Fans undoubtedly know that Spider-Man is not a taker of life, but even the Wall-Crawler is aware of something that could have made him like the Punisher.
Taking a break from New York, Peter Parker moves out to California in order to take part in a new scientific experiment and discovery. He hopes to use water and sonics in order to destroy sick cells in people and make them healthy again. It’s extremely experimental and Peter is working with a partner named Crystal in order to make headway in their experiments.
This story begins in Deadly Neighborhood Spider-Man #1 by B. Earl, Taboo and Juan Ferreyra. While in California, Peter also has strange and vivid dreams and visions. He’s turning into a monster and is stuck inside a shifting dreamlike landscape. All of this is making him feel very anxious and trapped. It’s making him question his approach to being a superhero and whether just putting bad guys in jail over and over again is worth it. But he also laments that killing bad guys is not his style. That’s the Punisher’s style, though Peter admits that he could have been that person if the Venom symbiote remained in his life.
It’s well known among fans what the black suit did to Spider-Man’s identity. Just like it does with all its wearers, it makes people more violent, emotional, and prone to rage. So it’s not surprising that Peter Parker, who is kind and caring, would want to get rid of it. However, the fact that he recognizes that if he had kept the suit he would be on a path to take a life is pretty remarkable. Even more than that though, the fact that he equates wearing the suit to being like the Punisher means that he would have found psychological justifications for killing and kept on that path even after taking his first life.
Fans don’t have to leap that far in order to see what this outcome would be like. The series Spider-Man: Spider’s Shadow showed an alternate reality where Peter had never given up the suit. The Venom symbiote morphed him into a completely different kind of character, one that was perfectly fine killing his enemies rather than leaving them for the police. This universe shows that if Peter kept the suit he would have become a killer. So the fact that Spider-Man is able to recognize that within himself is a pretty remarkable way for him to avoid becoming the Punisher.
Deadly Neighborhood Spider-Man #1 is now available from Marvel Comics.