In King in Black: Spider-Man #1, Peter Parker speaks to Reptil who shares his philosophy of what it means to be a hero wand how he uses his power.
Warning! Spoilers ahead for King in Black: Spider-Man #1
Spider-Man is just so good at what he does that he helped create one of Marvel’s next great heroes without even realizing it. Peter Parker happens across this ego-boosting information by accident when he mistakenly takes Reptil for one of Knull’s symbiote dragons.
This realization comes at a crucial point in time for the web-slinger who feels utterly responsible for Earth’s current unfortunate predicament with the God of Symbiotes, Knull, in King in Black: Spider-Man #1 written by Jed MacKay with art by Michele Bandini. Panic grips him as his thoughts spiral out of control early on in the issue, so when Peter thinks he sees a symbiote dragon, which he helped bring to his planet, he immediately swings into action.
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But the dragon just turns out to be Reptil, a hero named Humberto Lopez who utilized the Fossilized Amulet embedded in his chest to transform into a Pterodactyl. Reptil soon reveals that it’s more important to save people instead of fight people, hence why he’d taken the form of a Pterodactyl to bring an old woman safely home, away from Knull’s symbiotes. What’s more, Reptil realizes his own shortcomings, noting that even though he can’t stand up to villains like Knull that doesn’t mean there aren’t people who need saving. More importantly, the boy’s power hasn’t gone to his head. In fact, he remains humble. So impressed by Reptil’s philosophy on what it means to be a superhero and his methodology, Spider-Man can’t help but think, “The Avengers better watch out for their jobs.“
But Reptil didn’t come to this epiphany on his own. He was directly influenced by Spider-Man himself. “You’re my inspiration,” Reptil says to Peter. “You know, friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, always there for the little guy.” Not only did Peter help create this hero to whom all heroes should aspire and emulate, but he created a better version of himself with no emotional baggage or horrific mistakes weighing him down. As Spider-Man reveals about himself earlier on in the issue, he’s the reason why there are symbiotes on Earth, making him responsible for all of the damage and every person that Venom, Carnage and now Knull have killed. That’s not even mentioning all of the people who suffered as a direct result of Spider-Man’s own negligence and inflated sense of self-worth, including Gwen Stacy and Charlie.
Despite Reptil essentially becoming a better version of Spider-Man, Peter doesn’t take this as a slight against his own character nor does this comparison throw him further into a pit of despair. Peter needed to hear what Reptil had to say, especially now while he views himself as a failure for heralding the possible destruction of his planet and everyone he loves. He isn’t just the guy who invited a deadly symbiote and a seemingly invincible monster to wreak havoc on Earth. He is the guy who helped create one of Marvel‘s next great heroes.
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