Spidey Doesn’t Play Well With Others is a monthly column by Paul DeKams, looking at stories showcasing that while Spider-Man might have many “Amazing Friends,” they don’t always get along.
“Spider-Man: Hero or Menace” is a regular headline published by the Daily Bugle. In spite of regularly saving the day, Spider-Man must evade the police, while dodging insults and garbage thrown at him by the general public. Yet he remains a hero.
Mutants are regularly hunted by humans in garish 18th century-garb with pitchforks and torches. They deal with hateful signs that read “Die Mutie, Die!” (And the humans holding those signs don’t even have the roguish Sideshow Bob class and charm to lie about it and say it’s German for “The Mutie, The!”) They also throw have trash and insults thrown at them by the humans they’ve just saved from The Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Yet the X-Men remain heroes.
In spite of this common ground of misunderstood hero-dom, the X-Men and Spider-Man have managed to be jerks to each other pretty consistently. It makes sense, of course. In their beginnings, both Spider-Man and the X-Men were teenagers, and a teenager’s greatest enemy (aside from parents, who just don’t understand) is OTHER TEENAGERS.
Uncanny X-Men #35, by Roy Thomas and Werner Roth, takes place shortly after a one-page cameo by the wall crawler in Uncanny X-Men #27 which featured Spidey brusquely blowing off a membership offer from the X-Men. Despite his flippant rejection of “Huh? Me…an X-Man? You gotta be kidding’!”, in his deepest thoughts he is regretful thinking “It would be great to team up with a team my own age…but fate seems to have meant me to be a loner!”
Cut to weeks later, Peter Parker is taking a leisurely motorcycle ride upstate, sees a flying saucer and changes into Spider-Man to investigate (remember, With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility). He comes face to face with a mechanical spider sent to attack the X-Men. It attacks, and he then proceeds to do the X-Men’s job for them and dispatch this mechanical menace. The X-Men arrive on the scene, roughly ten minutes late, having received a communication from their ally Banshee informing them to “beware…the spider.” With Spider-Man being the only spider-type being in their vicinity, as well as the fact that he was a jerk to them a couple of weeks ago, the X-Men SEMI-JUSTIFIABLY attack him.
Wait, did I say “Semi-Justifiably?” I meant not justifiably at all. They just come right at him yelling, asking questions, and flying at him like a bunch of jerks (Mainly Angel with the flying like a jerk bit).
Spider-Man easily evades the attacks of Cyclops, Iceman, Beast, Angel and Jean-oh, wait. What’s that? Jean Grey, AKA Marvel Girl was left at home because: sexism? Well, anyway, Jean Grey more or less figures things out back at the X-Mansion using her mutant power of common sense while Spider-Man and the X-dudes punch and web each other like the jerkiest bunch of jerks ever.
Upon receiving a message from Marvel Girl (and getting Spider-Man completely soaked by knocking him out a window and into a river), the X-Men finally stop fighting long enough to offer a half-hearted apology while mumbling about faulty mutant-detecting equipment and speed off in their Rolls Royce (yes, a Rolls Royce!) to go accost someone else. Based on how they treated Spider-Man this time around, its amazing he didn’t join the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. It would have been great for him to team up with a team of people mistreated by the X-Men like he was…but fate seems to have meant him to be a loner!
In spite of these shared traits of heroism in the face of a general public that fears and hates them, it’ll be odd if we ever see Spider-Man join the X-Men. They’re simply heroes with far too much in common to ever coexist, let alone be on the same team. Nope. It’ll never happen. Plus, Spider-Man doesn’t even have an X-Gene. He couldn’t possibly join the X-Men!