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LONG BLOG

Exploring The Suits Of Insomniac's Spider-Man

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Ever since it’s debut in the 1960’s spider-man’s suit has been one of, if not THE, greatest super hero costume in the industry. Distinct, stylish, and slick, it’s basic design has remained unchanged yet every artist has placed their own mark on the costume subconsciously. From Todd Mcfarlene’s massive triangular eyes to the gradual shift from black to blue as the offset color, some of these changes have lasted longer than others.

A good spider-man game is as defined by it’s rendition of the suit as it is it’s web swinging, and if you can nail it dweebs like me will sink hours just to see it in motion. Yet the default suit is only the surface, over his 50 year history spidey has had a number of alternate suits that have helped artists and writers leave a distinct mark on the character, while also attempting dethrone the end all be all of suits. Some have come closer than others but almost all of spidey’s wardrobe are worthwhile additions. This has made a solid wardrobe for players to pick through a surprisingly potent selling point, and I’ve spent a lot of time with some sub par spidey games just because of the apparent love and care put into designing and animating alternate outfits.

It seems poetic that Insomniac has the next shot at sucking up my free time as I fondly remember playing Ratchet and Clank 3 over and over, dozens of times only to truly see the cutscenes again with a new skin. Despite everything else being identical there was something strangely refreshing about seeing the same story with a new hero, especially one as well designed as say, Brainius.

https://vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/ratchet/images/6/6d/Brainius.jpg/revision/latest/scale-to-width-down/113?cb=20120706091044

With a recent leaked image seemingly verified (some devs warned about staying off reddit when it appeared) showing off the suits, I wanted to take some time to explore these suits and give context to the more casual spidey fan as to where they’re from, what they mean, and try to guess why they were chosen. Some spoilers ahead for the game, but I wouldn’t worry too much. If you know who mr. negative, you really don’t have anything to worry about.

 
the leak in question

I’ve broken these suits into categories to keep from repeating myself, and outside of that i’ll mostly put them in order of appearance:


Game Originals

Suits that are unique to this particular title, or redesigns of existing suits.

Classic/Damaged/Advanced

 

A given, the red and blues that have defined the character since the 70’s appear in a few different forms in Insomniac’s title, but I’ve opted to put them into a single slot to simplify the list. The Recent Gamescom demo showed the opening sequence of the game wherein a classic suited Spidey takes on WIlson Fisk, the Kingpin. He’s badly damaged in the fight and presumably designs the advanced suit to be more resilient.

I’ve already sung the praises of the basic Spidey set so I’ll instead take this moment to say I find Insomniac’s rendition a little…clumpy. It’s hard to really put into clear words but rather than an expertly designed outfit personally fitted for an acrobat, it looks like a really expensive cosplay set, one that is seamless but doesn’t quite fit as well as you want. It reminds me of the 1996 Phantom movie where a suitable cut Billy Zane is crammed into a purple body suit and set loose in the jungle.

 

I’m a lot keener on the Advanced suit. The white emblem and arm braces give it a nice pop for what is otherwise a more subdued aspect of the suit. I think it’s the closest a redesign has been to being better than the original since McFarlene gave him large expressive eyes, but so much of the base suit is maintained it’s not really a fair fight. I wouldn’t mind the white emblem getting worked into the base suit going forward.

Special mention goes to the damaged suit which I probably won’t ever use, but I find darkly humorous. You can apparently use all three suits right out of the gate and I find the idea of a deeply tired and bleeding peter parker riding the subway surrounded by uncomfortable patrons pretty funny.


Velocity

 

A completely original suit designed by artist Adi Granov, the Velocity suit feels like a missing link between the advanced suit and the spidey suit of the cyberpunk Miquel O’Hara (more on him later). It’s bright tron esque emblem and harder goggle style eyes set it a step in the future.

The Velocity suit will presumably give you a boost in speed when web swinging which would make it the only suit you need, but thankfully you can swap suit powers meaning you won’t have to stare at the velocity suit for 90% of the game. That’s a huge plus because while not a bad suit, it feels a little too close to some of the other suits in the game and I’m not a fan of the TACTICAL look to the suit. Anytime Spidey gets militarized it feels so unnatural and this feels like a suit for an anti-spider-man put together by Oscorp over something Pete himself would throw together.

The velocity suit is one of the pre-order suits, but it is available in game later on.


Negative

 

A strangely common suit in spider-man games, THe negative suit first came about when Spidey took a trip to The Negative Zone, a Shadow universe full of bug people that for some reason gave him a dye job. The black and grey suit got repurposed for a side character named Dusk but fell into obscurity until the introduction of Mr. Negative.

A gangster with the power to corrupt and brainwash those he touches, Mr. negative got a hold of Spidey and when infecting him with his own inverting powers gave him another dye job that was suspiciously similar to the previous costume. Mr. Negative has been featured heavily in the game’s story since it’s announcement so it’s appearence was almost a given, though I personally though it might relate to the advanced suit’s white emblem somehow.

The Negative Suit is oddly popular in Spider-man games. It first appeared in the 2001 title Spider-Man 2: Enter Electro and then resurfaced in Beenox’s Spider-man: Shattered DImensions. Beenox brought the suit back for the next two titles, Spider-Man: Edge of Time and the game tie in to The Amazing Spider-Man movie. Bizarrely, the suit was missing from the second movie’s tie in.

It’s worth noting this version of the negative suit is an inversion of the Advanced Suit, and not the default suit as commonly seen. Because of this we can assume there are small changes in the outfit, but none that’ll really make it less lame.


MCU Suits

Suits that originate in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, namely Captain America Civil War, Spider-Man: Homecoming, and Avengers: Infinity War


Homemade

 

Each of the Spider-Man film series starts spidey off in a thrown together sort of suit before transitioning him to a proper latex costume. Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man gave him a pair of sweats and a ski mask. The Amazing Spider-Man didn’t even get that, just street clothes,a ski mask and some stylish shades. the MCU gave Pete a more heroic starting suit, one with the vague look of the proper spidey outfit but still simple enough a high school kid could make it. It’s easily the best of the home made outfits and I’m happy it’s the one added.


Homecoming

 

The proper suit of MCU spidey, the homecoming suit simplified the web design and gave broader black braces to break up the red of the suit, most likely inspiring the white braces on the advanced suit. It’s a solid suit, probably the second best next to the Amazing Spider-Man 2’s design, but I can’t help but feel it’s wasted. While unique, it’s not all too distinct from the base design and given how much work goes into the suits I can’t say I wouldn’t have preferred another suit take it’s place.


Iron Spider

 

The film rendition of the Iron Spider is probably my favorite of the film suits. I love that the emblem is made out of the blue that’s usually relegated to the pands and back of the suit, and the gold piping really makes it stand out. I’m especially impressed with how well of a job Insomniac did with replicating the film design of the suit as it almost looks like the same model used in the movies, and the metallic effect looks really rad.

The Iron Spider suit has four mechanical arms that pop out of the back of the suit, but it’s unclear if those will make the transition to the game. I wouldn’t really miss it if they weren’t featured but given another suit comes with a guitar it’s not too far out of the realm of possibility.

The Iron Spider suit is itself based on a comics suit Spidey wore during Civil War. In that comic the marvel heroes were split over whether there should be regulation on super heroes and Spidey sided with Tony Stark. As thanks, Stark gave Spidey an Iron Man esque redesign, one that was- pardon the pun- Bugged to make sure he wasn’t getting into trouble. After finding out Pete got rid of the costume and switched sides in the conflict.

 

I’m pretty happy they chose the MCU Iron Spider over the comics one. The Comics suit isn’t bad, but I find the eyes are too elongated and look off from most angles. I also dislike the look of the material the suit is made of. Red and gold are my favorite colors but it just seems gaudy on Pete, especially compared to the MCU versions more subdued scheme.

Pete never donned the Iron Spider suit again, but it did continue to make appearences. A group of mercenaries copied the design and became minor villains in the wake of civil war, and Mary Jane Watson wore the outfit a few times to help Pete fight a new foe named Regent. More recently, the suit fell into the arms of arms dealer Ceres who recolored the suit black, giving it a sleeker and frankly better look. Now the suit is worn by Aaron Davis, former super villain Prowler and uncle to one of the various spider-men, Miles Morales. This rendition of the suit is less than a year old and might actually be the unidentified “100% bonus” suit in the leak image.

 

The suit is also prominent in the Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon, and was featured in all 4 of Beenox’s Spider-Man games. This is probably why it was glossed over for this outing, but it’s so popular I’d expect to see it added down the road. If nothing else, Mary Jane is said to have playable sequences in the title, so maybe it can make a cameo with her.


Dan Slott Suits

In 2008 Dan Slott was one of the assigned writers for the thrice monthly Amazing Spider-Man series. In 2010, he became the sole writer for the comic after it shifted to twice monthly, and continued to be the characer’s sole writer until this year when he left the book after a decade of writing it. Slott was also fond of character redesigns may have doubled Spidey’s closet, helping to bring us some of the best redesigns the character has ever had. I’ll include suits given to Peter Parker until Slott’s reign, even if not design by slott himself, in this section.


Big Time

 

Before Dan Slott took over Spider-Man had undergone a soft reboot about once a decade, one that made him single and put him back at the daily bugle as a photographer. This had frustrated long time fans who found the character stagnating, and wanted to see Pete move forward with his life. Deciding it was time Pete got a real job, Slott set Pete up at a benevelent tech giant called Horizon where he had access to new materials and could produce a wider range of gadgets for himself, the first of which was the Big Time Suit.

The Big Time suit is a stealth suit design to find the Hobgoblin, a villain with sonic screams. The suit comes with three modes determined by the color of the suit, an inert blue state, an invisible green mode, and a sound proof red one. If it seems counter intuitive for a stealth suit to have neon piping, the lights are normally invisible, only viewable through special lenses.

After it’s debut the Big Time suit was put away until the events of Spider-Island re-introduced kaine into the marvel universe. A deranged clone of Peter Parker, Kaine turned over a new leaf and stole the Big Time suit to help him start a new life over in mexico, though it underwent a redesign between New York and Houston. Kaine returned to the original tron-style design for a stealth mission but has otherwise stuck to his new look as the scarlet spider.

Big Time is especially prolific in modern spidey games. Marvel vs Capcom 3 featured both the green and red versions as alt skins for spidey, and Beenox included the red version in Edge of Time, and the Green version in the Amazing Spider-Man duology. It’s a little sad Insomniac didn’t choose the blue version of the suit since it’s gone unused, but it’s still a personal favorite of mine and among the (surprisingly plentiful) tron inspired Spidey suits, it’s probably the best. Fingers crossed you can changed the color in a menu.

Fear Itself

 

in 2012 Marvel released Fear Itself, a length story arc that saw a war for Asgard come to earth in the form of Mjolnir style hammers weilded by heroes and villains alike. Spidey played an extremely minor role in the arc, appearing in the background action scenes where he got a new asgardian suit that’s just a tron version of the base suit.

It’s…a lot better than I actually remember it looking, but it’s still so similar to the base design it comes across as a bit lazy, especially next to the more unique Big Time suit. It hasn’t been featured in any other games and would honestly be forgotten if it weren’t for Insomniac pulling it from obscurity. I admire picking some obscure and weird suits, but I can’t help but feel like there’s more unique suits you could’ve chosen.

Spider-Armor Mk. II

 

Following the death of a family member Peter Parker found himself in a predictable down spiral. Deciding enough was enough, Spidey built a completely bullet proof set of armor and set out to stop a mass shooting held up in a bank. This began Spidey’s newfound catch phrase, “No One Dies.” It was…strange, since spidey wasn’t known for dropping fools left and right. It mostly came up in crossovers with other heroes, but was quietly forgotten a few arcs later.

Sadly the armor didn’t fare much better. While pretty solid design wise, it was a little too derivative of the Big Time suit and a bit bulky to boot, and was simply forgotten. It did make an appearence in Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3, as well as Edge of Time, but has otherwise disappeared. It’s good to see it resurrected by Insomniac since it’s stylish enough to stand on it’s own and got retired too soon.


Spider-Armor Mk. III

 

During the Ends Of The Earth event, Doctor octopus put together a new SInsiter Six and initiated a plan to speed up global warming in a bid to force world governments to submit. No longer idly standing by, peter Parker revealed his newest suit, specifically designed to counter the abilities of his most persistent foes. Ends Of The Earth was a good-not-great kind of story, and was the first real sign Slott was losing steam as a writer, but damn if the Mk. III ain’t pretty.

The Mk. III is a fair bit bulkier than most spidey suits so I’m surprised to see it brought back since it’s not an easy reskin, but I maybe I shouldn’t be. It was featured in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 in a fairly faithful recreation, only hampered by the mask kind of jutting out awkwardly. I’m excited to see it again as it’s too good of a design to be relegated to cameos.


Spider-Armor Mk. IV

 

After the universe was destroyed and recreated (don’t ask) Peter Parker found himself as the CEO of a major corporation, Parker Industries. Now a globe hopping proper hero, Pete donned a new set of liquid armor that could withstand a fair deal of punishment. The armor works from a narrative stand point, but it’s design is very underplayed. Other than glowing green eyes and a glowing emblem there’s nothing here aside from a metal texture that’s already found on the far better Iron Spider armor. Some artists didn’t even bother with the glow, just drawing a shinier version of the base armor.

I can’t say I see why the Mk. 4 was included other than relevance. Peter abandoned the armor after a lengthy run when Norman Osbourne found a way to disrupt the liquid that made up the armor, leaving the suit brittle and Pete defenseless. It’s not a abd suit, but Iron Spider does everything it does and more, and it feels like a wasted effort.


Alternate Spider-Men

Marvel comics stretches far beyond the confines of the marvel universe, and almost every universe has a spider-man with his own distinct outfit. These suits are from other spider-men, most from other universes but a few from Peter Parker’s own backyard.


Noir

 

taking place in the 1930’s, Spider-Man Noir follows young Peter Parker after he is bitten by a horde of spider’s from a south american idol and given arcane powers or something. Look, you don’t need an origin story with a suit this slick. Spider-Man Noir had two solid volumes well worth reading before he fell to obscurity, only to immediately return in the 2009 game Spider-Man: Shattered DImensions as a main character. This help maintain Noir’s popularity and he return as a proper hero during the Spider-Verse event.

Noir’s popularity hasn’t wavered and his design is so universal, he’s returned in the Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon, is set to appearing in the upcoming Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse movie (played by Nicholas Cage no less) and his suit was the first suit to be revealed for the PS4 title. He’s p rad.


Scarlet Spider

 

Gather round children, it’s time to talk about the CLone Saga.

In the 1970’s Peter Parker ran into the Jackal, a mad geneticist who used his genius to clone Spider-Man and force him to fight his mirror image. The real Spidey won and the clone was dropped down a smoke stack, never to be seen again. Then the 90’s happened. In the 90’s spidey had become hard for the average reader to relate to. Now an adult, Peter was married to Mary jane Watson and had a kid on the way, but the young readership was finding Pete’s journeys of adulthood boring.

So in a stroke of genius, it was decided to bring back the clone and reveal the original Peter Parker had fallen down that smoke stack, and a clone took his place! Except not really, but this clone would be every bit the hero Peter was and while Pete retired to be a family man, the clone would continue as Spider-man proper.

Things got vastly more complex and a simple 6 or 7 issue arc bloated into a years long event prolonged by Marvel’s forever shuffling management. During this time the clone (or the original, depending on when you’re reading about him) took on the name Ben Reily and took to the streets as the Scarlet Spider.

As messy as the Clone Saga was ben is still a beloved character, and his weird thrown together suit is a big part of that. When the character returned in 2017, there was such an uproar over his redesign Marvel went back and had his suit changed to the original. It’s not a surprise Ben’s suit made the cut, but I’m a bit sad it’s the only one. Ben’s brother Kaine was also the Scarlet Spider in the 2010s and had a solid suit of his own. Ben was also spider-man proper for a while with a great redesign of the classic suit, also missing from the list.


2099

 

In the 90’s Optimism was out and dystopia was in, and Marvel cashed in by taking us to the far flung future of 2099, wherein a new cast of anti-heroes took the multi leveled streets of new york to dish out cybernetic justice. Chief among them, Miquel O’Hara, commonly known as Spider-Man 2099. Working for a major company, Miquel is given a drug that is woven into his DNA, making him eternally loyal to the company. Using a DNA scrambler, Miquel attempts to undue the damage, but is accidentally spliced with a spider.

As goofy as it sounds Spider-Man 2099 is an excellent comic with a well deserved fandom. 2099 was one of the main heroes of shattered dimensions and the deutagonist of Edge of Time. He’s also appeared in an inter dimensional team and more recently, got stuck in the past because Dan Slott REALLY likes Spider-man 2099. Much like Noir his inclusion is always expected, but always welcome.


All New All Different 2099

 

Remember half a paragraph ago when i mentioned Miguel was stuck in the past? Well that came with a new set of duds. More segmented and bright than his default appearance, The All new 2099 suit is…interesting. To be honest I’m not sure if I like it more or less than the original, and I usually forget 2099 is even hanging out in the present. It’s not a bad suit and I’m interested to see it in game, but I’m more surprised someone paid attention to 2099’s modern series in the first place.


Spider-Punk

 

Spider-Punk was revealed pretty early this year so you’re probably familiar, but for the initiated Spider-Punk comes from a universe where Norman Osbourne has used the venom symbiote to turn america into a fascist regime. Since Symbiotes are weak to sound, only the power of punk rock can save the citizens of new york.

A relatively new character, Spider-Punk was introduced in the Spider-verse event wherein spider-men across the multiverse came together to save it. Like severely other Spider-verse heroes, he made a strong impression with fans which likely prompted his inclusion. There’s not much to say about him beyond that, though his color palette in game is particularly great.


Ghost Spider

 

Another Spider-verse character, Ghost Spider is…Spider-Man but with Ghost Rider’s powers. Look, not every spider-man has a long sordid history. Sometimes, someone wants to give spider-man a flaming skull for a face, and that’s enough to justify a comic or two.


Last Stand

 

My personal favorite and a huge surprise, Last Stand Spider-Man is a more gruesome spidey from a future where he faisl to protect those close to him and becomes increasingly closer to the punisher in terms of ideology. featured in Edge of time and Amazing Spider-Man 2, I expected last Stand to return to obscurity, but a bit role in Spider-verse and a fantastic design has brought him back into the limelight one last time.


The Animated Series

 

A truly unexpected pick, The Animated Series Spider-man wasn’t on any lists of most wanted costumes, but it’s a pleasant surprise. TAS Spidey seems to have a unique filter to imitate the look of the show. It’s not the first time a spidey game has done this (Beenox had a mangaverse spidey costume for a while) but it’s always welcome when a dev breaks their carefully crafted visual style for a goof. godspeed insomniac.


Miscellanious

Spidey’s had suits long before Slott took over, just not as many. These suits are Peter Parker’s properly, just a bit older.


Electro Proof

 

The good news about having a villain with a power like electricity is it’s fairly easier to make yourself immune to their powers. The Electro proof suit is odd, looking oddly similar to the symbiote suit with some bells and whistles, it’s a lumpy bizarre suit but it’s more than the sum of it’s parts. The Electro Proof was also featured in Shattered Dimensions where it was worn by the younger Ultimate Spider-man, who just so happened to face off against electro. What are the chances?


Bombastic Bag Man

 

During the Venom arc Peter needed a little help from his long time pals at the Fantastic Four to remove it. Since the symbiote was also creating pete’s clothes for him, this left him completely nude without it, and he had to rely on a spare uniform and a paper bag to get home.

The Bag Man outfit has always been a fan favorite so it’s inclusion isn’t particularly surprising, but it’s design seems to have been overhauled. While the leak specifies it as the Bag Man, it doesn’t have the fantastic four symbol, and just seems to be pete’s bare chest. Marvel hasn’t been too keen on the first family in recent years since the property is still owned by FOX studios, and has something of an unofficial moratorium on the property, with the team itself having been dissolved for some time. Presumably this rendition will just be Pete in his briefs trying to get by without catching a cold, but it’s hard to really say.


Secret War

 

Probably the most obscure and bizarre Costume on the list, the Secret War outfit is an oddity. It’s origin is in the mid 2000’s event Secret War, wherein Nick Fury revealed he had a covert team of heroes infiltrate and dissolve the country of Latvaria, then wiped their minds to forget the event.

Part of the oddity here is that while the suit is in the comic, it’s only in sepia tone flashbacks and the outfit is frame in such a way you rarely see enough of it to realize it isn’t the basic outfit. As a result, the only clear images of the outfits are of action figures or renders from other games it’s appeared in.

Presumably someone in the games industry was so distraught at this they made it their goal in life to put the costume in as many games as possible to make up for it’s perceived shafting. The suit itself is…ugly. I like the orange webbing (orange is a sadly underutilized color in spider-men) but the blue and black section makes it look like Spidey is wearing a pair of overalls. The gruesome expression just gives the impression of spidey as a real aggressive backwoods hick instead of as a friendly pig farmer. It’s not a great outfit, but I can appreciate wanting to do right by someone else’s art. Even if it’s ugly. Which it is.


Black Widow

 

One of the newest and outfits on the list, Black Widow is a bizarre rendition of Spider-Man where he is possessed by the demon Mephisto and made to…do something, I stopped reading Spider-man/Deadpool when Joe Kelly left lay off. Story’s not really important for our purposes and as a suit it’s, ok. Too simple to really leave an impression but fairly inoffensive and it has potential with a little artistic license.

With this, we reach the end of our list…almost. The truth is, there’s two more suits in the list we don’t know. the first is the ‘wrestler’ outfit. I assumed this suit was the one from the sam raimi film but on closer inspection the emblem isn’t right for that. then I thought it may be the wrestling outfit from the first volume of Ultimate Spider-man, but that’s just the basic outfit without the webs or spiders, bit of a weak pull for a costume.

Then there’s the gold and black outfit in the bottom left corner. I have zero clue to what this one is. I think it’s the newest black iron Spider set, but why that would be included over the red one I can’t even begin to gauge. as far as I can tell, it might be the ultimate iron spider armor, but the coloring is still off for that.

 

thankfully this means there’s still surprises to be had. On the whole, it’s a solid list of suits. Some new fan favorites, some classics, some gems and a few redundancies, but what looks the same on paper may look different in engine.

I hope this little guide was helpful in understanding the suits and where they come from, because let me tell you it was a bitch to write. Still, alternate skins are an underappreciated art form in video games, and I hope to give a glimpse into the kind of love and care that must go into picking and creating them, as well as how batshit insane comics get sometimes.

 
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About DXmagmaone of us since 7:23 PM on 03.09.2011