Spider-Man is one of many superheroes who operate under a strict “no-kill” rule, but that doesn’t mean that he has never been guilty of taking a life. Although Peter Parker strives to save lives as often as possible, there have been several occasions in his Marvel Comics history where he has been pushed to kill someone.
Although occasions in which Spider-Man takes a life are exceptionally rare, the well-meaning superhero has the blood of several people on his hands. While the act of killing someone never gets easier, the first to fall by Spider-Man’s hand will always be the most memorable.
10 The Finisher
In 1968’s The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #5, Spider-Man comes up against the Finisher, an assassin working for the Red Skull with a connection to the death of Peter Parker’s parents. The Finisher underestimates Spider-Man’s power, launching a missile at the hero, who diverts its trajectory back to its point of origin, evidently killing the assassin.
Although Spider-Man may not have specifically intended to kill the Finisher in this issue, he is still responsible for the villain’s death. The accidental yet very real death of the Finisher would only be the beginning of Spider-Man’s surprisingly high kill count, however, as many more would come in later years.
Gog was a monstrous behemoth who became the sixth member of Doctor Octopus’s new Sinister Six in 1971’s The Amazing Spider-Man #103. During a fierce battle with Spider-Man, the hero tricked Gog into a pit of quicksand, causing him to sink beneath the surface and apparently suffocate.
Although later comics would confirm that Gog survived this encounter, Spider-Man nevertheless knowingly led another sentient being into a fatal predicament. In the aftermath of his battle with Gog, Spider-Man admits to feeling sick with himself for how things went down.
8 Gwen Stacy
The infamous 1973 story “The Night Gwen Stacy Died” begins in The Amazing Spider-Man #121, where the Green Goblin attempts to kill Gwen Stacy in front of Spider-Man by throwing her off a bridge. Spider-Man leaps to her aid, but his web line snaps Gwen’s neck, killing her.
While Spider-Man had been trying to save Gwen, he was the one to physically kill her that night. The Green Goblin is quick to point this out to his mourning enemy, gloating over the fact that Spider-Man had killed the very woman he loved. This tragic moment makes for one of the darkest endings in any Spider-Man comic.
Moondark is a little-known villain who fights Spider-Man and Jack Russell in 1973’s Marvel Team-Up #12. The evil magician tangles with the two superheroes for a while before Spider-Man kicks him through a portal, leading Moondark to find himself transported to the top of the Golden Gate Bridge, from which he falls and evidently dies.
Strangely enough, the murder of Moondark is hardly addressed in the issue’s final moment, with Spider-Man even cracking a rather callous joke at the villain’s expense. While it is theoretically possible that Moondark survived the encounter, Spider-Man had no reason to believe any such possibility to be true.
The web-slinging hero kills again in 1974’s Marvel Team-Up #31 when facing Drom, the backward-aging man. Breaking a mystical mirror over Drom’s head, Spider-Man causes him to age backward until he disappears from existence entirely.
While unintentional, this remains one of Spider-Man’s more gruesome kills, as Drom slowly fades out of existence before the hero’s very eyes. The hero’s nonchalant attitude toward death in his team-up titles is a strange detail of early Spider-Man comics, with Drom’s death never being mentioned again.
5 Modular Man
Modular Man and Killer Shrike appear as a team in Marvel Team-Up #90, released in 1980, to fight the superhero duo of Spider-Man and Beast. In a shocking moment toward the end of the issue, Spider-Man commandeers Killer Shrike’s powerful gauntlets and turns them on Modular Man, causing him to explode.
This is a truly out-of-character moment for Spider-Man, who resorts to killing rather quickly. Although Spider-Man later laments over having to take a life, he is no less responsible for the death of the Modular Man. To this very day, this remains one of Spider-Man’s more violent and shocking kills.
4 Agent Charlemagne
Agent Charlemagne was a covert operative who runs afoul of Spider-Man and Wolverine in 1986’s Spider-Man vs. Wolverine #1. Knowing that she was doomed to be captured by her former allies, whom she had betrayed, Charlemagne places herself in the path of a punch Spider-Man had intended for Wolverine, dying as a result of the hero’s incredible strength.
Although Charlemagne’s death had been orchestrated on her part, this moment haunted Spider-Man for some time thereafter. While he had killed at least six people in previous adventures, Spider-Man often looked back at Charlemagne as the first life he’d ever taken, never truly forgiving himself.
Spider-Man killed one of several incarnations of the supervillain Whisper in the 1992 comic Web of Spider-Man #91. While in a battle with Whisper, Spider-Man sensed danger from the villain’s accomplice Pulse, who was shooting at the two. Avoiding the bullet, Spider-Man pulled Whisper into its path, leading him to be shot and killed.
Although Pulse was technically the one to directly kill Whisper, Spider-Man still had a hand in the villain’s death. His spider-sense should have allowed him to find a way to keep both himself and his enemy from being hit by Pulse’s fire, yet he was the only one that emerged from the scenario unscathed.
2001’s The Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 2) #35 features a particularly brutal fight between Spider-Man and the multiversal villain Morlun. Knowing that Morlun feeds off of spider essence, Spider-Man reveals that his has been tainted by the radioactive spider that bit him. Discovering that the radioactivity hurts Morlun, Spider-Man gives him a lethal dose thereof, only giving pause when Morlun begs for his life, though the villain’s minion, Dex, finishes him off quickly thereafter.
Spider-Man may not have gotten the killing blow on Morlun, but he certainly brought him to the brink of death knowingly and would have killed him had he not become distracted. The “Spider-Totem” arc of which this battle was a part may be best known for giving Spider-Man cool new powers tied to his spider essence, but the hero also became far more brutal as a result.
The supervillain known as Shade comes across Spider-Man in 2002’s The Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 2) #40. Shade, who fed on other beings’ energy by trapping them in the Astral Plane, got a taste of his own medicine when Spider-Man threw him into his own portal. Trapped in an endless loop, Shade and his portal exploded, seemingly killing the villain.
This often-forgotten moment is surprisingly callous on Spider-Man’s part, as he nonchalantly kills Shade and then excuses the murder by claiming that death never seems permanent in the world of superheroes. Nevertheless, Shade remains missing, suggesting that Spider-Man truly did end his life during their encounter.
NEXT: 10 Spider-Man Showdowns We’re Still Waiting For
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