The Six Arms Saga
|"The Six Arms Saga"|
|Publication date||September – November 1971|
|Title(s)||The Amazing Spider-Man #100-102|
Morbius, the Living Vampire
|Writer(s)||Stan Lee; Roy Thomas|
"The Six Arms Saga" is a story arc from the popular Marvel Comics character 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.
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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!
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 has 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, an enzyme Morbius "infected" Lizard with allows Connors to retain his mind even as Lizard.
Eventually, Spider-Man and Connors create an antidote that turns them both back to normal.
In the Ultimate Marvel version of Clone Saga, a clone of Spider-Man has six arms and a variant black costume surfaced. When unmasked, this clone also had more spider-like physical features, such as fangs around his mouth, additional eyes and 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, Spider-Man still has six arms. For unexplained reasons, he has taken to calling himself Man-Spider instead of Spider-Man. Moreover, the chemical he consumed apparently altered his DNA, since his clone (who is killed by Madelyne Pryor within the series) also has six arms.
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-armed 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 the 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 the run-up to Spider-Verse, after learning that something is crossing dimensions to kill Spider-Men, the Superior Spider-Man (Doctor Octopus' mind in Spider-Man's body) assembles a team of the more ruthless surviving Spider-Men to oppose this threat, including a six-armed Spider-Man wearing a costume perfectly adapted to his condition. During the storyline, this version of Spider-Man accompanies Spider-Man Noir to a world where the spider-bite left Peter in a coma, with the six-armed Spider-Man using the serum that gave him his extra arms to cure Peter of his mutation for good, guessing that Peter's mutation being so new would make it more receptive to the serum. However, the six-armed Spider-Man is later killed during a trip to 2099 with Lady Spider and Spider-Man 2099 when he is caught and fed on by one of the Inheritors.
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 had 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 captured, allowing Doctor Crawford to cure him of the mutation, Spider-Man returning to normal. In the season two finale storyline, the Vulture attempted to drain Spider-Man's youth and power, resulting in Doctor Connors to reprogram 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 series finale storyline, Spider-Man teamed up with his multiple alternate doppelgangers, including a doppelgänger still dealing with his mutation crisis who eventually completely transforms into Man-Spider during the mission. The Beyonder using the last of his own power to teleport Man-Spider back to his home dimension.
- The Six Arms Saga is alluded several times during the Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon series. In season one's "Strange", Peter Parker dreamed that he had four additional arms during Nightmare's mass of nightmares before being awakened by Iron Fist. In season two's "Carnage", a spider-like appearance is seen in Peter's imagination while he's trying to figure out what his transformation will be after the Green Goblin's injection with the Carnage symbiote. The chapter is also alluded in Ultimate Spider-Man: Web Warriors and Ultimate Spider-Man vs. The Sinister Six. In the former's "Savage Spider-Man", Spider-Man is poisoned during an encounter with Taskmaster with a serum that turns him into Man-Spider and gains a savage animal-like personality much to Wolverine's dismay (as Wolverine is usually the savage one) until Spider-Man is cured when Ka-Zar uses a Savage Land skunk to spray him. In the latter's "Return to the Spider-Verse" [Pt. 4], a doppelgänger resembling Man-Spider is seen among alternate-reality versions of Spider-Man (including Kid Arachnid and Spider-Gwen) as Wolf Spider's victims.
- Mutant X #5 (February 1999)
- The Superior Spider-Man #32
- Spider-Verse Team-Up #3
- Spider-Man 2099 (vol.2) #6