This November, our 616-Peter Parker will meet with his various counterparts from around the multiverse thanks to the villain, Morlun. Starting today we will take a look at the history of some of these alternate version of everyone’s favorite webhead. We will kick things off with Sir Peter Parker the Prince of Archne. So, journey me as we begin our story with: “Once Upon a Time…” there was a family of knights named the Parkers. These Parkers exist on Earth-71004 where Camelot never truly fell and the days of chivalry still exist. During one battle, Ben Parker was stabbed by a sword in battle and while his brother Richard tried to go to him, he was shot numerous times with arrows. With both Parkers dying, Richard was concerned with who would raise his son, Peter and be a mentor to him. Another knight was seen near by, Norman Osborn… dun, dun, dun! Even though many felt Osborn was a demon, Richard felt he was an honorable man. With his dying breath, he asked Norman if he would raise his son. Norman promised that Peter would always have a place in his home.
Years later, Peter is basically a servant to the Osborn family since the death of Norman’s wife. Using a broom, Peter would practice being a knight in private. He wished he could get out of the Osborn house and that his father and uncle were still alive. His only true friend is a fellow servant, Mary Jane. (Disney are you reading this?)
As Peter and Mary Jane talk, an enraged Norman storms in demanding that Mary Jane polish his and Harry’s armor until she can see her reflection in them. He says that Harry’s big day is coming and he has to look his best. Mary Jane is sad because she already has so much other work to do. Peter, being the friend that he is, offers to help her polish them.
Peter finds out that the King is having a ball. He has decided it is time that Princess Gwendolyn finds a suitable knight to marry her. Norman wants nothing else but for Harry to be the chosen one. Peter is ecstatic to hear about the ball. He figures this is his chance to be with Gwen. He asks Mary Jane if she knows of any way to get him in. She refuses, not wanting to get into any further trouble.
Visiting his father’s and uncle’s tomb down below, Peter ponders over how he can fulfill his dreams. Seeing a spider spinning a web between the two tombs, Peter decides to create his own armor. He works hard creating an armor with the symbol of a spider!
The night of the ball, Norman tells Peter that he has given the staff the night off except for him. Peter has to pick up the slack and is ordered to clean out the stables before they return at midnight. Saddened over losing his opportunity to secretly go to the ball, it is now Mary Jane’s turn to come to his rescue. She offers to work the stable so he can join the rest of the staff and get his mind off of Gwen.
At the palace, Gwen is not happy with her father. Gwen doesn’t think it’s possible for her true love to simply walk through the front door. At that exact moment, the “Prince of Arachne” is announced. Peter walks straight for Gwen, much to Norman’s dismay.
Kneeling before Princess Gwen, Peter introduces himself. She asks for him to remove his helmet but tells her that the laws of his land prohibit him from doing so until he shares a dance with the woman asking. Charmed, they soon dance.
Hours pass and Peter soon discovers that midnight is approaching. Having no choice, Peter must flee immediately. Gwen tries to stop him since she doesn’t even know his name. All she manages to get is one of his webbed brassards (What happened to a glass boot?).
A royal decree goes out requesting any information on he who has the matching brassard. Norman sees this as an opportunity for Harry to still marry Gwen. He figures they need to find and kill the real person so that Harry can stand in his place. Peter overhears this entire conversation.
In Peter’s room, Mary Jane decides to help him clean the place up. Seeing something hiding in his mattress, she uncovers his spider-armor. She now knows that he is the one that the King is searching for. Peter walks in and says he needs to destroy the armor. Mary Jane tells him this is his chance. Princess Gwen has fallen in love with Peter so he needs to go to her. Peter says it’s impossible since he’s not even a real knight. Mary Jane says it doesn’t matter. If Gwen found out the truth, she’d just fall in love with him all over again (aww).
Now seeing that Mary Jane must have some sort of feelings for him, they are interrupted by Harry. He takes the piece of armor and says Peter will suffer his father’s wrath when he finds out. Mary Jane tells Peter to quickly go to the Princess before Harry can get there. He has to be a knight and save the Princess.
Harry and Norman arrive only to find that Peter has beat them there and told them the truth. The King has decided to allow Gwen to choose Peter, despite whatever his story was. Norman will not stand for this and raises his sword to strike him. Peter manages to block Osborn’s sword with one of his own. The two begin to fight as the King orders his men to stop Osborn. Norman tries striking Peter but he manages to duck the blow. The blade then cuts a rope holding up a chandelier. The chandelier is about to land on Peter but Gwen manages to push him away. Norman stands in shock over having killed the Princess!
Outraged, Peter approaches Norman and tells him that he’s suffered his whole life because of him and Norman is killed as a result leaving Harry to swear vengeance against Peter and all those he holds dear.
As the entire kingdom mourns the loss of their Princess. It is accepted that she had chosen to marry Peter and he is allowed to become their new Prince. He is knighted and the spider becomes a symbol of honor and justice. Peter stands over the people, still feeling sadness. Little did he realize that Gwen was not the only love that Peter lost. Mary Jane lies alone with Peter’s brassard, dreaming of her knight in shining armor (sniff).
The Prince of Archne first appeared in Spider-Man Fairy Tales #4 and was written by C.B. Cebulski and Nick Dragotta. I’m also a sucker for classic tales retold like this one and while The Prince of Arachne is a parody of Cinderella it works very well. It is still classic Peter Parker and I enjoy how Peter was raised by Norman and was considered the outcast of the family. Peter and Mary Jane are shown to be more like childhood friends with one falling in love with the other and the other not knowing. I’m hoping that when Prince of Archne shows back up this fall we will see what has happened between Peter and Harry during this time and if the war has finally come to end between the two. I want to thank the people over at: http://www.comicvine.com/ and Samruby for the story breakdowns and information. Thanks everyone and with that said, so closes the first profile on Around the Spider-verse, see everyone next time for Earth X Spider-Man.