Meet Shathra, One of the Spider-Verse’s Ultimate Predators
Who is Shathra? Read on to learn more about this spider-wasp's violent history with Spider-Man and her intentions for the Spider-Verse.
The spider-wasp Shathra is about to show Spider-Man and the other heroes of the Spider-Verse just how dangerous she can be in “The End of the Spider-Verse.” Before Dan Slott and Mark Bagley’s SPIDER-MAN #1 kicks off this epic storyline later this year, let’s take a look back at Shathra and how her early encounters with our favorite Spider-heroes cemented her as one of Spider-Man’s most dangerous predators.
Long before Peter Parker learned about the variant heroes of the Spider-Verse, he discovered the supernatural component of his powers in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (1999) #30 by J. Michael Straczynski, John Romita Jr., and Scott Hanna. Ezekiel Sims, a successful entrepreneur with Spider-Man-like powers, told Peter he was a Spider-Totem who had a mystical link to arachnids that made him part of the larger supernatural food chain. Shortly after that, a battle with the interdimensional kidnapper called the Shade sent Spider-Man to the Astral Plane, a mystical alternate dimension, in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (1999) #42. Against Doctor Strange’s advice, Spider-Man wandered off of a safe path and encountered the Great Weaver, a totemic spider god who chose Peter as its earthly avatar.
However, Spider-Man’s visit with the Great Weaver caught the attention of Shathra, a supernatural spider-wasp creature in the Astral Plane. Shortly after Peter returned to Earth, Shathra started hunting him in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (1999) #46-48 by Straczynski, Romita Jr., and Hanna.
While visiting Spider-Man in a dream, Doctor Strange warned Peter about Shathra and told him to research spider-wasps, which paralyze spiders before consuming them or capturing them to feed their children. A few days after this warning, the wasp-like Shathra confronted Spider-Man and overwhelmed him with her strength, speed, agility, teleportation abilities, and razor-sharp stingers. Throughout the fight, Shathra insisted she was not human and taunted Peter, telling him she was merely playing with him until she could feed him to her wasp children. After an expansive fight, an exhausted Spider-Man defeated her by leading her into an oncoming subway train.
Following their battle, Shathra changed tactics and used her shape-shifting powers to pose as Sharon Keller, a woman who publicly claimed to be Spider-Man’s ex. As Sharon, Shathra tried to humiliate Spider-Man with embarrassing details about his personal life and claimed that he staged his battles for fame and money. During this period, Peter and Mary Jane already had a strained relationship, and Shathra’s lies deeply upset her. At the urging of a teary MJ, Spider-Man flew into a rage and attacked Sharon at the TV studio. Almost immediately, Shathra reverted to her true form, calling all her previous claims into question when she started fighting Spider-Man.
Operating almost entirely on instinct, Spider-Man brutally pummeled Shathra until he was struck by one of her paralyzing stingers. After escaping in a sea of identical yellow cabs, Spider-Man crawled into the Museum of Natural History, where he collapsed in a spider exhibit.
After Shathra’s broadcast, Ezekiel found Spider-Man and transported him to a temple dedicated to the Great Weaver in Ghana. Together, Spider-Man and Ezekiel set a trap for Shathra at the temple, with Peter’s presence serving as bait. During Spider-Man’s brutal battle with Shathra, Ezekiel summoned a massive cluster of spiders that encased the villain. The spiders took Shathra to the deepest part of the temple, where Ezekiel implied she would be eaten.
Shathra Vs. the Scarlet Spider
Shathra returned several years later in SCARLET SPIDER (2011) #24-25 by Christopher Yost, Erik Burnham, and David Baldeón. In the series, Kaine – Peter Parker’s formerly villainous clone – was trying to redeem himself by protecting Houston, Texas as the Scarlet Spider. At the time, Kaine could also transform into the Other, a giant spider monster controlled by another totemic spider god.
Despite warnings from Julia Carpenter’s Madame Web, the Scarlet Spider found himself targeted by Shathra just as he was settling into his new life. After an attack by Kraven the Hunter’s family wounded one of Kaine’s friends and brought some secrets about his villainous past to light, Shathra appeared to Kaine as his girlfriend Annabelle Adams. When the real Annabelle showed up at Kaine’s apartment, Shathra revealed her true nature just as Kaine’s rival Zoe Walsh attacked him.
After rescuing his friends, the Scarlet Spider faced Shathra, who said she wanted to feed him to her children. When most of his attacks failed to harm Shathra, Kaine transformed into the Other and went into a violent frenzy, taking Shathra down with animalistic brutality. Although the Scarlet Spider defeated Shathra, this battle and the revelation of his monstrous form marked the end of his time in Houston.
At the Edge of the Spider-Verse
After years in the shadows, Shathra reemerged with a far more ambitious plan targeting the Spider-heroes of the Multiverse in EDGE OF SPIDER-VERSE (2022) #1. Madame Web has already started traveling the Multiverse with warnings about Shathra and her wasps, starting with the Spider-Laird of Earth-1740 in a story by Dan Slott and Martin Coccolo. She also warned Anya Corazon’s Araña that Shathra’s return reactivated her old rivals, the Sisterhood of the Wasp, who unsuccessfully tried to bring others under their sway.
However, a story by Dustin Weaver and D.J. Bryant shows one of the Spider-Verse’s signature heroes, Spider-Man Noir, has already fallen under Shathra’s power. When Shathra posed as an amnesiac woman named Sharon Keller, Spider-Man Noir rescued her and took her in. Shathra soon revealed she instinctively knew Spider-Man’s alter-ego, and Peter and the wasp-woman began having an affair. After Mary Jane found them, Shathra led him to her missing daughter, who was revealed to be a giant wasp. The pair poisoned Spider-Man, with the hero becoming woozy before falling entirely under their sway.
Despite her humble beginnings, Shathra is set to be one of Spider-Man’s greatest challenges in SPIDER-MAN's "The End of the Spider-Verse." With an ever-growing number of heroes and followers under her power, Shathra is already well on her way to proving herself to be the Spider-Verse’s ultimate predator.
Don't miss "The End of the Spider-Verse" in Dan Slott and Mark Bagley's SPIDER-MAN (2022) #1, on sale October 5!
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