As though it wasn't bad enough that Batman was arrested last May for unlicensed rooftop swinging, the credibility of our nation's super-heroes have been dealt yet another crippling blow this week: According to an article in the Consumerist, New York vigilante Spider-Man has been implicated in a series of armed robberies, with a crime wave stretching from North Carolina to Oklahoma City.

Or maybe it's just that robbers have taken to wearing Spider-Man masks while they commit their crimes. We get our news from the Daily Bugle, so it's hard to tell sometimes.If nothing else, we can't say that we weren't warned about this possibility. For years, former Daily Bugle publisher and current New York City Mayor J. Jonah Jameson has been warning us that this day would come. While many have decried his part in constructing the egregiously illegal murder-robots known as "Spider-Slayers," it now seems like they might be the only thing that can save us from a crime wave with the proportionate strength of a spider.

Personally, I'm pretty sure this is all just a villainous plot to discredit Spider-Man's good name. According to the article in question, the Spider-Man robberies have officially reached Threat Or Menace status, with robbers taking on Spider-Man's identity in Chicago, Oklahoma City and North Carolina. The tipoff is that none of the robbers have used web fluid during their robberies, although one used what has been described as a sword, giving us what might be the greatest headline in the history of journalism, and maybe the best sentence in the English language, courtesy of WQAD:

"Clerk Describes Fear of Machete-Weilding Spider-Man."

The same article also gives us a tip from Moline Detective Scott Williams: "If anyone comes to your business with a mask on, you probably know they're in there for no good."

Of course, it's entirely possible that these are just unconnected events that point to a shift in criminal fashion. Could the traditional Ex-President mask finally have fallen out of style in favor of something else?

Either way, we're happy to report that none of the Spider-Man robberies have resulted in serious injuries (although one robber was bashed in the head with a broom by his would-be victim, something his Spider-Sense should've seen coming), and we wish the police the best of luck in tracking down the crooks tarnishing the good name of one of our favorite heroes.

We just hope they make sure to get the real crooks, and not one of their many, many clones.

(via John DiBello)