The friendly Spider-Man next door knows the value of a good first impression. If he only impressed J. Jonah Jameson the first time they met each other, imagine how much more fun Wall-Crawler’s life was. Sure, there are far fewer “threat or danger” headlines screaming at him on newsstands, that’s for sure.
Even now that Webslinger has joined the Fortnite wildness that unfolds Fortnite x Marvel: Zero WarHe knows he can’t appear at the same age. This doesn’t mean he didn’t end up looking familiar.
The first reminder of the past is the Spidey cover. The cover of Ron Lim and Israel Silva consciously pays homage to – as evidenced by “After Mike Zeke” written between their names – the famous Secret wars #8 costume. It is a suitable choice. After all, that photo highlighted the black Spider-Man costume The Amazing Spider-Man #252 Actually beat Secret Wars to the first black outfit to reveal a punch.
To shift the focus to the costume itself, one can immediately refer to the many semantics of the classic Spider-Man costume. The most obvious of them is the color scheme. Webhead’s Fortnite Zero Skin costume is blue and red with black accents. Most of the black is centered on a central spider on the chest of the parietal crawler. This, too, is a fairly classic Spider-Man. Although not always in black, a nearly equal version of Peter Parker’s spider costume featured a central spider crest.
While this suit lacks the black belt of the classic Spider-duds, it visually references the belt with different black stripes depicting either the circuit connections or panels in the costume. Even the shoes, which break this pattern, have a heavy dose of black to remind us of using the black strap on Spidey’s feet in his usual look.
The helmet does not match the shape of a typical spider mask, but its stylized interpretation is close enough that one immediately recognizes the reference. The hood is clearly more of a helmet visor, but again, it’s close enough that there’s no confusion. It is also distinguished by black stripes that, although without a belt, create a kind of visual kinship.
However, Zero Skin does more than just echo the elements of the classic Spider-Man costume. It looks a lot like another armored look that Webslinger sported for a while. Referred to as Spider-Armor MK III, the outfit first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man #682 (by Dan Slott and Stefano Caselli) about ten years ago. In the “End of the Earth” story, Spider-Man races against Doctor Octopus’ plan to accelerate Earth’s environmental degradation. A super villain dies, essentially hoping to ensure the death of the human race around the same time.
At first glance, they look almost identical. Both are armor, both use red helmets, and both feature a large black spider in the center of the chest. The shades of each blue and red costume are reasonably similar, if not exact. The same can be said structurally about the waist pieces in both outfits which look almost the same as the belts.
However, deep exploration captures many differences. Most urgent is the bulk of the MK III. The Fortnite suit is obviously armor, but it’s also form-fitting. Spidey does not appear to be larger than usual while wearing it. Even his shoulder pads are shaped tightly with the rest of the suit. By contrast, the MK III gives Spider-Man a larger look. His shoulder pads were lifted from the suit, and the gloves were chunky.
This makes sense given the different purpose of each of these costumes. Fortnite is a video game that thrives on speed and finesse. Given the amount of firepower in the game, shields make sense, but a shield that slows Spidey down by any degree is counterproductive. On the other hand, the Spider Armor is there to help Webslinger take on a challenge from the super villains, members of the Sinister Six, in his attempt to get to the Doc Ock. Therefore, Armor focuses on keeping his body safe for round after round of potential physical bruising.
There are other stylistic differences as well. While the color schemes are the same, the MK III uses more black, specifically on the sides of Spider-Man’s torso and almost the entirety of his legs. The shoulder pads are blue and red in the comic suit as opposed to the Fortnite Zero Skin, which is solid red. The MK III doesn’t bother referring to the strap like the Fortnite suit does, with no black or seams used to indicate this exposed pattern on the torso.
Media that is designed to talk about the differences between fashion. Fortnite thrives on both color and action, so rating red and blue over black makes sense. It also makes sense to use solid colors with black stripes. By contrast, comics are static images. Therefore, the artist can depict the movement without worrying about what the costume will look like in the actual movement.
The black color of the suit gives an even higher level of versatility. It can create contrast in the moments where the script calls for Spider-Man to be bold and dynamic. In moments when stealth and calm are most in order at the moment, black can merge with shadows or a background. It’s also easier to depict more complex color layers, such as in shoulder pads, when the artist doesn’t have to calculate how those colors work (or not) when the player directs the character to jump, turn, or flip. .
Ultimately, the costumes are similar enough to evoke each other, either on purpose or otherwise. However, they have enough differences that neither is a straight copy of the other. So, when Fortnite promises a new Spider-Man outfit, it actually really delivers. Finally, designs are maximized for their respective media, ensuring that the visual strengths and weaknesses of each are maximized.