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Alternate Takes 10.23.10: Greatest Spider-Man Adversaries, Part 4

October 23, 2010 | Posted by Shawn S. Lealos

Welcome to Week 126 of Alternate Takes, my name is Shawn S. Lealos and you have entered my world.

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5. Sandman

Real Name: William Baker (aka. Flink Marko)
First Appearance: Amazing Spider-Man #4

William Baker began his criminal career at a young age, stealing to make ends meet. When he grew up, he became a hired gun for the mob and changed his name to Flint Marko. After escaping from Ryker’s Island Prison, he hid out on a beach near a nuclear test site. He was on the beach when a reactor exploded, exposing him to high levels of radiation. The blast allowed him to turn his body into sand and start a new career as a super villain.

The first time he faced Spider-Man, he was captured in a vacuum cleaner. He then joined Doctor Octopus’ Sinister Six, whose only goal was to exact revenge on Spider-Man. He seemed to take a turn for the better when he merged his body with that of Hydro-Man and the two became a giant mud-like monster. Once separated, Sandman chose to reform and became a good guy. This only lasted until the Wizard brainwashed Marko and the Sandman became evil once again.

Sandman became the villain in Spider-Man 3, although they changed his origin story. He also recently reappeared in the Origin of the Species storyline.

4. Venom

Real Name: N/A
First Appearance: Amazing Spider-Man #299

One of the greatest comic book moments from my childhood was when all the Earth’s heroes disappeared only to reappear the next month with major changes. The two biggest changes were The Thing was no longer in the Fantastic Four, replaced by She Hulk and Spider-Man now had a black costume. Secret Wars explained these changes and was the biggest comic event I can remember. Now, these major crossover storylines happen all the time but, at that time, it was unique and special.

The black costume was a symbiote, which attached itself to Spider-Man on Battleworld after his red and blue costume was damaged beyond repair. The symbiote also bore the ability to mimic street clothes and Spider-Man took on this new costume, replacing the old one completely. When Spider-Man learned the symbiote wanted to fuse to him permanently, he found that high frequency sounds could separate them and proceeded to rid himself of the alien.

Angry at the rejection, the symbiote found someone who hated Peter Parker as much as it hated Spider-Man in reporter Eddie Brock. Brock, who had cancer, attracted the symbiote, which joined him and used its powers to keep him alive. Venom was born. Venom became one of Spider-Man’s most dangerous and personal adversaries. He was never a true villain, his only purpose being to beat Spider-Man. Mac Gargan (The Scorpion) is the current Venom but the best Venom will always be Eddie Brock.

3. Doctor Octopus

Real Name: Otto Octavius
First Appearance: Amazing Spider-Man #3

Otto Octavius was a brilliant researcher using mechanical arms to work on radioactive substance when an explosion occurred, fusing the mechanical arms to his body. He found he had mental control over the arms but also brain damage, turning him into a megalomaniac super villain. He became Spider-Man’s number one villain quickly, a villain who didn’t care about being a petty criminal, but a mad genius.

Octopus appeared in 16 of the first 100 Spider-Man issues as well as the first annual, the most prolific of the Spidey villains outside of The Green Goblin. He also is the man who created the Sinister Six to battle Spider-Man on numerous occasions. Octopus is responsible for the death of Captain George Stacy, father of Peter’s girlfriend, Gwen. He later complicated Peter’s personal life as he wooed Aunt May and prepared to marry her, simply to acquire an island she inherited.

A pivotal story arc involved Octopus almost killing the Black Cat, causing Spider-Man to beat Octopus nearly to death. This led to Octopus being deathly afraid of Spider-Man. Octopus was later murdered by Peter’s clone, Kaine, but was resurrected by the cult, The Hand. Recently, Octopus planned the entire “Origin of the Species” storyline, where he constructs a giant team of super villains and promises rewards for fulfilling specific tasks for him.

2. J. Jonah Jameson

Real Name: John Jonah Jameson II
First Appearance: Amazing Spider-Man #1

J. Jonah Jameson is one of Spider-Man’s biggest adversaries. As the publisher of the Daily Bugle, he used his powers to turn public opinion as well as the opinion of law enforcement officials against Spider-Man on numerous occasions. This caused Spider-Man to have to look over his shoulder while protecting the city, making his job harder than necessary. The reason for Jameson’s stubborn attitude is he believes individuals with superhuman powers, operating outside the law, cannot be trusted.

Jameson used his journalistic powers to demean Spider-Man’s reputation for the benefit of selling newspapers. Eventually, he moved beyond slandering Spidey’s name and actually hired Mac Gargan to undergo an experiment that turned him into The Scorpion, with the intention of defeating Spider-Man. That made him a target of The Scorpion when his mind began to deteriorate after the experiment.

Jameson put out a bounty to anyone who could uncover Spider-Man’s secret identity, hunted him down with the Spider-Slayer robots, hired Silver Sable to hunt him down and even hired Luke Cage to bring him in after the deaths of Gwen Stacy and Norman Osborn. Jameson recently became the mayor of New York City and his vendetta against Spider-Man continues.

1. Green Goblin

Real Name: Curt Connors
First Appearance: Amazing Spider-Man #6

Real Name: Norman Osborn
First Appearance: Amazing Spider-Man #14

When the Green Goblin first appeared, he was a mysterious enemy. His goal was to start a crime syndicate and he continued to escape capture by Spider-Man, while Marvel kept his identity a secret. The Green Goblin proved to be Spider-Man’s toughest enemy, the Wall Crawler never being able to capture him. Finally, the two opponents discovered each other’s secret identities, Peter learning his friend Harry’s dad was his greatest enemy. The Goblin then did the unthinkable – he killed Peter Parker’s girlfriend Gwen Stacy. In their ensuing battle, Spider-Man fought the Green Goblin to the death.

However, Norman Osborn did not die in that fight. Behind the scenes, he planned and implemented an elaborate scheme that almost ruined Peter’s life. Osborn is the man behind the Clones, including replacing Peter Parker with Ben Reilly. Finally, after many years, Norman Osborn returned and started his battles with Spider-Man once again. Osborn recently moved out of the Spider-Man universe and became the enemy to all super heroes when he became a National Hero after the Skrull attacks and led the United States in a war against superheroes.

Upcoming Releases

January 14, 2011 – The Green Hornet

March 04, 2011 – Priest
May 06, 2011 – Thor
June 03, 2011 – X-Men: First Class
June 17, 2011 – Green Lantern
July 22, 2011 – The First Avenger: Captain America
July 29, 2011 – Cowboys and Aliens
December 23, 2011 – The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn

May 4, 2012 – The Avengers
July 03, 2012 – Spider-Man 4
July 20, 2012 – Untitled Batman project


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Shawn S. Lealos

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