Top 10: Spectacular Spider-Man Season Three Villains by Jerry Whitworth
With the recent acquisition of Spectacular Spider-Man for Netflix‘s catalog of titles, fans are re-living the series as new fans are discovering it. Proving to be popular for the streaming service, hopes have been renewed that if enough interest is generated, Sony could work out a deal with the streamer and Disney to continue the show. Running for two seasons starting in 2008, Spectacular Spider-Man became a popular re-invention of the titular character’s mythos integrating elements of the live action films, past cartoons, and the comic (including the Ultimate incarnation) supported by a toyline from Hasbro. Despite its success, Spectacular was canceled when Disney purchased Marvel because the show was produced by Sony. Series co-runner Greg Weisman (Gargoyles, Young Justice) has a rule about not spoiling his shows on the off chance they could be saved but has teased what a third season would have entailed. Lets take a look at some of the villains that would appear if the show returned for another season.
Introduced in the first season of Spectacular Spider-Man, John Jameson is the astronaut son of Daily Bugle publisher J. Jonah Jameson. Returning home from a space trip, John came into contact with the symbiote that eventually became one-half of Venom. However, the astronaut became infected with spores that attached themselves to the symbiote and altered his body. Becoming the hero Colonel Jupiter briefly, the spores scrambled John’s brain where even after Spider-Man removed them from his system, he was left deranged with a hunger for his lost power. Institutionalized at Ravencroft, a hot spot for Spider-Man’s foes, the character is all but served up to return as a foe. In the comics, John became the monstrous Man-Wolf. Finding a ruby on the moon, the stone transformed the astronaut into a werewolf. Later, Jameson was able to control himself in his bestial form and became the hero Stargod. With the introduction of Miles Warren in Spectacular‘s second season who was hired to make supervillains for Tombstone and having previously turned Kraven into a human/lion hybrid, the groundwork is already set.
Part of the Spectacular Spider-Man since its first episode, police officer Stan Carter is the partner of Jean DeWolff who are often seen together picking up villains dropped off by the titular hero. Carter has reacted positively to Spider-Man’s war on crime (as opposed to his partner) and has even expressed perhaps the costumed hero should take it a step further. In the comics, Carter was a police officer who became a masked serial killer named Sin-Eater. Targeting those he deemed corrupt, the Sin-Eater’s first victim was police captain Jean DeWolff whom he felt represented a corrupt legal system. The loss was a close and personal one to Spider-Man as DeWolff forged a partnership with the hero. Bringing Sin-Eater into the world of Spectacular maybe a challenge but if the Punisher could be adapted for children programming, surely this variation on the theme is possible.
Born with a rare genetic disease affecting his blood, Michael Morbius grew up to become a brilliant hematologist looking to cure his affliction. Using bat DNA toward this end, Morbius transformed himself into a living vampire needing to drink blood to live. Drawing the attention of Spider-Man, Morbius spent time as the hero’s enemy before eventually becoming an ally. For Spectacular, there has been a heavy emphasis on genetically engineered villains throughout its run and co-showrunner Greg Weisman has expressed an interest in bringing Morbius into the series. There is also the aforementioned use of Miles Warren in the series.
A more recent acquisition to Spider-Man’s rogues gallery, Mr. Negative is a villain with a dual personality. Kindhearted Chinese immigrant Martin Li runs the Chinatown soup kitchen F.E.A.S.T. Project which Peter Parker’s Aunt May works as one of its volunteers. Unbeknownst to him, he’s also crimelord Mr. Negative who came into conflict with Spider-Man when the villain tried to take over New York’s criminal underworld. Of the dozens of popular villains in the wall-crawler’s world, Negative has enjoyed success not seen since the likes of Venom and Carnage in the last decade or two. It shouldn’t be surprising then that when asked about bringing more recent villains into Spectacular, co-showrunner Greg Weisman mentioned being a fan of Mr. Negative. With the Green Goblin toppling the criminal underworld in the second season finale, Negative would be a perfect addition.
Introduced as a demolitions expert in the employ of Norman Osborn in season two of Spectacular Spider-Man, Morris Bench is better known in the comics as Hydro-Man. Therein, he was in an accident that turned him into sentient water for which he blamed Spider-Man and sought revenge. In many ways, Hydro-Man became a stand-in for Sandman filling positions in villains groups like the Sinister Syndicate and Frightful Four. Briefly, the two villains even merged to become the Mud-Thing where their separation helped motivate Sandman to be a hero for a while. Between the introduction of Bench in the show, Miles Warren’s presence, and hinting at Sandman becoming a hero, odds are good Hydro-Man was set for the third season. It should also be mentioned when co-showrunner Greg Weisman was asked which villains he’s most like to add to the series, the only ones that haven’t emerged yet were Hydro-Man, Hobgoblin, Scorpion, Carnage, and Kingpin.
Mentioned briefly as a private investigator working for Norman Osborn in the second season finale of Spectacular Spider-Man, Mac Gargan is one of Spider-Man’s greatest foes in the comics as the Scorpion. Created under the direction of J. Jonah Jameson, the Scorpion was suppose to defeat Spider-Man but the experiment damaged Gargan’s mind driving him insane. The Scorpion has endured for decades as one of the webhead’s mightiest reoccurring enemies (for a time, even adding the Venom symbiote to his arsenal). Co-showrunner Greg Weisman has stated repeatedly that in the event of a third season, Scorpion and the Hobgoblin would have appeared.
Seen as a patient at Ravencroft Institute in Spectacular Spider-Man‘s second season, Cletus Kasady demonstrated lightning could strike twice in the comics. When Venom emerged, not since the Green Goblin had a villain of Spider-Man been so well received. Becoming so popular, the character evolved into an anti-hero. Part of this development was made possible with the introduction of Carnage. When a piece of Venom’s symbiote was left behind during a breakout, it bonded with Eddie Brock’s cellmate in serial killer Cletus Kasady. Seen as something of a “what if the Joker got the Venom symbiote?,” the newly minted Carnage was so dangerous, Spider-Man and Venom had to put aside their differences to combat him. Carnage became the first of many subsequent symbiote characters including Toxin, Anti-Venom, and the Life Foundation Five (including Scream). During his last appearance in Spectacular, Eddie Brock was taken to Ravencroft while the symbiote ran into the sewer. With Brock and Kasady at Ravencroft and co-showrunner Greg Weisman expressing an interest in the character for the series, Carnage is all but guaranteed to have appeared in the third season.
A mystery that spanned over a decade, the Hobgoblin was a foe of Spider-Man in the comics who took up the mantle of the Green Goblin. Do to changes in creative behind the scenes, the identity of the villain went unknown for many years before it was eventually revealed to be fashion designer Roderick Kingsley. Hobgoblin was the first of many subsequent goblins including Demogoblin, Menace, and Grey Goblin. For Spectacular Spider-Man, Roderick Kingsley debuted in the second season where Norman Osborn swindled him out of millions of dollars. In the comics, Daily Bugle reporter Ned Leeds was framed as the Hobgoblin and executed by the assassin Foreigner so that the supervillain Jack O’Lantern could steal the goblin’s identity for himself. Ned Lee has been a reporter with reoccurring appearances on Spectacular since its initial episode. Co-showrunner Greg Weisman has stated repeatedly that the Hobgoblin and the Scorpion would have been in the third season and with the absence of the Green Goblin, New York’s criminal underworld in upheaval, and the introduction of Kingsley, all the pieces are in place.
Mentioned repeatedly, Miles Warren debuted in the second season of Spectacular Spider-Man as a massive thorn in the titular hero’s side. Turning Kraven the Hunter into a human/feline hybrid and creating the Molten Man for the Green Goblin, Warren evicted the Connors from their own laboratory with his loyalties set to the highest bidder. In the comics, Warren was a biology professor of Gwen Stacy with whom he developed an unhealthy obsession. Following her death, the professor blamed Spider-Man for her demise and developed another personality in the Jackal that sought vengeance. This lead to his cloning Stacy and Peter Parker, giving rise to Kaine, Ben Reilly, Spidercide, Jack, and Guardian (it should be noted, Doppelganger was a product of Magus and not Warren). Warren cloned himself as well creating the ghoulish Carrion while turning the likes of the Punisher and Grizzly onto Spider-Man. For Spectacular, Warren will undoubtedly continue to use his resources for personal gain and his turn as the Jackal is more of a matter of when than if.
When Spectacular Spider-Man was in development, the Kingpin of Crime was intended to have a central role. However, it became clear early on that the show only had access to the Spider-Man catalog of characters acquired by Sony and that the Kingpin’s rights were held by 20th Century Fox as part of their ownership of Daredevil. This meant that even if the show could get Marvel on board with loaning them the character, they would also need Fox as well. So, the Big Man/Tombstone instead took on the role intended for Kingpin. Of course, times change and the Daredevil characters returned to Marvel. And with Disney acquiring Marvel, they gained control of Spider-Man on television thus spelling doom for Spectacular. However, this creates an interesting situation. Namely, if Spectacular returns, it would have to be with Disney’s approval. Along this same line of thinking, the door would be open for any Marvel character to appear. Co-showrunner Greg Weisman previously sought Human Torch, Captain America, Hulk, Ant-Man, and the X-Men to emerge for the series but was turned down. While it’s debatable if those characters might have a chance in the future, odds are good that at the very least, the Kingpin will step in to fill the power vacuum left by the Green Goblin. It should be mentioned, Spider-Man foes like the Beetle, Boomerang, Swarm, Speed Demon, and Jack O’Lantern were not included in Sony’s license.
Honorable mentions: Prowler, Spider-Slayer, Beetle, Calypso, Rose, Boomerang, Morlun, Tarantula, Cyclone, Vermin, Swarm, Shriek, Speed Demon, Spot, Jack O’Lantern, Stegron, Puma, Foreigner, Black Tarantula, Rocket Racer, Man Mountain Marko, Lady Octopus, Will o’ the Wisp, Answer, Ringer, Iguana, Looter, Chance, Grizzly, Overdrive, Scorcher, Shathra, Kid Ock, Equinox, Gaunt, Kangaroo, Razorback, Human Fly, Mirage, and White Rabbit.