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

Every Villain Who's Killed Spider-Man's Uncle Ben

Poor Uncle Ben. After living a good life devoted to helping others and imparting the iconic mantra "With great power, comes great responsibility" to his orphaned nephew Peter Parker, what does he get for his trouble? He's shot to death by some random thief Peter failed to stop earlier. Granted, the revelation shocks Peter into taking Ben's words to heart and becoming the amazing Spider-Man, but Ben sure got the raw end of that deal.

Unfortunately, this was just the beginning. Since the character of Spider-Man became so popular, there have been multiple retellings and re-imaginings of his origin — and in virtually all of them, Ben Parker has to die in some horrible way. Stuck in a "Groundhog Day"-like cycle of recurring homicide, the poor guy nearly has it as bad as Batman's parents. To make matters worse, nearly all of his killers have a disturbing link to Spider-Man.

Let's take a moment to look back at all the tragic ways Uncle Ben has been sacrificed over the decades — and the people responsible for taking his life. This might be a grisly list, but without Ben's death Spider-Man just wouldn't be the same, so it's a pivotal story beat that demands further exploration.

"The Burglar"

Uncle Ben first bit the bullet way back in 1962's  "Amazing Fantasy #15," after the poor guy only got three panels of story time. The man responsible for his death remained nameless — Spider-Man refers to him only as "The fugitive that ran past me!"

In later storylines, however, "The Burglar" received a backstory. In "The Amazing Spider-Man" #197-200, Peter learns that the man was now free and working with Spider-Man's enemy Mysterio. Together, they cook up a scheme to fake Aunt May's death so they can ransack her home. Apparently, the man had invaded the Parker home years earlier hoping to steal some treasure — but later learned it had been destroyed by silverfish.

Peter didn't take too kindly to any of this, so he tracked down the crook as Spider-Man. Peter's spider-powers had been weakened by a virus, but Peter didn't care — he just took this opportunity to beat up the man with his full strength. When the robber asked why Ben Parker meant so much to him, Peter took off his mask — and the terrified burglar suffered a fatal heart attack.

Later, readers learned that the burglar had a family. During the early issues of "The Sensational Spider-Man," Peter's clone Ben Reilly dates a troubled woman named Jessica Carradine, who reveals she's the orphaned daughter of the burglar. "Carradine" becomes the unofficial name of the burglar, and in Sam Raimi's "Spider-Man 3" (2007), he's referred to as "Dennis Carradine" on his mug shot.

The Sandman

Sam Raimi's "Spider-Man" movie trilogy made several big changes to the Spider-Man mythos. Not only did Raimi decide to make Spidey's web shooters organic, he also eventually changed the identity of Uncle Ben's killer. In "Spider-Man 3," Peter learns that "Dennis Carradine" was only an accomplice and that the man who actually pulled the trigger was small-time thief Flint Marko (Thomas Haden Church).

To make matters more complicated, Marko escaped prison and fell into one of those random dangerous science experiments that seem to be conducted all around New York. He gets disintegrated and rematerializes as a being of living sand dubbed "The Sandman." Spidey goes after him and nearly kills the man — but later he discovers Marko shot Ben by accident while carjacking him and finds the compassion to forgive the man of sand.

Notably, the Sandman has no connection to Uncle Ben's death in the original comic book storyline. Church's Sandman will be making an appearance in "Spider-Man: No Way Home" (2021), however, and it'll be interesting to see Tom Holland's MCU Spider-Man react to one of Uncle Ben's alternate killers.

The Cat Burglar

One of the most interesting people to kill Uncle Ben is also a very obscure villain. In "The Spectacular Spider-Man" animated TV series, we learn Peter nearly killed Ben Parker's murderer in the warehouse, but chose to save him at the last second and leave him for the police. Later, Spider-Man came face-to-face with the killer while he was trapped in the same prison he was locked up in — and learned he was none other than Walter Hardy, the father of Spider-Man's love interest, the Black Cat.

According to Walter, he had once been an amazing cat burglar. Over time, however, he grew slower and decided to carry a gun with him during his crimes. Expressing sincere regret for taking Ben Parker's life, Walter refused to let the Black Cat spring him from prison, and even teamed up with Spider-Man to help stop an army of escaping super villains by hitting them with knockout gas. While Spider-Man refused to forgive Walter for what he'd done, this marks one of the rare times Ben Parker's killer actually sought redemption.

A Nazi

In most stories, Uncle Ben dies after raising Peter Parker. However, in the alternate Marvel universe "Bullet Points," we discover what happens if Ben never had a chance to even know Peter. In this parallel world, Ben Parker is shot to death by a Nazi while serving as an M.P. guarding Dr. Abraham Erskine during World War II. As a result, Erskine never goes on to complete the Super Soldier Serum and Steve Rogers never becomes Captain America.

Even worse, with Ben dead, May Parker is forced to raise her orphaned nephew Peter alone. Without Ben's steady influence, Peter grows up to be a teenage delinquent who goes joyriding on a military base where Bruce Banner is testing his new gamma bomb. The bomb goes off, irradiates Peter, and transforms him into — the Incredible Hulk.

Things get even weirder from there. The Hulk goes into hiding, but Bruce Banner feels guilt-ridden by Peter's transformation. Hoping to help him, he starts experimenting with the insects and arachnids that were irradiated in the gamma bomb blast in an attempt to find a cure. A radioactive spider bites Bruce and transforms him into a feral version of Spider-Man. This alternate Spidey actually goes on to fight alongside other Spider-Men in the "Spider-Verse" comic book storyline and is almost immediately killed. Who knew Ben's early death could have such repercussions?

The Vulture

Most times, Uncle Ben only gets shot to death. But in "Spider-Man Noir," Ben Parker receives an even more gruesome end. In this alternate universe, it's still the Great Depression and Uncle Ben was a social activist who was killed by crime lord Norman Osborn's "Goblin Mob." Turns out the enforcer who murdered Ben was this world's version of the Vulture — a cannibalistic sadist who once worked in carnival freakshows.

After beating up Ben, the Vulture maimed and devoured the man while the rest of Osborn's men, and terrified reporter Ben Urich, watched. If that wasn't bad enough, Peter discovered what was left of his uncle's body, and the resulting trauma made him extremely cynical to say the least.

Interestingly, this version of Ben Parker is killed before Peter receives his spider powers. However, Uncle Ben still inspires Spider-Man in many different ways. To build his costume, Peter uses Ben's World War I aviator outfit — and service pistol. He also adopts Ben's mantra, "If those in power can't be trusted, it's the responsibility of the people to remove them" often in very brutal fashion — like when he shoots and murders the Vulture to save his Aunt May.


In many ways, Ben Parker fits the trope of the "Dead Mentor" perfectly. Popularized by many martial arts films, the dead mentor is the one who teaches the hero everything about life and fighting before dying tragically and giving the hero the motivation needed to go on a hero's journey. While Ben is generally painted as a blue-collar worker who doesn't teach Peter to fight in most Spider-Man stories, in Marvel's Mangaverse, he's literally a martial arts teacher.

Both Peter's uncle and a member of the ninja Spider Clan, Ben Parker (or "Sensei") managed to train his nephew Peter in the ways of spider ninjitsu. However, before Peter could get more than halfway through his training, Ben was murdered by his adopted son, the Ronin Venom. Reminding Peter that "with great power must come great responsibility" and that Peter needs to take his next step alone, Ben dies. He does, however, continue to appear in Peter's dreams and visions to add additional trauma to the young ninja. Unable to let go, Peter dons a spider-mask and uses his ninja training to become a new type of ninja Spider-Man.

The Man with the Star Tattoo

"The Amazing Spider-Man" (2012) gave Uncle Ben's killer something of a facelift by making him resemble ... the Unabomber? At least, that's what the police sketch of the nondescript man with dark glasses looks like. About the only distinguishing mark he has is a star-shaped tattoo on his left wrist — which is what prompts this world's version of Spider-Man (Andrew Garfield) to go on a potentially deadly crusade.

Tracking down and brutally beating up any crooks who resemble his uncle's killer (which, given the vagueness of the sketch, is basically all of them), Peter develops his Spider-Man costume and web shooters as a way of exacting vengeance on the still-at-large crook. At one point, he nearly suffocates a random carjacker with his webs, but lets him live only after he finds he doesn't have a star-shaped tattoo. Informing the man, "This could've gone a lot worse," Spider-Man leaves him for the police and arrogantly tells the cops, "I just did 80% of your job." Geez. Who knew Spidey could be such a bloodthirsty jerk?

The Chameleon 2211

One of the strangest Uncle Ben stories happened in "Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man" #7, where readers met a potentially homicidal version of Ben Parker.

In an alternate universe, May Parker dies shortly after Peter receives his spider-powers, and the traumatized teenager comes clean with his uncle about his special abilities. Using Uncle Ben as his manager, Peter jumpstarts a successful showbusiness career, but soon becomes too arrogant, cutting Ben out of his life.

Alone and adrift, Ben gets sent to the mainstream Marvel Universe by the Hobgoblin of the year 2211. There, he meets a still-living May Parker, but she rejects him as an imposter. Heartbroken, Ben wanders the streets and is met by the Spider-Man of 2211 who offers to take Ben home. Instead, Ben shoots Spider-Man multiple times in the chest, killing him.

Or did he? In a later storyline, Peter Parker investigates the murder, and discovers a second Ben Parker was found shot to death in an alley. Learning that the villainous Chameleon of the year 2211 has come to his time and is masquerading as Uncle Ben after murdering the original, Spider-Man uses his 2211 counterpart's helmet to initiate a special "poetic justice" against the Chameleon — leaving him to die in place of another of his victims.

An Evil Spider-Man

Uncle Ben might be Marvel's ultimate symbol of decency and goodwill — but that's not true of all his alternate versions. In "Edge of the Spider-Verse" #4, we learn an "Uncle Ted" has been abusing his nephew "Patton Parnel" in a parallel dimension that has its own horrific version of the Spider-Man story.

After being bitten by a red spider in an animal testing laboratory, Patton starts developing spider-powers ... and a disturbing appetite for living flesh. Feasting on a rat and a cat, he later turns to larger prey and attacks Uncle Ted, telling him, "With great power comes a great appetite!" A few pages later, we learn Ted isn't dead but has become host to a bunch of spider eggs that Patton implanted in him, and is begging for death. That death likely comes when the bugs crawl out of his body.

As Patton attacked his former crush "Sara Jane," he received a surprise visitor — the dimension-hopping energy vampire Morlun, who was tracking down spider-totems to devour and add to his own strength. Easily tearing Patton apart, Morlun seemingly ended the threat of this evil Spider-Man ... although later we learn that Sara Jane also has eggs implanted inside of her.

A Bad Ape

In the Marvel Apes universe, familiar heroes get a simian twist with Iron Man becoming "Iron Mandrill," Giant Man becoming "Gro-rilla" and Spider-Man known as (what else?) "Spider-Monkey."

Sounds funny, but the Apeverse isn't exactly a nice place to live. Ruled by the law of the jungle, the apes here practice a brutal form of justice based on establishing dominance over weaker beings. Take Spider-Monkey. Although his origin seemed to parallel the mainstream Peter Parker's story, when it came time to take down Uncle Ben's killer, Spider-Monkey didn't just web him up for the police ... he straight-up murdered the guy.

The story horrifies Marty Blank (aka "The Gibbon") a visitor from the mainstream Marvel Universe who calls out Spider-Monkey on his use of excessive force. Surprisingly, Spider-Monkey takes these words to heart and later stands up for a fallen hero when his fellow "Ape-vengers" try to kill him. Although this act makes him a pariah on his world, Spider-Monkey seems happy that he's now more like Spider-Man. Sadly, his life is also cut short when he helps out during the "Spider-Verse" comic book event and is murdered by a dimension-hopping energy vampire. Some Spideys, it seems, just can't catch a break.

A Street Gang

"Spider-Man: India" offers a unique cultural twist on the familiar Spider-Man origin. This alternate version finds "Pavitr Prabhakar" struggling to fit in at his new school after the kids bully him for coming from an impoverished background. Pavitr receives encouragement from his "Uncle Bhim," who reminds him that he has a responsibility to nurture his natural talents.

Pavitr gets a break when an ancient yogi grants him the powers and costume of Spider-Man, intending him to fight evil. However, while out enjoying his new web-slinging abilities, Pavitr sees a street gang mug a woman and decides not to get involved. As he swings away, Uncle Bhim does try to help the woman, but gets stabbed to death. Horrified, the India version of Spider-Man learns what too many of his alternate versions have similarly had to discover the hard way: with great power comes ... well, you know the rest.

Steve Rogers' Goons

Yes, you read that right — Steve Rogers once ordered his men to murder Uncle Ben.

Well, sort of. In "What If?" #28, there's an alternate universe where Steve saved Dr. Abraham Erskine before he was assassinated by the Nazis. As a result, Erskine is able to replicate his Super Soldier Serum for not only Captain America, but an entire army of super-powered soldiers who bring a swift end to World War II.

After the army is mysteriously destroyed in an explosion, Steve resurfaces and is elected President of the United States. However, his policies gradually turn the U.S. into a fascist state where only "loyal" white Americans receive the Super Soldier Serum, and any potential insurgents are assassinated.

This includes people like Reed Richards' family (who are shot to death before they can sneak onto their rocket and become the Fantastic Four) and Bruce Banner (who is killed for his unsanctioned gamma ray experiments). However, the worst death comes when Peter gets his spider-powers, performs on TV as Spider-Man, and then returns home to find Steve's goons have murdered Uncle Ben and Aunt May — and they then shoot Peter to death as well.

readers then learn it's not Steve Rogers in the White House at all, but the Red Skull, who transplanted his mind into a cloned Steve Rogers body. Later, the real Steve Rogers steps up and assembles his own team of Avengers to make the world free again — although it's too late for poor Ben, May, and Peter.


In what might be the most disturbing death scene on this list, via "Deadpool" #0, the Merc with a Mouth got involved in evil geneticist Armin Zola's plan to create a clone army with genetic samples of some of the Marvel Universe's most obscure deceased characters. When Deadpool crashed Zola's party, the scientist activated his clones — and Deadpool found himself gunning down numerous old school heroes and villains (including a pre-Winter Soldier Bucky Barnes) for the second time.

Just as Deadpool was getting into this latest killing spree, he yanked off a sheet covering Zola's latest clones — and got an eyeful of a naked Uncle Ben and Aunt May, who mistake him for their nephew Peter. Horrified, Deadpool opens fire, murdering the couple. As if this wasn't bad enough, in order to get Deadpool to not kill him, Zola uses his cloning technology to build him four brainwashed clones of Gwen Stacy, all put to work as his scantily-clad maids. Peter Parker better not find out about this.