Published January 8, 2019

8 Reasons Scorpion Is One of Spider-Man's Greatest Foes

Get a primer on the dastardly villain’s dangerous qualities.


Picture Macdonald “Mac” Gargan, resplendent in green, coiled and angry in his tail whipping Scorpion suit. The image may not fill you with fear, but it should.

Over the years, Gargan has experienced so many setbacks, been so twisted and tripped up by his obsessions and grudges, that it can be hard to remember what a threat he truly can be. Below, we give you a brief primer on the dastardly villain’s dangerous qualities.

Private Eye, Watching You

Before he wore a green skintight costume of undetermined materials, Mac Gargan moved through the world in a trench coat and fedora as a reasonably successful, wildly unscrupulous private investigator. His talent and lack of moral compass drew J. Jonah Jameson to him and the Daily Bugle editor hired the PI to discover how Peter Parker scores all his exclusive Spidey snaps.

Failing Upwards

Although he proves unsuccessful at his initial assignment, there must be something about him because JJJ, rather than cut the guy loose, pays him even more to undergo a radical experimental procedure by Dr. Stillwell to be transformed into a foe equal to the Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man.

The Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #20

The Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #20

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Stronger, Faster, More Deadly

The experiment works and Gargan emerges a changed man. He now unquestionably boasts speed nearly, if not, equal to Spidey and strength that eclipses the Arachnid’s. Gargan becomes everything Jameson hoped he could be.

The Clothes Make the Villain

Already having made Gargan one of the most dangerous denizens of New York’s urban jungle, Dr. Stillwell decides to guild the lily. Outfitting the former PI with a custom costume including a whipping tail capable of wreaking great havoc and destruction, the doc completes the frightening package.


“Radical,” turns out to be an understatement when it comes to the experiment though. While it proves “successful” the side effects are tremendous, terribly warping the heretofore level-headed professional into an obsessive who cannot see beyond his own grudges. And yet, he does not succumb.

No Learning Curve

Gargan takes to being a bad guy like a duck takes to water. In their first two encounters, Scorpion handles the Webslinger with efficiency and ease, matching Spidey in hand to hand combat and punishing him with that bludgeoning tail. Spider-Man had lost before but for the first time it felt like he had run up against a villain who could prove his equal.

The Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #146

The Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #146

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While his mental health would often prove his undoing, Gargan also fed on his obsessions with Spider-Man and Jameson—especially Jameson—to make himself a terrifying opponent. He did not hesitate to attack anyone in his quest to destroy them both. When he encounters a frail Aunt May lying in a hospital bed, his first instinct leads him to pounce and threaten her to get to her nephew Peter.


Even as Scorpion’s wins have shrunk and his losses grown over the year, he keeps coming back. Every time, boasting an upgrade—a new tail, an armored suit, even an alien symbiote for a time—and a seemingly unquenchable desire for revenge burning in his belly. And one of these times, it seems inevitable, he will remind Spider-Man why Gargan remains a name to be feared.


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