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    Augment and Supplement, Spider-Man Style

    Friday, July 27, 2012

    In the first three Spider-Man movies (2002, 2004, and 2007), Peter Parker's super powers were due entirely to a radioactive spider's bite. In the most recent film, our hero's enhancements are more in keeping with his comic-book origins. This makes them perfect for comparing the words augment and supplement.

    In the comic series, Peter Parker's natural strength, speed, and agility are augmented by the radioactive spider's bite. In other words, they are boosted. They already existed, but have been made better.

    The comic-book Peter Parker was a boy genius before becoming a super hero. After the bite, he used his chemistry and engineering knowledge to create wrist-mounted web shooters. He even developed different web formulas for different purposes. These web shooters supplemented his spider abilities. In other words, the devices added something new to his crime-fighting repertoire.

    But what about his "spider sense"?
    It's debatable whether the radioactive spider's bite augmented Parker's human senses or supplemented them with an entirely new ability. I tend to think of his "spider sense" as a supplement. What's your opinion?

    —Lester Smith

    Photo by rayand