<p>Since the character's debut in the early days of the silver age of comics, Spider-Man has permeated pop culture as the star of TV, Movies, Video Games, Novels, a reference in songs, and Spider-Man, plus his alter-ego Peter Parker, has become a true household name, right up there with icons like Superman and Batman. <p>Now, <a href=http://www.newsarama.com/20019-official-amazing-spider-man-peter-parker-to-return.html>with the original returning to the Spidey suit in the comics just ahead of his live-action return in theaters</a>, we thought it was the perfect time to look back on ten wearers of the Spider-Man mantle (with a couple of slight variations, to boot), this time around with a ranking system in place. <p>Click on through for the ten best Spider-Man civilian IDs. You never know who might pop up...
In almost every universe, one thing remains true: Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson are simply meant to be. The two have been romantic in multiple Marvel universes, video games, TV shows, movies, comic strips and any other medium you can think of. <p>But as the world-hopping Exiles found out, there is one Mary Jane that stands out, as <i>she</i> was the one with Spider-Powers. Appearing first in <b>Exiles #23</b>, in her reality, she had the powers (and responsibility) of the Spider-identity. She also had a relationship with that world's Sunfire, a woman with a familiar name to Marvel fans herself, Mariko Yashida (Wolverine's lost love in the main Marvel Universe). <p>Mary Jane wasn't the only alternate-spider seen in <b>Exiles</b>, of course. "The Spider" was a darker Peter Parker seen on the competing world-hopping team of Weapon X, and a few other Spideys were seen from world to world. Of course, one other famous Spider-Man joined the main team, too, but he started out on his own (more on him later).
Two villains have played the role of Spider-Man in recent years, both as versions of the character with a team of "Dark Avengers." <p>While not quite on the level of Norman Osborn or Otto Octavius, Mac Gargan has to be mentioned in the conversation of Spider-Man villains, especially for the multiple roles he has played. He was once the Scorpion, but when Eddie Brock lay dying and the Venom symbiote abandoned him, it came to Mac, making him the new Venom. Then, with Norman Osborn at the head, he posed as "Spider-Man" on the first incarnation of the Dark Avengers. He since has become a new, suped-up version of Scorpion. <p>Meanwhile, the Dark Avengers continued on, with the new dark Spidey being played by Ai Apaec, a vengeful Peruvian spider-god. While he initially relied on Osborn to transform into the six-armed Spider-Man, he broke free and continued his adventures with the Dark Avengers even through some name changes up until their disbanding after a world hopping experience of their own.
Spider-Man has reached children across the globe, and Marvel has truly embraced that. With multiple incarnations seeing various success in Japan, in 2004 Marvel teamed with Gotham Entertainment Group to bring a unique incarnation to India. <p>Pavitr Prabhakar was basically a simple Indian version of Peter, though his powers were granted to him by a yogi instead of a genetic/radioactive accident. His Uncle Bhim was killed, and he fights Nalin Oberoi (Norman Osborn) and an Indian version of Doctor Octopus in his story. There's even an Indian Mary Jane, named Meera Jain. <p>The series offered a unique look at Indian beliefs and mythology while also showing how Spider-Man fits into any culture the world around.
In a universe where the daughter of Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson wasn't still-born or kidnapped or wiped away by a deal with the devil or whatever, she instead grew up to take over the legacy of her father as the "MC2" Universe's "Spider-Girl. <p> May "Mayday" Parker was the realization of Peter's dream of having a family and a future beyond being Spider-Man, though he initially fought against her using the powers she'd inherited to fight crime. <p>Mayday is probably best known for having the little comic that could. Facing cancellation several times, the series continued thanks to massive fan campaigns that brought it back as <i>Amazing Spider-Girl</i>, <i>Spectacular Spider-Girl</i>, and saw Mayday have her own versions of many of Peter's greatest adventures - including her very own Clone Saga. While her series did eventually come to an end, the character remained viable just in case Marvel seeks to continue her story in the (alternate) future. <p>A version of May also appeared in the "Earth X" alternate future, taking on the Venom symbiote for her superheroic adventures. That version has been seen recently in the pages of <i>Uncanny Avengers</i> as part of a all-futures/realities squad being recruited for a secret mission.
Believe it or not, the most prominent clone of Peter Parker didn't debut in the 90s, or even the late 80s. He showed up for the first time in <b>Amazing Spider-Man #149</b> way back in October of 1975. <p>Of course, people don't remember Ben for that brief first run with the Jackal. No, instead they remember him from the massive Clone Saga storyline that saw Ben, Peter, Kaine, and others entangled in a web (sorry) of mystery that got increasingly complicated and went on for<i>ever</i>. <p>Ben, for a time, thought he was the real Peter Parker, and took over entirely as Spider-Man. He also debuted the identity of Scarlet Spider, now in use by fellow clone Kaine, and even once bonded with the Carnage symbiote, the "son" of Venom. <p>Reilly died to close out the clone saga, disappearing in a puff of dust, but his vocal fan contingent hasn't given up on a resurrection.
In the year 2000, Marvel Comics launched a new Universe for the 21st century reader, with updated versions of the characters and stories that had been made classic in the prior 4-5 decades. The flagship title of this Ultimate universe was <b>Ultimate Spider-Man</b>, by Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley. <p>Ultimate Peter Parker still became Spider-Man, but rather than rapidly aging the character, his adventures were set entirely with him as a young teenager in high school, dealing with the life of an average 21st Century teen. His job had him working online, he had love triangles, his powers were from genetic engineering (as were the powers of nearly every other Ultimate character for the first couple years), and he got to truly explore what it was like to be a kid living with very adult experiences and responsibilities. <p>Ultimate Peter made the Ultimate sacrifice while fighting his world's Green Goblin, but the legacy of Spider-Man lived on in that world (more on that later).
Marvel's first major foray into an alternate universe was actually a look into the future, all the way to the year 2099. Created in 1992 by Peter David and Rick Leonardi to help celebrate the 30th anniversary of Spider-Man, Miguel O'Hara lived in the dystopian 2099 future and was not just the first true legacy character of Spider-Man, but also by far the most popular 2099 character. <p>Inspired by Peter Parker's 20th Century hero of Spider-Man, Miguel, working for Alchemax, sought to create a new Spider-Hero, but quit the company when he disagreed with their testing methods. Of course that just meant he would become the new test subject, leading to his development of super agility, strength, plus speedy healing and enhanced senses that let him perceive the world around him as if in slow-mo. His webbing was organic, and he clung to walls via tiny talons in his fingers and toes. <p>Miguel lasted beyond his own series, appearing in a few mini-series, joining the Exiles, and showing up in multiple video games. Recently, he was marooned in the present-day, now working to preserve his future, even though it means helping his arch enemies at the just-formed Alchemax in the pages of <i>Superior Spider-Man</i>.
Born of another of the genetically engineered spiders from the same experiment that changed Peter Parker's life, Miles Morales is a mild-mannered kid who, along with new powers, also became the first African American to become Spider-Man. <p>Morales's story is still unfolding in the pages of <b>Ultimate Comics Spider-Man</b> as he continues to discover his new powers (like his unique Venom Strike and Camouflage) and fights to prove himself as the new Ultimate universe Spider-Man. In fact, he's getting a relaunch of his own in April 2014, changing the name of his book to <b>Miles Morales: Ultimate Spider-Man</b>. <p>Miles has worked with the Ultimates and Nick Fury, as well as getting some assistance from Peter Parker's friends, family, and allies in his quest to keep the legacy alive. With Peter actually dead in that world, Miles is the world's only hope of keeping the power and responsibility of Spider-Man alive. Also in April 2014, Miles will be joining (perhaps leading?) his own superteam of young heroes called the <b>All-New Ulltimates</b>. <p>His own legacy has already begun to spread, too, with the character/costume appearing in two video games after his 2011 debut.
In July 1963's <b>Amazing Spider-Man #3</b>, Otto Octavius became the fearsome Doctor Octopus. He has since been one of Spider-Man's greatest enemies (or, as argued by some including writer Dan Slott, his greatest of all), plaguing Peter Parker both alone and often as the leader of the Sinister Six. He's been engaged to May Parker, died and been resurrected, fought the Avengers, and nearly died again. <p>Now, thanks to his genius intellect and his slow-burn shame to swap minds with Peter Parker, Otto Octavius's consciousness resides in Peter's body. And with all of Peter's memories, as well as the knowledge of how it felt to live through his major moments, Otto has been working to become a "Superior" Spider-Man. <p>Otto promised a dying Peter Parker that he would not be leaving the world, or the identity of Peter Parker and Spider-Man, to a villain, and for the most part, he has made good on his word. Unfortunately, as he has tried to implement some of his more villainous ideas, including the Sinister Six, into his hero act, he has faltered at times - maybe it's that old Parker luck. <p>We don't yet know what will become of Otto when Peter makes his return, but it definitely says something that this age-old villain was able to step up and become, in many ways, the second greatest (and most compelling) Spider-Man of all time. He's brash, he's sometimes foolishly stubborn, but he has also sometimes been undoubtedly superior. Of course, that doesn't mean he can hold a candle to...
He's the man that started it all. Debuting in <b>Amazing Fantasy #15</b>, Peter Parker became the Amazing Spider-Man after being bitten by a radioactive spider, which gave him the reflexes, proportional strength, and sense of impending danger of a spider. <p>Of course that's not what it took to make young Parker a <i>hero</i>, however. It was the tragic death of his Uncle Ben, who had raised Peter as his own son, at the hands of a burglar the boy had a chance to stop that made Peter turn the corner from powered-but-selfish into burgeoning superhero. <p>That special lesson, that with great power must also come great responsibility, didn't just influence Peter, but also all the other folks on this list. <p>Still, it has always been Peter's unique experiences, including his interactions with almost everyone here, that have made him the ultimate every-man hero. Sure, readers can't know what it's like to web swing through New York's high-rises, but they know what it's like to deal with loss. Maybe you've never dated a supermodel, but you've probably hidden something from someone you cared about thinking it was best for them. Even the crazier things Peter has dealt with - clones showing him other (even darker) sides of himself, betrayals by dear friends - are just extreme, super powered versions of real life experiences. <p>Maybe moreso than his superheroing, Peter's ability to overcome adversity and maintain an attitude of always trying to do the best he can for his friends, family, and even strangers, is what makes him inspiring, and makes him the best Spider-Man there is.