The new trailer for Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse has arrived and to quote a certain webbed pigilante, “It CAN get weirder!” The previous movie gave us seven different Spider-folk with two more popping up in the post-credits. While we know that this sequel will include a take on Jessica Drew Spider-Woman, Spider-Punk, and even the Spider-Man of the 1970s Japanese TV series, the new trailer bombards us with dozens upon dozens of Spider-Men.
Some of them are just random color schemes and designs. Others are deep cuts to the Marvel multiverse or at least appear to be obscure references to either Spider-Man variants or phases. Here are some that we noticed.
Here’s the trailer if you haven’t seen it already…
Now, let’s get you some pictures of Spider-Man!
Yup, that’s the ol’ PlayStation 4 Spider-Man walking around! It makes sense. Not only is this absolute Sony synergy, but the Spider-Man video game was referenced in Into the Spider-Verse via the montage of Peter Parker walking down the street, giving the finger guns to random people.
This alternate version of Spider-Man is also notable for giving us another route to Miles Morales. The first game ended with Miles gaining his powers and now he not only has his own game, but the two webheads will have their own team-up sequel coming sometime soon.
Big Time Spider-Man
Funny story. Back in the early ‘90s, the first Spider-Man comic that Dan Slott ever got to write was an issue of Ren & Stimpy where Powdered Toast Man and Spider-Man threw down. Slott had a moment of making fun of Spider-Man comic tropes at the time by talking up how lame it would be for Spider-Man to team up with Venom or get a brand-new, cool-looking costume.
Decades later, Slott would write Amazing Spider-Man for an eternity. During that run, he gave us Spider-Man ally Anti-Venom and had Spider-Man wear a bunch of brand-new, cool-looking costumes.
This so-called stealth suit (dude, it’s glowing!) was mainly created to counter the Hobgoblin’s sonic screams. Spider-Man’s clone bro Kaine ended up getting the Big Time costume as a hand-me-down, albeit with a red glow this time.
Since its appearance, Big Time Spider-Man has been a go-to skin for various video games.
Flash Thompson Spider-Man
One of the most repeated concepts in Marvel’s What If…? comic series is Flash Thompson being bitten by the radioactive spider. They went to this well in 1977, 1995, and 2018. Due to teen Flash’s nature, this never works out for him. The power always goes to his head and ultimately destroys him.
One of the Spider-Men we see in the trailer has a strong resemblance to the first incarnation of Flash Thompson Spider-Man. In What If…? Vol. 1 #7, we see three different stories based on Flash, Betty Brant, and John Jameson receiving spider powers. With Flash, he accidentally kills Crusher Hogan in the ring, but still pushes forward with his career as a vigilante.
Unlike the other versions of Flash Spider-Man, this one actually does mean well. But…his problem with power is full-on reliance. Even if he had the mind for it, he never creates any gadgets or webbing. So the moment the Vulture drops him from a high altitude, there is really nothing Flash can do about it but brace for impact. Poor guy.
What If Peter Parker
The second Flash Thompson Spider-Man take was What If…? Vol. 2 #76, otherwise known as “What If Peter Parker Had to Destroy Spider-Man?” This version of Flash did convince Peter to make some gizmos for him. Unfortunately, this Spider-Man was not so heroic and would steal the money from the villains he beat up. He was every bit the menace J. Jonah Jameson envisioned Spider-Man as.
Peter had no choice but to fight Flash himself. Using a Doc Ock-style spider leg harness and various gadgets and chemicals, Peter was able to end Spider-Man’s reign of terror. Though he did not get his spider powers in the end, Peter still became a great hero and a great ally to the superhero community.
Once upon a time, Joe Quesada decided that Peter Parker and Mary Jane should not be married anymore because such a thing would age Spider-Man and people don’t want that. That’s…interesting, since we’re talking about the sequel to the popular movie where one Spider-Man is depicted as a middle-aged divorcee. Hell, we just had another Spider-Man movie with people going nuts over a 47-year-old Peter Parker walking through a portal.
Spider-Man: One More Day retconned the Peter/MJ marriage out of existence, but thanks to the multiverse, such ideas are not gone forever. During the 2015 Secret Wars event, we got Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows. In this continuity, Peter and MJ remained together and raised a daughter. Over time, Mary Jane would get her own super suit that would help her copy Spider-Man’s powers.
Unfortunately, “Spider-Mom” being in proximity makes Spider-Man weaker. I doubt we’ll see that plot point show up in the movie, since she looks to be more of an Easter egg.
Earth X Spider-Man
Going over the plot of Earth X and its follow-ups would take all day. What’s important is that Peter is middle-aged and has let himself go. Mary Jane is long dead and their daughter Mayday Parker rocks the Venom symbiote. Everyone on Earth has powers and when you add it all together, Peter is kind of a bitter guy. Thankfully, he is able to turn it all around and even takes up Luke Cage’s offer to join his police force.
Peter does not wear a Spider-Man mask when policing, but (and you’ll have to take our word for this one) his uniform is almost exactly like that of the crossing guard in the trailer. Similarly, this Peter did start wearing a crappy Spider-Man Halloween costume, making him look an awful lot like the overweight Spider-Man who pops up in the trailer a couple of times.
The Bombastic Bag-Man
As we all know, Spider-Man went through a phase in his career where he wore black tights that wanted to eat people’s faces. He didn’t realize this at first and figured he was just wearing some kickass alien tech as opposed to the symbiote we would all come to know and loathe as Venom. Once he started second-guessing his iconic black costume, he visited the Fantastic Four for analysis. As Reed realized, “Oh crap, your tights want to eat people’s faces!” they ripped that baby off with a sonic blast ASAP.
Problem was, Spider-Man still had to go home and all he had on him was some tighty-whiteys. Symbiote or not, he just lost the clothes he walked in with. The Human Torch, always up for being a dick to Spider-Man, hooked him up with this costume. It’s a Fantastic Four uniform complete with a paper bag mask and a “KICK ME” sign on the back. The idea that there’s a Peter Parker in the multiverse who wants to keep this look going just raises so many questions.
We can see that there is a werewolf Spider-Man mixed in the first group shot. In the comics, we have seen Spider-Man as a werewolf only twice. The first was in Marvel Zombies vs. Army of Darkness. Ash Williams’ adventure through the Marvel Zombies universe ended with him in Latveria. Though succumbing to the zombie virus, Dr. Doom decided to reward Ash by giving him passage to any other universe. Ash thought he found a regular one, only to find himself accosted by dozens of werewolf superheroes.
That story was mundane compared to Amazing Spider-Man: Full Circle. In this collaboration between various writers and artists, Spider-Man ends up in a chaotic adventure featuring Spider-Hams, AIM running theme parks, and a werewolf outbreak created by the High Evolutionary. Spider-Man does become a werewolf here, but at least he’s able to go back in time and prevent the whole crazy storyline from occurring.
You probably recognize Six-Arm Spider-Man from one of two things. In the comics, Peter kept mutating, eventually sprouted extra arms, and this helped introduce 2022’s cinematic legend Morbius to the world to help fix him. In the ‘90s cartoon, it was the plot thread that completely consumed the second season and you just could not wait for the third season to happen so we could all move on.
There was also a What If…? issue based on Spider-Man’s six-arm storyline. In it, Morbius was eaten by sharks (plot for Morbius 2?) and never got to cure Peter. Spider-Man became bummed about his mutation until gradually accepting it and those extra arms made him shockingly overpowered. According to the ending narration, the extra arms not only allowed him to save Gwen Stacy from the Green Goblin, but he also turned the tide against Thanos during the Infinity Gauntlet saga…somehow.
After five seasons of the ‘90s Spider-Man cartoon and a big cliffhanger about the whereabouts of Mary Jane, the Marvel animated universe of that era took a turn. A new series started called Spider-Man Unlimited. Instead of Spider-Man fighting his classic foes and being a friendly neighborhood type of guy, he instead got blasted to Counter-Earth, home of weird, mutated animal people. This world is ruled by the High-Evolutionary and crappy versions of Venom and Carnage are there for whatever reason. Due to some kind of rights issue, they even had to completely redo Spider-Man’s costume.
Fox was so reluctant to air the whole 13 episodes that it took them a year and a half. Will this movie resolve that first season’s cliffhanger ending? Eh, probably not…
In the mid-00s, the Marvel Zombies series was endless. After returning to this well over and over, Marvel wanted to tap into that idea some more, but in a different way. “A Marvel universe where all the heroes are ____!” was the setup, but what would work? At some point they decided to go with furry primates and so Marvel Apes was born!
It wasn’t nearly as interesting or as fun as Marvel Zombies, but it did have its moments. For one, the character name of Spider-Monkey just writes itself. There’s also the time they did a crossover with the Marvel Zombies universe and Zombie Dr. Doom was bemused to find out that his counterpart is “Baboon Von Doom.”
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse Release Date
The long awaited Into the Spider-Verse sequel opens on June 2, 2023.