Due to the copyright split over Marvel properties, there was a very long time where Spider-Man, licensed by Sony, could not interact with the Avengers, who all fall under the Disney banner. There have been a few Spider-Men over the years at Sony, including Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield, and, as of this writing, current webslinger Tom Holland.
Holland’s take on Peter Parker made his first appearance in the MCU not in his own film, but during the events of Captain America: Civil War, a film which pits Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) against Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) in a battle over the future of where the Avengers officially fit into the legality of global defense.
In the movie, Tony Stark enlists the help Peter Parker, and his very fancy underoos, to do battle against former ally Captain America. And while we know, thanks to Spider-Man: Homecoming, that Tony Stark knew about Peter for long enough and well enough to take the young superhero under his wing, we did not know all the particulars … until now.
Recently, located in the pages of the a book titled The Wakanda Files, published by Epic Ink, is the answer to the question: how exactly did Tony Stark know about Spider-Man in the first place?
Even Iron Man uses YouTube for research sometimes
If you recall, in Spider-Man: Homecoming, there is a point wherein Peter Parker is posting to YouTube. It turns out that this is not an insignificant part of the story between Tony and Peter, as in The Wakanda Files, as explained by ComicBook.com, there’s a personal log from Stark notating his first discovery of Spider-Man.
The log reads:
“This kid in Queens that’s blowing up on YouTube is a bit more interesting than a cat playing a harmonica. Get this: some teenager gets bit by a spider and suddenly shows up some of the best in the Avengers squad? And I don’t think these are special effects: this kid is catching an in-motion vehicle traveling at 45 milers per hour. That’s like 3,000 pounds worth of vehicle. How?”
And that’s not the only questions Stark seems to have in the entry. “He’s created this webbing from what?” The wealthy industrialist asks. “Over-the-counter products he’s buying in a bodega? If he created all of this tech scraping together garbage, think what he could do with the playground we’ve built upstate.”
Of course, we know how the story plays out from there, as shown by Civil War, two Avengers films, and two solo Spider-Man flicks, with Spider-Man: Far From Home, in particular, finally showing the young superhero coming into his own. Now that Tony Stark has sacrificed himself at the end of Avengers: Endgame, it seems that the power that Iron Man once wielded is in the capable hands of the young, keen intellect whom he mentored.
What that future holds for that part of the story we don’t yet know — particularly since Spider-Man is now a wanted fugitive — but for now, we do finally know how Iron Man first discovered Spider-Man.