10 Best Alternative Versions of Spider-Man, Ranked
Peter Parker (a.k.a. Spider-Man) was first introduced in the main timeline on Earth-616 and created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko in 1962. In the following 60+ years, Spider-Man has grown to become one of the most recognizable and popular heroes of all time. The role of Spider-Man on Earth-616 has been so revered or coveted that several individuals besides Parker donned the hero’s mantle. Meanwhile, due to his iconic nature, Marvel writers and artists began creating alternate versions of the character that exist in different universes.
This is why, as seen in Sony’s Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, there are a lot of Spider-Man versions. Even though the film introduced many of those versions, there are still far more versions in the comics than have appeared in film or TV. These versions vary in age, gender, race, and personality, as well as in heroicness and villainy. However, some versions have proven to be more interesting, compelling, or powerful than others. Here are the ten best alternative versions of Spider-Man ranked from worst to best, based on both how interesting and powerful they are.
10. Pavitr Prabhakar (Spider-Man India)
Pavitr Prabhakar is a young, poor orphaned boy from India who was frequently bullied by his classmates. However, one day, an ancient yogi granted him the powers of a spider to fight his bullies. Prabhakar learned to be a hero the hard way after his uncle died trying to protect a woman Prabhakar had refused to aid despite his powers.
From then on, he became the hero Spider-Man and fought villains like Doctor Octopus. However, his powers are identical to the original Parker, with no unique variations. While it’s interesting to see a Spider-Man hailing from India instead of Queens, his storyline was too close to the original Spider-Man, making it seem like the same story just with Indian names.
9. Peter Parker (The Spider)
Peter Parker from Earth-15 is a terrifying version of the original character. He was a mass murderer who gained the powers of both Carnage and Spider-Man by merging with a spider symbiote. Parker then became The Spider, a sociopathic serial killer who enjoyed hurting others. With both Carnage’s and Spider-Man’s abilities, he was a good deal stronger than most versions of Spider-Man. It was an interesting premise, but Marvel opted to kill him off before his story could expand. Hence, while he’s powerful and has potential, there really isn’t a whole lot to his story.
8. Ai Apaec (Spider-Man)
Ai Apaec from Earth-616 is easily one of the creepiest versions of Spider-Man in Marvel Comics. He is a chimeric being with the appearance of a man but the body of a spider. Hence, he has six arms, gnarly fangs, and snakes for hair. As if his appearance weren’t haunting enough, he’s immortal and was hailed as a god in Peru, where his bloodthirsty tendencies became known. He ended up being captured by the U.S. government and imprisoned until Norman Osbourne recruited him to the Dark Avengers. Sadly, his story fizzled out along with the Dark Avengers storyline. Apaec is one of the most powerful versions of Spider-Man and one who was exceedingly dangerous and difficult to contain. However, like The Spider, his story was noticeably cut short.
7. Ben Reilly (Scarlet Spider)
Ben Reilly (a.k.a. Scarlet Spider) is also from Earth-616 and is actually a clone of the original Peter Parker. In addition to being Scarlet Spider, Reilly has also taken up the mantle/identity of Spider-Man, Jackal, and Chasm. Though he was a clone created by the original Jackal, Reilly worked to forge his own identity as Scarlet Spider and fought alongside Parker. Things were going well for the hero until he was captured and tortured by Jackal, leaving him in an unstable mental state and resulting in him switching between being a hero and a villain. Most recently, he took on the supervillain identity Chasm. As a genetic clone of Parker, Reilly has a pretty average power level, but his tragic story is intriguing and empathy-inducing.
6. Gwen Stacy (Spider-Woman)
Gwen Stacy from Earth-65 was bitten by a radioactive spider and took on the alias of Spider-Woman, or sometimes Ghost-Spider. She is another iteration of Spider-Man who largely had the same powers as the original. However, she also has a pretty tragic and wild story, which includes her killing her world’s Peter Parker, who was also her boyfriend. In addition to this, she was frequently on the run from her police captain father, who tried to kill her multiple times and also got on the bad side of Frank Castle. She also went to prison once after plotting to kill Matt Murdock. Like Peter, she grappled with symbiotes and her dark side at times and struggled to live up to her hero duties. Her story was intriguing, chaotic, realistic, and tragic, making her one of the most interesting iterations of Spider-Man.
5. Miguel O’Hara (Spider-Man 2099)
Miquel O’Hara hails from Earth-928 and the year 2099. He boasted Spider-Man’s abilities to a greater extent than Spider-Man because his genes were actually spliced with the DNA of a Spider. This also resulted in him having some additional abilities, like telepathy and enhanced vision, and sprouting talons and fangs. O’Hara gained his powers during a workplace incident at the corrupt company, Alchemax. His genius-level intellect led him to build an extremely durable suit and he became a much-needed hero in his dark futuristic world dominated by corrupt corporations and churches. His spider DNA and futuristic setting make him one of the most powerful and interesting versions of Spider-Man.
4. Miles Morales (Spider-Man)
Miles Morales hails from Earth-1610 and is a young teenager who accidentally gains spider-like abilities after being bitten by a spider. Instead of embracing his powers, he hates them and wants to live a normal life. However, after his world’s Spider-Man dies, he is compelled to take his place and protect his city despite not initially wanting powers. The spider that bit him was a variation of the one that bit Parker, giving Morales the additional powers of camouflage and a paralyzing strike. One of the reasons he’s one of the most interesting versions of Spider-Man is that his creators really differentiated him from the original. He’s of a different race, his parents are alive, he was a reluctant hero, and he witnessed another Spider-Man die. Plus, he’s charismatic, funny, and strong-willed, making him a very interesting character and not just a replica of Peter Parker.
3. Peter Parker (Cosmic Spider-Man)
Cosmic Spider-Man from Earth-13 is easily the most powerful version of Spider-Man, with his powers being god-like. He gained his god-like powers after fusing with the ancient entity known as the Enigma Force. He was so powerful that his reality became a haven for other versions of Spider-Man because enemies feared Cosmic Spider-Man too much to enter Earth-13. Sadly, one villain managed to enter Earth-13 and drained the Enigma Force from Cosmic Spider-Man, killing him. He was massively powerful and exceedingly interesting, but Marvel cut his story way too short.
2. Jessica Drew (Spider-Woman)
Jessica Drew is from Earth-616 and gained her powers in her mother’s womb after her mother’s stomach was exposed to a beam of radiation containing the DNA of several species of spiders. As a result, Drew has all the powers of the original Spider-Man but boasts lightning projection, heightened smelling sense, resistance to injury, and near immunity to radiation and poison. While she took on the mantle of Spider-Woman, she’s not remotely like Spider-Man. Her origin and life are vastly different from his, plus she struck out on her path doing anything she put her mind to. At different times, she was a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, H.Y.D.R.A. spy, Avenger, and even a private detective. She has elevated powers and established herself as one of the most unique characters to take on the name Spider-Woman.
1. Cindy Moon (Silk)
Cindy Moon is from Earth-616 and got bit by the same spider as Peter Parker on the same day he was bit. She boasted the same powers as him, but a much stronger Spider-sense and the ability to produce organic webs. However, she was being tracked by the supervillain Morlun and was holed up in a bunker for 13 long years out of fear.
After Morlun died, Peter learned about Moon and freed her. Defeating the resurrected Morlun, Moon grasped her newfound freedom with vigor. She dubbed herself Silk, formed a costume out of webs, engaged in an intense relationship with Peter, and joined some superhero teams. Silk is another woman who became her own unique hero outside the shadow of Parker, and she also inspiringly overcame incredible odds and took back her life after 13 years of solitude.
(featured image: Sony, Marvel Comics)
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