Top Ten

Top Ten: Spider-Man Costumes

I’ve been planning this feature for years. Spider-Man is my favorite superhero, and he’s worn plenty of iconic costumes throughout his history. Before jumping ahead, let’s establish some ground rules. First, the costumes on the list must be unique, not slight variations of other costumes. Only suits worn by characters identifying as Spider-Man are in consideration. If I opened up the list to Spider-Woman, Jessica Drew’s costume from the Ultimate universe would be a real contender (consider it a future Top Ten idea). Finally, the costume must be important enough to have multiple high quality images available online. The Bullet Points costume may have made this list, but it’s been sparingly used by Marvel. Here are some other honorable mentions that almost made the cut: Kaine, Iron Spider, Stealth Suit, MK3, and Bombastic Bag-Man. Alright, with the preamble out of the way, here are my favorite Spidey suits.

10. Programmable Matter Suit – First Appearance: Spider-Man: Miles Morales (2020)

This is the only costume on this list that doesn’t have a comic book origin. I haven’t yet played Spider-Man: Miles Morales (I will eventually), so I can’t say much about the suit’s backstory. But whoa, the programmable matter suit is killer. Its blocky design makes it look 8-bit inspired, and I’m into the idea of a Spider-Man that glows while he’s kicking butt. Red and black is a winning color combo, and you’ll see more of it as we continue along.

09. Captain Universe – First Appearance: The Amazing Spider-Man #329 (1990)

This pick doesn’t seem all that fair. It’s just a Captain Universe suit featuring a splash of Spider-Man’s mask. But I love it. I’m a fan of Marvel’s cosmic stories, and Spider-Man’s Captain Universe costume somehow manages to be both outrageously goofy and flamboyantly cool. I want to see this version of Spider-Man fighting alongside Nova in outer space. The Miles Morales version of this suit might look even better.

08. Ben Reilly (Hoodie) – First Appearance: Web of Spider-Man #118 (1985)

I know what you’re thinking. How the hell did the ridiculous hoodie make the list? A few years ago I would have thought the same thing. Then I played Spider-Man. Ben Reilly’s costume looks so good in that game I kept returning to it. I dig the external web-shooters and tactical pouches. And the spare web cartridges are extremely practical. Now, the hoodie isn’t practical. It’s a silly 90’s throwback and I accept that. But the original Scarlet Spider costume is unique and fun, which I appreciate. Ben Reilly’s second suit doesn’t have the same kind of panache. Respect the hoodie.

07. Superior – First Appearance: The Amazing Spider-Man #700 (2012)

The Superior Spider-Man is actually Doctor Octopus in Peter Parker’s body, which explains the extra arms and sharp edges. The upgraded Superior costume features a black spider logo and brings back the armpit webbing, which I’ll always welcome. The suit is sleek and sinister looking, fitting for a supervillain turned superhero. I actually prefer the original Superior design to this one, but it’s too similar to another suit on this list to qualify. The upgraded suit is different enough, and this version of Spider-Man is not to be messed with.

06. Noir – First Appearance: Spider-Man Noir #1 (2008)

This is one of the more unique suits on this list. Combat boots, trench coat, fedora – its design is unabashedly inspired by classic detective stories. Spider-Man Noir also dual-wields pistols, which speaks to the darker tone of the Noir universe. The Noir costume is downright cool. It’s easy to imagine this Spider-Man flipping up his mask and lighting a cigarette while hanging out with a stone gargoyle. I’ve never read this character’s comics, but I enjoyed the Noir stealth sections of the Shattered Dimensions video game.

05. Spider-Armor: MK I – First Appearance: Web of Spider-Man #100 (1993)

Though I consume plenty of comic book media, I’ve never spent an abundance of time in comic book shops. The local one in my area seemed like an unwelcome dungeon. But I did visit it at least once and I bought Web of Spider-Man #100 back in the early 90’s. I had to find out more about that shiny Spidey suit. I mean, look at this thing. It’s a mix of medieval armor and Iron Man, and it’s much cooler than the Iron Spider armor designed by Tony Stark. Silver and black is an effective and simple color scheme, as seen on Iron Man’s MK II armor and War Machine. MK I Spider-Man may be a bit less agile, but he looks like an elegant warrior. There have been more versions of the MK armor since its creation, but the original is still best.

04. Miles – First Appearance: Miles Morales: Spider-Man #1 (2018)

I’ll be honest, Miles Morales’s costume didn’t click with me at first. I didn’t dislike it, just sort of accepted it. Then I saw Javier Garrón’s artwork and it all came together. All due respect to Sara Pichelli, because she did a great job designing this suit, but Garrón woke me up to its greatness (the red ballerina shoes really pull the costume together). It reminds me of the classic red and blue suit, because I think it’ll age extremely well. Miles’s suit will still be looking killer in 2050. One note – I like when Miles first used Peter Parker’s old web-shooters and wore them on the outside of the suit. That’s my kind of accessorizing.

03. 2099 – First Appearance: The Amazing Spider-Man #365 (1992)

I dig that our two Latino Spider-Men are beside each other on the list. I’ve always loved Miguel O’Hara’s futuristic, Día de los Muertos costume. I’m a sucker for calavera artwork. The spider logo skull and claws give the 2099 suit a dangerous look while the web cape pays homage to the original Spider-Man. And look at that mask design. Creating eyes using bright red outlines is awesome. Many of the “edgy” costume designs of the 90’s are embarrassing to look at today, but the 2099 suit has aged gracefully. I’m surprised Peter Parker didn’t steal this suit design for himself.

02. Classic Red and Blue/Black – First Appearance: Amazing Fantasy #15 (1962)

All hail comic book legend Steve Ditko. He created one of the most recognizable, classic costumes in history with his Spider-Man design. Check out Batman and Superman. Do they still wear their original suits? No way. Spidey’s classic red and blue has stood the test of time. I’m lumping the red and black suit into this spot as well, because in my mind they’re interchangeable. The large white eyes, the spider logos on front and back, the red popping against the blue (or black), the armpit webbing – it’s amazing, sensational, and spectacular. I always prefer this Spider-Man going shoeless (as seen in the Mythos comic). How could Parker stick to ceilings when he’s got rubber soles? There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this original design, but there’s one suit I love more.

01. Symbiote – First Appearance: The Amazing Spider-Man #252 (1984)

This is it. The symbiote suit is everything I want in a superhero costume. It’s slick, simple, iconic, and it suits the character. Yes, it makes Spidey look goth, but Spidey is a sneaky guy. When he’s creeping up on criminals it’s not smart to wear a bright red and blue suit, now is it? That big white logo plastered on the chest and connecting to the matching back logo is perfection. Spidey’s white eyes look massive and alien-like against the black backdrop of the suit. And let’s not forget the white squares over the hands (adding just enough contrast). Shooting webs out of clenched fists is a whole new level of cool. It’s all fantastic. The black suit is intimidating as hell; it’s no wonder Black Cat prefers it. No disrespect to Mr. Ditko or Spidey’s original duds, but if I had Spider powers, I’d immediately go goth.

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