Spider-Man Flips A Classic Thanos Story of Neverending Torment


This article contains SPOILERS for Amazing Fantasy #1000

Marvel’s Spider-Man, despite his reputation as a friendly crimefighter, still strikes fear into the hearts of certain criminals – and has even tormented certain low-life thugs in the same manner as Thanos, the Mad Titan. Peter Parker is a street-level superhero who stops bank robbers, purse snatchers and corrupt city officials more than the other Avengers, who often fight world-ending conquerors and extradimensional demons. Because of this, he has an opportunity to fight criminals who would otherwise go unnoticed – and Amazing Fantasy #1000 proves his tactics echo a certain Infinity Stone-gathering alien at his most petty.

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Spider-Man and Thanos fight each other in comics on occasion, but they often exist in very different worlds; Peter mainly stays in New York City dealing with street-level crime while Thanos invites destruction on a galactic and universal scale. In a one-on-one fight, Spider-Man is hopelessly outmatched; his battle with Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War proved this to be true when the wallcrawler could only dodge Thanos’ attacks for so long (and Thanos is ever more powerful in the comics). But Spider-Man can still mimic Thanos in one aspect: unrelentingly tormenting a single person for years.

In Amazing Fantasty #1000, the story “Just Some Guy” by Anthony Falcone and Michael Cho involves Spider-Man interfering with a single criminal’s exploits again and again. Frankie Fama is a common burglar who uses the Marvel Universe’s many alien invasions, galactic conquerors and robot uprisings to commit simple crimes – and Spider-Man stops every single one of them. “Why do you gotta get in my business again!?” Frankie says, and only later in the issue does Spider-Man admit that Frankie isn’t ‘just some guy’ to him; his experience after Uncle Ben’s murder taught him that so-called small men are incredibly important and can change the lives of many.

Spider-Man catches the same criminal every year

The story echos a rather imfamous situation in Thanos Annual #1, in which Thanos relentlessly torments an ordinary man named David. The Mad Titan appears on David’s birthday every year, burning down his school, ruining his relationships and even breaking pipes in his apartment. Of course, the circumstances and the reasoning behind Thanos and Spider-Man’s actions are quite different: Spider-Man prevents the criminal from committing crimes out of a desire to help others, while Thanos accosts David simply out of pure spite (and never reveals why he’s chosen David out of everyone else on Earth).

Thanos most likely chose one human at random, purely out of pettiness. By contrast, Spider-Man’s chooses the criminal because he has to; while Peter Parker would have let a person like Frankie Fama go, his Uncle Ben’s death changed his entire outlook on life. No man, criminal or superhero, is too small to be ignored, and Thanos and Spider-Man prove this easily through their actions.

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