Spider-Who Part 94: Tarantula, Anton Miguel Rodriquez

Anton Miguel Rodriquez was a bloodthirsty revolutionary of an unspecified South American country. When he unnecessarily killed a guard while on a mission, he was kicked out, only to join the forces he was fighting so that he could kill his former teammates. It was the government forces of this unknown country that came up with the Tarantula identity for him. Once again, however, he was so bloodthirsty that he couldn’t stop himself from killing people he shouldn’t, and was forced out, even having to flee the country, and eventually arrived in America. As the Tarantula, Rodriquez didn’t have any super powers, but he was in peak physical condition and an excellent hand-to-hand combatant. In his gloves and boots he had retractable spikes and blades that he often covered in toxins or sedatives. Later, the Brand Corporation (later known as the Roxxon Corporation) somehow managed to capture and mutate the Tarantula into a spider-like monster. In this new, but hideous, mutated form, he had super human strength and durability, as well as being able to create webs. Horrified by his new body, Tarantula wanted revenge on the corporation and attacked the building to attempt to murder a Brand executive. Spider-Man and Will O’ The Wisp stopped him, but his mutation continued and Rodriquez turned into an absolutely massive spider. As his final conscious act, Tarantula committed suicide by jumping off the building into a hail of police gun fire and splatted on the street below. tarantula death

Spider-Who Part 93: Spider-Woman, Mattie Franklin

Mattie Franklin was a regular 15-year-old girl who was also one of the biggest Spider-Man fans in the city, knowing almost everything you could know about the hero, save for his true identity.

Overhearing Norman Osborn talking to her father about a secret ceremony there were going to attend, she snuck into it and took her father’s place. Since everyone was wearing hooded robes, no one seemed to notice her. The ritual was called the Gathering of the Five, and it would result in each of the five gaining either some kind of blessing or a curse. One will die, one will go insane, one will gain immense wisdom, one will become immortal, and one will gain immense power. Norman Osborn had sought to gain power, but instead Mattie got that, and Osborn was cursed with insanity.

After the ritual, Mattie found that she had the ability to fly, as well as having super strength, durability, endurance, speed, and reflexes. While her power set didn’t really scream “Spider-Man” she couldn’t help but put on a spider themed costume inspired by her favorite hero and she became the next Spider-Woman.

After Charlotte Witter attacked both Jessica Drew and Julia Carpenter, she next came after Mattie. Spider-Man intervened to save her, also getting help from the Black Cat. In the end, Mattie ended up absorbing all the of the powers that Charlotte Witters had stolen, thus meaning Mattie had all of her original powers, as well as all those of Witter, Drew, Carpenter, and even Madam Web!

Spider-Who Part 92: Spider-Woman, Charlotte Witter

Charlotte Witter is the granddaughter of Madam Web, a psychic who often helped Spider-Man. She herself didn’t seem to have any powers, but when her black market dealings brought her into contact with Doctor Octopus, he detected that she had latent psychic abilities of her own. Kidnapping her, he proceeded to experiment on her to make her into a living weapon he could use against Spider-Man. Using genetic DNA of spiders, Doctor Octopus altered her own DNA so that she became a human/spider hybrid, which also unlocked many of her other powers. Charlotte hated what had been forced on her, and tried to kill Doctor Octopus, so he then used various torture techniques to essentially brain wash her into obeying him.

Her powers included forming psionic spider legs out of her back, as well as being able to hypnotize men with her eyes. She also some precognitive abilities. Due to the genetic manipulation done to her, she can survive by simply feeding off the blood of men, similar to a spider feeding on insects. But of all her powers, she also had the ability to drain and steal the powers of others like her. She was given orders by Doctor Octopus to seek out and take the powers of all the other Spider-Women, adding them to her own, and then kill Spider-Man. At one point she had all the powers of Jessica Drew, and Julia Carpenter in addition to her own, but she was still ultimately defeated.

Spider-Who Part 91: Masked Peter Parker (first appearance)

Before Peter Parker made his webs, before he had even made his iconic red and blue costume, his first disguise was simply a grey mask tied over his head and some old street clothes. The thing I like about this is that the mask looks kinda like it is made of his webbing material from the early days of the comics, but since he didn’t come up with that until he went home after this feat, it must be something else. Sadly they don’t show what it is or where he gets it, he just shows up in the next panel like this. I hesitated showing this “costume” since there’s not much to it, but since it is a different disguise, and it’s my blog, I figured “Why not?”

This costume, and Spider-Man’s first appearance comes from the pages of a comic called Amazing Fantasy #15. Famously, writer Stan Lee has said that when he came up with the idea for Spider-Man, his publisher didn’t approve the idea, and so he and artist Steve Ditko submitted the pages with Spider-Man’s origin story for the last issue of Amazing Fantasy without permission. The public loved the character and the issue had amazing sales. Peter Parker’s next appearance would be in his own comic, The Amazing Spider-Man #1 where he meets up with the Fantastic Four asking to join, and later fights his first super villain, the Chameleon!

Spider-Who Part 90: Spider-Cyborg

From the pages of Superior Spider-Man #33, we find the beginnings of the Spider-Verse events where Doc Ock, The Superior Spider-Man is forming his own Spider Army to take on the Inheritors. One of the new recruits is cyborg to the point that it seems like 100% of his body has been converted into incredibly high-end technology. Not to be confused with Cyborg Spider-Man (which was a temporary condition). Sadly nothing is given of his origin or how he got this way, but he’s certainly introduced with a bang! Check out the first few pages of his first appearance below as he’s being attacked by Karn!

I have articles on all the spiders in the above image. Check them out! From top left to bottom right: Spider-Man India, Six-Armed Spider-Man, Spider-Girl Ashley Barton, Spider-Monkey, Spider-Man Noir, The Superior Spider-Man, Assassin Spider-Man.

Spider-Who Part 89: Goblin, Peter Parker

Sticking with a theme of alternate Peter Parkers who don’t wear traditional Spider-Man costumes, one of the Peters that we came across in the Spider-Verse event was this one. In his world, when Gwen Stacy died after Green Goblin threw her from the George Washington Bridge, he simply couldn’t take the loss. In a fit of rage he killed the Green Goblin, and then, as he puts it, “killed” Spider-Man. With seemingly nothing left for him in his life, he took on the mantle of the Goblin himself with a red and blue version of the costume.

Now whether or not he did this as a new hero, or if he became a crazed villain, it wasn’t specified. But in Spider-Verse when Spider-Gwen was the one to find him, he realized that not all was lost. The Inheritor Verna was close on their trail, and Goblin threw himself in her path as well as using pumpkin bombs to defeat her minions to save Gwen. He died of his wounds before Verna could feed off his life energy, but it allowed Spider-Gwen to escape through a portal.

Spider-Who Part 88: Ricochet

The fourth and final new persona Peter Parker created as part of the Identity Crisis story was Ricochet. This costume was almost entirely Mary Jane’s idea. The bulk of the clothes of the Ricochet outfit come from a used clothing store she and Peter walked into to get costume ideas. Once Mary Jane found a leather jacket and shirt with a stylized ‘R’ on it from an old out-of-business bar, she had to have them. She even came up with the Ricochet name to fit with the ‘R’ logo.

Peter mostly just uses his heightened agility and acrobatic skill to hop and jump around as Ricochet. He also has four metal discs on each arm that he can throw that will bounce around a room and into people. It’s not explained how he manages to do this, but one can guess it has something to do with having gotten good with angles and his spider instincts he’s honed so well while web slinging around without hitting anything.

As Ricochet, Peter decides to act as a greedy bad guy looking to get some money on the side. He stops a robbery telling the crooks that if they wanted to get away with it they’d have to pay him a cut while they’re on his turf. In actuality he’s delaying them until the cops show up, and he’s also trying to get the attention of the criminal leader whose turf he’s actually on, The Black Tarantula, who had previously defeated and humiliated Spider-Man. Another villain by the name of Delilah who works for a rival crime lord known as The Rose, takes notice of Ricochet and after a test in battle, asks him if he would like to team up with her to take down the Black Tarantula. He agrees, and the two end up getting in a drawn out battle against two of the Black Tarantula’s henchmen, Bloodscream and Roughhouse.

When they prove too much for Ricochet and Delilah, mainly because Peter keeps trying to use his web shooters by instinct instead of his ricochet discs, Peter decides to mix things up. Tracking the two henchmen back to their harbour hangout, Peter attacks them, not as Ricochet, but as ALL FOUR of his new identities. He seperates the two, jumps in for a quick attack, temporarily besting one of them, then changes costumes and attacks the other. Believing they’re overwhelmed and being unprepared for the next set of new skills of the next hero that shows up, they’re soon beaten. While Roughhouse is unconscious from the sleeping darts of the Hornet, Bloodscream reveals their bosses’ plan to kidnap and/or attack several women from the university campus, one of whom is Mary Jane.

By this point in the story Peter realizes he can’t keep all the different identities straight, as he kept trying to use his webs while in other costumes. Also by now Peter had cleared Spider-Man’s name as the other heroes and he goes back to being Spider-Man to take on the Black Tarantula once again.

Of course I can’t end this without definitely confirming that Ricochet is seen along side all the other Identity Crisis heroes in the pages of Spider-Verse. In fact they’re all on the same page at the great final fight.