A History of the Iron Spider Suit
As Miles Morales suits up in Iron Spider armor for 'Carnage Reigns,' rediscover the origin of the costume, as well as all the heroes and villains who have worn it.
As a teenager, Peter Parker designed his first Spider-Man costume with hopes of finding fame and fortune. But since that first homemade costume, Spider-Man has donned dozens of outfits, from the Scarlet Spider’s sleeveless hoodie to the alien symbiote that eventually became known as Venom. One of Parker’s most famous costumes, the hi-tech Iron Spider armor, came courtesy of Iron Man, who gave it to Spider-Man in preparation for one of Marvel's most famous conflicts.
Now, Miles Morales’ Spider-Man has received an Iron Spider armor of his very own in MILES MORALES: SPIDER-MAN (2022) #7 by Cody Ziglar, Federico Vicentini, Bryan Valenza, and VC's Cory Petit. As Miles dons this hi-tech suit to take on the killer symbiote Carnage in CARNAGE REIGNS, we’re taking a closer look at the Iron Spider armor and the web-slinging heroes and villains who have worn it.
HOW SPIDER-MAN GOT THE IRON SPIDER SUIT
Although they teamed up on numerous occasions over the years, Spider-Man and Iron Man truly bonded when they served together in the New Avengers, with Peter, Aunt May, and Mary Jane Watson even living in Stark’s Avengers Tower during that time. After Spider-Man faced a mystical spider entity known as the Other and the cosmic predator Morlun, Stark created the Iron Spider armor and gave it to Peter in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (1999) #529 by J. Michael Straczynski, Ron Garney, and Bill Reinhold.
Quietly started preparing for the introduction of the Superhuman Registration Act, Iron Man gave Spider-Man the armor in the days leading up to CIVIL WAR (2006) and officially took Parker on as his protégé. Despite some reservations about the Registration Act, Spider-Man joined Stark’s Pro-Registration faction and revealed his secret identity to the public in CIVIL WAR (2006) #2 by Mark Millar, Steve McNiven, and Dexter Vines.
Although Spider-Man used the Iron Spider armor in the early stages of CIVIL WAR, he felt uneasy fighting Anti-Registration heroes and was disturbed by the Negative Zone prison that Stark built to hold unregistered superhumans. Ultimately, this led Spider-Man to withdraw his support for the Registration Act in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (1999) #535 by Straczynski, Garney, and Reinhold.
After May and Mary Jane went into hiding, an enraged Iron Man attacked Spider-Man, who was seriously injured when that fight morphed into a battle with S.H.I.E.L.D.-backed villains Jester and Jack O’Lantern. When Spider-Man subsequently joined Captain America’s Anti-Registration forces, he abandoned his Iron Spider armor, which had been compromised by Stark, and returned to his classic uniform.
THE IRON SPIDER ARMOR’S ABILITIES
Combining Iron Man and Spider-Man’s looks and abilities, the Iron Spider armor was designed by Joe Quesada and inspired by a sketch from Chris Bachalo. Where most of the Web-Slinger’s previous costumes were cloth, the Iron Spider Armor relies on nanotechnology, which gives the costume numerous advanced powers and abilities. The Iron Spider costume’s signature feature is the three retractable mechanical arms that extend from its back.
The Iron Spider armor also includes underarm mesh webbing that allows Spider-Man to glide for short distances, updating the underarm “web wings” he occasionally used with his cloth costume. The suit is also resistant to small-caliber bullets, and it can change its configuration to create robotic spider-drones. In addition to having built-in emergency scanners and other communications devices, the armor’s mask protects against several types of toxins and its lenses can adjust to offer its user functions like infrared and ultraviolet vision.
THE SCARLET SPIDERS
Once Peter Parker set the Iron Spider armor aside, Tony Stark reclaimed it and passed it on to a handful of other heroes. Following CIVIL WAR and the passing of the Superhuman Registration Act, several young superhumans joined the 50-State Initiative, where they would be trained before joining an officially sanctioned team of heroes.
One of the Initiative’s most promising heroes was MVP, a human in peak physical condition who was killed in a training accident. Shortly after his death, the Initiative created three clones of the young hero and gave each of them a modified version of Iron Spider armor with an extra arm on the back and more repulsor weapons. The clones—named Michael, Van, and Patrick—began operating as the Scarlet Spiders when they debuted in AVENGERS: THE INITIATIVE (2007) #3 by Dan Slott and Stefano Caselli.
Trained to imitate Spider-Man’s movements, the Scarlet Spiders defeated the Sinister Syndicate and briefly worked with Spider-Man in defiance of their standing orders to arrest him. Eventually, Van was killed by another crazed clone of MVP, and Michael died during a fight with Ragnarok, a rampaging Thor clone. After Norman Osborn gained control over the Initiative, the last Scarlet Spider, Patrick, joined the New Warriors' resistance squad against him and unmasked himself when details of MVP’s death and cloning went public.
MARY JANE: THE IRON SPIDER
After the Superhuman Registration Act was abolished, Tony Stark recruited Mary Jane Watson to be his assistant at Stark Industries. Then, despite their previous falling out, Iron Man and Spider-Man teamed up to battle the villainous Regent, who had abducted several heroes and villains so he could mimic their powers through his armor.
When Regent knocked out Spider-Man and Iron Man, Mary Jane jumped into action with the Iron Spider Armor in THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (2017) #15 by Dan Slott, Christos Gage, Giuseppe Camuncoli, and Cam Smith. After attacking Regent and freeing Spider-Man and Iron Man, MJ helped Iron Man hold the villain off while Spider-Man released the captives. Although Mary Jane's previous experience web-swinging and piloting suits of armor helped her use the Iron Spider suit, she put it away after this adventure, saying that it was a one-time event.
SPIDER-MAN VS. THE IRON SPIDER
After the destruction and reconstruction of the Multiverse during SECRET WARS (2015), Miles Morales’ Spider-Man was transported to the Marvel Universe, along with several members of his family and his friends. Although he died in the Ultimate Universe, Miles’ uncle Aaron Davis was resurrected in the Marvel Universe through this process, and he donned the Iron Spider armor in SPIDER-MAN (2016) #234 by Brian Michael Bendis and Jan Bazaldua.
Repainted gold and black, this Iron Spider suit was refurbished by the criminal supplier Ceres Goldstein, who made several upgrades to the costume. With the suit's camouflage, drones, and hacking capabilities, Aaron assembled a new incarnation of the Sinister Six to steal a decommissioned S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier and sell it to Latveria.
When the Sinister Six unsuccessfully tried to recruit one of Miles’ friends, the young Spider-Man unwittingly jumped into battle with his uncle. However, that fight came to a crashing halt as Aaron removed his mask and revealed his resurrection to Miles. Following some tense conversations with Miles, Aaron successfully used the Iron Spider armor to steal the S.H.I.E.L.D. vessel in SPIDER-MAN (2017) #236 by Bendis and Bzaldua. After Miles and the Champions ultimately defeated the Sinister Six, Aaron sold the Iron Spider armor back to Tony Stark in an effort to move beyond his criminal past.
MILES MORALES’ IRON SPIDER SUIT
In CARNAGE REIGNS, Cletus Kasady rejected his longtime symbiote, Carnage, to bond with the Extrembiote, a powerful entity formed from a symbiote dragon and Tony Stark’s Extremis virus. With the tech-based powers of the Extrembiote, Cletus broke into Stark’s network and started using it to digitally infect unsuspecting users and turn them into his lethal pawns. While Miles works with a group of villains called the Cape Killers to fight Cletus, Kasady has continued to upgrade himself with more Stark technology.
In MILES MORALES: SPIDER-MAN (2022) #7, Iron Man joined the fight against the symbiote serial killer. Sporting a Dragonslayer armor that preys on the symbiote’s vulnerability to loud noise, Iron Man unleashed a barrage of attacks that seemingly took Cletus and the Extrembiote down. But just as Spider-Man charged up Iron Man’s armor with a venom blast, Cletus impaled Miles on one of his tendrils and escaped.
With his armor, Stark diagnosed Miles’ wounds and pumped his body full of healing nanites. To keep Miles’ body safe as it healed from the otherwise mortal wounds, Stark gave Miles his own Iron Spider armor. Combining elements of the original Iron Spider suit with Aaron’s redesign, Miles’ Iron Spider suit is black and gold with red gauntlets and boots and four red and gold arms that extend from his back. Now, Miles is set to discover his Iron Spider suit’s capabilities as he tries to end the symbiote serial killer’s reign once and for all.
See Miles Morales in action as the Iron Spider in CARNAGE REIGNS OMEGA (2023) #1, on sale this Wednesday, June 28!
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