8. Joining the Avengers
For years he was the ultimate loner, but when Spider-Man was included on the roster of Brian Michael Bendis' "New Avengers," a new era of Spider-Man had begun. While the knee jerk response may have been shock and outrage, the initial concept of Spidey as an Avenger was already explored years earlier and the webslinger remained a reserve member in good standing. The difference was that as a New Avenger Peter figured as prominently on the team as longtime Avengers Captain America and Iron Man. Peter added a new dynamic to the team, an everyman and ground floor entry point to the global and even cosmic world of the Avengers. The inclusion of Spider-Man allowed "Avengers" writers to include Spider-Man's fantastic rogues in Avengers lore, and they did so with gusto. Norman Osborn played the part of primary Avengers protagonist for years, providing a constant foil for Spidey and his new team. Spider-Man as an Avenger seemed to be an award for Peter's years of solo struggles, a justification that the world's greatest heroes recognized the humble Peter as an equal. No longer did the usually isolated Peter have to stand alone; the bravest and most storied heroes in the Marvel Universe now had his back. The same fans who swore they would never read an issue of "Avengers" involving Spider-Man are now begging for Sony Pictures and Marvel Studios to make nice so Spider-Man can be part of the cinematic "Avengers." He may have started his heroic journey alone, but when Peter joined the Avengers, he truly became one of Earth's Mightiest Heroes.