Spider-Man’s Powers Make Him Look Weaker As Peter Parker

Spider-Man’s strength, speed, and agility make him a powerful superhero, but did you know his spider-powers make him look weak to others?

Of all the superheroes in the Marvel Universe, Spider-Man may have the best power set. Although there are stronger and faster superhumans, Spidey’s strength, speed, agility, and healing abilities make him a match for just about anyone. Moreover, Peter Parker’s uncanny spider-sense gives him an edge that puts him a step ahead of even more powerful beings like the Hulk.

Ironically, however, the very same abilities that make Spider-Man such an effective superhero on the battlefield actually make Peter Parker look wimpier to his friends, even serving to protect his secret identity. While this seems like a major contradiction, this downside of Peter’s abilities was actually established by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko in an early issue of The Amazing Spider-Man.

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In The Amazing Spider-Man #8, Peter Parker got into an argument with his high school nemesis Flash Thompson. In the process, Flash knocks Peter’s glasses off and they shatter, inadvertently establishing Peter’s glasses-free look from that point on. This made Peter even angrier, and he tried to get into a fight with Flash later until a teacher stopped them and told them to solve their problems in the way boys were apparently supposed to settle their disagreements in the 1960s: the boxing ring.

Peter Parker vs Flash

Yes, apparently Stan Lee thought that instead of just talking things out, it would be more satisfying to have Peter and Flash slug it out. This made Peter anxious as he realized his spider-powers could cause him to seriously injure Flash if he wasn’t careful. Because of this, when the fight began, Peter just relied on his spider-sense and hyper-fast reflexes to avoid all of Flash’s blows. Although he was putting on an impressive display, to all of the kids watching it looked like Peter was scared of Flash and trying to put as much distance between them as possible.

Annoyed, Peter realized he had to slow down dramatically just to make himself look like less of a wimp. He then tapped Flash in the face with only a fraction of his power, but even this was too much for the high-school bully, who went flying backwards into the ropes. Still unwilling to believe that “Puny Parker” could actually throw a punch, Flash convinced himself that he just tripped. But while the other kids kept interpreting Peter’s actions as cowardice, Flash eventually realized there was more to Peter than he originally thought. Although he kept trying to land a solid blow, Peter kept avoiding his fastest punches without trying. As the fight dragged on, Peter finally realized that if he just flicked Flash with his wrist, he should be able to pull his punch enough to knock him down without seriously hurting him.

Unfortunately, just as Peter threw his punch, Flash got momentarily distracted by some screams and turned the other way. Peter connected and Flash was immediately knocked out – but the kids simply claimed Peter didn’t win the match since Flash was looking the other way when he punched him. Annoyed, Peter carried Flash to the locker room, where the bully woke up several minutes later and convinced himself that Peter must have had a brick in his boxing glove when he hit him. While the entire fight is funny for readers, it’s the perfect example of the everyday frustration that made Spider-Man such a unique presence in the comics of the time, turning even his greatest power into a relatable foible.

Peter Parker has frequently complained he has nothing but bad luck – and his boxing match with Flash Thompson clearly showed the “Parker Luck” at its best. Although Peter tried to play fair, his powers made him more than a match for Flash. Spider-Man went on to score many major victories against powerful supervillains, but try as he might, he could never escape the “Puny Parker” label that plagued him throughout high school.

Next: Jameson Is The Only Enemy Who Knows Spider-Man’s Bizarre Weakness

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