Known more for his wise cracking humor rather than his fighting skills, we have Spider-Man. About as regular a guy as you can get, but this guy can hold his own. His athleticism and intellect have allowed him to survive and even persevere against the most deadly of opponents. He takes a beating but tries his best to keep on ticking. Unlike Wolverine, he doesn’t have a healing factor to fall back on. Let’s begin with my picks for his best battles!
5. Spider-Man vs Green Goblin: The Death Of Gwen Stacy – By Gerry Conway, Gill Kane & John Romita Sr.
A classic Spider-Man story line that shocked the world at the time. A death in comics that actually lasted and had consequences later on. For those unfamiliar I’m referring to Peter’s first love , Gwen Stacy. Of course the man responsible for this tragedy was none other than arguably Spidey’s greatest foe. The Green Goblin ( Norman Osborn). In this particular case, Green Goblin went and made it very personal for Spider-Man and killing the woman he loved and rubbing his nose in it. It was a devestating blow to Spider-Man and you can bet he was pissed. It actually fel as if Spider-man would cross the line and kill for the first time. The set up is great and the actual climatic battle was awesome. The story and the fight itself have been adapted in films and TV, so it goes to show the impact this saga had.Here’s one of my favorite moments…
4. Spider-Man Vs Wolverine ( One shot) By James Owlsley & Mark Bright
My last entry to this list is a perfect segue to this comic and it’s respective battle. As previously seen, even when pushed to the limit, Spider-man won’t kill. The story asks what if he has to for a greater purpose? The question is asked, quite aggressively by none other than Wolverine. A guy who often kills without blinking. The story sets up these two sides quite well and makes for a very real and compelling reason to have our two protagonists duke it out. Usually it’s the art that sells it but this time the words accomplish that. The inner monouloges and debates between the two men while they’re fighting, are great. It’s an often overlooked story by the mainstream audience but fans have grown to admire it very much over the years. It’s a bit of a tough find but if you have a little patience, I suggest you try to pick it up. Here’s a glimpse that may sell you on it.
3. Spider-Man Vs Venom ( Collected edition) By David Micheline & Todd McFarlane
This is an old fan favorite. We(fans) just love seeing Spidey and Venom take each other on. It’s like Wolverine vs Sabretooth. Venom went on to become, arguably Spider-man’s most popular nemesis in the late 80’s/ early 90’s, and for good reason. He was a guy more powerful than Spider-Man, so there was a great physical advantage. Plus he absolutely hated Peter Parker & Spider-man. There was always a sense of impossibility when Spidey was tasked to do battle against him. Let me tell you that Spider-man lost more than he won against Venom. Well, physically anyway. The stunning detail that Todd McFarlane added to the art work made it all the more enjoyable. I remember studying each page for what seemed like hours. Every panel seemed cooler than the next. Venom proved to be so popular he even got his own series in the 90’s. Some might say he was a victim of overexposure but what can you do?
2. Spider-Man vs Kraven The Hunter ( Kraven’s Last Hunt) By J.M. DeMatteis & Mike Zeck
We went from the dark nature of the Venom saga, to the even darker nature of Kraven and the Kraven’s last Hunt story line. I’ll say right now that this story is, likely my favorite Spider-Man story of all time. The conflict, the drama and the artwork are all superb. Certainly one of the darkest Spider-man stories I’ve read. Kraven the hunter was often seen as a joke compared to some of the other, more notable villains in Spider-Man’s rogue’s gallery. Then this came out and proved everybody wrong. Kraven was presented as a man of great skill and even honor. A man to be respected and ultimately, feared. He sets out on his greatest hunt against his greatest adversary. The one who got away, time and again. He not only hatches an ambitious plan, he executes it. Spider-Man gets badly beaten in their first encounter. So much so, that he ends up buried alive. This is not the end of Kraven’s plan though. Read it yourself to get the juicy details. The imagery & metaphors used throughout this tale are spot on. They add a lot of insight and intrigue into Kraven’s state of mind. It’s almost as if they created a new character in this story, He’s so fleshed out. he becomes so fearsome that he jumps to the cream of the villain crop. Mike Zeck also nailed it here. For my book, his best artwork to date. Check out this splash page.
1. Spider-Man vs Green Goblin ( Spectacular Spider-Man # 200) By J.M. DeMatteis & Sal Buscema
We started the list with the Green Goblin and we finish with him as well… sort of. This time the man behind the scaly green mask Is Harry Osborn, Norman’s son. Heir to more than just his fortune apparently. This battle became even more intense due to the personal nature of Peter and Harry. Best friends forced to fight each other. There’s a lot of backstory here. A lot. It was only a matter of time before it all boiled over. The setup for this climatic brawl had been years in the making. A friendship that seemed destined to fail due to the very nature of both men. A tale worthy of the bard himself. To get real insight on this particular issue ( #200), it would be best to read the ” Child Within” story line. Same creative team. My favorite Spider-Man writer paired up with my favorite Spider-Man artist of all time make for one satisfying conclusion to all the build up. It’s almost an entire issue of action. Plenty of emotional weght and spectacular( no pun intended) visual story telling.Something about seeing Spider-Man lose it brings everything up a notch. I suppose it’s because to piss him, you have to do more than hurt him physically. You have to push his emotional limits and even his psyche to throw him off the edge, but he never really falls off. Very similar to Superman in many ways. If you want more than just a standard, Spider-Man wise cracking affair, look to this gem.