A suit for every occasion…
And we mean every occasion. Spider-Man’s wardrobe has changed many times since his debut in Amazing Fantasy #15. Coupled with Peter Parker’s own genius and knack for inventing, many of his suits offer combat advantages for one or multiple situations similar to Iron Man’s armors.
(Disclaimer: This list only includes the suits and armors used by the Peter Parker of Earth 616 in Marvel comics.)
First appearing in Amazing Fantasy #15 is Peter Parker’s wrestling disguise. After gaining his powers from that radioactive spider bite, Peter came across a wrestling contest where contestants enter the ring with pro wrestler Crusher Hogan in order to win $100 after lasting 3 minutes against him. Running home, Peter put together a simple disguise to conceal himself in case he failed. A makeshift mask, sweatshirt, and pants were all he wore as he humiliated Crusher Hogan in the ring. After winning the prize money, Peter was approached by a television producer who, being impressed by the abilities he showed in the ring, offered Peter a chance to be a tv star. Wanting him to keep the mask as a showmanship angle, Peter began work on his most recognizable suit to date.
Red, Web, and Blue
Continuing in Amazing Fantasy #15 after his appearance in the ring against Crusher Hogan, Peter went right to work on a proper costume after receiving an offer of tv stardom. Designed by artist and Spider-Man co-creator Steve Ditko, this is the traditional red and blue costume seen in the comics and the many multimedia franchises that Spider-Man has been a part of. The fabric itself is skin tight, similar to spandex, and is mostly blue with red covering his forearms leading up to his shoulders, the front part of his torso, his legs, and mask to cover his face with a webbing design throughout the red sections of his suit. A black spider emblem is prominent on the front of his suit and a larger red spider on his back. The Steve Ditko version included a webbing membrane beneath the arms of the suit that connect to the sides of the torso. In addition to this suit, Peter also created the web-shooters he has famously for the majority of his appearances as Spider-Man which are concealed near his the bottom of his wrist underneath the sleeves of the suit.
After an event in Marvel Comics known as Secret Wars (Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #1 – #12), Spider-Man’s classic suit was damaged. Looking for a machine that would repair it, he found himself now wearing an all black suit with a larger white spider design and white lenses based on Spider-Man’s thoughts of the suit worn by Julia Carpenter aka Spider Woman II who was also involved in the Secret Wars event (Secret Wars #8). Unbeknownst to him, the black suit was in actuality an alien symbiote (later known as a Klyntar) who bonded to Spider-Man, reacting to his thoughts, changing its shape and appearance, and supplying him with an endless amount of ‘webbing’ while he wore the suit. When it was revealed to him that the suit was a living alien lifeform (Amazing Spider-Man #258), Spider-Man attempted to remove it from himself which eventually led the suit to finding its newest host in Eddie Brock who became the Spider-Man villain known as Venom.
After successfully removing the symbiote suit from him, Spider-Man was given a duplicate suit by the Black Cat (whom he was dating at the time) because of her preference towards it. Eventually, after alternating between the black suit and his classic suit, Spider-Man began to wear the black suit as his primary one after the red and blue suit was destroyed. After encountering Venom, Spider-Man was forced by his then girlfriend Mary Jane Watson to stop wearing the black suit and go back to the classic red and blue.
Parker has since only worn the suit if his primary red and blue suit was not usable, especially in storylines where Spider-Man’s anger influenced his decisions.
The Bombastic Bag-Man!
During his first attempt to remove the symbiote suit with the help of the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man was left without anything to wear. Johnny Storm aka The Human Torch gave him a spare Fantastic Four suit to wear which included a paper bag mask and a ‘Kick Me’ sign on the back (Amazing Spider-Man #258). Beware the Bombastic Bag-Man!
The Future is now!
Another suit given to Spider-Man by the Fantastic Four is his Future Foundation suit. First seen in FF #1, the Future Foundation is a group of Marvel Comic’s smartest characters and heroes which Spider-Man joins in respect to Johnny Storm/The Human Torch’s last wish before his death. The suit itself is made from unstable molecules (the same molecules that make up the Fantastic Four suits) which allows it to be extremely durable. The suit is able to repair itself and like the symbiote suit can change its appearance as well, but mainly takes the form of the white and black design of the Future Foundation suits worn by other members.
Multiple Hero Personas
When Spider-Man was framed for murder by Norman Osborn, he created 4 new hero personas in order to continue to fight crime. The Ricochet suit (Amazing Spider-Man #434) showcased his agility and used discs as weapons. The Hornet suit (Sensational Spider-Man #27) was a flight armor that used a jet pack for flight and sedative darts against criminals.
The Dusk suit (Spider-Man #29) was adapted from a suit found in the Negative Zone and allowed Peter to blend into shadows and fly. The Prodigy suit (The Spectacular Spider-Man #257) was a golden, bulletproof armor that gave the impression of Peter being far stronger and durable than he appeared. This suit actually left Peter’s face exposed enough that he had to use makeup and a fake nose in order to fool people.
The Spider Armor Series
Throughout his career as Spider-Man, Peter Parker has encountered villains and challenges that necessitated stronger defensive and offensive capabilities that he wasn’t able to muster on his own.
MK I – The Silver Spider
The first Spider Armor, MK I, was created in order to combat the New Enforcers who fought using high caliber firearms (Web of Spider-Man #100). The armor itself was made to be extremely bulletproof but at the cost of Spider-Man’s speed and agility. During his battle against the New Enforcers the armor was destroyed by an acid attack that melted the armor.
MK II – Bullet Proof
The Spider Armor MK II (Amazing Spider-Man #656) was created to help Spider-Man compensate for the loss of his spider-senses, since losing them made him far more vulnerable to firearms out of his range of sight. This version of the Spider Armor was durable enough to withstand direct impact from grenade launchers with no damage to the wearer, and could deflect multiple barrages of bullets. The suit came with its own web-shooters, which included magnetic webbing used to interfere with or totally block out all radio frequencies.
MK III – Ends of the Earth
The Spider Armor MK III debuted in the Ends of the Earth storyline (Amazing Spider-Man #682). It was created by Peter Parker at Horizon Labs in order to fight and neutralize the villainous group, The Sinister Six. This armor has many features in order to combat the members of The Sinister Six and successfully counter their individual abilities and powers.
The helmet featured a comm link allowing him to communicate with members of the Avengers and other heroes. It also included a special audio acuity device that is designed to hone in on the Chameleon’s specific heartbeat, making it easier to detect him while he is in disguise.
The helmets lenses are designed to see through any illusions and holograms that the villain Mysterio throws at Spider-Man. These same lenses also allow Spider-Man to see the ‘queen bee’ grain of sand inside of the Sandman that controls his body after spraying the villain with a special radioactive solution. After identifying the special grain of sand inside of the Sandman, Spider-Man was able to hack it with a smartphone and change villain’s form against his will.
The armor is also electric-proof in order to combat the villain Electro, and is capable of changing the villain from his electric form back into his human form on contact. The suit itself is also extremely durable, enough to withstand a full force charge from the Rhino and even Thor himself with only minor damage afterwards.
The gauntlets of the Spider Armor also house their own web-shooters which can shoot a larger amount of webbing than Spider-Man’s standard web-shooters. The armor also comes with jet boosters to allow flight and a utility belt that houses cartridges of different web fluid, spider tracers, and more tools Spider-Man would need against The Sinister Six.
MK IV – New Threads
Spider-Man’s latest and current Spider Armor, the Spider Armor MK IV, was created at his very own Parker Industries after it became a worldwide technology corporation. This suit is used by both Peter Parker and Hobie Brown aka The Prowler (Amazing Spider-Man vol 4 #1).
As Peter is the face of Parker Industries he hired The Prowler to act as Spider-Man during public events so the world would not figure out that Peter is the real Spider-Man. This version of the Spider Armor has also become Spider-Man’s primary suit and features many functions and upgrades compared to previous Spider Armors while still retaining the classic suit appearance.
It is made of a lightweight metallic liquid nanotechnology that responds to Spider-Man’s mental and vocal commands and provides a high level of protection without slowing him down. The suit’s high tech sensors allow Spider-Man to see into multiple parts of the electromagnetic spectrum (including X-Ray vision and infrared) and can track and detect a multitude of energy signatures.
The lenses of the suit also feature a heads-up display in order to display useful information (similar to Iron Man’s helmet in the MCU series of movies). The suit features upgraded web-shooters in the forearms that can shoot stronger, fireproof webbing than Spider-Man’s previous web-shooters as well as other variants that can be easily switched through voice command.
The left forearm also features a modified Webware device (a smartwatch-esque device created by Parker Industries) that allows for connection to the internet, controls communications for the suit, and can fire off spider tracers that the Webware device can then track.
Other features of the MK VI armor include enhanced strength and durability, brain control override, sonic disruptors, temperature control, stealth and camouflage capabilities, and an emergency beacon in the spider symbol.