Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

How These Characters Reacted When Discovering Spider-Man's Identity

Spider-Man's secret identity is one of the worst-kept secrets in the Marvel Universe. But while some versions of Spidey have better luck than others at keeping their web-slinging and personal lives separate, it's always interesting to see how friends and family members react to discovering that their loved one is actually Spider-Man.

For Peter Parker, reactions to his unmasking throughout the comics and films range from sheer disbelief to feelings of deep betrayal (as well as a few edited expletives in the Marvel Cinematic Universe). For Miles Morales, his identity of Spider-Man is a deeply held secret that's even taken to a family member's grave. But regardless of who's wearing the mask, you never know how people are going to react when said mask comes off. The various revelations of Spider-Man's secret identity not only offer some comedic beats but also significant consequences for each Spidey hero. Here's how these various Marvel characters reacted when they discovered Spider-Man's identity.

Ned destroys a pricey Lego set

Just like his real life counterpart, Tom Holland, the MCU's Peter Parker isn't the greatest at keeping secrets, even when it comes to his own secret identity.

During Spider-Man: Homecoming, Spidey's first solo film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Peter must learn to strike a balance between being a normal teenager and a wall-crawling superhero. Sure, he's fighting bad guys like the Vulture, but he's also awkward around his crush, Liz, and we also witness his unbridled enthusiasm when his best friend, Ned, tells him that he bought a Star Wars Death Star LEGO set. 

Unfortunately, that epic LEGO set (which retails for $500 and has thousands of pieces) has an untimely demise in Homecoming, as Ned drops and shatters it when he witnesses Peter sneak into his own bedroom while wearing his Spider-Man suit. Caught red-handed, Peter admits that his "Stark internship" is really costumed heroics, and Ned becomes the second person after Iron Man to learn Spidey's secret identity within the MCU.

Mary Jane figured out Spider-Man's identity on her own in the comics

Peter Parker's Aunt May initially tried to set him up with Mary Jane Watson in early issues of The Amazing Spider-Man, although Peter assumed that they wouldn't be compatible based off of May's approval of her. But after her full introduction in The Amazing Spider-Man #42, Mary Jane (MJ) becomes a part of Peter's close circle of friends, which includes Harry Osborn and Gwen Stacy.

After Gwen Stacy's death, Peter and MJ console one another through their grief and become even closer friends. Their friendship later blossoms into a romantic relationship, and MJ would become Spider-Man's most recognizable love interest in various universes and storylines.

Several storylines have depicted MJ as having simply figured out Spider-Man's secret identity, which, with how intertwined Spider-Man's and Peter Parker's lives are, it couldn't have been that hard. But in the one-shot Amazing Spider-Man: Parallel Lives, MJ discovers that Peter is Spider-Man when she watches the hero leave Peter's bedroom after Uncle Ben's murder. Her reaction to Spidey's identity is a muted one — she merely keeps the information to herself, although it does influence her decisions and feelings when it comes to her and Peter's relationship.

Aunt May finds an injured Parker in his costume

Peter Parker's Aunt May raised him after his parents died, and she became Peter's only remaining family member after his Uncle Ben was murdered during Spider-Man's origin story. Throughout decades of the wall-crawler's adventures, Peter kept his double life as Spider-Man a secret from May, since he knew she'd likely be worried about his safety and disapprove of his dangerous lifestyle.

However, in The Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 2 #37, May stumbles upon Peter's secret. She walks into Peter's room after he's suffered an intense beating from a villain. Not only are Peter's injuries an indication of his secret profession, but he's fallen asleep while wearing his costume.

In the next issues, Peter and May have a heart-to-heart chat to discuss the reasons why Peter dons the mask. While initially hurt that her nephew has been lying to her for years, she comes to understand his decision and supports him as Spider-Man. She even encourages Peter to unmask to the world during the Civil War storyline, but Peter's secret identity is restored for May and the larger world when Peter and MJ trade in their relationship with Mephisto to save May's life in "One More Day."

Peter really should keep his bedroom door closed

Like his many comic book predecessors before him, the MCU's Peter Parker treasures his secret identity, especially when it comes to Aunt May. In fact, when Tony Stark initially recruits Peter to fight alongside him in Civil War, Peter is resistant to fly to Berlin until Tony threatens to tell Aunt May about his costumed crime-fighting ways.

Peter manages to keep both his Germany shenanigans and most of his Homecoming adventures from his "unusually attractive" aunt, but that all goes out the window in Homecoming's ending scene. After Peter proves his worth in defeating the Vulture, Tony Stark leaves him a Spidey suit in his bedroom. Before donning the outfit, Peter calls out to see if Aunt May is home. Although May doesn't answer, it's clear that she's there as the camera pans to see her standing in the doorway while Spider-Man unmasks after trying the suit on. The scene cuts to the credits just as Aunt May yells out, "What the –!"

While May is initially shocked when learning Spider-Man's secret identity, she supports him throughout his journey as a hero. She appears at Peter's side during Tony Stark's funeral in Avengers: Endgame and while hosting a fundraiser in Spider-Man: Far From Home.

No, animals don't talk in this dimension

In Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Miles Morales is a regular teenager who gets thrown into the world of web-slinging heroics when he's bitten by a radioactive spider and witnesses the death of Peter Parker, his world's Spider-Man. On top of regular teenager adversities like learning to live with a roommate, Ganke Lee, Miles also has to deal with his newfound powers. On top of all that, the film's villain, Kingpin, teams up with Doc Ock to open up a portal to multiple dimensions, which results in multiple Spider-People from other universes landing in Miles' modern-day Brooklyn.

The six remaining Spideys (Peter B. Parker, Miles, Gwen Stacy, Peni Parker, Spider-Man Noir, and Spider-Ham) team up and work together to shut down Kingpin's super collider before it causes the universe to collapse onto itself. They also lend emotional support to Miles, but they're interrupted by his roommate returning to their shared room. The Spideys all scramble to the ceiling to avoid detection, but Ganke looks up and sees them, just as Spider-Ham asks if animals talk in Miles' dimension. Ganke immediately faints and falls out of his desk chair — a super understandable reaction.

At the end of the film, Miles reveals in his monologue that he's become a fully realized Spider-Man, but also that he properly revealed his identity to Ganke by hanging from the ceiling unmasked. Ganke's initial shock quickly subsides, and they bump fists, which indicates Ganke will likely be around in Miles' next adventure.

Man, nothing gets by Zendaya's MJ

In Spider-Man: Far From Home, the last movie in the MCU's Phase Three, Peter and his classmates are still reeling from the effects of Avengers: Endgame, including people being "blipped" back into existence and the death of Tony Stark. Peter privately mourns the loss of his mentor and father figure, but he also tries to share his newfound romantic feelings for his friend, MJ, during their school's trip to Europe. However, the trip is quickly derailed by the machinations of Mysterio, as well as Skrulls disguised as Nick Fury and Maria Hill. Peter attempts to help without exposing his alter ego by using a stealth suit that earns him the nickname of "Night Monkey" among the European press, but MJ is still able to piece together the truth.

In an equal parts hilarious and excruciating exchange, Peter attempts to confess his feelings for MJ, but he's interrupted by her accusation that he's Spider-Man. She lays out a pretty extensive argument as to why it's Peter, including their shared misadventures in Washington, D.C. during Homecoming, as well as Night Monkey's apparent use of the same webs as Spider-Man. Peter initially pushes back, but when he realizes Mysterio lied to him about the Elementals, he admits that he's Spider-Man and enlists her help. As for her reaction, it's equal parts validation and total shock. After all, she was only like 67% sure he was actually Spider-Man. 

A Spider-Man reveal that induced vomit

Felicia Hardy, better known by her costumed persona of Black Cat, is a recurring character within the Marvel Universe who's has helped, hindered, and flirted with Spider-Man at various points throughout the years. Black Cat's pragmatic ethos serves as a foil to Spider-Man's sense of morality as a masked hero, and the two have often shared entertaining exchanges.

Within the Marvel Universe, Felicia Hardy meets Spider-Man during her quest for revenge on Kingpin. The two cross paths several times, and Felicia develops romantic feelings for the young hero, even sharing a kiss through his mask. However, their romance is short-lived. Felicia asks Peter to unmask so that she can see who she's fallen for, but she's horrified to learn that the man behind the Spider-Man mask is in actuality a 16-year-old. Her exact age isn't specified within the Ultimate Universe, but it's assumed that Felicia is well into her 20s, so the age gap is definitely a deal-breaker for her. She's so shocked she'd been flirting with a minor that she ends up vomiting all over Peter's costume, which likely did a number on Peter's confidence.

J. Jonah Jameson faints at Peter's betrayal

Spider-Man's most vocal critic (and Peter's occasional employer as editor-in-chief of the Daily Bugle) is J. Jonah Jameson, a man known for running smear campaigns against the hero and labeling as a menace to the very neighborhoods he serves. But in the comics, when the newspaper man finally discovers Peter's secret identity, well, his reaction isn't what you'd expect.

During the Civil War crossover event, Spider-Man initially sides with Iron Man and voices his support of the Superhero Registration Act, which would regulate the lives of people with superhuman abilities. In Civil War #2, Spider-Man unmasks during a press conference to drum up support for the Superhero Registration Act to the utter shock of J. Jonah Jameson. He faints at his desk upon hearing the news, both from the shock of learning Peter's identity and from the humiliation of having Spider-Man right under his nose for years.

Later, he even wants to sue Parker for fraud and breach of contract, among other things. By taking photos of himself and selling them to the Bugle as news photographs, Peter lands himself in pretty hot water legally, and he inspires an even higher level of vitriol from Jameson. After learning Peter's secret, Jameson goes all in on wanting to discredit Spider-Man, even though they have similar stances on the Superhero Registration Act. However, Spider-Man's secret identity is restored in the much reviled "One More Day" storyline, so he and Peter go back to being colleagues at the Daily Bugle without Jameson knowing Parker's secret.

Harry Osborn transforms into a second Green Goblin after learning Spider-Man's identity

Green Goblin is one of Spider-Man's earliest and most recognizable villains. The most famous iteration of the Green Goblin persona is Norman Osborn, who's a hugely successful businessman, as well as the father of Peter Parker's best friend, Harry. During the events of "The Night Gwen Stacy Died," the elder Osborn kills Gwen Stacy as Green Goblin by throwing her off a bridge, and he ultimately meets his own grim fate by being impaled by his Goblin Glider.

Unbeknownst to Peter or Norman, Harry witnesses his father's death, and he holds Spider-Man responsible. When he later finds the Spider-Man suit in his best friend's home, Harry realizes Peter is the person he blames for his father's demise. Feeling betrayed by Peter, Harry dons the Green Goblin costume he'd taken from his dead father and becomes the second iteration of Green Goblin in The Amazing Spider-Man #136.

As the new Green Goblin, Harry confronts Spider-Man. He also tries to out Peter as Spider-Man, but the police take his confession as evidence of Harry's insanity. After he's knocked unconscious, he suffers a concussion that induces amnesia, so his knowledge of Spider-Man's secret identity is more or less erased, and he's able to resume his friendship with Peter Parker.

Miles' mother takes his identity to the grave

The symbiote known as Venom is present in Miles Morales' Ultimate Marvel Universe, although it's the result of genetic experiments rather than being an alien lifeform. Similar to the storylines in the Earth-616 universe, Venom bonds with Peter Parker before being rejected by him, which results in Venom becoming obsessed with Spider-Man and finding new hosts. After Peter dies and Miles Morales takes the helm of being Spider-Man, Venom then set his sights on the new Spidey.

The conflict between Miles and Venom comes to a head during the comics event "Venom War," when a Daily Bugle reporter inaccurately writes that Miles' father, Jefferson, is the new Spider-Man. Venom assumes this information is accurate, then attempts to kill Jefferson. Miles faces off against Venom to protect his family, both in his own home and in the hospital where his mother, Rio, works and where Jefferson was sent to recover after being injured by Venom. Rio learns the new Spider-Man is actually her son during the hospital battle, but she's then inadvertently shot by police officers attempting to kill Venom. As she succumbs to her injuries in Miles' arms, she tells Miles how proud of him she is, saying, "Look at what you can do." Just before she dies, she instructs Miles never to reveal his secret to his father.

Vulture spares Peter's life in Spider-Man: Homecoming.

In Spider-Man: Homecoming, Peter Parker prepares to go to Midtown School of Science and Technology's Homecoming Dance with his crush, Liz. However, the shocking twist is that Liz's father is actually the villain Adrian Toomes, aka the Vulture, and he's able to figure out Peter is the web-slinging hero during an incredibly tense car ride to the dance. Vulture's a-ha moment is punctuated by the car stopping at an intersection, which casts a red, then green light across Toomes' face as he confirms that Peter has no alibi for any of Spider-Man's heroic interventions.

Though Vulture viciously fought Spider-Man on several occasions, he spares Peter's life upon learning his secret identity. He tells Peter that since he saved his daughter's life in Washington, D.C., he'll spare him on the condition that he not intervene in his criminal activities. However, Peter is unable to keep his end of the bargain and faces off with Vulture, then saves his life after an epic battle along Coney Island. Toomes is then sent to prison, and during Homecoming's mid-credits scene, he's shown keeping his identity secret when Mac Gargan inquires about who's behind Spider-Man's mask.

Doc Ock assumed Peter was an impostor

Doctor Otto Octavius has always been one of Spider-Man's oldest and biggest villains. Doc Ock had once been a respected scientist, but an accident involving radioactive substances gave him the ability to telekinetically move his mechanical arms and turned him into a superhuman criminal.

Doc Ock's crime-filled ways soon had him crossing paths with Spider-Man, and they faced off several times early in Doc Ock's career. For example, in Amazing Spider-Man #12, Doc Ock kidnaps Betty Brant in hopes of luring Spider-Man out for a showdown. However, Peter appears to have lost his Spidey powers due to a nasty cold, and he's forced to face Doc Ock while in a dramatically weakened state. Doc Ock is easily able to defeat a weakened Spider-Man and unmasks him in front of Betty and J. Jonah Jameson.

But because Peter had put up such a measly fight against Doc Ock, the villain assumes that Peter had been impersonating Spider-Man, and everyone else follows suit, thinking Peter isn't the real hero behind the mask. In later instances when Spidey becomes unmasked in Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 1 #87 and Sensational Spider-Man Vol. 2 #28, other characters refer back to this dramatic reveal to either discredit or affirm Spider-Man's secret identity.

Spider-Man is shocked when his identity is revealed to the world

Most of the time, it's other characters reacting to Peter Parker's unmasking, but in Spider-Man: Far From Home, we get to see the web-slinger himself react when the world learns his true identity.

In the 2019 film, Peter successfully defeats Mysterio in London by disabling his projecting drones. His victory is made even sweeter when MJ finds him on the London Bridge, and they share an adorably awkward series of kisses once they admit their romantic feelings for one another. When they get home, Peter takes MJ on a real date, web-swinging through New York City as Spider-Man. MJ responds with absolute terror, screaming as they fling themselves between skyscrapers along midtown Manhattan.

The mid-credits scene disrupts the comedic fun when a breaking news alert plays along a public plaza. Fans were shocked and thrilled to see J.K. Simmons reprise his role of J. Jonah Jameson from the Sam Rami Spider-Man trilogy, although the MCU's Jameson runs a blog rather than a newspaper. And sadly, Jameson is here to bring down our beloved hero, as he plays doctored footage of the London Bridge standoff between Spider-Man and Mysterio that implicates Spidey for the destruction in London and reveals his secret identity as high schooler Peter Parker. Spider-Man can only watch from his perch on top of a lamppost before yelling the same phrase his Aunt May used in the last film: "What the –!"