Smythe, Alistaire

 In: Characters
 Posted: 1999
 Staff: The Editor (E-Mail)
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Requires a wheelchair at times




5'2" (originally) 6'0" (finally)


Overweight (originally) Solid (finally)


Highly talented robotics engineer


Various Spider-Slayers of his own making


Can be a little over-confident, is also psychotic

Strength Level:

Currently Superhuman



Created By:

Louise Simonson, Mary Wilshire, Pat Redding, David Michelinie, Mark Bagley, Randy Emberlin

Current Occupation:


Dual Identity:

Not secret


High School

Former Bases:

Kingpin's Tower

Former Occupation:

Assistant to Kingpin

Known Allies:


Known Confidants:


Known Relatives:

Professor Spencer Smythe (Father, deceased)

Legal Status:

Criminal Record

Major Enemies:

Spider-Man, Carolyn Trainer (Doctor Octopus II)

Marital Status:


Place of Birth:


Real Name:

Alistaire Alphonso Smythe

Usual Bases:



Alone in his dark, dingy lab in Wilson Fisk's skyscraper, Alistaire Alphonso Smythe sat and fumed over Fisk's refusal to kill Spider-Man. Alistaire's father, Spencer Smythe, had been a mad scientist and obsessed over building the perfect machine to kill the wall crawler. Spencer had been originally hired by J. Jonah Jameson to do the job and his creations clashed with Spider-Man over a period of years. Spencer's health deteriorated and he eventually expired. Alistaire blamed Spider-Man and went to work for the Kingpin, hoping that his resources would enable him to avenge his father''s death. Instead, Alistaire felt stymied by Fisk and eventually he blew up at his employer. He demanded to know why the mobster hadn't killed the vigilante when he had battled the Vulturions at Fisk's building. Kingpin told him that while Spider-Man and the police were interfering with the operations of a rival gangster, Kingpin's own criminal operation across town was ignored. He then fired Smythe for the lack of inventions that he had promised.

Smythe was indifferent to the firing, as he had already created a new spider-slayer to defeat Spider-Man. He had placed a homing device in a hat that Spider-Man had dropped while battling the Vulturions (Peter had bought it for Aunt May's birthday) and Fisk had Smythe clean it and give it back to Spider-Man. Alistaire followed the homing signal to where May was having lunch with Anna Watson and Mary Jane. He crashed through the windows just after May passed the hat over to Anna to wear and Smythe mistakenly assumed that Ms. Watson was his target. The slayer grabbed Anna and Mary Jane grabbed her aunt, only to be taken by the machine as well. Smythe left a message to Spider-Man, telling him to meet him at his lab.

As the slayer flew them to the lab, Anna accused MJ of thinking she was Spider-Man and Alistaire mistook what she said and believed that Mary Jane was in fact, Spider-Man. After Mary Jane and Anna were tied up at his lab, Smythe forced MJ to "confess" to being Spider-Man and that she wore an exo-skeleton to make herself look like a man. She offered to show it to him and then she suggested that they get a camera, to record the monumental defeat of Spider-Man. She left a note at the closed camera store and they headed to the Empire State Building, to use as background for the photos. She then dropped a note in her show through Peter's apartment skylight as they passed over his apartment. Alistaire noticed the action and told her that he knew she would try to trick him and he had tricked her as well: her aunt was already dead as he left a trap for her. He then demanded to see the exo-skeleton and she said it was at the Bugle.

Meanwhile, Spider-Man had saved Anna and learned about the letter in the camera store from a police officer. The cop told Spider-Man that the note said to find MJ at the Bugle building. Realizing that MJ hd no intention of showing him her exo-skeleton, Smythe tossed her to her death, but she was saved at the last moment by the web swinger. Spidey had never heard of this Smythe before and was surprised to hear that Spencer had a son. Alistaire told him that his father was completely obsessed with the wall crawler, so much so that he hardly noticed his son. Alistaire was eventually beaten when his flying craft was smashed into a water tower and then ran into a power line at the train depot. (Amazing Spider-Man Annual #19)

Smythe survived the crash but his body was badly hurt. In his next appearance, he was in a full body suit, attached to a feeding tube and in a wheel chair. While his body was crippled, his mind was still scheming and he built a robot to again try to kidnap Mary Jane. (She escaped as she had gone to Pittsburgh to see her family.) The robot took him back to his lab, allowing him to set loose his mechanical eyes in the sky to track Spider-Man. He then joined with his robot to attack Spidey, blaming him for his physical condition. While in battle, a gas was emitted from the robot, temporarily weakening Spidey near a construction site. A worker in a plow saw what was happening and used the shovel to pin the robot's arm to the ground. Spidey used the distraction to free himself and help the construction worker get clear of the fight. Smythe fled but gloated that the gas he sprayed Spider-Man with had an additional chemical that allowed him to track the webhead. The robot was forced to expose itself when the van it was riding in nearly hit a homeless woman and crashed into another car. The accident attracted the attention of a cop and Smythe fled in the robot. The robot's sudden appearance made the nightly news and Peter had to make a choice: fight Smythe or go to Pittsburgh to see MJ. He chose Pittsburgh. Smythe followed him to the airport but was stopped at the gate and told that the flight had left. He then bought a ticket for the morning flight to Pittsburgh. (Amazing Spider-Man #291)

He was soon in Pittsburgh, with the disassembled robot disguised as medical equipment. In a rented warehouse, he reassembled the machine and began to follow the tracing chemical. Alistaire found Peter and Mary Jane at a local jail, where MJ was visiting her sister, Gail. Peter helped MJ escape when the robot attacked and then drew the machine across town as Spider-Man. He hoped to get the robot out to the suburbs and away from crowds of people when Smythe destroyed one of the girders on the Liberty Bridge that Spidey was using to web swing. He fell into the river below and was nearly drowned when MJ rammed the robot with her car. Smythe destroyed the vehicle and chased the wall crawler to an amusement park. The robot grabbed the wall crawler and was distracted by Mary Jane, who hit at it with a kid's baseball bat. Alistaire was about to finish her off when an enraged Spider-Man tore the robot apart and threatened to do the same to him if he ever looked at her again. (Amazing Spider-Man #292)

Smythe took another stab at Spider-Man in "The Invasion of the Spider Slayers" storyline. The attacks came at random, first with xenomorph style creature attacking Spidey in Manhattan. The device was destroyed by a construction worker with a jackhammer, as payback for Spider-Man saving his son from Carnage at a rock concert. The next attack came while Peter was taking his parents and Mary Jane to dinner that evening. A woman was mugged and Peter went to "call the police." After the mugger was caught, a pterodactyl type of robot swooped at him out of the sky. Its tail was a buzz saw, and "cut through trees like a saw through match sticks." Realizing it was another machine, Spidey smashed its skull. Meanwhile, in his hideout, Alistaire promised Spidey that more was to come. (Amazing Spider-Man #368)

Some time later, Smythe moved on Spider-Man again, tracking him with a spider robot. Spidey, meanwhile, was busy trying to apprehend Electro after a diamond heist. One of Smythe's robots attacked as he dealt with Dillon, and Electro decided to help his new armored ally after the police grabbed the diamonds he attempted to steal. The fight moved to an abandoned building and Spidey tried to web up the machine, using a lot of the web fluid in the process. The machine easily tore through it and the chase resumed. Web head abandoned the building and let Electro accidentally defeat the armored assassin by hitting a detonation fuse with an electrical bolt, which destroyed the building with the robot inside. Electro escaped and Spider-Man realized that the thing trying to kill him wasnt a man in a suit but a machine. The number of robotic killers that had attacked him made him suspect that the Tinkerer was behind the threats. (Amazing Spider-Man #369)

Spider-Man arrived at the Tinkerer's work shop just in time to see Felicia Hardy leaving that same shop. He initially suspected her of returning to crime but she assured him that she was getting an upgrade to her costume so that she could go back to being the Black Cat. Their conversation was cut short by the appearance of the Scorpion, who had also gotten an upgrade to his costume, courtesy of Phineas Mason. Spidey and Scorpion bounded across the roof tops in battle and Felicia eventually caught up. During the fight, a familiar looking robot attacked Spider-Man. It resembled an "amoeboid" that Spider-Man had fought years prior. Felicia tricked Scorpion into trying to stab her with his prehensile tail, which stabbed the amoeboid instead. Scorpion tried to shock the thing away from him with his electric tail but the device exploded and the feedback blew out him power generator. Scorpion fled and Spider-Man blamed the robot attacks against him on a new enemy, Mendel Stromm, the Robot Master. The problem was, Stromm had died years prior. (Amazing Spider-Man #370)

The only living connection to Stromm was his former assistant, Max Young, whom had been locked up in an asylum. After Peter and Felicia asked to see Young, the hospital official told them that Max had escaped over a month prior. He then threatened to sue if they told anyone about the break out and threw them out of the asylum. As they left Felicia noticed a spider-like machine hiding in the shadows, thanks to the contact lenses she obtained from the Tinkerer. Black Cat and Spider-Man then captured the machine and hoped to use it to find out who was behind the robot attacks, when they were ambushed by a robot with the face of Max Young. Max had developed a multiple personality disorder and argued with himself during the fight. He soon blasted his own "head" off during an argument. The administrator feared out loud that if Max Young had been so dangerous, he feared what Smythe might do. He then mentioned that Alistaire had also escaped and had taken several scientifically inclined patients with him. Spider-Man and Black Cat then had a new target. (Amazing Spider-Man #371)

At his hideout, Smythe was ranting at his fellow escapees about their lack of success against Spider-Man. He targeted Max for his accidentally destroying his own robot and one of Max's personalities got mouthy with him. Young was quickly electrocuted in his chair. Meanwhile, Peter's "parents" were kidnapped by an FBI agent calling himself Shaddock. A spider tracer was placed on his getaway car and the Parkers were soon pursued by Spider-Man and the Black Cat. Unfortunately, being Spider-Man made Peter a target for Smythe's spider-slayers and he and Cat were hounded by the robots as he followed the tracer. Two huge robots found them and while the machines were eventually defeated, Cat was too injured to follow. Peter eventually found his parents, still captive of double agent Shaddock. (Amazing Spider-Man #372)

Peter eventually saved his parents and captured the traitor agent, and made a deal with the FBI to not publish the story of the mole agent in the Bugle...if they could track for him the homing location of one of Smythe's robots. The Bureau agreed and soon Spider-Man had the location of Smythe's base. He found Alistaire waiting for him, with the other escaped patients held captive. The new and improved Alistaire Smythe attacked Spider-Man and soon had him at his mercy but one of the patients protested his blood lust. Smythe disagreed, telling him that there was indeed a need for blood and then nearly killed the protesting man. Disgusted, Spider-Man beat Smythe into submission and defeated him. (Amazing Spider-Man #373)

Smythe returned later, as a gang war was raging between Doctor Octopus (Carolyn Trainer) and the mobster, Jason Tso. Trainer had enlisted the help of the Looter, Aura and Override to fight Tso, while the mob boss hired Smythe. Both sides were fighting for control of new virtual reality technology, which drew the attention of the Scarlet Spider. When Tso contacted Octopus for a peace agreement, he had Smythe's spider slayers at the ready. Alistaire was all too happy to assist Tso, as he had nearly been killed previously by Trainer. The peace meeting turned out to be anything but, as a battle raged at the Central Park Children's Zoo. Aura, Override and Looter were defeated, while the slayers escaped when the FBI showed up. (Web of Scarlet Spider #2)

Alistaire showed up some time later, without his physical improvements (although he still had regained the ability to walk.) He was taunting Jonah Jameson and threatening to kill his son, John Jameson, and his wife, Marla, unless he did as he was told. Jonah had purchased a Spider-Man costume (with web shooters) found in the trash by a kid and Alistaire forced him to use it as bait for the wall crawler. While Peter was at the Bugle to photograph the unveiling of the costume Jonah owned, he noticed a small spider robot on the ceiling and instantly knew that Smythe was nearby. After finding the mad scientist, Spider-Man faced re-built spider slayers, featuring past designs from both Spencer and Alistaire. He managed to defeat them all (while really more focused on the sad state of his life, no less) but then saw that Jonah was being held by a new slayer. At the same time, a mini-slayer attached itself to Spidey's head and scanned his mind. (Amazing Spider-Man vol. 2, #20)

Smythe then informed Spider-Man that the slayer on his head was reading his mind for information about his loved ones. After securing that information, the robots spanned out to find those people but a large slayer stayed behind to kill Jonah. This left Spider-Man with the dilemma of saving his biggest critic or his friends. He decided to take Jameson along for the ride and left him behind to get to Jameson's family faster. He saved Marla from a slayer and told her to get John to safety and to stay hidden. He then arrived at the apartment he shared with Randy Robertson, whom was having a party. Three small slayers had gotten into the party and Peter went in as himself to avoid a connection between himself and Spider-Man. He blew off Glory Grant and Jill Stacy to deal with the slayers that had hidden in the bathroom. After disposing of the remains down the toilet, he went back to the big slayer as Spider-Man. He figured out that all of the mini slayers were being controlled by the large one and once it was destroyed, all of the others shorted out. Meanwhile, Jonah clobbered Alistaire at the Bugle with a baseball bat. (Amazing Spider-Man vol. 2 #21)

Alistaire tried to avenge his family by forcing John Jameson into transforming into the Man-Wolf, shortly after his marriage to Jennifer Walters, the She-Hulk. Instead, the transformation helped John realize his destiny as Star God. (She-Hulk #10) Smythe returned after the defeat of Norman Osborn's Siege on Asgard. Donald "Mac" Gargan had been one of Osborn's right hand men during the Siege, when he was bonded to the Venom symbiote as Venom III. Gargan and the symbiote were later separated, which was causing Gargan to slowly die. Smythe broke Gargan out of jail, and performed a few upgrades on him, in order to, you guessed it, take final revenge on their mutual enemy, J. Jonah Jameson.

Smythe returned Gargan to his status as the Scorpion, with a life saving new suit of armor. Alistaire had also upgraded himself with a suit of armor, and formed a small army of other insect themed killers. The insectoid army attacked the Jamesons at a shuttle launch in which John Jameson was an astronaut. Scorpion took on Spidey on the shuttle, while a swarm of Smythe's "locusts" attacked the Senior and Junior J. Jonah Jamesons and Glory Grant. Other locusts attacked Marla Jameson at a day spa and Robbie Robertson, Phil Urich and Norah Winters at Frontline. Spider-Man defeated Smythe and sent him to Rykers Island, but only after Marla was killed. (Amazing Spider-Man #654)

He didn't stay there long, as he was taken to a facility in New York after the infestation of Spider Island. The Jackal and the Queen were mutating average citizens into human spiders and Mayor Jameson was losing patience with the slow pace of research by Reed Richards to end the crisis. Jameson expected Smythe to build spider slayers to end the situation, which Smythe refused to do. Instead he chose to mock Jameson, (after learning that Jonah had also been infected and was changing into a man spider) calling him The Black Widower. In a rage, the mutated Jameson tore out Smythe's throat. (Amazing Spider-Man #656)

Alistaire survived the attack and ended up imprisoned back on The Raft. He witnessed the escape of Doctor Octopus with the help of Trapster, Hydro-Man and Scorpion. Smythe begged Ock to set him free and Scorpion agreed that he had been helpful in giving him his life saving suit but Octavius refused. Octopus wasn't really himself, as Otto had switched minds with Peter Parker, whom the criminals were unwittingly helping to escape. (Amazing Spider-Man #699)

Smythe was set to be executed on The Raft and mayor Jameson had the Superior Spider-Man on hand in case Smythe tried to escape. Just as the lethal injection was about to be administered, Alistaire's robots arrived to free him. Spider-Man had expected that to happen and had his own robots ready and waiting. Smythe tried to escape via alternate routes, all of which had been made inaccessible by Spider-Man. In turn, Smythe's robots freed other criminals that the more violent Spider-Man had recently incarcerated: Boomerang, Scorpion and the Vulture. (Superior Spider-Man #11)

As Smythe battled Spider-Man, he was chased off by Mayor Jameson in a Raft guard battle suit. He soon tried to escape by destroying the power generators but was foiled by the backup generators. In his anger, he ordered the others to kill the hostages and Jameson, who was wandering the halls of the prison alone. Smythe hoped that the multiple threats to human life would distract Spider-Man long enough for him to find a way out, but the new, ruthless wall crawler disregarded the others and made a bee-line to Alistaire, fully intending to kill him. (Superior Spider-Man #12)

Smythe accepted that Spider-Man was going in for the kill but soon tried to deal with him for his life. His threat to kill the civilians was ignored and he was stabbed by Spider-Man with one of his own mechanical tentacles. His death caused all of his cyber upgrades to Vulture, Boomerang and Scorpion to fail, saving the others. After the battle was done, Smythe staged one final attack. His body was dead, but his mind was still alive via his mechanical suit. He killed the head of security at The Raft as well as injured the Lizard, who had aided Mayor Jameson in defeating the Scorpion. Octavius tackled him over the edge of The Raft's platform, saving the others. Smythe attempted to merge his dying mind into Spider-Man's but Otto had placed a metal panel in his costume to prevent anyone else from doing what he had done. Before Smythe died, Otto told him he had been beaten by Otto Octavius. (Superior Spider-Man #13)

Soon, Mayor Jameson hired Liz Allan, the CEO of Alchemax, to build spider slayers in the absence of the Smythes. She sent Tiberius Stone and Miguel O'Hara to build them. (Superior Spider-Man #23)

Image Gallery


Cover Date Appearance Information
Year 1985 1st: Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) Annual #19
  Origins, faces Spider-Man.
Aug 1987 App: Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #291
Sep 1987 App: Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #292
Oct 1992 App: Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #367
Nov 1992 App: Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #368 (Story 1)
Nov 1992 App: Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #369 (Story 1)
Dec 1992 App: Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #370 (Story 1)
Dec 1992 App: Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #371 (Story 1)
Jan 1993 App: Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #372 (Story 1)
Jan 1993 App: Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #373 (Story 1)
Nov 1995 App: Amazing Scarlet Spider #1
Nov 1995 App: Spectacular Scarlet Spider #1
  Supposedly Dies
Dec 1995 App: Web of Scarlet Spider #2
Dec 1995 App: Spectacular Scarlet Spider #2
Dec 1995 App: Spectacular Scarlet Spider #2
Aug 2000 App: Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 2) #20
Sep 2000 App: Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 2) #21
Feb 2011 App: Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #650
  Releases Mac Gargan
Feb 2011 App: Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #651
Mar 2011 App: Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #652 (Story 1)
Mar 2011 App: Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #653 (Story 1)
Apr 2011 App: Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #654 (Story 1)
  Kills Marla Jameson
Nov 2011 App: Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #670
Dec 2011 App: Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #671
Aug 2013 App: Superior Spider-Man #11
Aug 2013 App: Superior Spider-Man #12
Sep 2013 App: Superior Spider-Man #13
  Killed by Superior Spider-Man

Thanks To

 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.

 In: Characters
 Posted: 1999
 Staff: The Editor (E-Mail)