The Spider-Island story arc has officially started and already things aren't looking good for Spider-Man. Over the past couple months, we seen snippets of residents of New York City gaining spider-powers. This was all part of a plan set in motion by the Jackal (and a mysterious woman). More and more, New Yorkers found themselves with great power and the results were mixed. Some have decided to use the power for good while others are using them to cause chaos.
Since Spider-Man has had his abilities for about half his life, you would think he has mastered them by now. Just because he'll find himself facing people with his same powers doesn't mean they'll be on even ground. Giving two people the same tools doesn't mean the novice will be able to accomplish what the expert can.
Although when fighting against Spider-Woman, who was under the influence of Mandrill's pheromones, Spider-Man was getting his butt kicked. Why? Spider-Woman has similar powers and Peter may have had his longer but she also has a different kind of experience. Being trained by both HYDRA and SHIELD, Jessica Drew knows how to fight and doesn't have to only rely on her powers.
With Spider-Man recently losing his spider-senses, what can he do? Learn Kung Fu!
There was a time when it felt like all characters knew karate or Kung Fu. Coming out of the success of Kung Fu movies in the 70s, it was a natural progression that the fighting style made its way into comics. We've seen characters in training sessions many times and hand-to-hand combat is essential. Heroes can't only rely on their superpowers. Knowing how to fight is essential as well.
Why on Earth should Spider-Man need to learn Kung Fu? Spider-Man's always faced incredible odds. I remember being impressed way back in Secret Wars #3 when he took on the entire X-Men and Professor X. Besides the super-strength and crazy agility, Spider-Man has had his spider-senses to assist him for years. He could be in a room full of opponents and his sense would warn him of any coming blows or attacks. With the loss of them, he's just a super-fast, strong and agile hero who could still get suckerpunched from behind.
Now finding himself faced against a horde of spider-strength foes, he's actually at a disadvantage. We've seen some of the infested actually possessing spider-powers that Spider-Man doesn't have, such as natural webbing. Spider-Man didn't have unique powers before and now all of New York is gaining spider-powers.
As Julia Carpenter, the new Madame Web, has pointed out, the trials that Spider-Man is going through and will have to face will only make him a stronger hero. He's taken his powers and abilities for granted for far too long. We saw some adjustment in trying to cope with the loss but there should have been more. Shooting webs and swinging around safely should require loads of care and precision. On top of having to fight against opponents with similar powers, when this is all over, Spider-Man will have evolved to an even more formidable hero.
Kung Fu and Karate were always the answer when heroes needed to learn hand-to-hand combat. Imagine what those abilities can do when backed by Spider-Man's super-strength and agility. It might be unnecessary and unless he keeps up with it, he won't become a karate expert over night. Villains these days are becoming more and more deadly. Spider-Man needs all the help he can get. He has been creating more tech items at his dayjob in order to give him more of an edge. What it comes down to is Spider-Man with Kung Fu abilities is more interesting that Spider-Man with a bunch of gadgets. Using tech is too easy. It's cool once in a while to see what kind of technological toy he could whip up for himself but we all would rather see Spider-Man use his fists against his foes.
Spider-Man will most likely re-gain his spider-senses someday. They can't be gone forever. We also know that Spider-Island will be resolved and the New Yorkers will lose their new powers. If gaining a new fighting edge means he needs to endure this time of difficulty, it will all be worth it in the end when he's moping the floor with his enemies.