Spider-Man is the crown jewel of the Marvel universe. With 60 years of history in comics, it can be overwhelming to figure out what to read. This guide will explore the best companion pieces to Insomniac Games’s Marvel’s Spider-Man 2. Because comic numbering can sometimes feel as complex as EVE Online, we will focus on individual series instead of specific storylines. Think of this guide as your window into the different portals of the Marvel Spiderverse.
Amazing Fantasy 15 (1963)
The comic that started it all—would you believe that the first joke in a Spider-Man comic has to do with the fact that a masked man can’t open a bank account? If you can stomach that level of humor, then the original Amazing Spider-Man run is a perfect place to start.
Black Cat (2019)
Black Cat may be second fiddle to Mary Jane, but she’s still a first-rate character in her own right. The style, action, and humor are all just as sharp as Black Cat’s claws. Diving into this series definitely won’t bring you bad luck.
Kingpin: Thug (2003)
This series is the darkest on the list. A Sapranos-style mini-series about the rise of the Kingpin of Crime: surely Spider-Man will stop such a simple mob boss, right? This story perfectly exemplifies how our villains are just as compelling as the heroes.
Kraven’s Last Hunt
Peter Parker is no stranger to dangerous villains, but few were ever able to beat him like Kraven The Hunter. Spread across multiple Spider-Man titles; this groundbreaking story is sure to have influenced Kraven’s characterization.
Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 (2023) #1
This Free Comic Book Day issue is the entire reason this list exists. This promotional comic is meant to be our first step back into the world of Marvel’s Spider-Man. Rather than give a plot breakdown, we simply recommend you read it for yourself before you play Marvel’s Spider-Man 2.
Spider-Man 2099 (1992)
Even in 100 years, the world will still need a Spider-Man. Miguel O’Hara is the coolest of them all. When you combine the new setting with a very 90’s power set, you have one of the most radical windows in the Marvel Universe.
Life is just better when Gwen Stacy is alive. The 2016 comic is the same as the Sony Spiderverse movie, an alternate universe where Peter is the one to die tragically. While its 34 issues isn’t as long as some others on this list, it may have the biggest heart.
Spider-Man Life Story (2019)
What if the story of Peter Parker was told in real-time? That’s the pitch for Spider-Man Life Story. A six-issue miniseries that flattens a decade into a single issue, Life Story both shows intense love for the history of Spider-Man and adds a few interesting twists along the way.
Ultimate Spider-Man (2000)
The Ultimate line from Marvel was meant to be a big reset button. Ultimate Spider-Man sees a teenage Peter Parker take on a much more soapy style story. The 2004 video game is an official tie-in that takes place in between two issues. It’s a great series with hundreds of issues to sink your teeth into.
Ultimate Spider-Man (2011)
If you haven’t read Miles’ comic book introduction, you really should. Miles is just 12 years old when he gets his powers; this gives the early days of the series a different emotional voice, and the Ultimate Universe is a great backdrop for a new character.
This particular Venom run creates a paradigm shift for the symbiotes. It manages to strike a tone that places both Venom and Eddie as actually separate characters. It has enough reach that it might be one of the better places to start in the Marvel Universe.