Your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man has had many a suit, but not all of them were friendly. The original suit has stood the test of time, but like anyone’s fashion sense, it changes from time to time. Here are 5 practical and 4 impractical Spider-Man suits, in no particular order.
Practical: Original Suit
It’s hard to ignore the iconography of the red and blue, rivaling even Superman’s classic look. Many heroes have taken inspiration from the classic garb, as the bright colors show off the friendliness during the day. Conversely, the suit sinks into the night when necessary, especially for Spidey’s detective and interrogation needs.
The original suit featured a belt and additional compartments for web-shooters and other important items. An additional feature that has seen less and less spotlight is the pair of wings under the suits arms, which were a tad impractical, especially when the strength of the webbing has led to interesting constructs that work better than glider wings.
Impractical: Wrestling Suit
Before we got the classic, we had the makeshift costume. When Peter first got his powers, he tried his hand at showbiz and tried wrestling to earn some money. While we all know how badly that turned out, we also took a first glimpse of Peter’s imagination (or occasional lack thereof). Not only is it out of style after Labor Day, the shoes do not stick to walls, the clothes can be easily be damaged, and what is that mask all about? Ski-masks aren’t simple enough? C’mon, Pete.
Practical: Future Foundation Suit
I’m a sucker for dynamic, contrasting, and vibrant art, so to feature this suit is an absolute joy. The reason Peter donned this suit was to fill in for Johnny Storm, who sacrificed himself on a mission with the Fantastic Four Fortunately, Peter’s return to the Fantastic Four and new suit come with ingenious design. First off, it matches the look of his fellow Future Foundation members.
Secondly, the suit is active, adapting into whatever outfit Peter needs. This is always of the utmost importance, as Peter’s identity and his role on other teams require snappy outfit changes.
Impractical: Bombastic Bag Man
What do you do when you’re given a suit from the most public superhero team on Earth? Put a bag over your head and hope that smell goes away. Peter’s spare suit was not only baggy, but how easily can someone just take that off his head or have it fly off when he’s slinging? The Kick-Me sign on his back just adds insult to injury.
Practical: Iron Spider Suit
When Iron Man designs you a suit, you know it’s going to look good, and everyone can agree: the Iron Spider is what fans would want to see in the upcoming Captain America: Civil War. During the Civil War storyline in the comics, Spider-Man is inducted into the Avengers and Tony Stark watches over Peter, housing him, keeping him under his employ, and guiding him as an Avenger. However, Tony is always 5 steps ahead of most people; the suit’s enhanced infrastructure, reactive spider-arms, and intuitive display came at a cost. Tony was studying Peter’s biology through the suit in an attempt to harness the “Spider-Sense” that gives Peter such an advantage in many scenarios. Say what you will about Tony Stark, but the man is thorough, as you can tell from the detailed breakdown below.
Impractical: Armored Suit MK I
While any superhero would be happy to have a bullet-proof suit, the shiny piece of armor featured in this issue of Web of Spider-Man would be its first and last appearance. Classic 90s design fails to stand the test of time and this eye-sore was luckily never seen again. Future armored suits fared better, especially with a little less chrome.
Practical: Stealth Suit
A current modern arc in the Spider-Man story is BIG TIME, an era when Spider-Man was all over the place with a new job, many teams, and a revised creative team backing him after the end of the “Brand New Day” era. Every new era calls for some changes, and Spider-Man’s new suit was a welcome change. The neon lines are a highlight, but the suit’s primary function was to blend Spidey into his environment.
Impractical: Spider-Man 1602
This is a bit of a cop-out because it is out of continuity, but the suit has to be criticized for making little effort. It seems to blend it more with dinner ware than strike fear into his foes. The mask’s reveal of his eyes is a disappointment, as the spider-lenses are so iconic for the character. Peter Parquagh is a tough cookie, but a new costume is needed.
Practical: Superior Spider-Man
While I wasn’t a fan of Dan Slott’s take on Doctor Octopus’s Spider-Man, Superior Spider-Man had an interesting course for the look of Spider-Man. The first suit took small but key changes to the overall design; the addition of lenses, claws, and the change from blue to black made the adjustment to ‘Superior’ a bit clearer.
However, around issue #14, Spider-Man went after ShadowLand and dove headfirst with him new look. Taking cues from Ben Reiley’s suit and the Iron Spider’s arms, the new Superior Spider-Man stuck well with fans and writers. The suit was a hybrid of the Octopus functionality and the Spider’s desire for mobility. The addition of stronger lenses for surveillance around the city and more prominent claws made this incarnation of Spider-man one to look out for.
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