Spider-Man is a unique character in Marvel Comics, in that he is mostly someone who has always wanted to help people, even his greatest villains. This carried over to the movies, with Spider-Man: No Way Home last year showing Peter Parker wanting to help the new villains that showed up in his world more than he wanted to defeat them in battle.
There are moments in comics where Spider-Man seems vengeful and hateful of his villains. This is usually only reserved for his worst villains like Green Goblin, who has killed some of Peter’s loved ones. However, even with these terrible villains from his history, Spider-Man has saved everyone, including the villains, when the chips were down.
Vulture was an interesting villain. He was much older than all Spider-Man’s other villains, but thanks to his scientific knowledge and mechanical wings, he was always a persistent thorn in his side. In recent years, Vulture has mostly retired but remains a threat when provoked.
In Amazing Spider-Man #336, he went over the line. Vulture’s attack on Spider-Man resulted in the death of Aunt May’s husband, Nathan. After developing cancer, he set out to make amends, but Spider-Man brutally attacked him in vengeance. The fight ended when Vulture’s flight pack burst into flames. Spider-Man came around and saved him from falling to his death, always remaining a hero.
Tombstone and Spider-Man have an interesting relationship. They have been enemies for a long time, and they remain antagonistic toward each other. Recently, Tombstone asked Spider-Man for help, and the Wall Crawler reluctantly accepted.
Spider-Man ended up saving Tombstone’s life as The Rose (Kingpin’s son) had returned and tried to take over the city, ordering Tombstone’s assassination. Spider-Man stopped The Rose, and this saved Tombstone’s life, but Spider-Man also did it in a way that let Tombstone know he had what he needed to bring him down if needed.
8 The Sinister Six
The most recent instance where Spider-Man saved some of his villains came when Doctor Octopus sent his tentacles for help. Spider-Man knew Doc Ock wouldn’t do this if he wasn’t in real trouble, so he set out to save his enemy.
What Spider-Man found was the entire Sinister Six held captive and a souped-up Super-Adaptoid attacking him. It turned out the Living Brain had captured them, and Spider-Man saved the villains only for them to turn on him after he saved their lives.
7 The Living Brain
When The Living Brain first showed up, his programming demanded he learns the identity of Spider-Man. The fact he never learned Spider-Man’s identity drove him to unspeakable evils. In his most recent appearance, he kidnaped the Sinister Six to create a powerful villain and then kidnaped many of Spider-Man’s loved ones to force someone to reveal his identity.
However, Spider-Man saw something different while confronting the Living Brain this time, which was a being unnaturally frightened of Spider-Man. After the Sinister Six tried to destroy the actual brain itself, Spider-Man stood in between them, determined to save it. The Living Brain saw this and helped Spider-Man before allowing the Wall-Crawler to disconnect him. This was when he revealed he already knew the secret identity, but wanted to know who Spider-Man really was under it all.
6 The Kingpin
Wilson Fisk, the Kingpin of Crime, is one of Marvel’s most dangerous villains. While he has no superpowers, he has all the power he needs thanks to his brains, cunning, money, connections, and more, helping him rule over the criminal underworld. Despite all this, Spider-Man once saved his life.
This happened in 1986 in Amazing Spider-Man #274. While Kingpin is a powerful villain on Earth, there are two beings much more powerful in Mephisto and The Beyonder. They chose to work together to put Spider-Man’s morals to the test. The winner of this bet would determine the universe’s fate. When they planned to assassinate Kingpin, Spider-Man made the right call, and saved him, knowing that he couldn’t let anyone die, which also saved the universe when Beyonder learned there were some humans worth living.
The Lizard remains one of Spider-Man’s more unique villains. Unlike other bad guys who want to steal, kill, or work as mob bosses, Lizard is a tragic villain. Curt Connors was a scientist who wanted to find a cure for his lost arm. What resulted was becoming Lizard.
Lizard remains a close comparison to the classic Universal Monsters creature, Wolf-Man. Peter Parker is also close to Curt, and he has done everything he can to save Curt every single time while keeping his secret that he is the monstrous villain.
4 J. Jonah Jameson
J. Jonah Jameson is not a supervillain, but as the editor of the Daily Bugle, he might be the most persistent antagonist for Spider-Man, and he has been since the start. Jameson always believed that Spider-Man was a threat, and he did everything he could to turn the city against him.
There was even a time when Jameson helped supervillains against Spider-Man. He created Shocker, and when that almost backfired and Scorpion came for Jameson, Spider-Man was there to save his enemy, much to Jameson’s chagrin.
3 Green Goblin
If there is any villain that Spider-Man wants nothing to do with, it is Green Goblin. Norman Osborn killed Gwen Stacy, turned Peter’s best friend, Harry Osborn, against him, and even cloned Spider-Man, creating the entire polarizing Clone Saga storyline.
However, when Kindred showed up, he targeted Spider-Man and Norman Osborn. Kindred sent Sin-Eater after Norman at Ravencroft, and Spider-Man didn’t waste any time in heading in to save Norman. It didn’t end well for them, but in the end, Norman had his sins “cleansed” and is no longer a villain in Marvel Comics.
2 Doctor Octopus
The story of Spider-Man saving Doctor Octopus began in the worst way possible for Peter Parker. Spider-Man and Doctor Octopus fought to the death, with Doc Ock dying, but switching bodies with Peter before he died. Doctor Octopus became Superior Spider-Man and Peter appeared to die.
However, Peter lived in the subconscious of Superior Spider-Man. This all ended when he battled the Goblin King. Knowing that this version of Octavius was not as vicious as he was before, Goblin King gave him the choice of saving a child or losing the woman he loved. This put Doc Ock in a situation he couldn’t comprehend, and at that moment, Peter’s consciousness came back to the surface, saved the little girl, and helped save Octopus’s soul as well.
Spider-Man and Sandman have fought almost since the start of the Wall-Crawler’s career. However, Sandman was also one of the main Spider-Man villains who had redemption storylines more than once throughout his existence. This is included in the movies.
Spider-Man saved Sandman in the movies, but he also did so in the comics. One of the most touching Spider-Man storylines came when he learned that Sandman was dying, and he would soon fade away into sand. Despite years of fighting each other, Spider-Man took Sandman to his favorite spot on the beach, so he could have a last happy moment before the end.