Spider-Man: Spider’s Shadow is a What If? miniseries that reimagines Peter Parker as a ruthless and cold-blooded killer.
WARNING: The following contains major spoilers for Spider-Man: Spider’s Shadow #1 by Chip Zdarsky, Pasqual Ferry, Matt Hollingsworth, and VC’s Joe Caramagna, on sale now.
Marvel’s longtime fan favorite What If? series has returned in incredible fashion with the Spider-Man: Spider’s Shadow miniseries. While the events of King in Black have just transformed and illuminated the landscape in which symbiotes come from and exist in the Marvel Universe, the opportunity to revisit classic storylines with that new information in mind has never been better. Venturing back to the 80’s to revisit Peter Parker’s early days wearing the symbiote suit, Spider’s Shadow has just shown readers just how the Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man could have very easily become a stone cold killer.
Click the button below to start this article in quick view.
The story opens shortly after the black costume’s first appearance in 1984’s Amazing Spider-Man #252 by Tom DeFalco, Roger Stern, and Ron Frenz. Peter Parker has been having nightmares almost constantly, leaving him irritable and restless. Seeing as how sleeping isn’t going to be an option for the Wall Crawler, he decides to don his new black costume and head out for a late night patrol to clear his mind and maybe even do some good. When Spider-Man happens across a woman being mugged, he saves the day in uncharacteristically aggressive fashion, although he is able to repress his anger before doing anything drastic. His patience is tested again when he later encounters the Hobgoblin. Frustrated about repeatedly having to deal with the same villains, Spider-Man publicly unmasks the villain as Roderick Kingsley before threatening his life if their paths should cross again.
Apart from those closest to Peter Parker noticing the differences in him due to his exhaustion, Black Cat sees the difference brewing beneath the surface in Spider-Man as well. She tells him that his threat to Hobgoblin was a big one, although she doesn’t seem particularly concerned with him following through on his promise to be “playing for keeps now,” especially since he is also scheduled to visit Reed Richards for help. When Reed informs Peter that the suit is alive and bonding with him both physically and mentally, Peter refuses to relinquish it to Reed for further study. He attacks Reed when the Fantastic Four leader attempts to discourage him from leaving, making it apparent that his descent into darkness is taking a turn for the worse in a relatively short period of time.
Kingsley, back in action as Hobgoblin, makes matters worse by launching a renewed assault on Spider-Man in the worst place possible. When Peter visits his Aunt May in search of wise counsel, Kingsley hurls a pumpkin bomb at her home. The flames that quickly consume the home are more than the Venom symbiote can stand, leaving Peter unable to do anything but watch as Aunt May perishes in the fire. When Peter finally turns his attention back to Hobgoblin, the villain is wounded and limping away down the street with no fight left in him. Spider-Man, on the other hand, has plenty, and he ensnares Kingsley in webbing before crushing his head, killing him.
Peter Parker lashing out when a loved one is seriously injured or threatened is nothing new. When Aunt May was shot by an assassin sent by the Kingpin, Peter nearly beat the villain responsible to death. Not only that, but he promised to come back and finish the job the second that Aunt May’s heart stopped beating. Peter has even more recently given in to his more violent urges when he put Norman Osborn through the wringer in the midst of his battle against Kindred.
Spider’s Shadow has gone to a much darker place than either of those previous examples, though, quite possibly even darker than Spider-Man has ever gone before. He has shown no remorse for killing Kingsley, just as there is no concern for the friendly or professional opinions of his superhero allies. Although there is always some hope for even the worst of actions to be redeemed, Peter seems to have no problem with still calling himself a hero, and that might be the scariest part of it all.
KEEP READING: Spider-Man: How Tombstone Tormented One of Peter Parker’s Oldest Allies
The Most Powerful Avenger Is ALSO Marvel’s Strongest Super-Soldier
About The Author