In anticipation of Spidey’s arrival to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, here are the four best crossovers from the comics between the Web-Head and the Avengers.
Amazing Spider-Man Annual #3
Until recently, Spider-Man was absolutely positively not the kind of hero to be buddy buddy with his peers, and had not been able to join a super group to save his life for nearly 50 years of his web-slinging existence. In Amazing Spider-Man Annual #3 however, the Avengers decided to take a chance on the kid after a long discussion among the team, deliberating as to whether or not this weird crawling hero would make a welcome addition to their fold. Some members of the team, such as Wasp, were freaked out by Spidey, while others like Hawkeye were rallying behind the kid to step up to the big leagues. After hearing a glowing recommendation from Daredevil, the Avengers scour New York City to find Spider-Man. They eventually manage to find the Web-Head and inform him that today is his lucky day, and he can join up with the team if he wants. After wrestling over the decision, which could potentially mean missing out on spending time with his Aunt (Really Peter?), he agrees and the Avengers state that he may join only once he’s completed a task for them: CAPTURE THE HULK.
Now, I know for a fact that neither Hawkeye, Black Widow, nor Ant-Man EVER had to do something so crazy, but the Avengers thought this was the best method to test out Spidey, and so off he went. Peter manages to actually find the Hulk, and since the two had something of a friendship at the time, the Hulk reverted back into Bruce Banner, and for the first time Spider-Man learned about the secret identity and origin of the big green guy. Realizing that Spidey is actually there to capture him, though, Banner switches back to Hulk mode and tosses Peter aside. In a million-to-one event, Spider-Man manages to actually defeat the Hulk by essentially drowning the green goliath in web fluid. After thinking a bit about the situation, Peter decides to let the Hulk go and goes back to the Avengers, telling them in a nutshell to cram it. Needless to say, Spider-Man didn’t become a full-fledged member for quite some time afterward.
So after his horrible experience with the Avengers during the Hulk incident, one would think both Spider-Man and the team would want nothing to do with each other. This would have been the case if Spidey hadn’t heard of (I kid you not) the fact that the Avengers pay their members $1000 a week to be on the team. Yes, each member of the Avengers is getting paid four grand a month to fight Ultron on a regular basis. Realizing that he could be bringing in some sweet dinero, Peter swings his way to Avengers Mansion and attempts to crawl his way inside, only to be stopped by their security systems. He then sees them flying away in their Quinjet on a mission. However, Peter is having none of that and sticks to the underside of the Quinjet, following the Avengers to their next mission. That mission turns out to be at Project Pegasus, another all-encompassing organization of the Marvel Universe that accidentally unleashed the “Lava Men” upon the world (It’s a comic book from the early 80s, these things happen folks.)
Anyway, Spider-Man manages to talk down the Lava Men and let them know that this whole thing was a giant misunderstanding. In response to this, Captain America offers Spidey membership to the Avengers once again! Unfortunately, the government (who was bankrolling the team at the time) isn’t having it and refuses to allow Spider-Man to be an Avenger. Once again rejected, Peter swings away and dreams of all the ways he’ll never be able to spend that $4,000 a month. Two strikes, Spidey.
Following his horrible ordeals with the Avengers in the past, one would think that Spidey wouldn’t exactly been keen to jump into bed with the team again, but one would be wrong. Presented with a problem from the Guardians of the Galaxy villain Nebula (granddaughter of Thanos), the Avengers asked Spider-Man once again to help them out, but out of the goodness of his heart rather than for the paycheck. Spider-Man agrees and travels with the Avengers to the far reaches of outer space, as well as outside reality, in order to stop the fiendish blue foe. Early on in the story, the Avengers take Spider-Man aside and finally say, “Welcome aboard” offering him a membership with the Avengers. Spidey accepts and the team continues to hunt for Nebula…until Peter screws up again.
Splitting up in order to find the latest “Deus Ex Machina” that Nebula is using to threaten reality, Cap orders everyone to search for said device and lets everyone know not to touch it if they should find it. Spidey finds it, decides he’s going to slap it with webbing, and accidentally erases reality. All in a day’s work! But wait, you may say, we’re all still reading these comics so how could reality have been extinguished? Well, the day was saved by another Avenger, Sersi, who used her powers to help restore everything back to normal (pretty good power to have that one) and the team rallies together to finally beat Nebula. Returning to Earth, Captain America takes Spidey aside AGAIN and fires his ass. Well not so much fires, but politely tells him that membership probably isn’t for him. Peter agrees with Steve as he’s more used to hitting guys in rhino suits and folks who are riding across the New York skyline on Goblin gliders and so once again, Spider-Man is left out on the lurch from the Avengers.
So how does Spider-Man screw things up this time? He doesn’t! Yes for the first time ever, Spider-Man in this story manages to become an Avenger and it sticks! After the Scarlet Witch goes bananas and effectively disbands the Avengers, Spider-Man villain Electro is hired to break a guy out of the super villain prison called “The Raft”. His breaking and entering understandably causes quite the commotion and heroes far and wide show up to see what the hubbub is about. Spidey shows up and proceeds to get his butt immediately handed to him; every villain in the joint dogpiles him, breaks his arm, and even takes his mask off (which was never really followed up on, which is weird). His bacon is taken out of the fire when Captain America arrives and lends him a hand.
From here, a cadre of other heroes including Luke Cage, Spider-Woman, Daredevil, the Sentry, and Iron Man, all join the fight and the “New Avengers” were born. Later on, even Wolverine of the X-Men joined, and the heroes fought dinosaurs in the Savage Land, alien invaders in the form of the Skrulls, each other, and many other new threats. Spidey fit in well with the Avengers, offering a more humorous aspect that the team really needed at the time, (along with his power of selling comic books of course). Ever since this, Spider-Man has been a stalwart of the team, lending his talents whenever he could.
For when Spidey eventually joins the Avengers in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I would bet that the more recent “New Avengers” run will have the heaviest influence, as Spider-Man wasn’t even a team member before this time. If you had ever told me I would be writing an article like this to welcome Spider-Man into the movie Avengers proper, I wouldn’t have believed you. Oh what a time to be alive, right gang?