Warning: Spoilers ahead for Spider-Man: Far From Home!
The Spider-Man: Far From Home final scene introduces the spoiler to end all spoilers. Mysterio, despite succumbing to death as confirmed by Tony Stark’s artificial intelligence EDITH, has the last laugh at the expense of our boy hero by exposing Spider-Man’s alter ego to the world and naming Peter Parker as the perpetrator for the vicious drone attack on London. While this grave cliffhanger provides essential fodder for a sequel — as Parker will need to clear his name — the predicament implies larger repercussions for the global presence of Spider-Man.
Overall, the Marvel Cinematic Universe takes a different stance on hero identities than most feature film mega franchises in that a few characters, like Iron Man and War Machine, as well as Captain America and Captain Marvel, to a varying degree, have identities that are essentially part of the public knowledge within their worlds. However, a massive public reveal of a hero’s secret identity isn’t something the Marvel Cinematic Universe has dealt with since Phase 1. One could hypothesize that this breach of superhero protocol could affect Spider-Man’s world in a manner that spills into other Marvel franchises. This, indeed, becomes a valid theory when we look at the unmasking of Spider-Man in the comics — an event that’s happened at a familial level on numerous occasions, mostly due to Parker’s own carelessness. However, there is one notable storyline that arose in the 2006 comic Civil War#2, a seven-issue series written by Mark Millar and penciled by Steve McNiven, that not only exposes Spider-Man’s identity to the world but also echoes that of the film Captain America: Civil War and could inspire alternate storylines for other characters within the MCU.
In the comic, the US government passes the Superhero Registration Act designed to have those with superpowers file with the government, although their true identities would technically remain hidden. Like the film, Captain America opposes the act while Iron Man supports it with Spider-Man caught in the middle of their tense battle. The comic’s main difference from the movie, however, is that after a soul-searching conversation with his Aunt May and wife MJ, Parker decides to publicly reveal his identity of his own volition as a message of peace. Spider-Man hopes to serve as an example for those who remain undecided and end the bickering from those who remain opposed.
Of course, the comic eventually rolls back the reveal with a moral dilemma and a bit of magic in Amazing Spider-Man #544 (2007), written by J. Michael Straczynski and penciled by Joe Quesada. As the story unfolds, Parker finds his Aunt May in mortal danger. In a fit of desperation to save her life, he allows the demon Mephisto to rewrite history. The cost of this reboot is that Parker’s marriage to MJ disappears from existence, but the event also restores his secret identity.
Let’s just hope the MCU uses this source material in a less heartbreaking manner, whether it decides to let Spider-Man’s secret identity play out for the long haul like Iron Man’s or uses the Mephisto storyline of self-sacrifice to finally bring the reality of the multiverse to the big screen.
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