Marvel has introduced a diverse and eclectic roster of heroes and villains over the years, and fans have gotten to know their personalities as if they were real people. So, it’s always interesting when one character disguises themselves as another and tries to live their life. Here are some of the best storylines where heroes or villains tried to trick the world about their identities.
The Superior Spider-Man
To take on the mantle of a superhero, it’s important to have a good disguise. And what disguise could be better than the literal body of the person you end up impersonating? That’s the basic premise of the Superior Spider-Man storyline in Marvel comics, where Otto Octavius, aka Doctor Octopus, decides to be a better Spider-Man than Peter Parker after swapping consciousness with Peter and leaving him to die.
It’s not often that you see a villain impersonate a hero and actually want to do good, but that’s what makes Marvel’s Superior Spider-Man storyline so interesting. Of course, Octavius brings about his own special brand of Spider-Man justice, so it takes him some time to learn how to be a hero of his own. Overall, it’s a twisty and surprising ride that is definitely worth checking out.
A Skrull Replaces Wolverine
If you can’t completely swap consciousnesses with a Marvel hero and take their body, the second-best disguise is definitely being a Skrull. With a Skrull’s transformative ability to change into anyone, replacing Wolverine would be no problem. The Skrull managed to keep the X-Men convinced for some time, appearing in quite a few Uncanny X-Men comics in Wolverine’s place.
The so-called Skrullverine was replaced while the X-Men were all unconscious, with the agents of Apocalypse operating on the real Wolverine and turning him into Apocalypse’s Horseman of Death. So, not only does Skrullverine take the place of a hero, but a hero also unwittingly becomes a villain in this story. Overall, Skrullverine has 25 appearances, starting in the 1999 Marvel comic Wolverine/Punisher Revelation #1
Jane Foster Hides Her Identity As Mighty Thor
Out of all the entries on this list, this is the only one that has been adapted to the MCU. Seeing Natalie Portman don Mjolnir and become the mighty Thor in Thor: Love and Thunder was undoubtedly one of the best parts of the movie (along with Bale’s Gorr the God Butcher). Of course, that storyline didn’t come out of nowhere, with Marvel comics doing it years before.
Writer Jason Aaron and artist Russell Dauterman introduced Jane Foster as Thor in a canon comic book storyline in 2014, though she did also take on the mantle in a 1978 What If? comic. Following the major Original Sin comic event, Thor was deemed unworthy of Mjolnir, and the hammer was left on the moon. Jane ends up being the next worthy individual to wield the hammer, and she does so at the cost of every transformation into ‘Thor’ gradually causing her cancer to worsen
Thunderbolt Ross Becomes Red Hulk
Although the Jane Foster-as-Thor storyline was the only one on this list to be adapted for the Marvel Cinematic Universe so far, Thaddeus ‘Thunderbolt’ Ross becoming the Red Hulk seems most likely to happen next. Originally played by the late William Hurt, Harrison Ford is stepping into the role for two upcoming MCU films. It doesn’t seem likely they would bring on a heavy-hitter like Ford if he wasn’t going to have a pretty big role.
Although there are two versions of Red Hulk in Marvel comics, the Thunderbolt Ross one is the original and most well-known. He appears in several comic storylines, notably the volume of Hulk handled by Jeph Loeb, Frank Cho, and Arthur Adams. No matter where he appears, Red Hulk is a fearsome foe that retains Ross’ strategic military mind when transformed while also radiating extremely high levels of heat, giving him his red hue.
Kraven The Hunter Becomes Spider-Man
Finally, we have another instance of a villain replacing Spider-Man and attempting they can do a better job of it. In one of the best Marvel Spider-Man comic storylines of all time, The Last Hunt, Kraven the Hunter seemingly kills Peter Parker and dons the Spidey suit to fight crime himself. It’s always interesting to see how a villain would act if they were trying to be a hero, and this storyline delivers in that respect.
The Last Hunt is a consistently surprising Marvel storyline that retains its high quality throughout. Fans have long called for an adaptation of this story in live-action, and maybe we’ll finally get one in the upcoming Spider-Man PS4 sequel or Sony’s growing Spiderverse with Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s take on the character. Even if it’s never adapted, fans will still have this fantastic comic to go back to.