Spider-Man's Spider-Sense Just Came to Life in the Most Disgusting Way

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Amazing Spider-Man #83, now on sale

Peter Parker gained many impressive abilities when he was bitten by a radioactive spider, but the most useful out of all of them was easily the spider-sense, a sort-of sixth sense that warns him of oncoming danger. The spider-sense has become an integral part of Peter's life, saving his life countless times throughout his career as Spider-Man and giving his civilian identity an invisible edge over the people around him. It's safe to say that Peter wouldn't be the man he is today without it.

Over the years, Spider-Man has lost his spider-sense on several occasions thanks to various factors, but the way he loses it in The Amazing Spider-Man #83's "Beyond: Chapter Nine"  (by Patrick Gleason, Morry Hollowell, Nathan Fairbairn, and VC's Joe Caramagna) is easily the most horrifying. Spider-man's most recent separation from the spider-sense paid tribute to one of the most gruesome moments in Peter's life, and its eventual return served as a reminder that this ability is and always will be an integral part of his identity as both a hero and a person.

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While battling the U-Foes alongside his estranged clone Ben Reilly in The Amazing Spider-Man #75's "Beyond: Chapter One" (by Zeb Wells, Patrick Gleason, Marcio Menyz, and VC's Joe Caramagna), Spider-Man was caught in an explosion and exposed to a nearly-lethal amount of radiation. During his long and painful cooperation, Peter's spider-sense was almost constantly reacting to the radiation poisoning within his body, which put his mind under constant stress. As he was driven to the brink of madness by the constant "noise", Peter screamed at his spider-sense, telling it to go away and leave him alone. When Peter said this, hairy spider legs sprouted from his head as his spider-sense dug itself out of his skull and walked away, taking on the form of a Spider-Man made out of webbing.

Although this horrifying image was soon revealed to be a dream that Peter was having while under the influence of painkillers, the reality of the situation quickly set in when he awakened the next day without his spider-sense. Spider-Man initially enjoyed the quiet that came with the spider-sense's absence, but he quickly realized how much he'd come to rely on it when he was nearly beaten to death by a pair of carjackers and accidentally struck by Captain America's shield. The following night, Peter (in the form of a child) was confronted by his spider-sense in its web-creature form during his dreams, which reached out to him like a lost child looking for their parent. After receiving encouragement from a vision of Uncle Ben, Peter accepted that his spider-sense is a part of him by embracing the web creature, awakening to discover that his spider-sense has been restored.

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The sight of a glassy-eyed Peter laying dead on the ground with a hole in his head is easily one of the most terrifying images to ever appear in a Spider-Man comic. While many of Spider-Man's villains are the products of horrifying physical mutations, such as the Lizard, Spider-Man himself has rarely been subjected to any form of body horror within his own stories. However, there have been stories that have done some rather grotesque things to Spider-Man's body. During Spider-Man: The Other (by Peter David, Reginald Hudlin, J. Michael Straczynski, Mike Wieringo, Pat Lee, and Mike Deodato Jr.), Peter, under the influence of the multiversal being known as "the Other", completely transformed into a human-sized spider after the vampiric villain Morlun broke Mary Jane's arm. He quickly returned to normal after a short-lived death, but the experience causes Peter to question his humanity.

Although the spider-sense's gruesome departure from Peter's body may have been a dream, it's a brutally visceral personification of Peter's deeply-held fear that his powers could turn him into something less-than-human. Throughout his entire life, Peter has struggled to keep his darker impulses in check. It's true that his powers have given him a chance to pursue his altruistic ideals and protect the people he loves as a hero, but they've also created opportunities for Peter to give in to his worst instincts and embrace the animal that lurks inside of us all.

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Drew Kopp (86 Articles Published)

Drew Kopp is a Comics Features Writer for CBR who holds a Bachelor's Degree of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. As a die-hard fan of comic books, fantasy/sci-fi literature, and video games, he loves nothing more than injecting his love of storytelling into his writing, and he also loves nothing more than writing about all things nerdy. When he isn't busy obsessively theorizing over comic book plots or drooling over the next big indie game, he can be found writing about those topics.

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