The Six Arms Saga
|"The Six Arms Saga"|
|Publication date||September – November 1971|
|Title(s)||The Amazing Spider-Man #100-102|
|Writer(s)||Stan Lee; Roy Thomas|
"The Six Arms Saga" is a story arc from the popular Marvel Comic Spider-Man, written by Stan Lee and drawn by Gil Kane. It spans the issues Amazing Spider-Man #100–102 (1971) and features the first appearance of Morbius, the Living Vampire.
The story arc is mostly remembered for Spider-Man's striking aesthetics, swinging through the city with four extra arms.
TAGLINE: No cop-out! Spidey is really awake! He HAS six arms!
Peter Parker has had enough of being Spider-Man. Peter feels miserable about all the anguish he has had to endure. When his best friend Harry Osborn has become a junkie, his close friend Captain George Stacy died in his arms, and Gwen Stacy – Spidey's girlfriend – wrongly blamed Spider-Man for her father's death, Peter has a fatal thought: for Peter Parker to live, Spider-Man must die!
So, Spidey brews up a chemical cocktail intended to terminate his spider powers. Peter takes the cocktail and falls into a troubled sleep in which he fights all his enemies, while enduring excruciating side pains. When he wakes up, he notices a ghastly thing: he has six arms. The potion increased his spider powers rather than nullifying them.
He then visits his only possible confidant Dr. Curt Connors and fights a vampiric villain called Morbius, the Living Vampire. Although the stress of confronting Morbius makes Connors transform into the Lizard; using an enzyme Morbius "infected" the Lizard with when he bit him allows Connors to retain his mind even as the Lizard.
Eventually, Spider-Man and Connors brew an antidote that turns them both back to normal.
In the Ultimate Clone Saga, a Spider-Man clone with six arms and a variant black costume surfaced. When unmasked, this Spider-Man clone also had more spider-like physical features, such as fangs around his mouth, additional eyes and made him spiky hair along his entire face. The variant cover for Ultimate Spider-Man #100 was based on that of The Amazing Spider-Man #100, in which the saga takes place.
In the Mutant X universe, the Man-Spider still has six arms. He was replaced by a clone for many years, but the clone was killed by Hank "Brute" McCoy within the series, at which time the original Man-Spider returned. He was later killed, alongside much of the team.
Deadpool encounters a version of Spider-Man in a universe which he refers to as "an Age of Apocalypse" (not the Age of Apocalypse). In this reality a six arms Spider-Man becomes Pestilence, Horseman of Apocalypse, with poisonous fangs and engages in cannibalism.
An issue of What If? had asked "What If Spider-Man had Kept his Six Arms." Morbius is killed by sharks (they were attracted to the blood on Morbius when he landed in the water) before a cure for Spider-Man's mutation is found. After a fight with the Lizard, Spider-Man is advised by Dr. Curt Connors to see Professor X. Spider-Man ends up in a scuffle with X-Men members Angel, Beast, Cyclops, and Iceman until Professor X and Jean Grey break it up. Professor X then examines him with Cerebro and learns that Spider-Man's mutation is permanent. Spider-Man then visits Mister Fantastic for a second opinion. Mister Fantastic also states that the mutation is permanent. When Thing comes in announcing that Doctor Octopus is holding hostages at City Hall demanding to see Spider-Man, Spider-Man easily takes down Doctor Octopus with his six arms. Spider-Man gains enormous popularity and is the nationally recognized spokesperson for the physically challenged, thereby proving J Jonah Jameson wrong in his assumption that Spider-Man would be considered as a freak. Afterwards, Mister Fantastic summons Spider-Man back to present his latest invention...four arm sheaths that will keep the extra arms invisible (as long as they are worn) when Peter Parker is in his civilian outfit.
Years later, Aunt May has died of natural causes and Peter begins his full-time career as a superhero. His extra limbs give him augmented strength and agility. Spider-Man also prevented the death of Gwen Stacy at the hands of the Green Goblin as well as participating in the Secret Wars where his alien costume soon resulted in the creation of Venom whom Spider-Man also defeats. The story ends with Peter accepting the situation in which he himself was responsible for and making the best of it.
In other media
- The Six Arms Saga was reinvented in Spider-Man: The Animated Series. In the "Neogenic Nightmare" storyline, the transformation was caused by a result of his body mutating further from the original spider-bite. After his attempts to ask Professor X and the X-Men for help developing a cure meet with failure (although he was able to assist them in thwarting a monster created when an anti-mutant scientist was exposed to a serum he'd developed to remove mutant abilities), Spider-Man turned to Doctor Crawford for aid. Unfortunately, his initial attempt at a cure resulted in him growing the four new arms. After fighting the Punisher, Michael Morbius and the NYPD, the accelerated mutation subsequently causing him to mutate into the Man-Spider. Thanks to the collaboration of Kraven the Hunter and Punisher, Man-Spider was cured of the mutation and returned to normal. When the Vulture attempted to drain Spider-Man's youth and power in a later encounter, Doctor Connors reprogrammed the device that Vulture was using to absorb the defective genome that had caused Spider-Man's mutation originally, being forever cured of his defective genome. During the "Spider Wars" storyline where Spider-Man teamed up with multiple alternate doppelgangers of himself to save reality itself, one Spider-Man doppelganger was still dealing with his mutation crisis and eventually completely transforms into the Man-Spider during the mission before the Beyonder was able to use the last of his power to teleport Man-Spider back to his home dimension.
- The Six Arms Saga is alluded in the Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon series episode "Strange" where Spider-Man dreamed he had grown four extra arms.
- Harry Osborn was revealed as being addicted to drugs in ASM #96–98.
- George Stacy was killed in the bedlam when Spider-Man fought Doctor Octopus in ASM #90 (Gwen Stacy was later killed by the Green Goblin).