the Venom mythology, so we would hope to see them adapted as Sony attempts to jump-start a Spider-Man movie universe.
That concludes our list of comic arcs and stories that we feel would bring a new dimension (and some impressive action and character development) to a movie version of Spider-Man. Whether or not Marvel or Sony choose one of these, or a wholly original creation, we certainly hope they utilize some of the themes, struggles, or even secondary characters contained within them.
What are your hopes for the next Spider-Man film series? Do these stories on our list sound like a direction you would like to see the solo films head, or do you have a different idea in mind? Leave your thoughts in the comments.
Spider-Man Joins The MCU: Discussion
The new Spider-Man movie will be in theaters July 28, 2017.