Spiders that weren’t in Spider-Verse

So Spider-Verse ended a couple of months ago. Marvel promised that every Spider-Person ever would appear in it, and while a whole lot were present, if only for a single panel or a mention in dialogue, there were a few omissions. Since I’m that kind of nerd, I’m going to catalogue them here.

Venoms

OK, the lack of any version of Venom is acceptable. Dan Slott said there were so many Spiders it would be nearly impossible to have every single one, so it was decided before the series even began that no version of Venom  or any either symbiote would appear. So, you know, fine.

Dead Spiders

Several Spiders were dead at the time of the crossover. Even if death was permanent in any Marvel universe, time travel was used to bring in Superior Spider-Man, so there’s no reason these people couldn’t also have appeared.

Ben Reilly, Scarlet Spider I

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Ben Reilly, the Scarlet Spider, is one of Peter Parker’s various clones, and one of the few that more or less worked as intended. He even took over as Spider-Man for a while when it seemed like he was in fact the original and Peter the clone (they weren’t) as part of an aborted plan to have an unmarried Spider-Man again which wouldn’t require Peter and Mary-Jane to get a divorce or literally sell their marriage to the actual devil.

Yes, a Ben Reilly did appear in Spider-Verse, and even played a major role in the Scarlet Spiders tie-in, but he was Spider-Man from a universe where Peter lost his spider powers. I really think the original Ben is a sufficiently significant and prominent part of the Spider-Man mythos as to warrant and appearance in the biggest-scale Spider-Story of all time.

Cassandra Webb, Madame Web I

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A blind psyker who is strongly connected to the Web of Life and Destiny, which is central to the events of Spider-Verse. She uses her psychic abilities to help Spider-Man in a number of cases, and was killed by Sasha Kravinoff during the “Grim Hunt” storyline. Before she died, she passed on her abilities to Julia Carpenter, the second Spider-Woman.

Mattie Franklin, Spider-Woman III

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Jessica Drew played a huge role in Spider-Verse, and Julia Carpenter appeared in a hospital bed to make ominous predictions, but there was no sign of the third Spider-Woman. Mattie Franklin was the niece of J Jonah Jameson, and a fan of Spider-Man. She gained spider limbs in a magic ritual, and since Peter Parker had quit being Spider-Man as he occasionally does, Mattie put on a costume and started fighting crime as Spider-Woman, mentored by the then-youthful Madame Web. She was also killed during “Grim Hunt”.

Spidercide

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One of Spider-Man’s clones (well, technically he’s a clone of Ben Reilly, which is the same thing), this one is evil. He somehow also had the ability to shapeshift like the symbiotes, and was killed during “Maximum Clonage” by being thrown off the roof of the Daily Bugle. A pretty lame end, but he seems like a lame character. Still, he’s a spider, and so is worthy of appearing in Spider-Verse.

Black Tarantula

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Black Tarantula is actually a hereditary title, passed down from father to son for 700 years. Each inherits magic powers originally obtained by the first Black Tarantula, who drank a mystic potion after becoming a full-fledged evil ninja. The current Black Tarantula has dealt with both Spider-Man and Daredevil, and is still alive and still ninjaing. His son has also encountered Spider-Girl.

Anton Miguel Rodriguez, Tarantula II

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The first Tarantula, Clay Riley, was a Zorro-like western hero who used a whip and fought Ghost Rider; he had absolutely nothing to do with spiders beyond the name, hence his exclusion (same deal for Black Widow). Anton Miguel Rodriguez, however, was definitely a spider totem, and one who had an actually pretty cool costume.

Rodriguez is an assassing from the fictional South American country of Delvadia, where he made enemies of both the terrorists who trained him and the fascist government who gave him his secret identity in order to have their very own counterpart to Captain America. He was a very fit athlete and fighter, with stingers on his hands that injected a highly toxic poison. He was later infused with spider DNA by the evil Brand Corporation, but the process was disrupted by the supervillain Will o’ the Wisp, with the result that Rodriguez mutated into a monstrous Man-Spider. After one last encounter with Spider-Man, he committed suicide.

Luis Alvarez, Tarantula III

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Luis Alvarez was the Delvadian government’s second attempt to create Tarantula as an answer to Captain America. Like Anton Rodriguez, Alvarez had artificially-enhanced speed, strength, and reflexes, as well as poison stingers. He was defeated by Spider-Man on his first mission and thereafter broke away from Delvadia to become a mercenary, even working with the Punisher on one occasion. He was later killed by the Jury, a group antiheroes in powered armour. While he may not have had specifically spider-themed abilities, he does have the look. Besides, Lady Spider’s spider abilities were entirely mechanical as well and she was some sort of spider totem, so I figure Alvarez also qualified.

Jacinda Rodriguez, Tarantula IV

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Anton Rodriguez’ daughter, Jacinda, took up her father’s identity for a single issue of Agent X, which ended with her being filled with bullets. Still, a spider is a spider.

Ultimate Spider-Man

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Spider-Man is one of the few superheroes in the Ultimate Universe who isn’t a giant jerk. Ultimate Peter Parker was dramatically killed in action and made a martyr by the people of New York, to be succeeded by Miles Morales, a younger kid who impressed skeptics in both the comic and the real world to become a popular and admired hero in his own right. It would have been interesting to see how Ultimate Peter got along with Miles.

Ultimate Tarantula

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As sure as night follows day, Spider-Man will have clones, and the Ultimate Universe is no exception. Ultimate Tarantula is a clone of Ultimate Peter Parker with six arms who wears a black costume. He was killed by Doctor Octopus, though his corpse is held in containment by SHIELD for study, so there’s every possibility he could have resurrected.

Ultimate Kaine

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A degenerate, mentally unstable clone of Ultimate Spider-Man, Ultimate Kaine is obviously the counterpart to Kaine Prime, Scarlet Spider II. Ultimate Kaine believed he was the original Peter Parker and so kidnapped Mary-Jane and turned her into a werewolf. He was stopped by Ultimate Spider-Man and Ultimate Spider-Woman (who is also a clone of Peter in this universe), and shot to death by SHIELD.

“Richard” Parker

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Yet another clone of Ultimate Peter Parker, this one was artificially aged into his 40s an given false memories of being Peter’s father. He later succumbed to rapid aging and died.

Spider-Carnage

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OK, yes, this one’s a symbiote, but he’s also Peter Parker. Specifically, he’s a version of Peter Parker who appeared in the 90s cartoon, and bonded with the Carnage symbiote. Carnage’s insanity coupled with his own mental instability over losing Aunt May and the possibility that his Scarlet Spider (who did appear in one panel of the crossover) might have been the original Peter all along led him to team up with Kingpin, Hobgoblin, and Green Goblin to try and destroy the Multiverse. Yes, the Multiverse. And he was only stopped by a cross-dimensional alliance of Spider-Men, all of whom made small cameos in the crossover with the exception of their leader, who was the star of the show. He was last seen falling into the space between universes, so might actually still be alive.

Zombie Spider-Man

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Spider-Man from the zombie universe, where all the superheroes became flesh-hungry superpowered intelligent zombies. They later ate Galactus, gained the Power Cosmic, and ate everybody in the universe. After that, they started invading other universes, including both the ultimate and primary universes and the ape universe. Zombie Spider-Man ultimately turned against the other zombies when he was able to overcome his hunger and helped the Avengers of Earth-Z deploy the zombie antidote that had been developed by Tony Stark, losing his own unlife in the process. Oh, and he used his blood vessels in place of webbing.

It would have been really fun to see Karn try to eat this one; presumably, his spear would have had no effect, at which point Spidey could have said “My turn…” and tried to eat Karn.

Spider-Man of Earth-Z

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The Spider-Man of Earth-Z, a universe invaded by the Marvel Zombies which, due to time travel shenanigans, ended up being the source of the zombie plague. This Spider-Man was killed by Sandman after Zombie Spider-Man ate the rest of the Sinister Six. Not much else to say about him.

Spider-X

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Spider-X is a kid named Brian who is a fan of Spider-Man. When his mother got mugged and the criminal was never caught (starting to see a pattern here…), he wished to be a superhero. Long story short, he was given superpowers by a demon, which turned him into a vicious, deadly man-spider. He was eventually killed by a monster named Zzzax in a battle involving Ghost Rider and the Midnight Sons.

The Forgotten Spiders

Those guys at least had the excuse of being dead. These spiders aren’t symbiotes, they just never appeared in Spider-Verse despite notability.

Claire Voyant, Black Widow I

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The most well-known Black Widow, Soviet defector Natasha Romanov of the Avengers, has no spider theme; her superhero name is just a gendered descriptor intended to make her sound lethal. However, before her, there was Claire Voyant, a Golden Age superheroine with bare legs and a definite spider motif. A femme fatale antihero, this lady was a psychic fortune teller who was given demonic powers by the devil in exchange for sending him evil souls before they repented (… kind of like Ghost Rider and Spawn, come to think of it). Later retcons had her fight the Nazis as a member of the Invaders, a superhero team led by Captain America. Along with 11 other WWII-era superheroes, she was captured by Nazi scientists and cryogenically frozen until 2008, when a construction project in Berlin uncovered the bunker where they had been stored and the Twelve, as they were known, were brought into the custody of the US government.

This Black Widow has a really cool design and superpowers. I’m sure the spider motif is enough to qualify her as a totem, and she would be a welcome anti-hero to the Spider-Army.

Tarantula V

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An anonymous Tarantula who encountered the Runaways, and is still active.

Maria Vasquez, Tarantula VI

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OK, I’m reaching a little here, but the sixth Tarantula has a little bit of a spider theme. Like the last four Tarantulas, Maria Vasquez knows martial arts and uses venom stingers. She likes to hurt people, and if ordered not to kill a target, she will torture them as consolation. She also likes to lick her blades and once killed an entire army of ninjas single-handed.

Miguel Santiago, Tarantula of the newspaper comic

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A version of Tarantula also appeared in the Spider-Man newspaper comic. He seems to be basically Anton Rodriguez.

Ultimate Madame Web

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The Ultimate version of Madame Web, obviously. She’s a blind quadriplegic telepath who was supposed to help give Ultimate Spider-Woman false memories. (Since Ultimate Spider-Woman is a clone of Ultimate Spider-Man, she has all of Peter Parker’s memories. Comics, everybody!)

Felicity Hardy, Scarlet Spider III

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The future daughter of Black Cat, Felicity is a good friend of Mayday Parker and, when Mayday became Spider-Girl, Felicity donned a suit to revive the Scarlet Spider identity. She doesn’t have any spider powers, but again, neither does Lady Spider; I figure the costume is probably enough. And even if it isn’t, maybe she could have stopped by to help her friend who was under attack from the giant vampire?

Spider Hero

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This one eventually turned out to be Blade in a knockoff costume, trying to keep his identity secret because he was being pursued by human-animal crossbreeds in order to be sacrificed in a nefarious ritual. Not remotely a spider totem, but two things: 1, Blade is awesome, 3, the Inheritors are vampires of some sort, which is what Blade fights, and 3, just imagine someone wearing that costume among all the real spiders.

70s TV Spider-Man

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CBS made a live-action Spider-Man series in 1977. It’s pretty obvious why this version didn’t make it in – Stan Lee hated that show, calling it juvenile. Also, just the next year, Japan made a live-action Spider-Man series that was much better because it had a giant robot in it (and that one did appear in Spider-Verse).

And speaking of the 70s…

70s cartoon Spider-Woman

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A 16-episode Spider-Woman cartoon came out in 1979, apparently set in the same universe as the 60s Spider-Man cartoon, starring a version of Jessica Drew revised to be more like Peter Parker. It was silly, but this is still a spider who didn’t get a look in and really should have. And she’s not the only one; the Spider-Army had a noticeable lack of Spider-Women, including…

90s cartoon Spider-Woman

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Julia Carpenter appeared in the 90s Iron Man cartoon as a member of Force Works and also as Tony’s red-haired secretary/girlfriend, replacing Pepper Potts. Out of love, she stayed with Tony when the rest of the team left at the start of season 2, though rarely got up to superheroing due to that season retooling the series to focus more on Iron Man himself. Also from the 90s, and in fact from that same universe…

90s cartoon Spider-Man

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While popular at the time and fondly remembered today, the 90s Spider-Man cartoon tends to be overlooked when talking about comics adaptations despite being surprisngly influential. Its adaptation of the Venom Saga is considered to be the definitive version, leaving its mark on both the Ultimate universe and the movies. It was the first incarnation to add genetic engineering to Peter’s origin story; in this version, the radiation that zapped the spider was of a type specifically designed to cause mutation, and was also central to the origins of the Lizard, the Scorpion, the Vulture, and Morbius the Living Vampire. Heck, it even ended with a story where a group of Spider-Men from across the multiverse have to get together to save all existence! (Specifically, from Spider-Carnage, above). It’s a noticeable overisght that this Spidey wasn’t included, but all his comrades from the aforementioned multiversal teamup were, which is more than can be said for…

Spectacular Spider-Man

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Star of 2003’s Spectacular Spider-Man cartoon, written and overseen by Greg Weismann of Gargoyles and WITCH fame. I haven’t watched this one, but everyone says it’s sort of like the 90s cartoon without all the negative aspects. And if freaking Spider-Man Unlimited, which nobody cares about, can get a look in, I figure Spectacular Spider-Man deserves at least a cameo.

90s cartoon Madame Web

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Madame Web appeared in the 90s cartoon as a powerful mystic being working for the Beyonder. Throughout season 3, she would periodically summon Spider-Man, give him some cryptic advice, and then vanish. She was really annoying, and seeing Peter read her the riot act at the end of the season was glorious. Feelings aside, such a powerful mystic would have been a definite boon for the Spider-Army, and with the Multiverse in peril from the Inheritors, the least she could have done was send Peter and Julia to lend a hand.

Charlotte Witter, Spider-Woman IV

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Granddaughter of Madame Web, Charlotte Witter was given spider powers by Doctor Octopus and deployed against the Spider-Heroes. She managed to drain the powers of Jessica Drew, Julia Carpenter, and Mattie Franklin, and defeated but did not kill Spider-Man. Madame Web assembled the depowered Spider-Women to defeat Charlotte, whose stolen abilities were drained by Mattie (and parts of them subsequently returned to Jessica and Julia). Charlotte survived and is apparently still at large, and still in possession of the abilities Doc Ock originally gave her. Totally a spider totem, totally omitted.

 

 

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One thought on “Spiders that weren’t in Spider-Verse

  1. Excellent list. My biggest question mark was Charlotte Witter because she’d have been right up Doc Ock’s ally. Fitting in the Ashley Barton, Assassin Spiderman, and himself. And you are correct, TOTALLY a spider totem.

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