My Top 5 Alternate Spider-Man Costumes

© Marvel Comics

The Amazing Spider-Man is now out in theaters. In this  incarnation, our friendly neighborhood web head sports a new redesign of the classic red and blues. Generally, I would have preferred if they went more traditional. Still, old Peter Parker is accustom to wearing new duds from time to time, so I decided to put together a list of top five favorite Spider-Man alternate costumes. Keep in mind that there’s way more than five and to each their own.

© Marvel Comics

5) Scarlet Spider
A very ’90s design. Ol’ Ben Reilly sports prominent belt, wrist straps and even ankle pouches. The famed hoodie feels very grungy. On those facts alone, it could be passed over like much of the ’90s, but it oddly works. I don’t deny that some nostalgia goggles may fog my view, but I dig the Scarlet Spider design. One thing I like is that it actually looks like something I would have – and could have – made. The web shooters actually look mechanical, with plenty of storage so he won’t run out of web fluid. The suit is simple red, but the spider hoodie give it all the recognition it needs. Simple and effective. Web patterns? Who needs them?

© Marvel Comics

4) Last Stand
This guy doesn’t need web patterns. The “Last Stand” costume was introduced in JMS story arc “Happy Birthday” (Amazing Spider-Man #498-500). It’s from a possible future witnessed by a time-hopping Spidey, caught between his “birth,” the infamous spider bite, and his death. It’s a great adaptation of the Spidey look into a more casual, functional ware. The simplified, looser-fitting jacket and slacks feels more like a uniform and less a costume. Plus I’ve liked the double-breasted jacket look since The Rocketeer.

© Marvel Comics

3) 2099
2099 is the first real and fully formed re-imagining of Spider-Man (outside of fighting with a giant robot). With this darker, cyberpunk future comes this fittingly darker costume for this new Spider-Man Miguel O’Hara. He’s got claws and sharp scallops on the wrists. The traditional blue and red color scheme is much darker. It’s even got a skull on the front for crying out loud. And then there’s the web cape, with holes throughout it making it look as if the character has been through hell and back. It’s probably the most “bad-ass” of the Spidey designs and ranks highly in my book.

© Marvel Comics

2) Black Symbiote
The granddaddy of all Spidey alternate costumes, Spider-Man came back from the Secret Wars (1984-1985) with a new attire. The color scheme and new spider-logo were inspired by the then-new Spider-Woman. While the original suit turned out to be a murderous alien symbiote, Black Cat whipped Spidey up a more local, cloth-based version. The wall crawler would switch back and forth between black and classic red and blues depending on artist preference, until the arrival of Venom scaring MJ so much that she asks Peter to stop wearing that same black suit. I guess once you go black, you can still go back.

© Alex Ross Art, Inc

1) Alex Ross movie concept
Renown photo-realistic comic artist Alex Ross did a costume design for the first Spider-Man movie (2002 with Tobey Maguire), and it is sharp! It’s a mixture of the sleekness of the black symbiote costume with the iconic red webbing imagery of the classic. The pretruding bug eyes almost add a 3-D realness to the face, compared to the traditionally flat lenses. I also like that the web shooters, in a clean red casing, are visable. I don’t buy that web shooters would be thin enough to be visually undetectable under Spidey’s gloves, but that’s how comics go. That aside, if I’m playing a Spider-Man video game and this costume is unlockable, it’s almost always my secondary suit after the classic.

That’s my list. Many thanks to The Crazy Spider-Man Kingdom!, a good listing of Spider-Man’s extensive costume closet.

Fellow Spidey fans, what’s your favorite alternate costume for your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man?


2 thoughts on “My Top 5 Alternate Spider-Man Costumes

  1. The Alex Ross design…he must have been really upset that they didn’t use it because he repurposed the basic concept for Bucky Captain America years later. And now Superior Spider-Man is using a version of it! Full circle!

    • Yeah, it’s very true. I love seeing how it’s had so much staying power even over a decade after it was created and REJECTED for the first Sony Spider-Man movie. I think Sony was right to go for a more traditional look though, but they definitely should have used his Green Goblin instead.

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