Before I go into tearing Spider-Man a new a**hole, let me just point out that I love our agile little wall crawler. He’s my favourite fictional character who at his best balances the micro and macro problems of human existence all while clothed in spandex. Just as he represents the best of our humanity though, Peter Parker is also prone to moments where he demonstrates how as humans we can have incredibly poor judgement, bouts of rage and unbridled selfishness.
Spider-Man is far from a perfect hero, not that we ever wanted him to be. That is after all part of his appeal; the high school student from the suburbs of New York is given incredible powers and now must use these powers to help the world. Questionable actions and minor mistakes are fine, but these fifteen actions or inactions are without a doubt the worst things that Spider-Man has done. We will mostly stick to the mainstream 616 counterpart of Spider-Man for this list, but a certain despised movie of the web-head will creep in here from time to time.
15. Interferes With Surgery
Peter may have believed he was doing the right thing here, but his sense of responsibility was totally misplaced.
A few years back, Doc Ock managed to swap bodies with Peter Parker. As a result, Parker’s mind died in Ock’s decaying, cancer riddled body while Ock’s mind occupied Spider-Man’s healthy body. Despite that, a small fragment of Peter’s mind still existed in Ock’s psyche which could control interfere with Ock.
One of these moments of interference came in Superior Spider-Man #8. Doc Ock is set to perform surgery on a little girl using the help of a device he created himself. Peter believes though that Ock is in over his head and won’t be able to pull it off. He tries to stop Ock from performing the surgery but the good doctor pulls it off despite Peter’s interference.
14. Scars Harry Osborn’s Face (Spider-Man 3)
Peter Parker! Is that any way to treat your best friend?
Once best friends, Spider-Man 3 shows Harry Osborn and Peter Parker so far removed from their best buds relationship from the original movie to full on enemies. Osborn because of the Goblin formula which turned his father crazy and Parker because of the alien symbiote corrupting his mind.
Because of their two fragile mental states, these two duke it out in the Osborn household in a brutal fight not only in physical attack but in verbal barbs. Harry stabs Peter with a dagger, Peter throws him in a flying glider and the scene ends with Peter almost killing Harry with a pumpkin bomb. While Harry survives his face is scarred from the fight. This is why your social life is crap Peter.
13. Tries To Kill Sandman (Spider-Man 3)
On one hand, this fight scene is pretty damn awesome and definitely one of the better parts of Spider-Man 3. On the other hand, Spider-Man’s intentions in this scene are quite deplorable. Understandable, but deplorable nonetheless.
Earlier in the film, it is revealed that Dennis Caradine isn’t the killer of Ben Parker, but a man named Flint Marko is. Peter then goes on a manhunt to find him and when a police radio tells Peter his location, he puts on the black suit to find him.
Spidey beats Sandman up, grinds his face into a subway and once he finds out his weakness to water, unleashes an entire water stream on him. While Sandman does survive this, Peter thought that it would have killed him. The biggest flaw of all though might be the emo hair he gets after the scene.
12. Killing Gwen Stacy
So yeah, Peter Parker is technically responsible for the death of the beloved (some would say sanctified) Gwen Stacy. But really though, it wasn’t really his fault.
After Norman Osborn recovers his memory about the secret identity of Spider-Man, the Green Goblin sets into motion plans to destroy the life of his most hated enemy. First item of business? Abducting his girlfriend.
Osborn leaves a pumpkin in Peter’s apartment as a not-so subtle to say that he has his woman. Once Peter arrives to the bridge (while fighting off a cold he received while in Montreal), Osborn tells him essentially to kill himself or Gwen dies. Peter says nuts to that and fights the Goblin off but not before Osborn knocks Stacy off the bridge with his glider.
Rather than leaping after her and catching her with his body, Spidey shoots out a webline and the jarring stop in momentum snaps the neck of Stacy. You would think somebody as skilled in as he is would know that a webline wouldn’t be a good idea, but we’ll cut him some slack this time.
11. Kissing Gwen Stacy (Spider-Man 3)
Alright so the two previous entries on the list concerning Spider-Man 3 could be excused as Peter was under the influence of the symbiote. Not this time.
At one point in the movie Spider-Man attends a festival honouring him ( guess nobody reads the Daily Bugle). At said festival, the police chief’s daughter Gwen Stacy gives the introduction for Spidey who enters in swinging on a web line as his girlfriend (who he intends to propose to) Mary Jane looks on from the crowd. So what does Peter decide is a good idea? To tell Stacy to plant a big old smooch on his lips.
Keep in mind that Mary Jane knows Peter is Spider-Man and knows that Gwen Stacy is friends with Peter. How on earth Peter thought that Mary Jane would be okay with this is beyond me. This scene bothers me more than the Jazz club scene. Okay maybe not that much but it’s still pretty bad okay?
10. Making A Deal With Venom
Even fans of Eddie Brock will admit that he isn’t exactly the most stable person in the world. He has some mental issues and that was before an alien life form bonded to him. Once that happened, Eddie Brock turned into Venom; a full on loon with delusions of protecting the innocent that seemed to only pop up when Marvel saw popularity with the character. Must have been a coincidence.
So with that in mind, it would have been pretty careless for Spider-Man to just let Eddie Brock go and not put his black and white butt in jail right? You would be wrong. Once Peter finishes saving his parents (who ended up being androids, long story) from Venom’s “protection” Peter cuts a deal with Venom; Peter will stay out of his business as long as Venom does the same to him. Venom agrees and goes off into his solo series.
This whole thing rings of a character’s personality being set aside for the company Marvel to make more money. The responsibility obsessed Peter Parker would never let an insane super villain go free, let alone one who has killed innocent people.
9. Killing Charlie
Before crossovers were as common as colds in the Marvel Universe, Spider-Man and Wolverine were featured together in a graphic novel titled Spider-Man vs Wolverine in 1987.
The plot is that both Wolverine and Spidey end up in Berlin for their own reasons and as the title suggests Wolverine and Spider-Man end up fighting each other in a graveyard. The fight is a good one with Spidey having the mind set to kill Wolverine because Logan might kill him first (they don’t know each well at this point). The fight ends only when a helicopter of bad guys shows.
Once the fight ends, somebody grabs Spidey’s shoulder and Peter instinctively turns and punches with all his strength, but who he punched wasn’t Logan, but Logan’s friend Charlie, who wanted to commit suicide. Heavy stuff for a hero like Spider-Man.
8. Not Chasing The Robber
Well this one is kind of obvious ain’t it? It still bears mentioning though.
Like everyone and their deceased grandparents know, the first thing that Peter Parker does once he realizes that he has super powers is to parlay those skills into a television career. When a thief runs by him with some stolen money though, Spidey lets the punk go; it’s not his responsibility after all, that’s for the police to handle.
Well his inaction comes back not just to bite him in the ass but to tear out a part of his soul. That same thief ends up killing Uncle Ben after the thief was trying to rob the Parker household.
Yup, there really isn’t much else to it. Peter could have stuck his foot out, tripped him up with his web or even put a banana peel on the floor to stop him but he didn’t. While he’s clearly made up for it now by saving New York and the entire planet many times over, it still remains one of Peter’s greatest sins.
7. Getting Chummy With Sarah Stacy
So first we had Peter Parker kissing Gwen Stacy at the festival in Spider-Man 3 which while entirely stupid on Peter’s part, isn’t even as bad as this entry.
To get you up to speed to understand this I’ll do it quickly; Norman Osborn and Gwen Stacy had sex at one point when Stacy and Peter weren’t that much of a couple. That sex resulted in Gwen getting pregnant with twins, Norman’s twins. Done hurling? Good, we can continue.
Now because of the Goblin serum, the twins Gabriel and Sarah would physically age at an accelerated rate while their minds develop normally, resulting in ten year olds with the bodies of adults.
Keeping all of that in mind, the storyline called “Sins Remembered” shows Peter and Sarah getting close to each other while dealing with drug dealers in Paris. While Peter thinks it’s entirely platonic, Sarah does have some romantic feelings for her almost father. Instead of realizing that being alone with Sarah and leaving MJ in New York is a bad idea, Peter does it anyway. Possibly the height of Peter’s poor social skills.
6. Killing Moondark
The old series titled Marvel Team Up may not have had anything of consequence happen in those books but they are all technically in canon. Which makes Spider-Man’s actions and attitude in this issue a little disturbing.
While teaming up with the unknown superhero Werewolf By Night, Spidey took on a magician named Moondark. In their fight, Spidey kicks him through a portal that shoots him out high atop the Golden Gate Bridge, leading Moondark to fall towards his death.
One would think that Spidey would show remorse for what he did and regret his actions. Not this time evidently as instead of showing some form of compassion, Spider-Man instead quips “Even I can’t hang around crying over spilt magicians!” Ha ha ha ha wait a second what?! Spidey! Too soon. We know you’re a wise ass but come on, let the man be buried first. While the magician would come back many issues later, it doesn’t change Spidey’s carefree attitude about murder here.
5. Killing The Finisher
Like it or not, Peter Parker’s parents weren’t some run of the mill blue collar workers but actually spy agents. This was shown in the Amazing Spider-Man movies and was one of the few things that actually followed the comics.
Something that I doubt that series would have explored though is what happened in Amazing Spider-Man Annual #5 from back in 1968. In that book, Peter Parker finds out that his parents were spies who allegedly betrayed the United States to work for the Red Skull. After Aunt May tells him of a man who was trying to clear the Parkers’ name in Algeria, Peter rushes off to see him.
Once there, he faces off against an associate of the Red Skull named The Finisher. In the fight, Spidey uses a missile launched by Finisher against him, blowing up his vehicle and killing the Red Skull lackey. Peter gets the information he was looking for as the Finisher speaks with his dying breath, but no doubt about it; Peter Parker totally killed that guy.
4. Joining Up With The Jackal
This is what happens when Peter Parker is written like an idiot; he joins up with a super villain that styles himself as The Jackal.
In the abominable storyline called Maximum Clonage, one of the worst in Spider-Man’s history, Peter Parker is feeling mopey because it’s been discovered that he is a clone and not the original son of Richard and Mary Parker. He sits around moping on gargoyles and takes Jackal up on his offer to bring genetic perfection to the world via cloning whaaa???
Yes, rather than knock the Jackal out and leave his strung up like meat in a butcher shop with his webs, Peter shakes the villains’ hand and goes off to join him at his base. And no, this wasn’t Peter playing along to destroy it from the inside. He actually wanted to join him. Sure he comes to his senses later with some help from his loved ones, but how can Peter be so brainless?
3. Keeping His Secret From Loved Ones
For a man all about great power and great responsibility, Peter Parker has been pretty damn irresponsible when it comes to protecting his loved ones from danger.
Okay, so I can’t hold Peter accountable for supervillains coming after Gwen Stacy or Aunt May and yes maybe I could see how a young Peter Parker would think it’s best for his identity to remain a secret. But even into his late twenties (our best guess, what age Marvel characters is always difficult to know) Parker kept his secret identity a mystery from the people he cared about.
Both people who did eventually find out, Mary Jane and Aunt May, found out on their own without their husband and nephew telling them. Instead of making them question his character and resent him, he could have saved them a lot of grief and just tell the people he loves his secret.
2. Hitting His Wife
Allow to preface this entry by saying that I totally understand the harsh situation that Peter Parker finds himself in here. It is just discovered by Dr.Seward Trainer that Peter Parker is actually a clone of the original, who has spent the past few years of his life as Ben Reilly. That doesn’t excuse his behaviour at all though and Peter was still a complete asshole here.
In the middle of a scrap with the man who “stole his life”, Mary Jane makes a bad move when she decides to try and break apart the two Parkers. When she grabs her husband’s arm, Peter instinctively backhands her across the room. If hitting his wife wasn’t bad enough, MJ is pregnant with Peter’s child at this point.
Peter immediately shows shame for his actions and flees the room to join up with Jackal. Instead of checking on his pregnant wife who he just sent flying across the room… Maybe it’s best that these two stay apart.
1. One More Day
THAT ISN’T WHAT I HAD IN MIND!
The absolute worst of the worst, Marvel’s “One More Day” storyline is still thrashed and slashed nearly 10 years after its release and for good reason. While I could do an entire list as to why, for this entry we’re going to stick exclusively on Peter Parker’s actions which led to the conclusion of this storyline.
Because of his unmasking in Civil War, longtime Spidey villain the Kingpin puts out a hit on the wall-crawler in his home. While Peter dodges the bullet, the shot instead hits his Aunt May leaving her in critical condition and with her old age, is definitely going to die soon.
After exhausting all other options (according to the story anyway), Peter gets desperate and makes a deal with Mephisto. The deal? He erases his marriage from history and his Aunt May’s life is saved.
Yup, Peter Parker sells out his marriage to the woman of his dreams in order to save the life of his elderly aunt who could keel over at any minute. It’s disgusting, embarrassing and makes Peter out to be a complete man-child. Oh, and it’s the worst thing he’s ever done.