Rated as a mental power, Peter Parker's Spider-Sense rates as a 3 or 4 out of 7, depending on the card series.

There have been discrepancies in explanations of how it works exactly, with someone claiming it's everything from:

  • a simple highly-developed synaptic function that makes him react with inhuman speed ("verging on precognition " as the first movie said),
  • an extension of infrared-spectrum based awareness, to low level clairvoyance,
  • a type of "personal energy field" which can detect minute changes and interpret them via his enhanced sensitivity,
  • a type of omni-present awareness of his surroundings, to vastly enhanced mechanosensor which... well, let the video explain it here:

Honestly, there's no one canonical explanation for the Spider-Sense, but all basically function the same way: as a personal precognitive "early warning system" which informs his movements, reactions and engages him with his immediate environment. Its core purposes have always been:

  1. awareness based, as in feeding him a steady stream of information on his surroundings, and
  2. defensive, as in letting him know when danger most specific to him may be present, even if he can't see its source.

However, like any other mental power, wouldn't it be fair to say there may be some unexplored offensive capability to it, as well?

I don't mean it causing Peter to react to the danger and launch an attack, I mean literally if the sense itself has ever or possibly could be weaponized and used to attack an opponent directly?

If the Spider-Sense itself is perhaps signal-based, then could it not be used as some form of projected, focused mental attack?

The closest example I was able to find of this was in the 1980s Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends cartoon, However, that was based on the fact that it was 2 people with the same signal of 6th sense essentially "jamming" each other. You can see it here:

I was wondering if there were any examples in comic of this being used on normal humans or of Peter's powers growing of their own accord and thus developing that way.

I know Kane had painful premonitions which stemmed from his more developed Spider-Sense, but that's about it.

  • 1
    Possibly. He has used his spidey sense to disarm bombs and break into high security areas. If you agree, I'll turn this into an answer with examples. – djm Sep 19 at 18:42
  • Again, that's not really "offensively", more so than "strategically"...or rather, in a more utilitarian way than was originally intended. It's the equivalent of Batman using a bat-shuriken not as a throwing blade [directly offensively] but to pick a lock. – Russhiro Sep 20 at 14:03
  • I think we all need to understand how you define offensive. If I use X-ray vision to know where you are behind a wall, then shoot you through the wall, I have used X-ray vision offensively by any common definition. If Captain America blocks a bullet with his shield, and ricochet's it back to your head, he has used his shield offensively. Spies are an offense, but all they do is obtain information. The information lets us target weapons. Targeting is part of an offense. It sounds like what you want to hear is a time when spider sense has hurt someone. That's more specific than "offense." – Vogon Poet Sep 20 at 19:16
  • 1
    @VogonPoet I believe we're discussing 2 different aspects using a very broad definition. Though I will concede everything you have said here and in your following answer are true, it still somewhat lacks accuracy. This is why I included the video of the Arachnoid: there, we see Spiderman use the spider sense itself as a form of distance attack, not merely as a means to facilitate attacking. Hence me clarifying in the question if it was ever "weaponized and used to attack an opponent directly?" I thought that might have made things clearer. – Russhiro Sep 20 at 20:53
  • 1
    Does Spider Girl's (Mayday Parker) version of spider-sense fit? She can use it to detect an attacker's weaknesses and so how to direct her attack to most effect. – Loop Space Oct 31 at 11:07

Given that the Spider-Sense is a sense - it only gives Spiderman information, like hearing does - it can't be used itself to inflict injury. You also can't "hear" someone to death. But that's not what offensive means. You certainly can use hearing offensively (Daredevil anyone?)

Defining Offense:

An offensive is a military operation that seeks through aggressive projection of armed force to occupy territory, gain an objective or achieve some larger strategic, operational, or tactical goal. ~ Wikipedia

An offense always requires some form of weapon, which doesn't have to be a physical thing. Knowledge, information, or even psychology can be used as a weapon (Mister Fantastic literally uses his superior intelligence as a weapon).

According to Wikipedia, "weapons may be construed to include anything used to gain a tactical, strategic, material or mental advantage over an adversary or enemy target."

So this question asks if Spiderman has ever used his spider-sense to gain a material or mental advantage in an operation that seeks through aggressive projection of armed force to achieve an objective against an opponent?

Yes. Spiderman used his spider-sense to find [gain a mental advantage on] a guided missile [an armed force] and aggressively project that missile into The Finisher's car, so he could kill The Finisher [obtain an objective].

So yes, when Finisher sends a homing missile to Spiderman, why didn't he send it off into a wall or something? Well, as the Webbed Wonder says, "It's only fair." This was an offensive act.

Spider-Sense detects rockets

Spider-Man chooses to send the missile back to the Finisher

(Amazing Spider-Man Annual Vol. 1 #5)

This is different to how Green Goblin died: Spidey detected the flyer but never used it as a weapon. Gobby just happened to be in the line of fire.

The effect with Zoltan was not planned and hurt both of them, it was not an offense.

  • While both examples are excellent points showing Spidey use his power in a unique way, it still comes more under "Self defense"; the sense specially did its original job: warn him of an imminent threat. This is textbook "defense", part of which is simply recognizing an attack to either avoid, counter or neutralize it. His actions in both cases were more "Self preservation" rather than "Attack the opponent", and it wasn;t the sense that did the attacking, but more Spidey consciously "avoiding" their attacks in ways that put them more in direct lines of fire. – Russhiro Sep 20 at 14:07
  • @RussRainford - Not sure I’d call steering a guided missile into his car “self defense?” – Vogon Poet Sep 23 at 14:18
  • Considering he literally avoided the attack using the sense as an early warning mechanism [defending himself] I disagree. Yes, Peter himself guided the missile into the car, but even if he had no spider sense but saw it coming and reacted with that speed, then the effect would still be the same. Hence, the "sense" itself, while informing his offensive strategy, didn't launch or enhance the "attack." I think we need to make a distinction between the spider sense aiding Peter in his offensive technique and the sense itself being the directly offensive weapon. – Russhiro Sep 23 at 22:02

There is a book that was written back in the 90s where Spider-Man fights Carnage alone. Carnage's goal besides his obvious killing sprees was to dump some sort of super crazy serum into a homeless shelter's food day stew(even Spider-Man wonders who would even eat the soup after Carnage had done something to it). The book described a few fights-using his spider-sense to avoid the various hammers, blades, and spears being thrown at him-and "finding ways to counterattack the onslaught of weapons". I remembered reading something like-'Just have to wait for the opening" while from behind the cover of a couch or table. He couldn't see him, so he was "feeling" for the right time.

Another instance was in Spider-Man 3 when black-suit Spidey fought Sandman. The rematch was more of Spidey going full offensive. I don't remember the exact scene, but unlike the 1st fight, he reacted less and was attacking, then counter-attacking when Sandman finally had a chance to throw a punch. Sure it could have been the symbiote, but it was never shown or really hinted at-it just seemed Spider-Man had a real edge(possibly upgraded spidey-sense?)

  • 1
    "I don't mean it causing Peter to react to the danger and launch an attack" - doesn't that rule this out? – TheLethalCarrot Sep 20 at 13:26
  • 1
    The sandman fight was a better example of full offense. The carnage fight was more hide until it tells me it's ok to go nuts. – King of NES Sep 20 at 13:27
  • Again, while awesome insights, these are more examples of Spiderman "using the sense to his advantage in battle", rather than directly "offensively". Think of it this way: a fighter pilot using his radar to avoid incoming fire while plotting his path and waiting for the opportune time to drop payload. The radar is doing its job: early warning. This is different , then say, if the radar itself was used to block or "jam" the guidance systems of the in-coming missiles.... or worse yet, send a signal that made the foe's computer terminals go blind. That's more what I mean by "offensively". – Russhiro Sep 20 at 14:11
  • The RADAR is a bad example because it is an active system, sensing is a passive system. You're question is like asking if anyone has ever attacked someone by seeing or hearing them - using their sense of sight or hearing as a weapon. No sensory skill can ever attack anything, sensing can only give you an advantage. Information and intelligence can DEFINITELY be used offensively. If I had X-ray vision and use it to see through your mail, then use your social security number to ruin you, I have used X-ray vision offensively. But I can't blind you or hurt you with it! Make sense? – Vogon Poet Sep 20 at 19:01
  • @VogonPoet This is why I distinctly differentiated between "it warning Peter and informing his actions" and "The sense itself being used as some kind of "projected, focused mental attack." And while senses are largely passive, their use can be directly applied within a situation [closing one's eyes to sharpen hearing for clearer sound, for example]. X-Ray vision is a bad example because [presuming it works on real X-ray theory] the radiation itself could cause direct harm, which is essentially what I'm asking if the spider-sense has ever been used to do: Cause direct harm. – Russhiro Sep 23 at 22:08

Possibly: His spider sense has been used offensively many times to break into high security buildings / headquarters without being detected. His Spider sense allows him to find safe passage. It even helped him disarm a bomb. However, I can't remember a time where his spider sense directly attacked someone; it's usually indirect.

For example, many moons ago, there was a humorous scene in a Fantastic Four crossover where Ben Grimm is reading Salem's Lot alone in the FF's base. And then in the next panel you see Spidey's hand slowly reach down and tap him on the shoulder. Grimm screams and inhales his cigar! Spidey then gets a stern lecture about arriving unannounced and disrespecting all of Reed's security systems.

In the cartoon, Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes, Spidey uses his spider sense to disarm Kang's time machine / doomsday McGuffin, by removing the "safe" parts that wouldn't cause it too explode.

In Spiderman 2099; Alchemax Corp wants to recreate Spiderman's powers because they see him as the ultimate corporate raider. I.e. he can break into a rival corp undetected and steal all of their intellectual property.

  • Breaking into a building and especially "bypassing security", while a more directly applied use of its ability, is still somewhat defensive; it's basically "protecting" him from view, or being caught, or "warning " him of where not to go because it would be dangerous for him to pass certain boundaries. Mind you, this is a utilitarian use, its very much like calling Batman's "detective mode" gear in the Arkham series an "offensive" weapon, when its actually more of an information gathering tool. – Russhiro Sep 20 at 14:14

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.