Monday, August 6, 2012




Created by: Stan Lee and Steve Ditko   First Appearance: AMAZING FANTASY #15 (1962)

Peter Parker is a bookish, bespectacled high school student, isolated and unpopular. An orphan, he lives with his elderly relatives, Aunt May and Uncle Ben. While attending a science exhibit, Peter is bitten by a spider that has accidentally received a dose of radioactivity. As a result, Peter acquires the agility and proportionate strength of an arachnid. He sews his own super hero uniform and uses his scientific knowledge to build mechanical devices that eject sticky webbing, but he is less interested in fighting crime than in making a buck. Disguised as Spider-Man, he becomes a professional wrestler and then demonstrates his abilities on television. However he blithely ignores the chance to stop a fleeing thief, but his indifference ironically catches up with him when the same criminal later robs and kills Uncle Ben. Eventually Spider-Man subdues the murderer, but for a tearful Peter Parker, there is no peace and yet he learns "With great power there must also come - great responsibility!" 

Spider-Man is the quintessential Marvel character. Although a superhero, he is spared none of the hardships of an ordinary life; he experiences difficulties with friends, family, sweethearts and employers. His powers enable him to do good, but not to improve his own lot in life, and it is his simple humanity, rather than his exotic talent, that has won him millions of enthusiastic fans. He is one superhero who has not lost the common touch, and in fact he is frequently described as "Your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man." 

In his debut Spidey was motivated by the murder of a father figure, his Uncle Ben. Yet Spidey's driving force is guilt, not revenge; he must live forever with the knowledge that he could have prevented the killing if he had not been so self-absorbed. He is certainly neurotic, forever agonizing over the choices that confront him when he attempts to do the right thing. Despite his best efforts, he is viewed with a touch of suspicion by those in authority, and is sometimes considered a little more than a criminal himself. 

Although nobody seems to understand him, Spider-Man has the spirit to be a joker as well as a tragic figure. He is quick with a quip, appreciates the irony of his endless predicaments, and relishes the chance to play tricks on people who never suspect that he and Peter Parker are one and the same. 

Spider-man remains one of true icons of the greatest comic book characters. His heart, soul and willpower for overcoming unimaginable odds is legendary in the annals of the Marvel Universe, for Spidey will press on until the bitter end in order to protect the innocent and those he cares for. And this write up is a dedication to that, so here are his top 5 most defining, most heralded and most Amazing battles ever...

5.) THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #542 (2007)

Writer: J. Michael Straczynski   Art: Ron Garney and Bill Reinhold

Spider-man and Kingpin are squared off in the middle of a prison. Several escaped inmates are surrounding them and screaming for a fight. Kingpin tells him that he is a loser and a fool for listening to Tony Stark and revealing his secret identity. Spidey jumps at Kingpin and starts punching him from every angle. Spidey tells Kingpin about how his costume has stood for everything he is. He says he would never cross certain lines and destroy everything that the costume has stood for. He then claims he is not here to kill Kingpin in this fight. So Spidey takes off his mask and the top of his costume. As Peter Parker, he then says Peter is there to kill him.  

Parker starts to beat up and bloody the Kingpin. He tells him that he has no real power, and all he ever was was a fat man with a bad attitude. Kingpin is completely humiliated before all the inmates. Peter comments on how he could fill his lungs with webbing and suffocate him. Kingpin tells Peter to just kill him and get it over with. Peter tells him that someday he will, but not today. The beating he gave Kingpin will be far worse then his death. The inmates were witness to Peter totally beating down The Kingpin of Crime. And with Kingpin being very prideful with everyone viewing him as unbeatable, he was humiliated. This beating was far worse than death for him. Before leaving, Peter makes a final few comments; he tells Kingpin that if Aunt May dies he will be back to kill him. Kingpin knows that he can not do anything to prevent it. Peter then tells all the inmates to tell everyone they know that Peter Parker's relatives are off limits and he will kill anyone who touches them slow and painfully. He then leaves and Kingpin crawls back to his cell. This fight stands as one of Spider-man's most personal because when his family and loved ones are hurt  by being in the line of fire of his enemies, there is nothing he won't do to protect them.

4.) THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #269 and 270 (1985)

Writer: Tom DeFalco  Art: Ron Frenz, Josef Rubinstein and Bob McLeod

Spider-man always seems to be at his best when the odds are stacked against him. When he faces a power so much greater than his own that even he isn't sure what he's up against, yet somehow he finds a way to prevail. This is the case when Spider-man comes face to face with the former herald of Galactus himself: The Firelord! After barely surviving this back and forth fight, Spidey manages to bury the him under a building. Spidey soon realizes that this will only buy him a few minutes before Firelord comes back to continue fighting. Spidey even considers changing into Peter Parker to let someone else deal with the former herald of Galactus. But then his sense of responsibility kicks in and Spidey decides to make a stand and fight Firelord to the finish.  

Spider-Man eventually tricks Firelord into shooting a blast at a gas station, and then leaps out of harm's way, and Firelord is caught in the heart of a blazing explosion as all the gas in the station explodes with devastating force. Spider-Man thinks that he has killed Firelord, and sees the former herald of Galactus lying on the ground. Spider-Man approaches Firelord, who then gets up, completely unharmed by the explosion and ready to kill him. Spider-Man, with nowhere left to run, attacks in desperation. He hits Firelord again and again and again with his Spider-speed and agility! Spider-Man yells that he's not going to give up and keeps hammering away on Firelord until finally he feels a hand on his shoulder. The hand is Captain America's, as the Avengers have finally showed up. Cap tells Spidey to relax and that he's already won. Spidey clears his head and takes a look at Firelord, who is unconscious on the ground. Spidey was in such a fighting frenzy that he humbled Firelord in his rage.


Writer: Stan Lee  Art: Steve Ditko

Having broken out of prison, Dr. Octopus gathers Mysterio, Electro, Kraven the Hunter, the Vulture and Sandman to get revenge against Spider-Man as the Sinister Six. Meanwhile, Spider-Man has once more found that his spider powers have faded and has to exercise more caution getting back home lest someone take advantage of his lost powers to find out his secret identity. As Peter wanders the city lost in thought over all the stress caused because of his Spider-Man identity, he doesn't turn up to school. This prompts the school to call his Aunt May. Worried about Peter, he goes to Betty Brant for help, and they in turn see if J. Jonah Jameson has seen Peter recently. This makes them a target for the Sinister Six, who had decided to use Betty Brant as bait to lure out Spider-Man, and so they kidnap both Betty and Aunt May. When Peter shows up at the Bugle, he arrives just in time to see the Vulture delivering a message to Jameson. The Vulture tells him that the Sinister Six has gone to six different locations and at each location has a clue to the whereabouts of Betty Brant and Aunt May. While superheroes all over the city try to find Spider-Man, Peter decides that powers or no powers, he's going to try and save his Aunt May and Betty from his enemies. He goes to the first location, the local power plant owned by Stark Industries, Peter faces Electro. During the fight he realizes that his powers have returned, and is able to easily defeat Electro and learn the next location he is supposed to go to. 

When Iron Man arrives to offer help, Spider-Man refuses. His next fight is with Kraven the Hunter who attacks Spider-Man in Central Park with three tigers. Spider-Man easily fights off the attackers and secures the next clue. Along the way he's offered help by the Human Torch, and once again Spider-Man refuses help. His next location is controlled by Mysterio who sends robots based on the X-Men to attack the wall-crawler. Spider-Man easily defeats the robots and Mysterio. Although Mysterio is defeated the next clue is set ablaze, Spider-Man is able to recover it's message with his web-fluid. His next battle is against Sandman, he manages to best this foe when they are sealed in an airless room, and Spider-Man is able to defeat Sandman with his superior lung capacity. Next he battles the Vulture high over the city and manages to defeat him as well gaining the location of Dr. Octopus who has been holding Betty Brant and Aunt May hostage (May being completely oblivious to her situation believes that they are guests being hosted by Octavius.) There, Spider-Man battles Dr. Octopus and his mechanical arms, their fight takes them to a giant fishbowl where Octopus battles Spider-Man in his "natural habitat", however Spider-Man manages to defeat Octopus by filling the tank up with his webbing and tangling Octavius up in said webs. Spider-Man frees Aunt May and Betty Brant. Returning to his civilian guise, he meets up with them as Peter Parker where they are happily reunited, although Aunt May is upset with Peter over skipping class. Jameson is once more made a fool when he has to publish a story about how heroic Spider-Man is, and as for the Sinister Six? They were all rounded up by the authorities and have been put in prison.

2.) THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #229 and 230 (1982)

Writer: Roger Stern  Art: John Romita Jr. and Jim Mooney

As in his battle with Firelord, Spidey finds himself face-to-face with an opponent much more powerful than himself. But in the Juggernaut's case you're talking about someone who can go toe-to-toe with the Hulk, shrug off missiles and toss around tanks with the slightest bit of ease. Let's say that Spidey is waaaay over his head in this one. But Spidey of course, lives by the credo "With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility," but often, Spider-Man's sense of responsibility will conflict with his common sense, getting him into trouble when he tackles problems that are seemingly beyond his grasp. And that is just what the Juggernaut represents! 

During this time period, Spider-Man was friends with a psychic known as Madame Web, a blind woman stuck in a chair that worked as a life support for the frail woman. Juggernaut and his partner in crime, Black Tom Cassidy, have traveled to New York City to capture Madame Web, figuring that with a psychic on their side, they could not be beaten. Madame Web has a vision of someone coming to harm her and she enlists the aid of Spider-Man. Soon he sees the Juggernaut coming for her, but although he gives it his best, he cannot slow him down. At Madame Web's apartment, Spidey uses the building's backup generator to shock Juggernaut with thousands of volts of electricity. It does nothing. Juggernaut proceeds to Web's apartment where he takes her from her chair, not knowing it serves as a life support for her. When he realizes his mistake, he drops her and then turns to rejoin Cassidy on the boat. Spider-Man is distraught that he let Web down. As she is taken to the hospital, he vows that he will make Juggernaut pay for what he did!  

Spidey leaps into action again and uses many attacks from a local construction site against the Juggernaut. They achieve nothing. He even drives a gasoline truck into the unstoppable brute, with Spidey leaping from the truck before it hits, causing a giant inferno. Spider-Man's first instinct is horror -- he feels that he just murdered the Juggernaut! However, his fears are allayed as the Juggernaut calmly walks out of the inferno, but now he has a new fear -- he's finally made the Juggernaut mad! With his webbing depleted, Spidey's only hope is to cling to Juggernaut's back and try to slow him down, which does no good, especially as the Juggernaut can finally reach Spidey and continually pounds on him. But despite the tremendous pain he has to endure, Spidey refuses to let go of the brute. Suddenly, Juggernaut realizes that he's sinking! During the melee, they walked into a patch of quick drying cement! In the muddy concrete, the Juggernaut cannot get any traction to pull himself out, and only sinks deeper! Spider-Man leaps away as the Juggernaut sinks fully into the concrete without any hope of saving himself -- the unstoppable Juggernaut was finally stopped! This fight remains one of the most defining and most referenced moments in Spider-man's career and is considered one of the all time greatest slugfests in Marvel's history.

1.) THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #121 and 122 (1973)

Writer: Gerry Conway  Art: Gil Kane, John Romita Sr. and Tony Mortellaro

Not only is this Spider-man's greatest battle, this is arguably his greatest story ever! The impact these issues made on the Spider-man-mythos and the entire comic book medium is undeniable. This story arc is so important and controversial that it is considered one of the markers of the end between the more innocent Silver Age of Comics into the more realistic and more socially-relevant story lines of the Bronze Age! And the story itself defines the history of Spider-Man almost as much as his actual origin did back in Amazing Fantasy #15! Even Stan Lee himself was angry about the issue when it came out and furiously called writer Gerry Conway about it. As it turned out, Gerry said it was Stan himself that gave him the permission to kill Gwen and Stan forgot all about it (honestly, Stan had a habit of always forgetting things). Yup, it was that big of a deal!!
As a character, Spidey is known for his humor, but his history is also filled with tragedy. But none of his past woes, though, could prepare him for the tragedy he suffered in these issues. The Green Goblin was a thorn in Spider-Man's side for a few years before he discovered that the Goblin was actually Norman Osborn, father of Peter's best friend, Harry. Norman discovered Peter's identity, but due to amnesia forgot both Peter's identity and all his actions as the Goblin, and he seemed to be acting normal. However, stress due to Harry's drug problems brought all the memories rushing back, and Norman decided to take his revenge on Peter Parker by kidnapping Peter's girlfriend, Gwen Stacy. The Goblin left Peter a note telling him he had Gwen and Peter tracks them to the George Washington Bridge, where the Goblin has an unconscious Gwen at the top of one of the bridge towers. After a pitched battle, Spidey races to rescue Gwen, but Norman reaches her first and throws her off of the bridge! Spidey valiantly tries to save her with his webbing, but it is too late -- she's dead. Marvel Comics editor Roy Thomas wrote in the letters column: 

"It saddens us to have to say that the whiplash effect she underwent when Spidey's webbing stopped her so suddenly was, in fact, what killed her. In short, it was impossible for Peter to save her. He couldn't have swung down in time; the action he did take resulted in her death; if he had done nothing, she still would certainly have perished. There was no way out." 

Comic readers were in absolute shock at this. Previously, it had been unthinkable to kill off such an important character -- the girlfriend of the main character and a character with a large fan base. But now the readers have entered into the Bronze Age of Comics.  

The last page from Amazing Spider-man #121 remains one of the most iconic and legendary scenes in all of comic book history! And there is no doubt that this page ended the more innocent and satire filled Silver Age of Comics and ushered in the more realistic and darker plot elements of the Bronze Age!

As the Goblin begins to gloat about how Spidey's death will be even easier, Spidey shouts at Goblin and swears his revenge for killing the girl he loves! Eventually, Spider-man tracks him down to an abandoned warehouse where the Goblin hears him, and decides to wait by the entrance, to surprise him when he enters. Spidey figured he'd be there, though, so he surprises the Goblin from a side entrance, taking the Goblin's glider out of commission. The two fight from a distance for awhile with pumpkin bombs and webbing flying back and forth at each other before eventually getting in closer to trade blows. Spider-Man ultimately gets him against a wall and begins to batter him into submission in a blind rage. Eventually, though, his conscience gets to him -- he cannot lower himself to the level of the Goblin -- he cannot kill him! He drops the battered Goblin to the floor and tells him he's going to jail. The Goblin uses this opportunity to use a remote control to send his barely operating glider flying at Spider-Man, its sharpened point ready to impale him! At the last moment, though, Spider-Man's Spider-Sense alerts him to the danger and he leaps out of the way, sending the glider directly into the Goblin, impaling him against the wall, killing him. Despite the death of his greatest enemy, Spider-man does not think justice is served and the death of Gwen Stacy will forever haunt him.

Agree? Disagree? Let's hear it fanboys!!

Check out other "TOP 5 GREATEST BATTLES OF..." here:

Captain Marvel (SHAZAM!)


The Sub-Mariner


The Thing



Iron Man


The Avengers 


John Cimino
John Cimino is a Silver and Bronze Age comic, cartoon and memorabilia expert that runs a business called "Saturday Morning Collectibles." He buys, sells, appraises and gives seminars on everything pop culture, so if you got something special, let him know about it. He contributes articles to ALTER EGO, RETRO FAN, BACK ISSUE and THE JACK KIRBY COLLECTOR from TwoMorrows Publishing, runs the Roy Thomas Appreciation Board on Facebook and has appeared on the AMC reality show Comic Book Men. He also represents some of comicdoms biggest stars and brings them to a Comic Con near you. John likes to think he's the real Captain Marvel, people just don't have the heart to tell him he's just an obsessed fanboy that loves to play superheroes with his daughter Bryn. Contact him at or follow him on Instagram at megostretchhulk.


  1. I like your Firelord and Juggernaut picks! those happen to be two of my faves as well :D

  2. As soon as I saw this, I said to myself "I hope the Juggernaut battle is in here".
    Regarding the Spidey Annual, that is one thing that drives me crazy about Silver Age Marvel superheroes. They're such idiots. When they're not fighting each other, they're turning down each others' help, no matter how badly they need it. "No, it's something I must handly myself". OK, whatever.
    The Green Goblin battle was so epic that the basically copied it in the movie!

  3. Great list. I'll be reading more of your blog.

  4. When I read other Top whatever lists on websites I'm always skeptical. A few issues have to be there or the writer loses all credibility in my eyes. I love Spider-man, he is my favorite character so I have an idea of what his greatest battles are. Needless to say, your list looks perfect. I'm a believer.

  5. The second part of the Juggernaut story was actually the very first Spiderman that a read (at the age of 10 or so). Not having read the first part (or any other issue, for that matter) some stuff didn't make sense to me. Still, I was hooked and the eerie ending (wasn't there some sort of henchman or boss waiting in vain for Juggernaut to free himself from the concrete?) haunted me for a long while after.

  6. Looking at these issues makes me think how horrible the Spider-man comic is today. Superior Spider-man?? NOT!!!

  7. Great battles here, but I have to admit that the Firelord battle bothers me. Sorry, but Spidey should not be able to pummel Firelord. That's about the same as the Black Panther putting the Silver Surfer in a chokehold.

    1. i dont get why people say spider-man should not have won the fight between firelord people need to realized spider-man was GOING ALL OUT!!!! he holds back a crap ton of punches cuz he does not want to kill no one he even holds back powerfull superheroes that are far stronger or powerfull than spider-man and he still wins by holding back cmon firelord should at least get hurt by a all out punche from parker

  8. i really like the firelord fight but i get PISSED OFF BADLY by people who says OMG HOW DID SPIDER-MAN WIN THATS PIS THATS PIS JUST SHUT UP!!!!! CUZ HE BEAT UP FIRELORD AND WIN DOES NOT MEAN THATS PIS IT SHOWS HOW STRONG HE REALLY IS BY NOT HOLDING BACK HELL HE EVEN HELD BACK BY ONE OF THE MOST POWERFULL SUPERHERO BEINGS IN MARVEL COMICS ANYONE WHO THINKS IS PIS DOES NOT KNOW HOW STRONG SPIDER-MAN IS OR HE REALLY CAN BE WHEN HE GOES ALL OUT sorry about capslocking it was a Little rent about dumbassas peopele who pretend to be comic book fans or spider-man fans if you still is pis he won thats fine your opinion do i Think is pis nope i dont care if anyone says is pis in my opinion is not pis DEAL WITH IT!!!!

    1. It isn't PIS.

      Firelord's body isn't completely impervious to damages and his brain function like an organic and human one, subject to concussion if he has received enough damages which is what happened against Spidey.