There's a reason why Spider-Man is consistently Marvel's number one comic seller by a huge margin. The character of Peter Parker is so relatable and timeless that millions of people have looked up to him as a role model and inspiration for decades. If anyone can claim the title of "The Face" of Marvel comics, it would be Spider-Man. That doesn't mean things are all rainbows and butterflies for everyone's favorite webhead, though.
Perhaps more than any other Marvel character, Spider-Man has been through the wringer. He often faces brutal, violent challenges that leave him broken and questioning his worldview. Realistically, Uncle Ben should have told him, "With great power comes great people kicking the ever-loving sh*t out of you." Below is a list of some of the goriest Spider-Man issues and craziest Spider-Man comics out there right now. With all that's happened to him, it's a wonder he's still the Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man and not the Scarred, Clinically Depressed Spider-Man suffering from PTSD.
Spider-Man Gets His Eye Ripped Out And Eaten In Front Of Him
In the comic crossover story arc The Other, it really sucks to be Spider-Man. See, Spidey learns he has a deadly, radiation-based illness that is making him disoriented and weaker in fights. He talks to all of his superpowered friends (including Bruce Banner and Doctor Strange) and they all tell him the same thing: death is coming for him.
To make matters worse, the insane supervillain Morlun is hunting Spider-Man at the time in order to drain his life force. In The Amazing Spider-Man #526, he finally catches up with the webhead. A massive battle takes place across New York City, and after getting his butt whooped for most of it Spidey summons one last burst of strength to fight back... but it's not enough. Morlun casually rips Spider-Man's eye out and eats it in front of him, then continues to beat the bejesus out of him, leaving the wallcrawler as nothing but a bloodied, beaten, one-eyed mess.
Spider-Man Swallows Sandman, Explodes
Although the Marvel Zombies brand should never be taken too seriously, it would be a shame not to mention the horrific Spider-Man death that occurred in Marvel Zombies Return #1. The event takes place on Earth-91126, where that world's Spider-Man is almost exactly like our own. The Sinister Six appear and Spidey goes to change into his costume. While he's gone, the zombie version (don't ask, it's a whole thing) of Spider-Man appears and kills almost all of the Sinister Six. Sandman escapes, but then runs into the real, still alive Spider-Man. Sandman is so scared and angry that he goes into a homicidal rage, pouring himself into Spider-Man's mouth and killing Spidey by bursting out of his stomach and mouth in a huge blast. You know, if he was a serious villain he probably should have done that years ago.
Spidey Won't Do It, But Peter Parker Would Totally Kill The Kingpin
One of the most pivotal moments in the original Civil War storyline was when Spider-Man unmasked himself to the world. It was a bold move that invited pretty much all of his enemies to come knocking on his front door. You'd think he'd go unlisted at that point, but whatever. The story arc immediately following Civil War deals with the reprecussion's of his unmasking.
It was called Back in Black, and it showed Peter donning his black costume again as he deals with the almost-assassination of his Aunt May. Gone is the wisecracking, lovable, neighborhood Spider-Man, and in his place gave us a humorless, angry, kind of dickish individual out for revenge.
In one of the most violent moments, Spider-Man finds out that Kingpin is behind the assassination attempt and Peter follows him to prison in order to settle things. When he gets there, he says that Spider-Man isn't there to kill the Kingpin, but rather Peter Parker is. He takes off his mask and outfit and proceeds to beat the snot out of Kingpin. He tortures Kingpin until the crime lord begs for death. Peter says he won't do that yet, but he will if Aunt May ends up dying. Aren't comic books fun?
Spider-Man Kills Gwen Stacy
You can't make a list of most brutal things to happen to Spider-Man and not include the death of Gwen Stacey. It was a moment that cemented Spider-Man forever as a tragic hero. Taking place in the pages of The Amazing Spider-Man #121-122, Spider-Man faces his greatest challenge when the Green Goblin abducts Gwen Stacy and takes her to the Brooklyn Bridge (fun fact: in the original comic, they state it's the George Washington Bridge a few times, while the art clearly shows it's the Brooklyn Bridge).
The two fight while Gwen is unconscious. In a total dick move, the Green Goblin tosses Gwen off of the side. While it looks like the end for Stacy, Spider-Man frantically shoots a web and snatches her before she hits the ground. Hurray, day saved!
Not quite. Peter's happiness over saving her is short-lived when he discovers Gwen dead at the end of his web. At the time, he was positive that the Goblin killed her before he tossed her off the side. Over time, however, it became accepted that in Peter's haste to save her, the web that he shot snapped her neck in the recoil, like a powerful bungee cord. Now that would have made a great lyric for Alanis Morissette.
Kraven The Hunter Buries Him Alive For Two Weeks
One of the most celebrated Spider-Man stories of all time is the famous (or infamous) Kraven's Last Hunt. Spanning six issues, it brought Spider-Man to a much darker place than had ever been before. The story revolves around Kraven the Hunter, a relatively unpopular villain at the time, coming to New York to prove he can beat Spider-Man.
Rather shockingly, he succeeds in everyway. He outwits and outfights Spider-Man, injects him with a powerful drug that keeps him comatose, and then buries him alive for two weeks. That's basically the villainy hat-trick. Kraven then dons his own Spider Suit and dispenses brutal justice to New York's criminals, tarnishing Spider-Man's reputation.
Eventually, Spider-Man wakes up and has to dig himself out (probably smelling like a burrito wrapped in gym socks). He goes to fight Kraven, but it's too late: Kraven had already won. After getting everything he wanted, Kraven commits suicide. Guess that's one way to go out on top.
Spider-Man Literally Gets Turned Into A Gigantic Spider
Have you ever thought to yourself, "I really like Spider-Man, but I'm not a huge fan of the 'Man' part." Well then the Spider-Man Disassembled arc is going to be right up your alley. Starting in Spectacular Spider-Man #17, Spider-Man faces a villain known as The Queen, a villainess who can control spiders.
She wants to mate with Peter (gross) because of his unique genetic makeup, and although she kisses him our hero is able to stop her before things go any further. After some time though, Peter starts to feel weird. Like sitting-on-your-uncle's-lap-as-an-adult level of weird. Parker morphs into a horrifying spider creature, unable to contain his mutation. That's not even the strangest part. His spider-creature body eventually gives birth to a brand new Peter Parker, complete with organic web shooters and the ability to talk to insects. It's weird, it's violent, and it's best not to think about it too often. Before you go to bed tonight, for instance.
He Gets Straight-Up Murdered In The Ultimate Universe
It doesn't matter what universe Peter Parker is in, things aren't going to go well for him. Ever. Existing outside the main continuity, the Ultimate Comics were able to take liberties with certain characters in an attempt to appeal to a modern audience. For Ultimate Spider-Man, this culminated in one storyline the main continuity could never follow through on: the death Peter Parker. In the Death of Spider-Man series, one horrible thing after another leads to the ultimate sacrifice from Spidey. To kick things off, he saves Captain America from getting shot by the Punisher, only to be shot himself in the process.
After that, some villains notice how injured he is (since bullets hurt a bunch) and attack him. He gets his ass handed to him by Sandman, Vulture, and Electro before being saved (somehow) by Aunt May. Ridiculously injured, Spider-Man then has to face his greatest enemy, The Green Goblin, in order to save Mary Jane and Aunt May.
On the verge of death, Peter uses the last of his strength to pick up a gas truck and smash the Goblin with it. Twice. The truck explodes and Peter is too hurt to get away in time. Surrounded by the people he loves most (with internal organs that probably look like hamburger meat), Peter dies.
Spider-Man Rips Off Kraven's Wife's Face
Spider-Man's friends are very important to him. The rule is simple: if you hurt them, you'll be in for more than just a wisecrack and web to the mouth. That's really the message of the Grim Hunt storyline, which sees Kraven's wife Sasha assemble her family to take revenge on Spider-Man and resurrect (it is a comic book, after all) Kraven from the dead.
They end up killing Kaine, a spider-clone who Spider-Man was close with, thinking he was the real Spider-Man. They also use his blood to bring back Kraven. It's pretty bonkers. When Peter finds out, he becomes consumed with rage. He vows to hunt down Sasha and make her pay. He doesn't kill her, but he ends up using his strength to literally rip off her face, leaving a horrible scar in the shape of a handprint.
Hell hath no fury like a Spider-Man scorned. He even almost kills Kraven, and would have done it, but one of his psychic friends appears and tells him that if he kills Kraven it will set him on a path to become a ruthless killer. Spider-Man spares his wife, but again doesn't even apologize for ripping her face off. Somehow, it doesn't seem like that storyline will make it to the big screen.