Marvel fans are understandably excited about the upcoming film Spider-Man: No Way Home. The movie promises to contain a plethora of heroes and villains from past movies, including alternate reality versions of the film’s titular hero. These types of alternate reality characters are nothing new to anyone who has ever read a comic book. However, the concept is somewhat new in the world of comic book movie adaptations. Following the huge success of 2018’s animated movie Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, this was the next logical step for the upcoming Spider-Man film. That makes this the perfect time to talk about 5 of the best alternate versions of Spider-Man from the comics!
Ultimate Spider-Man: Peter Parker
Back in 2000, Marvel comics wanted to create a brand-new alternate comic reality featuring all of their major characters, but beginning in modern times. Rather than reboot the entire mainstream universe, they instead created Marvel Ultimate. The first title in this universe was Ultimate Spider-Man, which told the story of a younger Peter Parker becoming Spider-Man. While sharing much in common with the mainstream Earth-616 version, this version of Peter grew up in the early 2000’s rather than the 1960’s, and thus faced his own unique struggles. These hardships eventually led to his shocking death at the hands of the Green Goblin.
In the early 1990’s Marvel began experimenting with one of its first alternate realities by adding the “2099” suffix to some of their more popular characters. This future universe was ruled by corrupt corporations and had several “cyberpunk” elements built into it. Naturally, Spider-Man was one of the characters given the 2099 treatment. This version was not Peter Parker however, but was instead a young geneticist from the future named Miguel O’Hara. The corporation he worked for tasked him with creating a new super soldier. Inspired by the original Spider-Man from the past, Miguel’s experiments eventually lead to him splicing his own DNA with a spider, and becoming Spider-Man 2099.
In 2013, Marvel took a chance that split the fan base when Dr. Otto Octavius took up the mantle of Spider-Man. Doc Ock was on his deathbed, with his body barely holding together, when he came up with the nefarious idea to transfer his consciousness into Peter Parker’s body. Now having all of Peter’s memories, the good doctor found himself following in Spider-Man’s crime fighting footsteps. The greatest part of this storyline was that the former villain fought crime in a much different way than the do-gooder, which had the hilarious side effect of Spider-Man’s friends and allies scratching their heads about his new mean streak.
Speaking of controversy, perhaps no Spider-Man story was more controversial than the Clone Sage from 1994. In this convoluted tale, it’s revealed that Peter Parker was actually a clone created by the Jackal of the real Spider-man, Ben Reilly. This was later reversed with Reilly being revealed to be the true clone. Though fans weren’t originally thrilled with this story, it did provide us with the creation of the Scarlet Spider, Reilly’s own take on being a hero. With Reilly revealed as the true clone, his character became infinitely more interesting, as he struggled to cope with memories of a life that was never his.
Ultimate Spider-Man: Miles Morales
In the Marvel Ultimate Universe, Peter Parker was eventually killed by the Green Goblin. In 2011, a young kid named Miles Morales picked up the mantle of Spider-Man following Peter’s death. The reluctant hero slowly grew into the very large shoes he had to fill, and quickly won over comic fans in the process. Over the years since then, Miles’ popularity has only increased, making him the only alternate version of Spider-Man to ever rival the first. Miles now exists in the same mainstream Marvel Universe as the original Spider-Man, Peter Parker.