Spider-Man: Noir Cover

The Peter Tingle and Into the Costume-Verse

The first costume that we see Spider-Man wearing in Far from Home is that of the Iron Spider, which made its comics debut during the Civil War event and its screen debut last year during Avengers: Infinity War. Aunt May (Marisa Tomei) packs Peter’s regular, foldable costume in his suitcase for him, which leads to an awkward moment when he’s passing through airport security. She’s also the one who first introduces us to the concept of the “Peter Tingle,” the MCU’s makeshift, comedic name for Spider-Man’s Spider-Sense.

The comics depicted the Spider-Sense as a series of zigzagging lines above Spider-Man’s head. It alerted him to danger, as it does in the movie, though bananas being tossed his way don’t qualify as danger. This isn’t the first intimation of the Spider-Sense that we’ve seen in the MCU. When Peter was on the school bus in Infinity War, we saw the hairs on his arm raise up, alerting him to the arrival of the Black Order’s ship in New York.

As mentioned, Peter dons a Venetian mask when he’s in Venice, and Nick Fury later outfits him with a goggled stealth suit inspired in part by the one in the Spider-Man: Noir comic. It’s a tactical costume reminiscent of those that S.H.I.E.L.D. operatives like Black Widow once wore, so there’s no trench coat as there was with Nicolas Cage’s cartoon version of the Spider-Man: Noir character (seen last year in Into the Spider-Verse).

After Happy Hogan picks Peter up in a private jet from a tulip field in the Netherlands, Peter uses the jet’s onboard system to custom-design yet another new Spider-Man costume for himself. The days of him swinging around in a “onesie” like he was before he met Tony are clearly over. At the rate he’s going with all these costume changes, Spider-Man might as well enter a colorful Costume-Verse for his next sequel by means of a walk-in closet. “Spider-Man: Into the Wardrobe?”

Amazing Spider-Man - Peter Parker / MJ Page

MJ and the Not-So-Secret Identity

“Who let Vicky Vale into the Batcave?” This is a line from Batman Returns that rather knowingly addresses how little Tim Burton’s Batman — or at least its version of Alfred the butler — seemed to respect the sanctity of the secret identity. Masks were more of a thing in comics, with the need to protect one’s loved ones from vengeful enemies being of paramount importance. If you pull a superhero film title out of a hat, however, you could probably start counting off, right away, some characters in that film who know the superhero’s secret identity.

Civil War immediately let Tony Stark and Happy Hogan in on Spider-Man’s secret. Homecoming added Ned Leeds, Adrian Toomes, and Aunt May to the circle of people who knew. Before its closing credits roll, Far from Home also adds Nick Fury and Maria Hill, Quentin Beck, and MJ.

Zendaya’s version of MJ — which, in the MCU, is short for Michelle Jones — has already been a departure from Mary Jane Watson, the MJ of Marvel Comics and Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy (played by Kirsten Dunst). Instead of being a red-haired, voluptuous fashion model like she was in the comics, this MJ is an academic decathlete with no friends and a dry, mocking sense of humor. She’s more interested in the Black Dahlia murder than fashion.

Using her observational skills, MJ is able to deduce that Peter is Spider-Man fairly easily, blurting it out on the bridge in Prague right as he’s about to confess his feelings for her by way of a dahlia necklace that he picked up for her in Venice. There’s a precedent for MJ figuring out Peter’s identity as Spider-Man in the comics. In Amazing Spider-Man #258, she informed Peter that she had known his secret for years.

On the comics page, she was more upset about him lying to her all this time than she is in the movie. At the time, Peter’s heart actually belonged to another: he and Felicia Hardy, the Black Cat, were an item.

On a side note, issue #258 was an eventful one for other reasons, too. It’s the issue where Peter goes to have his new black costume, which he acquired on another planet during the Secret Wars miniseries, tested by Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four. Richards’ tests show that the costume is, in fact, a living alien symbiote. He uses a sonic blaster to separate it from Peter’s body, and as we all know, the symbiote would later go on to bond with Eddie Brock and become Venom (who, in turn, would go on to to be played by Tom Hardy in last year’s Venom feature film).

The mid-credits scene of Spider-Man: Homecoming showed Toomes (Michael Keaton) in prison, where he chose not to reveal Peter’s secret identity to his former criminal associate, Mac Gargan. Far from Home’s own mid-credits scene delivers up a slant rhyme to that moment, as Mysterio announces to the world in a video recorded before his apparent demise that Peter Parker is Spider-Man. We also see J.K. Simmons make his surprise debut as J. Jonah Jameson: bridging the gap between the MCU and Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy and marking the first time an actor has played the same character both outside the franchise and within its continuity.

Civil War - Spider-Man Unmasked Page

As I wrote last year when talking about the Marvel Comics moments that Infinity War brings to life, the mentoring dynamic that we’ve seen onscreen between Tony Stark and Peter Parker has its roots in the Civil War and pre-Civil-War era of comics. At the end of Civil War #2, Tony brought Spider-Man out at a press conference, where the hero made a conscious decision to unmask himself as Peter.

At the conclusion of the very first MCU film, Tony did a similar thing, sans Spider-Man, when he made the public announcement that he was Iron Man. It’s a scene that effectively dismantled the dual identity trope and presented Tony as a new kind of rock-star superhero who could enjoy the trappings of Iron Man fame even when he was in his civilian guise. Having Peter outed as Spider-Man, even against his will, brings him full circle to where he is now in the same place as Tony at the end of that first movie.

It puts the web-slinger in an interesting position going into Phase Four. We know there are bad guys like Mac Gargan who are already out to get him. What’s more, Gargan has his own supervillain alter ego in the comics: that of the Scorpion, a character we haven’t seen in the movies yet. Vulture is also still sitting in jail, and with Mysterio being a master of illusions who spoke of having contingency plans, it’s possible that he faked his death (though I’d rather take it at face value for now, until we hear some concrete news that gives us reason to believe otherwise).

There’s also the little matter of Mysterio having framed Spider-Man for the drone attacks in Far from Home. With Peter’s name out there now and J. Jonah Jameson looking to make Spider-Man public enemy number one, he and his friends and family are suddenly much more vulnerable.

At the same time, plenty of heroes in the MCU have been able to live for years with their identities known to the world. Tony’s declaration, “I am Iron Man,” somewhat weakened the currency of secret identities going forward from the first MCU film. The Mandarin did launch a helicopter attack on Tony’s Malibu home in Iron Man 3, but that was the result of direct goading from Tony.

Keep in mind, Peter’s not just some friendly neighborhood Spider-Man anymore. He may have once been a kid with no connections but now he’s got Happy Hogan and Stark Industries tech backing him.

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