Spider-Who Part 88: Ricochet

The fourth and final new persona Peter Parker created as part of the Identity Crisis story was Ricochet. This costume was almost entirely Mary Jane’s idea. The bulk of the clothes of the Ricochet outfit come from a used clothing store she and Peter walked into to get costume ideas. Once Mary Jane found a leather jacket and shirt with a stylized ‘R’ on it from an old out-of-business bar, she had to have them. She even came up with the Ricochet name to fit with the ‘R’ logo.

Peter mostly just uses his heightened agility and acrobatic skill to hop and jump around as Ricochet. He also has four metal discs on each arm that he can throw that will bounce around a room and into people. It’s not explained how he manages to do this, but one can guess it has something to do with having gotten good with angles and his spider instincts he’s honed so well while web slinging around without hitting anything.

As Ricochet, Peter decides to act as a greedy bad guy looking to get some money on the side. He stops a robbery telling the crooks that if they wanted to get away with it they’d have to pay him a cut while they’re on his turf. In actuality he’s delaying them until the cops show up, and he’s also trying to get the attention of the criminal leader whose turf he’s actually on, The Black Tarantula, who had previously defeated and humiliated Spider-Man. Another villain by the name of Delilah who works for a rival crime lord known as The Rose, takes notice of Ricochet and after a test in battle, asks him if he would like to team up with her to take down the Black Tarantula. He agrees, and the two end up getting in a drawn out battle against two of the Black Tarantula’s henchmen, Bloodscream and Roughhouse.

When they prove too much for Ricochet and Delilah, mainly because Peter keeps trying to use his web shooters by instinct instead of his ricochet discs, Peter decides to mix things up. Tracking the two henchmen back to their harbour hangout, Peter attacks them, not as Ricochet, but as ALL FOUR of his new identities. He seperates the two, jumps in for a quick attack, temporarily besting one of them, then changes costumes and attacks the other. Believing they’re overwhelmed and being unprepared for the next set of new skills of the next hero that shows up, they’re soon beaten. While Roughhouse is unconscious from the sleeping darts of the Hornet, Bloodscream reveals their bosses’ plan to kidnap and/or attack several women from the university campus, one of whom is Mary Jane.

By this point in the story Peter realizes he can’t keep all the different identities straight, as he kept trying to use his webs while in other costumes. Also by now Peter had cleared Spider-Man’s name as the other heroes and he goes back to being Spider-Man to take on the Black Tarantula once again.

Of course I can’t end this without definitely confirming that Ricochet is seen along side all the other Identity Crisis heroes in the pages of Spider-Verse. In fact they’re all on the same page at the great final fight.

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Spider-Who Part 87: The Hornet

The 3rd new identity invented by Peter Parker during the Identity Crisis story was the Hornet. Supplied with an anti-grav flight suit of armour by Hobie Brown, aka The Prowler (and Spider-Punk in another universe), The Hornet is able to fly around with ease. The suit is also equipped with various types of small gauntlet mounted darts that can have a variety of effects, but the one Peter used the most were sleep darts. The only reason Hobie Brown doesn’t use it himself is that it’s far too heavy for a regular person. Thanks to his proportional strength of a spider, that isn’t a problem for Peter Parker. It should be noted that the chest logo and overall costume design was made by Peter’s wife Mary Jane.

As the Hornet, Peter came across The Looter who was trying to steal the $5 million from Norman Osborn’s private safe at the Daily Bugle that was to be for the bounty on Spider-Man’s head. After easily stopping him, Norman Osborn became a publicly vocal supporter of the Hornet, even going so far as to hold a press conference on the roof of the Daily Bugle to reward the Hornet with a $20,000 check, which Peter accepted and asked it be donated to a school for the deaf.

However, something unexpected was about to happen. After Hornet had stopped the Looter, a reporter had asked him if he was also out looking for Spider-Man to get the reward, to which the Hornet replied that people wouldn’t have to worry about Spider-Man showing up anymore. The Vulture saw this report on TV and took it to mean that Hornet had killed Spider-Man, and became enraged, shouting that Spider-Man was his to kill! So when the press conference to award the Hornet with the $20,000 happened the next day, the Vulture attacked and an open air sky battle ensued.

Throughout the battle the Vulture’s flying abilities and speed far outmatched the Hornet’s, and his darts were easily deflected by the Vultures wings. To throw him off balance, Peter broke out of his Hornet character and started taunting and teasing Vulture with jokes and puns. The Vulture almost immediately realized the Hornet and Spider-Man were one and the same, and when he shouted this, Norman Osborn, still on the rooftop, overheard and realized he had been made a fool of. Peter also noticed that Norman noticed, and so had to pack up the Hornet armour once back home with MJ now that his cover had been blown.

I’m sure you can guess where I’m going next. The Hornet appeared in Spider-Verse at the final battle against the Inheritors.

Spider-Who Part 86: Prodigy

Staying with the Identity Crisis story, today we’re exploring the second identity Peter took on, Prodigy. In addition to the $5 million bounty put on Spider-Man’s head by Norman Osborn, Osborn had egged Spidey into fighting him, but unknown to Peter they were being filmed. When Spidey brought the pain, Osborn (aka The Green Goblin) acted as if he was being severely hurt and then used the video to make himself look like a victim.

As Prodigy, Peter took to the skies as a golden hero that always did the right thing, always proclaiming the city would be safe under his watch! Peter shaped the Prodigy personality after the classic over-the-top heroes he used to read about in comics when he was a kid. Peter keeps mentioning in inner monologues how much fun it is to be Prodigy, and how great it is that everybody seems to love him for a change.

Prodigy was able to stop a scheme of Conundrum to kidnap the Sufindian princess, and another plot of Jack O’Lantern that was occurring at the same time of stealing a Sufindian relic of great power. After saving the day, Peter, as Prodigy, then produced one of his Spider-Man costumes saying he had found it in the lair of Conundrum. Of course this wasn’t true, but since both Conundrum and Jack O’Lantern use illusions and tricks to mess with people’s minds, the press buys the story that one of the two must have dressed up as Spidey when Osborn was beaten.

Mary Jane suggests to Peter that he doesn’t have to give up being Prodigy now that his name is clear as Spider-Man. He admits it was fun, but that ultimately he’s just play-acting when he’s Prodigy, and even Mighty Mouse wouldn’t be caught saying the corny things he says as Prodigy. He also says that he wouldn’t have been able to beat the two villains if he hadn’t had to rely so strongly on his spider sense, and so it’s only right that he go back to being Spider-Man.

Sure enough though, Prodigy appears in the pages of Spider-Verse, so there must be at least one version of Peter who decided the love and adoration of New York city and the fun of acting like a golden age hero of old was better than being Spidey.

Spider-Who Part 85: Dusk

As part of the Identity Crisis storyline, Peter was framed by Norman Osborn and the Trapster for the murder of a small time criminal named Joey Z. It seemed like Joey Z had been smothered to death by webbing, but in reality it was an adhesive compound made by the Trapster to closely look like Spider-Man’s webbing. Once police believed Spider-Man was responsible and put out a warrant for his arrest on homicide charges, Norman Osborn (who at the time of the comics owned the Daily Bugle) put out a $5 million reward for Spider-Man’s capture, dead or alive.

Because the police and half the city of New York now wanted Spider-Man’s head, Peter decided to come up with 4 new costumed identities that he could safely go out as to try and clear Spider-Man’s name. For one of these personas, Peter decided to use a costume he had obtained from a previous adventure in an alternate dimension called The Negative Zone.

The Dusk costume is completely black, but also has the added ability of not reflecting light of any kind in any way. It can basically make him invisible in dark and shadowed areas.

With the Dusk identity, Peter ended up finding the Trapster and teamed up with him, pretending to become his friend to try and get him to confess to the murder of Joey Z while wearing a police wire under the costume. When the two found out Norman Osborn had put a hit contract out on the Trapster as well to eliminate all witnesses, the Trapster turned on Osborn and tried to kill him. Dusk couldn’t let Trapster murder Norman in front of him, so the two struggled while Osborn escaped. In the fight, the recorder was destroyed along with the confessions he had managed to get. However Dusk convinces Trapster to turn himself in to the police, admit to the Joey Z murder, and ruin Osborn’s plans, as a way to get revenge on Osborn.

After clearing Spider-Man’s name, Peter put the 4 new costumes away and became Spider-Man once again. However, in the Spider-Verse comics, Dusk can been seen in the background of one of the large battles, implying that in some universe, Peter decided to remain as Dusk.