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The 10 Most Important Spider-Man Status Quo Changes of All-Time

So when a character goes through a major change in status quo, but then later he gets reverted back to his original, most familiar status quo, does that count as one of the most important status quo changes in his history? Hmmmmm..?

Well, we have until April when Peter Parker returns to the forefront of his own head and Amazing Spider-Man gets relaunched with a new #1 to wrestle over that headache-inducing question. But until then now’s as good a time as any to take a look back at the 10 most important  status quo shifts Marvel's friendly neighborhood superhero has seen in his 50 years.

The Sam Raimi-directed Spider-Man films departed from the comics in one major way  instead of building them himself, Peter Parker's webshooters were part of his host of bite-granted spider-powers, a move that prompted more-heated-than-you-might-expect debate in the fan community.  The comic books followed suit a few years later, and the "Avengers Disassembled" tie-in to Spectacular Spider-Man saw Spidey (very controversially) gain organic webshooters, thus eliminating the need for synthetic web fluid and bringing things a little closer to the movies.

That wasn't the only physical change ahead for Spidey: A little later on, as a result of "The Other," he also developed venom-coated stingers that sprung from his wrist.

He doesn't have either of them anymore, and 2012's Amazing Spider-Man reboot film went with mechanical webshooters, showing that life really is cyclical.

Given the jaded nature of many current comic book fans, the idea of Spider-Man growing a few extra arms for a couple of issues might seem kind of quaint. But it certainly was a big deal during "The Six Arms Saga" that ran through Amazing Spider-Man #100-#102, one of the most frequently referenced stories in Spider-Man history. Following the death of Captain George Stacy - Gwen's dad and a friend to Spidey on the police force - Peter Parker decides that he has to stop being Spider-Man. But things are never that simple, and his attempt to eliminate his powers actually ends up giving him four extra arms.

Written towards the end of Stan Lee's stint on Amazing Spider-Man, "The Six Arms Saga" provided one of the most enduring images in Spidey history, and also introduced Morbius, the Living Vampire to the Marvel U.

Though Spider-Man has mainly stuck with his classic costume over the years, he's wavered a bit in a few notable instances  the black costume, of course, the Spider-Armor and the various situational upgrades he gave himself in Dan Slott's pre-Superior Amazing Spider-Man run. One of the biggest in recent years was the gadget-filled "Iron Spider-Man" outfit, an extension of mentorship/friendship that developed between Spider-Man and Iron Man circa 2006. Though Peter Parker only ended up using the high-tech Tony Stark-designed armor for a few months, it stuck around  in toys, video games, and the pages of Avengers: The Initiative

Unfortunately for Peter Parker, his close association with Tony Stark also led to this...

When the 2006 Marvel event series Civil War began, Spider-Man was on Iron Man's pro-registration side  advocating that superpowered folks should register with the government  and was talked into revealing his secret identity to the public, as a sign of good faith that the heroes on the pro-registration side had nothing to hide. Well, turns out Peter kept that secret for all these years for a very good reason, and that bad decision saw Kingpin target and almost kill Aunt May, and Spidey eventually migrating over to Captain America's anti-registration side. Spidey would end up going to great lengths to make his identity secret once again, but more on that in a bit.

Spider-Man joined the Avengers starting with (the original) New Avengers #1, and some fans saw it as blasphemy - even though he was already a reserve member of the Avengers, Spidey had always been a solo act, and him being an active member of Earth's Mightiest Heroes seemed, to some, like a bad fit for both sides. Nine years later, Spider-Man's an Avenger fixture, even in his 'Superior' persona and his membership has fueled multiple stories in the various Spidey solo books. 

Buoyed by the addition of characters like Spider-Man and Wolverine, the Avengers have arguably become Marvel's flagship property, and the stars of the third highest-grossing film in history (which, admittedly, had no Spider-Man and no Wolverine due to the live-action rights to the characters being licensed by Sony and Fox, respectively). So it looks like it all worked out.

During Secret Wars, Spider-Man got a cool new black costume. But here's the ol' Parker luck: It was an alien parasite that wanted to bond with him forever.  Peter figured that out and got rid of it (though he wore a cloth version of the costume for a while longer, because it was a good look for him), but the symbiote kept causing him problems, moving on to Eddie Brock and becoming the villain/antihero/"Lethal Protector" known as Venom.

The symbiote is currently with Peter Parker's old high school nemesis-turned-good friend, Flash Thompson, and the mostly heroic Venom has enjoyed memberships on several superhero teams in recent years, including the Secret Avengers, the Thunderbolts, and he'll soon be heading into space as a member of the Guardians of the Galaxy

Since the '70s, Spider-Man has had issues with clones. Things got really bad in the '90s when his original clone  now known as Ben Reilly  came back into his life, throwing everything into question in what went on to be one of the most infamous Spider-Man stories in history. Reilly became a superhero in his own right named Scarlet Spider, and eventually Peter came to accept that he was actually the clone. This led to Ben Reilly taking up the Spider-Man mantle  complete with redesigned costume and a few new twists like "impact webbing"  and Peter Parker mostly fading into the background.

But wait! In a fight with Norman Osborn, the original Green Goblin who had just resurfaced from presumed death, Reilly was impaled by a Goblin Glider, and degenerated, like all clones do, establishing the Peter Parker everyone had been reading for the past 20-plus years as the real deal all along. 

Though Ben Reilly still has his ardent supporters, he's stayed dead (not that comics can't come up with a way to return to life after melting into goo), but Kaine, another Spider-Man clone from the '90s "Clone Saga," was recently the star of the Scarlet Spider ongoing series and will be joining a New Warriors revival soon.

Marvel took a bit of a leap of faith in 1987 by marrying Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson. Unlike other married Marvel couples like Reed Richards and Sue Storm, Spider-Man had multiple love interests in his fictional life, and not even Clark Kent and Lois Lane got married until nearly a decade later. It was also a controversial move, as it changed the character in many ways. His "swinging" single days were gone, and he now had a family (including nearly a baby) to look out for, frequently calling into question the decision of risking your life on a nightly basis. 

Peter Parker and Mary Jane had some rough times, including a separation, but stayed married for about 20 years. But nothing lasts forever... but we'll get to that a moment.

When one of your arch-enemies exacts his ultimate revenge by confiscating your body and taking over your life for what will be a year and some change and 30-something issues, that's a pretty big change in status quo. But perhaps the even bigger surprise in the wake of Dr. Octopus hijacking Spider-Man's very existence was how the storyline was received by the comic book community.

While the move to Superior Spider-Man was initially controversial and still has its critics for sure, the run that started in January 2013 has been generally very well received by critics and a consistent bestseller for Marvel. Die-hard Peter fans may not like to hear this, but Otto Octavius almost certainly injected some new life into the franchise

While it's not that much of a surprise that given the upcoming release of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Peter is making his full return to coincide, it remains to be seen whether the publisher pulled the plug too soon on a good thing.

Joe Quesada  currently Marvel's chief creative officer, formerly Marvel's editor-in-chief  was very upfront that he wasn't a fan of Peter Parker being married to Mary Jane, and during the "One More Day" storyline (which Quesada illustrated and J. Michael Straczynski wrote), the marriage was essentially written out of history thanks to some magical intervention.  As side effect of Peter Parker revealing his secret to the world, his beloved Aunt May was nearly dead. Mephisto - basically the Marvel Universe version of Satan - offered a deal: He'd restore Aunt May to health in exchange for Peter and MJ's marriage. With a little bargaining - Spider-Man's ID also needed to once again be secret - the deal was done, leading them immediately to be remain close but unmarried. As of this moment their relationship is somewhat estranged due to Dr. Octopus's 'occupation' of Peter.

The storyline remains one of the most controversial in Spider-Man history, with some fans still upset about what went down, a half-decade later. 

But with a return of Peter to captain's chair of his own body, who knows what the future holds for these crazy kids in love. But because as far as we know the Superior Spider-Man era is finite and this one is at least indefinite, it wins out as the biggest Spider-Man status quo change of all time.

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