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Meet Rek-Rap, the bizarro Spider-Man from the Limbo realm

Marvel has just introduced Rek-Rap, a bizarro version of Spider-Man

A cropped comic panel with Rek Rap yelling Done! It's wall-crawling time
Image credit: Marvel Comics

It’s no secret that there are many versions of Spider-Man. There have been multiple Spider-Verse crossover events showcasing the infinite Spider-Man variants running around the Marvel Universe (Check out this list of the strangest Spider-beings). However, the newest one is a bit bizarre. What happens when you take a deranged demon with an odd fixation on Peter Parker and give them an alien symbiote? Amazing Spider-Man #17 (written by Zeb Wells and penciled by Ed McGuinness) answers that question, and it’s a bit nutty.

Warning: Spoilers ahead for Amazing Spider-Man #17 (2023)!

The rise of Parker-Man, Limbo’s unlikely hero

Parker-Man tries to join the Limbo army (from Amazing Spider-Man #17)
Image credit: Marvel Comics

We first meet Rek-Rap as an unnamed scrawny demon residing in the Limbo realm. If you aren’t familiar with Limbo, imagine what Hell would be like if it was a fusion between Beetlejuice and Pee-wee’s Playhouse. The realm is overrun with demons, sentient pieces of furniture and appliances, and other monsters. Peter Parker is currently trapped in Limbo, thanks to a revenge scheme from his clone Ben Reilly.

Ben Reilly (who is currently calling himself Chasm) is torturing Peter by making him play-act in a demonic version of his life. Peter is forced to go to work at a hellish version of the Daily Bugle, populated by demons pretending to be his co-workers. One unnamed demon develops a heroic fixation on Peter after he saves him from a deranged co-worker. “Hey! Aren’t you the meat they call Parker Pete-Man,” the demon asks. “Close enough,” Peter says as he walks away.

The unnamed demon becomes inspired by Peter’s heroism, and decides that Limbo needs its own superhero. The demon dons a Spider-Man shirt, tighty-whities, and Spider-Man wristbands. He introduces himself as Parker-Man, and asks Chasm to grant him powers. “You have it backwards! We need villains, not heroes,” Ben Reilly angrily tells him. As you can see, getting things backwards is a reoccurring theme with Parker-Man.

Parker-Man becomes Rek-Rap (from Amazing Spider-Man #17)
Image credit: Marvel Comics

What’s the deal with Rek-Rap, the new symbiote?

Dejected at Chasm’s rejection, Parker-Man wanders through the streets of Limbo. He runs into his brother, a Limbo alchemist who readers might recognize from Venom #13 (2022). The alchemist offers to help Parker-Man become a hero, thanks to a little gift from Eddie Brock. The alchemist mixes his brother’s Parker-Man costume with a piece of the symbiote that Brock had gifted him, creating a new outfit. The symbiote then bonds with Parker-Man, transforming him into a bulked up superhero.

Rek-Rap makes his heroic debut when Spider-Man and J. Jonah Jameson are attacked by a horde of superpowered demons. The bizarro Spider-Man hits the Limbo demons with an anchor (it’s not quite Mjolnir, but it will do), and explains the reasoning behind his unusual name. “They said they didn’t need another Parker, that I had it backwards. So say hello to Rek-Rap.” This is where the issue ends, so it looks like we’ll have to wait until Amazing Spider-Man #18 to see Rek-Rap in action.

Is there a place for Rek-Rap in the Spider-Verse?

Rek-Rap makes his heroic debut (from Amazing Spider-Man #17)
Image credit: Marvel Comics

In a way Rek-Rap’s origin story is kind of sweet. He’s a demon who lives in a realm without hope who became inspired by Peter Parker’s heroism. While all his colleagues are trying to become villains, Rek-Rap earnestly wants to be a superhero just like his idol Peter Parker. He knows almost nothing about Spider-Man’s exploits on Earth, but that doesn’t matter. The only thing that’s important is that Peter Parker showed him kindness, and it inspired Rek-Rap to spread it in turn.

It’s also interesting to note that Ben Reilly played a role in his origin. Since he’s become the villain Chasm, Reilly has also served as a dark mirror to Spider-Man. The villain Venom has also played at that role, and like Reilly, he also played a role in the rise of Rek-Rap. The difference is that while Venom and Chasm serve as morality opposites of Spider-Man, Rek-Rap is backwards in a different sense. He’s a backwards version of Parker, but he’s still a hero – at least that’s what he wants to be.

Time will tell if Rek-Rap will make it to the next Spider-Verse event, but I think he makes a great edition to the Spider-Man family of characters. The Dan Slott and Mark Bagley storyline End of Spider-Verse is currently running in the Spider-Man title, and the animated film Across the Spider-Verse will be released in theaters this summer. Both projects make it clear, there is no limit on Spider-Man themed characters. In a world with dozens of alien symbiotes, multiple clones, and multiverse variants, why can’t there be room for a well-meaning demon?

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