Spider-Man Noir Is The Absolute Worst Version Of Peter Parker

Out of the many Spider-Man variants in the Marvel Universe, Spider-Man Noir is the absolute worst – and separates himself from Peter Parker in one major way. The character is quite popular among Marvel readers and casual fans alike, perhaps due to his appearance in 2019’s Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse film. But he is far from the morally-updating hero fans believe him to be, and Edge of Spider-Verse #1 proves it by showing his worst possible act towards Mary Jane.

Spider-Man Noir (real name Peter Parker) is a hard-boiled detective living in the 1930s in an alternate universe version of New York. Characterized by his iconic fedora, long trenchcoat, and all-black costume, Spider-Man Noir is a throwback to the narratives of the 30s – especially of hard workers rising up against corrupt bosses and officials (as his Uncle Ben says after fighting in World War I, “If those in power can’t be trusted, it’s the responsibility of the people to remove them”). Like the main version of the webslinging hero, Spider-Man Noir is often paired with Mary Jane, and the relationship is quite serious. Unfortunately, it is not without its troubles, which are only exacerbated and magnified by the setting.

In Edge of Spider-Verse #1’s story “My Dame, My Destiny” with story and art by Dustin Weaver & D.J. Bryant, Spider-Man Noir rescues a woman with amnesia from street thugs. Giving her the name “Sharon”, Noir spends time with her all over the city in an attempt to jog her memory, and eventually learns she’s looking for her daughter. He becomes enamored with her after hearing her sing at the Black Cat Club, and after bringing her back to his apartment, kisses her – seconds before Mary Jane walks into the room.

Spider-Man is no stranger to awful decisions, beginning with the choice to not pursue the burglar in Amazing Fantasy #15 in 1963’s origin story. But Spider-Man has also never cheated on Mary Jane, and certainly not in this manner – where Peter has another woman in his own house and him and Mary Jane are clearly in a serious relationship. That isn’t to say his memory has been entirely faithful – he memorably has a dream just before his wedding in which Gwen Stacy walks down the aisle before disappearing; even just before his marriage, Peter has second thoughts.

Perhaps this is an homage to the detective radio serials of the 30s, 40s and early 50s, in which the protagonist has great difficulty in maintaining a relationship but continually falls into the proverbial arms of every woman he meets. Even so, this is one of the more awful choices Peter Parker has made – even perhaps beating out Spider-Man: One More Day – and the story is left open-ended with no indication that the couple will get back together. Spider-Man Noir is one of the worst versions of Spider-Man because he abandons his most important partner in life without any apparent thought to her well-being.

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