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[Warning: This story contains spoilers for Sony/Marvel’s Spider-Man: Homecoming.]
If previous Spider-Man movies have seemed packed with supervillains, Marvel’s Spider-Man: Homecoming should feel overstuffed, with Michael Keaton’s Vulture being backed up by not one, two or even three other bad guys — there are, in fact, five other supervillains hidden in the background of the movie. But who are they, and what does their appearance tease for future movies? Keep reading.
The Prowler, real name Aaron Davis — played by Donald Glover in the movie — is a low-level thief in Marvel’s comic books, but one with a particularly important nephew. The comic-book Davis is the uncle of Miles Morales, aka the Spider-Man who isn’t Peter Parker. In the original version, Davis — who first showed up in Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man No. 1 in 2011 — was actually responsible for Miles getting his powers, having stolen the radioactive spider that bit him in the first place. Is this a sign of things to come for the cinematic version of the Spider-Man mythos? After all, in current Marvel comic continuity, Peter and Miles co-exist quite happily, and Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige has stated Miles does exist in the MCU.
Homecoming has not one, but two Shockers. Only one of them — Herman Schultz — holds that title in the original comic book, having debuted in 1967’s Amazing Spider-Man No. 46. An irregular presence on the page, he’s never quite graduated from the B-list, but his recent appearances in the Superior Foes of Spider-Man comic book series did put him (however temporarily) in charge of the New York underworld after he managed to blunder into defeating the Punisher. In Homecoming, he’s played by Bokeem Woodbine and becomes the Shocker after Keaton’s Vulture kills the first one.
Jackson Brice, the other cinematic Shocker, is better known as “Montana,” one of Spider-Man’s earliest comic book villains from Amazing Spider-Man No. 10 back in 1964. A cowboy-themed character in the comic, his gimmick is that he’s real handy with a lasso. In the film, where he’s played by Logan Marshall-Green, he threatens to tell the Vulture’s family all the bad stuff they’ve been up to. Well, blackmailing the Vulture doesn’t end well.
The movie Tinkerer isn’t particularly different in M.O. from his comic book counterpart, who debuted in 1963’s Amazing Spider-Man No. 2. (That just so happens to be the same issue that introduced the Vulture, not coincidentally.) The comic version of Phineas Mason (played by Michael Chernus in the movie, where he’s helping the Vulture with new toys), however, didn’t rely on reverse-engineering technology from others to come up with his inventions; he was the kind of basement genius that appeared on a regular basis in comics back in the day. In later appearances, he went on to create gadgets for all kinds of other supervillains, realizing that it was far smarter to stay out of the action himself. Well, what else would you expect from a genius?
Mac Gargan’s appearance in the movie is the first time any version of the Scorpion has appeared in any Spider-Man movie, which is somewhat surprising given the popularity of the bad guy, who first showed up in 1964’s Amazing Spider-Man No. 19 (although that was just as Gargan; he didn’t appear as The Scorpion until the following issue). Gargan has been a continual thorn in Spidey’s side through the hero’s half-century history, and not just as the Scorpion, either; for a period, he had the Venom symbiote, which led to a short-lived career as — I swear this is true — “Dark Spider-Man.” If that doesn’t sound strange enough, there’s also the fact that Gargan has been replaced as the Scorpion twice in Marvel’s comic book history, with one replacement calling herself “Scorpia,” because she’s a woman. I apologize on behalf of comics. In the film, Michael Mando’s version of the character appears in an end-credits scene, where he asks the Vulture if he knows who Spider-Man really is. Safe to say, the Scorpion will sting again.
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