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Comic Book / Spider-Island

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"Spider-Man never made you special. Being Peter Parker makes you special!"
Mary Jane Watson

Peter Parker's life has really turned a corner. He has a great new job, is a well-respected super-hero, in a new relationship with Carlie Cooper and getting along well with his ex, Mary Jane Watson. Things then take a turn for the strange when Carlie reveals she has the same powers and abilities as he does. And she's not the only one. New Yorkers everywhere (except for MJ) are developing spider powers. All courtesy of The Jackal and his secret benefactor.

The major Bat Family Crossover of 2011 for Spider-Man, the majority of the story was seen running primarily through the Amazing Spider-Man book with some important side chapters appearing in the recent Venom ongoing as well. There were other loosely connected tie-ins with Black Panther and Herc, as well as mini-series and one-shot tie-ins created for the event in the form of the Deadly Hands of Kung Fu, Cloak and Dagger, Deadly Foes, Spider-Woman, Amazing Spider-Girl (Anya Corazon), Heroes for Hire and The Avengers.

The Secret Wars (2015) event includes an Alternate Universe setting where the Queen succeeded in taking over New York. This was loosely adapted into the "Spider Island" four-parter in Marvel's Spider-Man.

Spider-Island provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Back for the Dead: The Gwen Stacy clone. Though it might not be the same one.
  • Bat Family Crossover: The basic premise of the arc is that everyone in New York gets Spider-Man's powers.
  • Benched Hero: Spider-Man is ordered to sit the battle out by the rest of the Avengers, as they kept hitting him in battle due to everyone with spider powers running around in Spidey costumes. He takes a third option and begins operating without his mask and as Peter Parker instead, since people would just assume he was one of those infected with the disease. This has the side-effect of nullifying a preexisting spell which prevented others from learning Spider-Man's identity.
  • Big Bad: The Queen, a semi-obscure villainess from a single storyline during Avengers Disassembled.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Peter Parker pulls one off early in the story. Mary Jane pulls one off towards the end of the story.
  • Body Horror: The eventual fate of all those with the "Spider-Flu" is to transform into a giant spider monster.
  • Boss Battle: The last issue is literally called "Boss Battle" as Spider-Man, the Avengers, X-Men, Future Foundation, the rest of the remaining super heroes and Mary Jane make a final stand against the villain for the fate of New York and the world.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy:
    • The "Spider-King". Actually, a mutated Steve Rogers, whom the Queen subjugated. He gets better after being cured.
    • Kaine was also brainwashed by The Jackal as his faithful servant. After being cured of the mutations imposed on him, he gets better.
  • Brought Down to Normal:
    • Played straight with Eddie Brock, who gives up being Anti-Venom in order to cure those infected.
    • Also played straight with Mary Jane, who was cured of the infection before she mutated into a giant spider monster.
    • An odd example with Peter, as since everyone else has the same abilities he does, he's not so special anymore.
  • Call-Back: Post-Face–Heel Turn, Kaine notes to Peter that he hates wearing Spider-Man's classic costume because the last time he wore it, he died and woke up with some weird new powers. Spidey notes that he can relate to that, that very thing having happened to him during "The Other".
    • The whole premise of Spider-Island is the plot of Spectacular Spider-Man (vol. 3) #15 applied to the entirety of the Marvel Universe.
    • After a 10-Minute Retirement in Amazing Spider-Man #50, Spider-Man tells Jonah that he was out recruiting, and that he was "gonna fill the whole city with Spider-Men!"
    • With The Jackal and Kaine involved in a plan to create new Spider-Men, the connections with The Clone Saga are heavily lampshaded. Among other call-backs, many of the background characters wear copies of the Ben Reilly Spider-Man and Scarlet Spider costumes instead of the classic Peter Parker costumes.
  • Comes Great Responsibility: After finally gaining spider powers, Mary Jane states that she understands that her powers come with a great responsibility.
  • Covers Always Lie: One of the covers shows Bucky in his Captain America outfit among the heroes who join Spidey in the story, but he never appears in any capacity within the comic.note 
    • Another cover shows all the heroes in variant Spidey costumes, which never happens. It would be just about acceptable as a symbolic representation of them all gaining spider-powers, except the virus doesn't affect anyone who already has a superpower.
  • Dare to Be Badass: In the prologue of the storyline, Peter's training with Shang-Chi to make up for the loss of his Spider-Sense. Peter starts to lament that things were better with the power, but Shang-Chi tells him that it was a crutch and he can do so much better without relying on it.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: At the very end, Eddie Brock, formerly Anti-Venom, is being called the true hero of Spider Island, and Spidey is rightfully peeved. This is of course before Mary Jane shows him the Empire State Building, lit up in red and blue.
  • Empowered Badass Normal:
    • Mary Jane, when she gets Spidey's powers.
    • Hawkeye is a subversion: he gets spider-powers... and is completely unable to control them, which actually makes him less effective with arrows sticking to his hands. He finally figures it out... just in time to turn into a spider-monster.
  • Everyone Is a Super: Everyone else in New York has all the powers Peter has. That is, until they become giant man-spider monsters.
  • Fix Fic: Believed by a number of fans to be this, at least in part, for One More Day.
  • Foreshadowing: Carlie reveals her powers to Peter not long after they first have sex and Peter says that this never happened with Mary Jane despite them being together for years. Reed Richards later hypothesizes that the reason MJ's contraction of the infection was so slow was because she was with Peter for years.
  • Giant Spider: Those infected with the Spider-Flu transform into a human-sized spider. The Queen herself transforms into a 28 story tall spider monster during the final battle.
  • Genki Girl: Carlie is VERY excited to have spider-powers.
  • A God Am I: The Queen, once she achieves her full power. Completely justified considering she takes out (and by "take out", we mean half-vaporized) the Red Hulk and Wolverine in one move.
  • God Save Us from the Queen!: Adriana "The Queen" Soria makes a comeback, this time teaming with the Jackal to infect all of New York with her spider-virus.
  • Gondor Calls for Aid: Peter publicly calls out to the good New Yorkers for help against the evil spider-powered New Yorkers.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Kaine decides to try his hand at heroics.
  • Heroic Bystander: Mary Jane gains Spider-Man's powers.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Eddie Brock sacrifices the Anti-Venom symbiote to save everyone in New York.
  • He's Back!: Fans of the classic Eddie Brock version of Venom were thrown a bone when the symbiote happily ditched Flash Thomson to reunite with its second host... for three panels, during which Flash pleaded with the symbiote to return to him and reminded it that Eddie would constantly resist its control. On a more permanent note, Kaine came Back from the Dead and eventually wound up inheriting the title of the Scarlet Spider.
  • Hive Queen: The Queen hijacks the Web of Life to turn all of New York into her spidery minions.
  • I Just Want to Be Special: Mary Jane is a little jealous of all the spider-powered civilians she sees.
  • Improbable Infant Survival: Several children are shown getting spider powers before - usually played for laughs, and at one point for a heartwarming story. When the people infected start turning into monsters and fighting the heroes, no children are to be seen. Several children are shown starting to turn, but are all cured in some way or another before they can do so completely.
  • Magic Pants: Lampshaded in "The Naked City". As the superheroes spend so much time in skintight outfits they no longer have any real body shame, they instead comment on things like Misty Knight still having her headband and T'Challa's beard vanishing but his hair staying the same length. Hawkeye cites Hulk's famous pants and actually tells them to Hand Wave it.
  • Make Sure He's Dead: Captain America makes two instances of comments to this effect. First, After Kaine spears right through the Queen's mouth when in full Kaiju form, he tells all of the teams to give "everything they've got". Then, he tells Iron Man to verify that this is actually her and that she is actually dead. Justified in that she's a psychic, so it could have been an illusion, as it was assumed to be before.
  • Meta Guy: The Jackal functions as this, making comments on pretty much everything to the point where he's borderline Laughably Evil in spite of the horrors he causes.
  • Naked People Are Funny: Everyone with spider powers after they are cured. Hercules is the only one who doesn't even bother trying to get dressed, even though everyone else wants him to.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Peter Parker "outing" himself as having spider powers to rally the civilians broke a spell placed by Doctor Strange that would prevent anyone from figuring out he's Spider-Man. To clarify, people can now learn who Spider-Man is, but they haven't remembered who it is following Peter unmasking during Civil War.
    • Peter's extensive use of Doctor Octopus' technology near the end is what allowed Doc Ock to later swap minds with him.
  • One-Winged Angel: After being impaled in the back by Agent Venom with Captain America's shield and taking in power from thousands, millions of New York spiders, the Queen turns into a massive Giant Spider that is stated to be twenty-eight stories tall.
  • Please Put Some Clothes On: "PANTS OVER HERE! We need pants for Hercules!"
  • Prophecy Twist: Peter Parker is prophesied to kill The Queen... but the prophecy didn't say anything about which Peter Parker, now did it?
  • Rousing Speech:
    • The page quote is part of a rousing speech Mary Jane gives to Peter. He actually thinks the speech was pretty terrible but it still did its job.
    • Peter also gives one to all of New York, calling upon the people of the city to band together and help fight the villains.
  • Ship Tease: Between Peter and Mary Jane, as MJ declares her love for Peter in the final battle, though she makes sure Peter doesn't hear her out of respect for his relationship with Carlie. Considering Carlie breaks up with Peter a few hours later, hindsight is not her strong point. And then, Superior Spider-Man happened.
  • Skyscraper Messages: There's a variation at the end where J. Jonah Jameson (now the mayor of New York City) has the windows of the Empire State Building lit up in red and blue as a "thank you" to Spider-Man for saving the city.
  • Take That!:
  • Took a Level in Badass:
    • Spider-Man, having lost his Spider Sense a few months earlier, is shown training with Shang Chi at the start of the series, since he could no longer rely on Spider-Sense to win fights, and had to compensate for it somehow. During the final act of the story, Horizon Labs manage to find a way to restore his Spider-Sense, meaning that Spider-Man now has actual martial arts expertise to back up his powers, and swiftly turned the tables in his fight with the now-outmatched Kaine.
    • The Queen goes from a one-off villain to one that manages to force multiple superhero teams to work together to stop her.
  • Unusual Euphemism: When Mary Jane explains to Spidey why it took so long for her to acquire spider powers:
    Mary Jane: Reed says I've... um... built up an immunity to your DNA. From all the years we...
    Spider-Man: Shared a toothbrush?
    Mary Jane: Yes, shared a toothbrush.
  • Useless Superpowers: An Invoked Trope as an attempted vaccine against the spider virus. Since super humans are immune, Reed Richards decides to give everyone who isn't infected the superhuman ability to have an instinctual compass ability. Glory Grant (Jonah's aide) notes how completely useless this is in New York City, where the streets are numbered.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Carlie breaks up with Peter when she realizes he is Spider-Man and their whole relationship was a lie.
  • You Are What You Hate: J. Jonah Jameson is amongst those who get spider powers. He is not happy about this.
  • You Have Failed Me: The Queen eventually kills The Jackal for his repeated failings. In the epilogue it was revealed that the Jackal who died was one of the clones, and the real Jackal had kept his distance the entire time.