Pope Francis had a little competition in the superhero department on Wednesday.
Spider-Man gifted the 84-year-old pontiff his very own Marvel Comics character mask as the two living legends shook hands at the end of the weekly audience in the Vatican’s San Damaso Courtyard.
The comic book and blockbuster film icon — dressed head-to-toe in his signature body-con red, black and blue uniform — was seated in the official “VIP section” of the audience before being introduced to a smiling Pope Francis.
Buzzkill alert: The man behind the Spidey mask at the meet-and-greet was eventually revealed to be Mattia Villardita, 27, from northern Italy, Reuters reported.
He sat quietly next to a priest dressed in black — who appeared to be quite unfazed by the colorful character with big white eyes in the seat next to him, as captured in charming video footage released by international outlets.
Spider-Man sat quietly next to a priest dressed in black — who appeared to be quite unfazed by the colorful character with big white eyes in the seat next to him.
Vatican Media via Reuters
Pope Francis greets a person dressed as Spider-Man after the general audience, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, at the Vatican, June 23, 2021.
Mattia Villardita, a young man in the Spider-Man costume, who makes children smile in the pediatric wards of hospitals, attends Pope Francis’ general audience at the courtyard of San Damaso on June 23, 2021 in Vatican City, Vatican.
Franco Origlia/Getty Images
Pope Francis shaking hands with a man wearing a Spider-Man costume.
Vatican Media via AFP/Getty Images
A man wearing a costume of Spider-Man waits for Pope Francis to arrive for the weekly general audience, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, at the Vatican, June 23, 2021.
Pope Francis greets Mattia Villardita, a young man in a Spider-Man costume who makes children smile in the pediatric wards of hospitals, during his general audience at the courtyard of San Damaso on June 23, 2021 in Vatican City, Vatican.
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Villardita received his special seating — in the COVID-19-safe masked section — in recognition of his ongoing work dressing up in comic-book hero costumes and visiting sick children in pediatric wards of area hospitals.
Last year, Italian President Sergio Mattarella also gave Villardita an award for his fanboy philanthropy entertaining children suffering from a wide variety of maladies and terminal illnesses.