Why Spider-Man’s Secret Identity Is Actually Incredibly Tragic

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WARNING: The following article contains spoilers from Amazing Spider-Man #80, on sale now from Marvel Comics.

Ben Reilly has taken over as Spider-Man while Peter Parker lies comatose in a hospital. However, while Ben might be sanctioned to work as Spider-Man, both by Peter and the legal rights purchased by the Beyond Corporation, it seems as though no one has realized that the original Spider-Man is out of commission.

This points out one of the more tragic aspects of Peter’s secret identity. Despite protecting his loved ones from harm, his secret also limits who he can call on for help in his personal life, and in this case the results may result in tragedy.

RELATED: Spider-Man: Who Is Barton Hamilton, the Forgotten Green Goblin?

As of Amazing Spider-Man #80 (by Cody Ziglar, Michael Dowling, Jesus Aburtov, Erick Arciniega, and VC’s Joe Caramagna), it seems that no one has put two and two together and realized that it is Ben Reilly (or anyone other than the original, really) behind the mask. This isn’t helped by the fact that Ben is a clone of Peter. So, as regards body type, voice, even personality, Ben is so similar to Peter that even Spider-Man’s regular villains can’t tell the difference. The most recent blatant example of this is Kraven the Hunter, who has spent years stalking and learning all he could about Spider-Man.

Unfortunately for Peter, this limits who knows the truth about his condition. From the viewpoint of the superhero community, everything is fine. Spider-Man is completely healthy and seems to be doing better than ever, with a trademark new costume, to boot. The corporate sponsorship might be a little odd, but it’s hardly the strangest thing Spider-Man has ever done and he’s been supported by companies in the past. The only people who know about Peter’s actual state are those closest to him, an unfortunate truth that may be preventing him from getting medical attention from the greatest minds on Earth.

RELATED: How Guardians of the Galaxy’s Grossest Enemy Twisted Spider-Man’s Legacy

As Spider-Man, Peter has formed relationships with some of the greatest heroes the Marvel Universe has ever seen. The Fantastic Four, for instance, are almost a second family for him, and are comprised of three of the smartest people on the planet, Sue Storm, Reed Richards and their daughter Valeria. Also, the X-Men possess medical technology that is arguably a modern day miracle. However, the unfortunate reality is that Peter’s private life is a secret to even his closest allies.

Aside from the fact that he wants to keep his loved ones safe, Peter is unselfish and would rather not burden others with his personal problems, even if he wasn’t unconscious. At the same time, there are moments where it is okay to ask for help, and this is definitely one of them. In a bitter irony, the very thing meant to keep his loved ones safe is also setting up Marvel’s greatest webslinger for tragedy.

KEEP READING: How Marvel Made Spider-Man’s ‘Hottest’ Relationship Weird – with a Clone Twist

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