Wow, has it been a while since I did a Who’s Who. Welcome! This is where we take a look at comic book easter eggs, references and characters hiding in plain sight in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The focus of today’s post will be Spidey’s rogue gallery from Spider-Man: Homecoming.
5. The Terrible Tinkerer
I’m sure it will come as no surprise that certain iconic Spider-Man villains – namely Shocker and Vulture – are, in fact, in Spider-Man: Homecoming. What some fans may not realize is that Toomes’ bumbling inventor sidekick Phineas Mason is one too: A mad scientist known as The Tinkerer. Mason made his debut appearance in second issue of the original The Amazing Spider-Man comic, appearing in one of two stories adjacent to one featuring – you guessed it – Vulture. Often repairing and perfecting the armor of super-villains, Tinkerer has appeared in less than 100 comics since his introduction in 1962. Still, kudos to Marvel Studios for calling back to Spidey’s roots!
In Spider-Man: Homecoming, one of Toomes’ men Herman Schultz becomes the new Shocker after his loose cannon predecessor Jackson Brice is accidentally killed by Vulture. While Brice was amalgamated into the Shocker for the animated series The Spectacular Spider-Man, the comic version has always been (and still is) Montana, the gunslinger and lasso-man for the gang The Enforcers. The Enforcers (consisting of Montana, Fancy Dan and Ox) were originally the goons of the crime boss Big Man, and – like the Tinkerer – have appeared in less than 100 comics since they hit the scene in The Amazing Spider-Man #10 back in the early ’60s.
3. The Jackal
Okay, the Jackal doesn’t actually appear in the movie, but bear with me. In the comics, The Jackal is Miles Warren, and his brother Raymond Warren is the science teacher at Peter Parker’s school. While neither of these characters are present, a Ms. Warren is present as chaperone for the Homecoming Dance and catches Ned in the library
helping Peter looking at porn. This could still tease the appearance of the geneticist-turned-monster down the line. Warren first showed up in The Amazing Spider-Man #31, but didn’t become his antagonizing alter-ego until almost a decade later with The Amazing Spider-Man #129. Since then, he has appeared in hundreds of comics until his death this very year.
2. The Scorpion
I discussed the Scorpion before in my post analyzing the post-credits scenes of Spider-Man: Homecoming. First introduced in the Staten Island ferry scene, Mac Gargan is a potential buyer looking to do business with Toomes’ and his crew. He is later seen in the post-credits scene, confronting Toomes’ in prison and mentioning his friend on the outside who wants to kill Spidey – likely referring to infamous newspaper mogul J. Jonah Jameson. Scorpion debuted as Gargan in The Amazing Spider-Man #19 and became his monstrous self an issue later, part of a genetic experiment funded by J. Jonah Jameson to stop the web-slinging menace. Since then, he has become a huge mainstay of Ol’ Webhead’s rogue gallery, appearing in hundreds of comics (and way more than anyone else on this list). If the post-credits scene is to be taken at face value, Scorpion may be in store for the upcoming sequel to Spider-Man: Homecoming, coming after the untitled fourth Avengers film.
1. The Prowler
I put the Prowler at #1 not for his role in Homecoming, or his presence in a sequel. Hell, he’s barely in any comics. I chose him for the exciting potential effect he could play in the entire MCU going forward. In the film, Aaron Davis is another criminal attempting to buy weapons from the Shockers, and is played by Donald Glover. He later agrees to help Spider-Man because, in his words, ‘he has a nephew in this area’. Fans of the comics will know that the Prowler’s nephew is none other than Miles Morales, the popular Earth-1610 (or Ultimate) version of Spider-Man who got his powers after being bitten by a radioactive spider experiment stolen by his uncle.
Now, a little backstory on Miles. He was created to replace the soon-to-be-deceased Peter Parker in 2011 after the producers of the then-upcoming Amazing Spider-Man film refused to audition a fan-favorite actor for the role of Peter Parker, seemingly just because they weren’t looking for someone black. That actor? Donald Glover. Miles Morales took off, and Donald Glover eventually got to voice him in the animated series Ultimate Spider-Man. His role as Miles’ uncle Aaron means that if Miles shows up in the Marvel Cinematic Universe – something head honcho Kevin Feige is interested in exploring – his origin will be attributed to Donald Glover, in a beautiful case of art imitating life.
Stick around next week for another web-flavored Who’s Who, where we take a look at Peter’s classmates.
Want some more Who’s Who? Click here for the very first one, exploring Man-Thing’s presence hidden throughout the franchise – or click here to read about superheroes in the films that aren’t quite yet super.