From time to time a hero is called upon to single-handedly defeat more than one foe. They may be a group of muggers, or a street gang, or random canon fodder A.I.M. or HYDRA thugs. They may be hippies. Whatever they are, heroes sometimes have to step-up and lay the smack down en masse. Even if it’s against other heroes.
Are there any super-groups Spider-Man won’t face down? He’s defeated the Sinister Six. He’s stood toe-to-toe against Earth’s Mightiest Heroes – the Avengers. He’s gone round and round with the Fantastic Four and gave better than he got. And, on more than one occasion, he has completely humiliated the X-Men. Some of the brawls I mentioned will be covered on future Spidey Friday Night Fights. And one of those X-Men fights will be highlighted in a special Hall of Fame fight.
But before we can get there we need to go back to the first confrontation between Spidey and the ‘Children of the Atom.’ And for that we turn to X-Men #35 from August, 1967. It’s called “Along Came a Spider” and it’s told by Roy “Second Only to Stan” Thomas and Werner Roth. To this point Spider-Man had met some of the X-Men previously but hadn’t faced them down in a stand-up fight. In X-Men #27, Xavier had Iceman and the Beast try to recruit Spider-Man into their ranks. Spidey turned them down, cause at the time they were strictly little league, and the X-Men went on to get their tails kicked by one of the single lamest villains in Marvel history – the Mimic.
But the next time Xavier’s students met the Wallcrawler they found themselves in way, way over their heads. All hands, brace for impact!
Our Story: While taking a scenic motorbike ride in Westchester County, Spidey gets jumped by a giant spider-robot and destroys it. But he gets dazed from the blast – and then gets jumped by the rookie X-Men. I could go into more detail but it was the X-Men in the 1960’s and no one wants to hear about it. So let Spidey Friday Night Fights commence!
Peter Benjamin Parker, aka ‘The Spider-Man’
Height & Weight: 5′10″ / 165 lbs.
Powers: Proportionate strength, speed and agility of a spider.
Spider-Sense. Webshooters. Listen, bud – Radioactive Blood.
And in the right corner…
Height & Weight: Various
Powers: One shoots rays out of his eyes. One is a popsicle.
One is a freak monkey-man. One… flies.
Often impenetrable continuity.
Melodrama. Being Emo.
ROUND ONE – DING!
The Angel is the first to get the drop on Spidey. He’s the X-Men that can fly and… well, fly. That’s really all he brings to the table in ’67 and, really, throughout most of his career. This is decades before he goes all goth butch and gets his metal kill-wings, so really all he can hope to do is fly towards Spidey, yell ineffectively and do a loop-to-loop to impress the college girls.
Or in other words he’s like the French knight in Monty Python’s Holy Grail, with wings.
On a side note, I flat-out beg some of you X-Men fans to tell me why anyone should ever take Warren Worthington seriously – or at least in his normal, non-metal kill-wingy form. Seriously, Kitty Pryde could’ve given Spidey a tougher time and I’m just talking about the day she showed up all scared & cute on Xavier’s doorstep, not the Ninja Kitty.
So Spidey pretty much shuts him down like a G-Man busting up a speakeasy and he does it with little effort. It’s mostly done with webwork as that’s really all a guy who flies rates in a big boy fight. And while Spidey is humiliating Warren (who is probably glad Jean’s not there to see him get emasculated) he also manages to point out that the Vulture – an elderly man with a bad attitude and a pair of mechanical wings held together by duct tape, spit and a prayer – gives the Webhead more of a fight than this preppie from Xavier’s School for *ahem* Gifted Youngsters.
Spidey makes the humiliation complete with sending the Angel on an all expenses paid trip into a scummy pond. Our score so far? Spider-King of Queens – 1, Spoiled Trust Fund Preppie Kid – 0. And as if on cue, Iceman goes for a popsicle backstab and tries to herd Spidey towards one of his teammates. And thus starts…
ROUND TWO – DING!
Iceman’s ice cube toss tries to drop Spidey into a trap where Hank McCoy, aka ‘The Beast,’ lays waiting to ambush our beloved arachnid. This is of course the early Beast who could only claim giant hands and feet as his street cred on freakishness. He wouldn’t become the ‘Blue Man Group at a Furry Convention’ Beast until much later and that of course is the classic look for which most Marvel fans remember him. And it would still be years later until he was screwed up even worse by Grant “I’m a Hindu Apocalyptic Elephant Whoopie God” Morrison – something which, tragically, has yet to be reversed, unlike most everything else from that flawed run.
Oh right – where were we?
Beast gets ready to ambush Spidey but unfortunately he’s way out of his league. When it comes to book learnin’ he might have a slight edge on Peter, but when talking in terms of raw physical power, resourcefulness, cleverness and agility the Beast just never had a chance.
So no one’s surprised (except maybe the Beast and he shouldn’t be) when Spidey neutralizes McCoy’s ambush and goes for some from-behind hijinx of his own. So in less than a minute Spidey’s already put a hurt on two of the ‘Children of the Atom,’ leaving the Angel with a hefty cleaning bill and the Beast with a sore backside.
And as we conclude this round with Spidey up 2-zip over the champions of mutant-kind we head into round three and discover why no one likes Scott Summers.
ROUND THREE – DING!
While Cyclops sits back and watches his teammates get hopelessly thrashed (cause, you know, that’s apparently what Scott Summers thinks leaders are supposed to do) he waxes poetic on his own self-idealized uberness and imagines that he could stop all this right now with his own two eyes.
Let’s go Dr. Freud and examine the hubris displayed by ol’ One-Eye here. His team can’t lay a hand on Spider-Man. They’re hopelessly outclassed, outgunned, outmaneuvered at every turn. Yet deep in his own uniquely-colored-sky world he actually imagines they’re somehow holding back or something. “Don’t force us to harm you.” Seriously? Clue in, Sherlock. If you’d shut your yap and make some more pew-pew with the eye rays than your team might not be getting embarrassed by one lone superhero.
But apparently all Cyke can think to do is to tell Spider-Man to calm down, you know, before it *really* gets rough. And this, Crawl Spacers, is why his game is lame. Look at other team leaders from the past. Captain America? Cap would’ve followed that up with a well-placed shield throw meant to distract an enemy and throw them off their game. Doctor Strange could definitely back up “For realz, stop or we’ll hurt you!” with the Crimson Bands of Cyttorak or some Eldritch Bolts across the bow – which would definitely get someone’s attention. Hawkeye would yell that out while watching an enemy scatter for cover from an exploding arrow he just shot.
What do all three of those stratagems have in common? The leader is actually doing something besides talking. About the only thing Summers’ inane babble scores for his team is to make Spidey focus on what a blowhard he is, which buys the Beast a split second to recover and embarrass himself for a second time.
Surely someone – anyone – on the X-Men “team” has to land at least one serious blow in, right? RIGHT?!
ROUND FOUR – DING!
One of the X-Men finally manages to do something substantial to Spidey. He still probably hasn’t broken a sweat, sure, but still they’ve done something to limit his mobility and force him to throttle up on tactics. And that someone is Bobby Drake, aka ‘the Iceman.’ How ironic that the first real shot here comes from someone who counts one of his greatest claims to fame as being a founding member of Spider-Man’s Amazing Friends?
Iceman manages to freeze Spidey’s legs in a block of… well ice, cause that’s how he rolls. You know – maybe freaking Iceman should be the 1960’s X-Men leader. Maybe they wouldn’t have been so frickin’ boring!
And here we get into the “mind of the Spider.” As he turns the tables on Iceman, using his own ice against him, Spider-Man wonders “hey, maybe they’re pulling their punches and they really and truly don’t suck this bad.” He’s wrong, of course. The X-Men here really are just *that* bad. But still, the good natured soul that is Peter Parker is willing to give them the benefit of the doubt and think “Maybe they’re really better than this.” That’s why he’s sassy & they’re sissy.
Note Iceman’s shocked exclamation of “Ohhh” when Spidey goes from prey to predator. We’ll focus on that more in upcoming fights where Spider-Man thrashes the X-Men. They’re always in awe of his raw power and ability. It’s like they realize just how one-sided the fight really is. They’re not alone, either. We’ll see the Avengers and others shocked by the awesome force of nature that men call Spider-Man.
Anyhoo, back to our fight. Cyclops finally manages to wake up and do something, zapping some bricks and sending Spidey into the creek. At this point the fighting draws to a close, with the X-Men realizing that Spider-Man isn’t the enemy they were looking for and that they have about as much chance of beating him as a snowball has surviving a vacation in Hades. And so we’re down to…
ROUND FIVE – DING!
The fighting comes to a close with the X-Men surrendering to the undeniable, awesome might of Spider-Man. The Beast is the first to offer an olive branch (“Hey, sorry we jumped you when you were down and tried to drop you like a sack of potatoes n’ all… friends?!”) but Spider-Man’s not having any.
I spared you X-Men fans the humiliation of having to see your favorite team bow & kneel in abject subjugation to the might of our Wallcrawler, recognizing his supreme benevolence in letting them gather their wounded and leave the field clinging to the shattered scraps of their X-dignity.
He knows who won, they know who won, and if they were smart they’d never make the same mistake again. Right? Oh… oh no. Not the X-Men. You have to whip them not once, not twice but thrice before they even think about buying a clue.
Not too long after this Spidey and the X-Men would have another tangle in the pages of Marvel Team-Up #4. Why? Because at Xavier’s school the students apparently got F’s in “Knowing Who’s Better Than You 101.” And of course we’ll cover that – it’s too much fun showing Spider-Man beating on the X-Men. I can already read your minds and yes, we’ll eventually be getting to the greatest example of Spider-Man tossing the X-Men around like rag dolls – Secret Wars #3. Patience, grasshopper.
I hope you’ve had as much fun as I have watching Spidey cream the X-Men like a can of corn. Be sure to tell all your snooty X-Men lovin’ pals about this particular fight. Link it to all corners of the Internets and spread Spider-Glory far & wide. There are few things that stick in the craw of an X-Man fan more than when people bring up the number of times Spider-Man has single-handedly embarrassed them like a bunch of rookies. Go forth, Crawl Spacers, and be Spider-Loud and Spider-Proud.
Let’s get the final, official word from our judges…
DECISION – SPIDER-MAN BY A MILE
And now let’s head check back in at the FNF studio for official post-fight analysis from our own Ben ‘the Thing’ Grimm and Shang Chi, the Master of Kung Fu. Ben, Spidey really seemed to rise up and look far stronger than he did last week against Blacklash. When did it all turn for the X-Men?
“Heh. Ya know Georgie, one time the Chicago Bears beat the Dallas Cowboys 44-0 at Texas Stadium. After the game some reporter asked Tom Landry what he thought th’ turnin’ point of the game was, an’ he said “The openin’ kick off.” An’ that’s pretty much what we saw here.
Tryin’ ta sucker punch Spidey the way they did after he was dazed from destroyin’ that robot… well ya know I don’t go in for all that Eastern mumbo jumbo but it I think it had ta be karma. What goes around comes around, and often ya bite off more than ya can chew. An’ I reckon Spidey is tough ta chew. And I tell ya, this kid’s excitin’ ta watch. When he’s in th’ zone there ain’t much that can stand up against ‘im. He’s scrappy, he’s strong – he’s a winner.
Though on a side note I gotta say George I think ya wuz givin’ Angel short shrift here. He can fly, sure. But sometimes he can fly, ya know, really fast. Aww heck with it, I can’t say that with a straight face. Yeah he’s pretty spare, n’ ya can tell him the Ever Lovin’ Blue Eyed Thing said that, too. Cause what’s he gonna do? Fly at me? Perch in a tree and poop on my Fantasticar? Haw haw!
Seriously though, what you had here wuz a classic mismatch, like watchin’ Wolverine versus an old mattress or Firelord fightin’ the Scarecrow from th’ Wizard of Oz. The X-Men have gotten better since this fight – mainly cause they formed eight billion other teams and recruited people who could actually do more than fly, point or talk. But if it came down to it today? My man Spidey would still wipe the floor with ’em. Seriously, ya watch these mooks here and ya wonder how the Hell they ever walk away from Magneto, let alone beat ‘im! Yeesh!
Shang, how much celebratin’ should Spidey allow himself after this? Ya gotta let loose a little, sure, but how much is too much an’ how fast should he get back to thinkin’ ’bout next week’s fight?”
It is true. The wise masters in Tibet know that one cannot dwell too long on one’s own win. Life is a journey and dwelling on the last destination can make you less prepared for the next. One must be humble and ready.
But then we must also remember that we must enjoy our achievements. For doing great things, be it beating one opponent or several at one time, brings the knowledge of what one is capable of. And Spider-Man knows, though not yet to the fullest extent.
But for now, let him celebrate and let us raise *hic!* another cup to his skill! He should celebrate in true Peter Parker fashion – going out with Mary Jane for ice cream, tender embracing… a door closes, there is giggling… and then it’s back to worrying about his rent and his aunt! And where his cup goes undrunk, let us remedy that for him!
All hail the arachnid master!”
And that wraps it up for us tonight. Thanks for tuning in and for all of us at FNF, have a fantabulous weekend!
NEXT WEEK: SPIDER-SAFARI, BABY!
If you have a suggestion or feedback for the ‘Spidey Friday Night Fight’ segment then drop into the Crawl Space forum’s ‘Spidey Friday Night Fights’ and let me know!