Spider-Menace: Who Will Stop Peter Parker in the MCU’s Phase Four?

WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Spider-Man: Far From Home, in theaters now.

One unfortunate truth about Peter Parker is that he rarely catches a break. Following Mysterio’s defeat, Spider-Man probably thought he’d have a little down time until his next problem. This isn’t the case, however, as Quentin Beck used his keen ability to warp perception to frame Peter, painting him as a murderous villain.

In true Spider-Man story fashion, it gets worse before it can get better for Peter, as not only is he public enemy number one now, his identity was also revealed to the public. To those who are unfamiliar with Spider-Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the footage is convincing enough to establish him as a villain.

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With diminished allies after Avengers: Endgame, Peter really only has his close friends and Happy to turn to. How will the remaining Avengers react to the footage? Will enemies of Peter, existing and new, choose to strike while he is so vulnerable? There are many things to consider for the narrative now that the status quo has been changed so drastically.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at the possibilities going forward and, ultimately, who will try and stop the seemingly renegade web-slinger.

PETER’S PROPAGANDA PROBLEM


We’re all happy to see J.K. Simmons reprise his excellent portrayal of J. Jonah Jameson, bringing the ever-harried Daily Bugle editor to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Although, once the afterglow wears off, the fact J.J.J. is now present in MCU-Peter’s world spells disaster for the wall-crawler.

Unlike his more public Avengers allies, Peter’s identity was a secret up until now, and as a result he does not have the power to control the narrative around his name. Because the world at large doesn’t know Peter Parker very well, they aren’t able to ascertain whether or not he is capable of murdering Mysterio or turning into a villain.

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As Peter has not built trust in regards to his name, like Tony or Steve, it is much easier for J. Jonah Jameson to promote hysteria around the young hero and cultivate a mob mentality by sensationalizing the footage left behind by Mysterio. It certainly doesn’t help that Jameson appears to be operating on a website platform, rather than a local New York newspaper, like his more traditional incarnations.

In the comics, J.J.J. has spent years, across multiple universes, trying to besmirch Spider-Man and foster distrust towards him. At points he’s even employed means to hunt Spider-Man in the form of Spider-Slayer robots, created by inventor Spencer Smythe.

FRIEND OR FOE?


Mysterio in Spider-Man: Far From Home

Although made an honorary Avenger by Tony Stark in Infinity War, Peter hasn’t had many direct dealings with the Avengers. Those he made a connection with are nowhere to be found following Endgame. Tony is dead, Cap’s retired, the Guardians returned to space and we don’t really know what Doctor Strange is up to. This leaves Peter in a predicament, as the only people who can really vouch for him are Happy and, perhaps, Pepper.

The public is aware of how many Avengers are no longer on call, as shown in the opening tribute video in Far From Home. Emboldened by the efforts of the Avengers, new heroes could rise to take their place. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but not being familiar with Peter, they could buy into the propaganda and see apprehending Spider-Man as their chance to make their mark on the superhero world.

With no one to speak for him other than himself, Peter may just find himself coming up against some newer vigilante types. One fan favorite that would be perfect for the task is Moon Knight. No stranger to Peter in the comics, this antihero is exactly the type of person who would take it upon themselves to stop Spider-Man. Due to his unhinged nature, Moon Knight would be a great foil for Peter, and their conflict could eventually come to a reasonable conclusion.

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In the same vein, we could have existing vigilantes in the MCU try their hand at taking down Peter. One obvious candidate would be the Punisher, who would be less concerned with the specifics of the situation and more likely to see Peter as just another bad guy to put down. If they were to use existing heroes, they could even have Daredevil try to apprehend the young hero, playing on the Ultimate Universe version of Daredevil from the comics, who doesn’t respect the inexperienced youngster initially.

Another antihero character to consider would be Prowler. Donald Glover depicted a pre-Prowler Aaron Davis in Spider-Man: Homecoming, so the possibility is there. Though it is doubtful he holds a huge grudge against the web-slinger for leaving him stuck in a car park with his melting ice cream, it was shown he expressed a level of concern for the young people in the area. Knowing Spider-Man is a teenager, Davis could believe he can stop Peter and help steer him back onto a righteous path.

INSULT TO INJURY


Spider-Man’s most pressing concern is his identity, and it should be, as it is his greatest vulnerability. Not only is his current situation mortifying for Peter, it could get a lot worse. Spider-Man’s gallery of rogues contains several villains who manipulate identities, so they’d thrive in the climate left behind by Mysterio. Among the aforementioned villains, the first candidate would be Chameleon.

Speculated by fans to possibly appear in Far From Home, we didn’t see the identity-assuming villain when all was said and done. Phase Four would be the perfect time for Chameleon to debut, posing as either Spider-Man or Peter Parker to carry out acts that further cement his villainous image in the media. He’s done it before in the comics, orchestrating events once to show Peter punching Al Gore on live television in Ends of the Earth while posing as the politician.

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Another villain obsessed with Peter’s identity, rather his biological identity, is the Jackal. Miles Warren is a villain keen to reproduce Peter via cloning, which has resulted in several storylines in which Peter has had to fight versions of himself or other experiments devised by Warren using Parker’s DNA.

Finally, with Peter’s identity on display for all, information on the hero is more available than ever. Knowing everything about his target, what better time would there be to have Kraven the Hunter pursue Spider-Man? In a story that seems poised to have Peter on the run, there are few villains better than Kraven to convey that feeling of being constantly hounded.

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