Characters : Scorpion
Stark Raving Mad
Brown, usually shaved
Scorpion is able to climb vertical surfaces using the pincer grip powers of his hands. By combining his own strength and the power of his tail, he is able to leap significant distances.
Costume, and electro-mechanical tail.
Mac Gargan was driven totally mad as Scorpion. His instability and his hatred for Spider-Man and Jonah Jameson ruined his life.
Enhanced strength, pincer grip
Greater than Spider-Man
His tail can be used as an highly effective weapon. His original tail was equipped with a bio-electric sting. Later enhancements to his tail included an increase in length from 4' to some 20', addition of a lethal spike which can also release tear gas or acid.
Unknown, retired criminal
Known to crime authorities
Unknown, presumed limited
Spider-Man, Jonah Jameson
"The Coming of the Scorpion"
The Scorpion was created by J. Jonah Jameson, who paid $10,000 to Dr. Farley Stillwell, a researcher in animal mutation, to perform an untested human mutation on Mac Gargan. Gargan had been a private eye that Jameson had hired to follow Peter Parker in order to find out how a teenage kid could always get pictures of Spider-Man. When Gargan failed to find any clues, Jameson paid him another $10,000 to be Dr Stillwell's guinea pig. The experiment gave Mac Gargan super human strength but the cost was the loss of Gargan's sanity. Gargan proved to be much stronger than Spider-Man, and after he quickly defeated the wall crawler, he went on a one man crime spree across New York.
Realizing the danger that he had unleashed on the city, Dr Stillwell created a formula to remove Gargan's powers but Scorpion wanted no part of it. He had to administer the formula soon or else it would be too late for it to take effect. Climbing up the side of a building after Scorpion, Stillwell fell to his death, taking the cure with him. Defeating the Scorpion fell to Spider-Man. He tried and failed again to stop him, but managed to hurt Scorpion's hand badly enough that Gargan went after the much easier target of J. Jonah Jameson, the only man that knew his true identity. He went after JJJ at the Bugle, but Spidey showed up in heroically last moment fashion and webbed Scorpion's feet to the floor. Without being able to move, Scorpion became a human punching bag for Spidey. Even Jameson had to marvel at the fact that he had created the Scorpion to defeat Spider-Man, but Spider-Man had saved him from the Scorpion. (Amazing Spider-Man #20)
"Never Step On a Scorpion"
Gargan next appeared after tricking the prison guards into thinking that he had gone crazy (shouldn't have been too much of a stretch for him to act crazy) and only calmed down after they gave him his Scorpion costume back. He then simply tore the iron bars out of his prison window and leaped away. He immediately went to the Daily Bugle to finish off Jameson, and was lucky enough to find him unguarded by Spider-Man. Suddenly thinking that he left JJJ alone, Spidey returned just in time to begin a battle royal. The two tore through the Bugle offices, scattering JJJ, Ned Leeds and Betty Brant as they went. The fight went outside and raged on the building tops, scorpion tails and webbing flying furiously. Managing to tangle Scorpion in his web, Spidey tried to swing away with the psychotic criminal, but let him fall into the Hudson River. Scorpion freed himself from the webbing, but also exhausted himself trying to fight in the water. Spider-Man, meanwhile, was able to reload his web shooters and re-tangle Gargan, who was left for the police on the docks. (Amazing Spider-Man #29)
"The Scorpion Strikes Back"
Gargan was briefly used by the Jackal as a pawn against Spidey during the original Clone Saga. As he was leaving a mobster's home (whose territory he wanted to take over), Scorpion was met by the Jackal. He told Scorpy to go to the hospital that Aunt May was staying at (she had fainted after seeing the Gwen Stacy clone). He was told that Spider-Man would be there. Gargan crashed through the hospital window but found only May and Peter. (Amazing Spider-Man #145)
He stormed the building looking for Spider-Man and found him...very angry. Spidey chased Scorpion all over New York, finally terrifying him by dropping him off the Chrysler Building. (Amazing Spider-Man #146)
"The Scorpion Takes a Bride"
Scorpion spent much more time in jail after this bout with Spidey than he did previously. But during that long stretch in prison, his mind continued to disintegrate and his hatred of Spider-Man and Jameson only increased. Gargan found the perfect time to strike, after learning of Jonah's impending marriage to Marla Madison. As luck would have it (or lack of luck), John Jameson was also getting treatment at the same psychiatric facility that was the home of the Scorpion. Tricking a guard into thinking that he could be trusted, Gargan escaped long enough to re-gain his costume and immediately kidnapped the younger Jameson. While the police searched for John and put JJJ under police protection, Scorpion attacked Marla as well. Going on a hunch, Spider-Man went to Marla's apartment and barely managed to escape with Jameson's fiance.
Scorpion went after them, and managed to distract Spider-Man by crushing the side of a building, knowing that the vigilante would stop to protect the innocent bystanders from the falling rubble. Cornering Marla, he was only stopped by Jameson, who told Scorpion that he had been paying for him for years: in terms of guilt and in terms of his doctor and sanitarium bills. He had even set up a trust fund for the Scorpion's victims. Not impressed, Scorpion demanded that the only price he was willing to accept for Jameson turning him into a freak was JJ's death. John, who had escaped from his captivity in the sewer, arrived at the scene and was quickly captured by Gargan. He forced JJ to choose who would die: his son or his fiance. Naturally, that's when Spidey showed up and beat Gargan to a pulp. (Amazing Spider-Man Annual #18)
"Sting Your Partner"
Gargan started working for Justin Hammer, who gave him an updated suit that sprayed acid and mace. Hammer gave him the order to kidnap General Musgrave, who was privy to certain sensitive state secrets. The general would then be given to unfriendly foreign powers and in return Hammer's business dealings would be given special treatment in those countries. Scorpion made his attack on the general while he was visiting Empire State University, just as Spider-Man was arriving to get photos. Scorpy managed to capture the general despite Spidey's efforts and decided to take him hostage in return for Jonah Jameson. Either way, in one hour one of them would die. (Amazing Spider-Man #318)
As Scorpion held General Musgrave in his tail, he had Spider-Man pick up a pizza while they waited for Jameson. (Spidey ordered the pizza with anchovies to mess with him.) The hour passed without Jameson showing up and Scorpion escaped with the general by hijacking Musgrave's helicopter. Spidey tried to follow but his webline was snapped by Gargan's tail. Spider-Man did manage to hit him with a spider tracer before they got out of range. At an abandoned barn in Connecticut, Gargan decided that since Hammer wouldn't be a safe bet to deliver Musgrave to after being double crossed, he decided to sell the general to Wilson Fisk. While driving the general to the Kingpin, the van was stopped by Spider-Man and before the fight could begin, the group was attacked by the Rhino. Sytsevich had been hired by Hammer to retrieve Musgrave after Scorpion broke their deal. There was also a guy there called Blacklash, who was also hired by Hammer. They managed to capture Scorpion but didn't have time to find General Musgrave before they fled as the police arrived. Spider-Man took the general to safety. (Amazing Spider-Man #319)
Gargan returned to crime with the help of "Dr. Turner," who gave him back his costume and tail. His task was to kill Spider-Man, who had recently been depowered. Scorpion attacked his favorite target, Jameson, and Peter had just arrived to ask for an assignment. Gargan took Jonah to the roof of the Bugle, waiting for Spider-Man to show up. Peter had placed calls to the Avengers and Fantastic Four, only to get their answering machines. He reluctantly called the Black Cat, who brought him his costume. Scorpion again wanted Spider-Man to take his hostage's place to save his life and was about to kill Jameson when it looked like Spidey wasnt going to show up.
Black Cat tackled Scorpion just in time, while the helpless Spider-Man caught Jonah. Jonah escaped and Gargan turned his rage on Spider-Man, knocking him toward the edge of the roof. He was saved by Cat, who knocked Scorpion over the edge and into a water tower. Spider-Man also fell and only managed to save himself with his webbing, still crashing through a sky light. Thinking Spider-Man was out of the fight, Scorpion turned on Black Cat, trying to hit her with a blast from his tail. He instead hit a nearby building, severing its top corner. Spider-Man tried to capture him with all of his remaining webbing, which Gargan quickly tore through. Black Cat again took Spidey to safety, this time to a roof with two irritated sun bathers. They decided to leave when Scorpion flung Spidey into a wall. Cat saved Spidey one last time by hitting Scorpion off the roof and into a pool below, shorting out the criminal's tail. Scorpion escaped, swearing to remember her. Spider-Man managed to place a spider tracer on Scorpion before he left. Spidey and Cat paid a visit to the man whose machine had removed his powers, but found the machine and the man gone. (Amazing Spider-Man #342)
Spidey, with Black Cat's help, soon found "Dr. Turner" and his accomplices: the Scorpion, the Femme Fatales (Mindblast, Bloodlust and Whiplash) and Tarantula II. "Dr. Turner" decided to be honest with his associates and revealed his true identity, the Chameleon. He had purchased a device from the Tinkerer that was supposed to immobilize Spider-Man but instead suppressed his powers. Chameleon had decided to toy with his enemy and put him in situations he knew that the vigilante would drawn to. Now he had chosen to end the game. Upon hearing that his powers werent erased, Spidey decided to try the machine again to see if the effects could be reversed. Black Cat, meanwhile, decided to keep the Chameleon and cronies occupied. He wasnt sure how the machine worked, but Peter was able to return his powers, despite the intense pain. After Black Cat beat Tarantula and the Femmes, Spidey took on the Scorpion. Scorpy threatened Spider-Man with his stinger, which Spidey taunted as his "stinker." He asked if Gargan had become the Skunk Man. Scorpion's tail then got caught in a tree and Spidey used the opportunity to punch him through the sky light. He guessed when and where Scorpion would land and meant to catch him, but then went after Chameleon instead. (Amazing Spider-Man #343)
"Invasion of the Spider Slayers"
Scorpion soon went right to the Tinkerer himself, who upgraded his tail with an electric charge. After picking it up from Tinkerer the next day, he happened to catch Spider-Man and Felicia Hardy talking nearby. He took them by surprise, forcing Hardy to run and Spider-Man to escape to the rooftops to keep pedestrians out of harms way. Spidey managed to avoid Scorpion's acid and electricity blasts but was taken by surprise by a amoeba like robot. Scorpion took advantage of the situation by hammering away at Spidey but was distracted when Felicia gave him a kick in the ribs. Scorpion took another swipe at her with his tail but she dodged and he hit the robot instead. He tried to short it out with an electric jolt, but the feedback destroyed his suit and he fled. Peter initially believed Mendel Stromm to be the builder of the amoeba, but it turned out to be Alistaire Smythe. (Amazing Spider-Man #370)
Scorpion has decided to use his power as a freelance assassin, working for the highest bidder. He worked with the Chameleon, got a new electronic tail from the Tinkerer and even worked with XP-2000 and Egghead, but never had a decisive victory over Spider-Man. Constant defeat made Mac Gargan look at his life as a criminal, and he turned his back on the Scorpion. Unfortunately, his stint as a law abiding citizen was short lived. Spider-Man, deeply angry over his betrayal by Harry Osborn and by his Aunt May's coma, took ran across a defenseless Gargan. Sure that he was up to no good, Spidey goaded him into a fight, which Mac begged him to avoid. Spider-Man didn't listen. He punched Mac in the face. Again. And again. Spider-Man only came to his senses after beating his old enemies face black and blue.
Most recently, Scorpion was recruited by a jailed Norman Osborn. Gargan was informed of Spider-man's real identity, and ordered to kidnap Peter's Aunt May if anything should happen to Osborn. Osborn had told Spidey that if he had in fact ordered May's kidnapping-and that wasn't an admission-it would have been done by an old friend of both May and Peter. Apparently he was alluding to Scorpion attacking May at the hospital. Scorpion finally called Peter via a cell phone from the top of the Crystler Building. In mid-mission, Scorpion was approached by the Venom symbiote, which had just abandoned Angelo Fortunato.
Risking Osborn's wrath, Gargan chose the symbiote over Osborn's mission, since the symbiote's potential for power was far greater than any newly designed Scorpion suit could ever be. He thus became Venom III. Refer to that profile for subsequent appearances.
Gargan had a long, bloody stint as Venom but was more than happy to give up the symbiote after being bonded to it for so long. He was broken out of jail by Alistaire Smythe, who built him a new Scorpion battle armor, based on Spider-Man's powers. The suit was also keeping Gargan alive, as being bonded to Venom had left him with a weak body. Smythe and Gargan's first target? John and Jonah Jameson, naturally. They attacked John at a space shuttle launch, which Spidey managed to rescue. Realizing that Gargan now had his own sort of "spider sense," Peter went back to Horizon Labs and created a "spider sense jammer." As long as he was out of the range of the bio-electric magnetic pulse when it detonated, Spider-Man would keep his spider sense. That didn't happen, and both arachnids lost that power. In the melee, Marla Jameson, Jonah's wife, was killed.
Scorpion unknowingly aided Spider-Man in their next meeting. Otto Octavius was dying from radiation poisoning and various beatings taken over the years and only had hours left to live. The mad scientist had managed to switch Peter Parker's brain waves into his own dying body and Otto's mind into Peter's. Peter, in Ock's body, managed to find a way to call of various super-villains for help, as Ock was being held at The Raft. Scorpion answered the call, as did the Trapster and Hydro-Man. The trio followed "Dr Octopus's" instructions all over New York, as they were followed by the police and "Spider-Man." They ended up at Avengers Tower, where "Ock" hoped that his mind could be put back in his real body. "Spider-Man" let slip that Jameson was in the building and Scorpion became focused on finding him. When he finally found his target, he threatened to kill Aunt May and Jonah Senior. "Spider-Man" arrived and defended May, punching Gargan so hard that his jaw was separated from his head. (Amazing Spider-Man #700)
When Gargan was next seen, he was at The Raft, a prison for super criminals. He had been given a new robotic jaw and was being prepped for evacuation from The Raft in preparation of the execution of Alistaire Smythe. The security team was right to suspect that Smythe would try to use other inmates to save himself, as his tiny robots soon freed Gargan, Boomerang and the Vulture. They were ordered to kill Spider-Man (Octavius), who was attempting to stop Smythe's escape. (Superior Spider-Man #11)
The enhanced criminals (who had been given medical upgrades courtesy of Smythe's robots) soon were taking on their mutual foe, until they were given orders via radio from Smythe to kill the assembled hostages. Scorpion immediately went after Jonah Jameson and the Vulture went for the assorted people that had come to witness Alistaire's execution: his lawyer, a priest, Glory Grant, the head of The Raft's security team and Norah Winters. (Superior Spider-Man #12) Gargan soon found Jonah and easily overpowered the armed man. He was about to kill him when the Lizard arrived and stopped him. Connors was now in control of the Lizard's body and refused to allow "the monsters" to harm any more people. Scorpion was confident that he could kill both Connors and Jameson but didn't get the chance, as his enhancements were deactivated when Smythe was killed. Connors said that Mac needed medical attention but left him anyway. (Superior Spider-Man #13)
Quiz: Quiz on Scorpion.
|Jan 1965||App: Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #20|
|Oct 1965||App: Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #29|
|Escapes jail, Attacks JJJ|
|Feb 1970||App: Captain America (Vol. 1) #122|
|Nov 1971||App: Daredevil (Vol.1) #82|
|Dec 1971||App: Daredevil (Vol.1) #83|
Here is the Full Appearance List (38 Apps) for Scorpion.
The assistance of the Marvel Chronology Project is gratefully acknowledged.
Some of the above information is extracted from the various versions of the Official Handbook to the Marvel Universe and the more recent Marvel Encyclopaedias.