What if Spider-Man were to fight someone who he could never hurt, but was able to hurt Spider-Man? That is the concept of this comic book (Affiliate Link), Amazing Spider-Man issue 4. A memorable super-villain due to his unique powers, the Sandman had become one of Spider-Man’s most distinguishable foes throughout the series.
Let me tell you a little about the Sandman. He had gotten his powers due to radiation. Just like Spider-Man, the Hulk, The Fantastic Four, and damn near everyone else in the Marvel universe. While hiding out in a nuclear testing site, a nuclear bomb caused his DNA to mend with the sand underneath his feet. Or something ridiculous like that.
Which brings me to my next point. The Sandman, although being a great concept for an unstoppable villain, also has to be one of the dumbest. We are talking about a person made out of sand here. Is he supposed to represent that jock on the beach that would kick sand in your face? When Spider-Man fights Sandman, he can’t hurt him… unless water is used. Any liquid, in fact. Like if a dog walked by and pissed on him, that dog would have defeated Sandman.
As exciting as sand is, it was much more exciting when Spider-Man fought the Vulture. Don’t get me wrong, when Spider-Man fights Sandman, it is a clever battle. But you have to keep in mind that Spider-man has been around for a long time, and this was a very early issue.
Now that we’ve covered Sandman’s weaknesses, let’s take a moment to appreciate his strengths. Like the fact that he’s practically invincible to physical attacks, as long as he isn’t hit with something wet. It’s like a game of rock-paper-scissors, except instead of rock, it’s fists; instead of paper, it’s water; and instead of scissors, it’s… well, I guess it’s still scissors. But the point is, Sandman’s weaknesses make him a joke, but his strengths make him a formidable opponent in the right circumstances.
After all, what is scarier than a villain made of sand? Perhaps a pile of laundry that never seems to get smaller, or an inbox filled with unread emails. It’s no wonder Sandman has to resort to a life of crime – imagine being unable to go to the beach, lest you accidentally merge with all the sand on the shore. The Sandman may not be the most intimidating villain in the Marvel universe, but he still gave Spider-Man a run for his money.