Marvel Resolves An Old Plot Hole About Spider-Man’s Web-Shooters
Marvel Comics has finally revealed the long-standing mystery of how Spider-Man’s Web-Shooters actually work. First introduced in 1962, the gadgets have been a crucial aspect of the character and his story. Initially, Spider-Man was supposed to shoot webs from a gun, but the decision to use a gadget instead emphasized Peter Parker’s geeky nature. While the science behind the Web-Shooters has been explained before, many questions remained, particularly about the webbing’s ejection system.
SPOILERS AHEAD FOR AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #19
The latest attempt to explain the science behind the Web-Shooters was in Amazing Spider-Man #19, by Joe Kelly, Terry Dodson, and Rachel Dodson. During a weekend trip to upstate New York with his girlfriend, the Black Cat, Spider-Man encounters the White Rabbit and her latest scheme to rent super-villains gear to tech industry parties. While mingling with fellow geeks, Spider-Man is asked how his Web-Shooters work. He debunks the popular theory that they use “hyper-compressed fluorocarbons” as a propellant and explains that using compressed gas in the small mechanisms of the Web-Shooters wouldn’t work. Instead, he reveals that his Web-Shooters work with “compressed chain molecules that expand directionally based on the introduction of hydrogen.”
While this explanation may not be scientifically accurate, it is an attempt to fill a decades-old plot hole. Over the years, the Web-Shooters have been used to accomplish increasingly incredible feats, making it difficult to explain the science behind them. The formula for the webbing remains a secret, but it still needs to be ejected somehow, and the use of compressed gas in such small mechanisms doesn’t make sense. In 2005, Marvel attempted to fix this plot hole by giving Peter organic Web-Shooters. However, this solution was perceived by fans as a way to capitalize on the popularity of the Spider-Man movies.
The controversial “One More Day” storyline erased the organic Web-Shooters, along with Peter’s marriage to Mary Jane and their future daughter. While the creative team behind Amazing Spider-Man #19’s attempt to address this plot hole is commendable, comic books and science don’t always blend seamlessly. Concept art for the upcoming Spider-Man: Freshman Year MCU animated series shows Peter’s first costume with an oxygen tank connected to the Web-Shooters, which would be more scientifically feasible.
In any case, Marvel has finally provided an explanation for how Spider-Man’s Web-Shooters work. This revelation brings clarity to a long-standing mystery and may allow for a more grounded portrayal of the character in the future.
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