Raymond Warren

Back to the professors appearing in Spider-Man: Homecoming, the first one we meet from Midtown School of Science and Technology is the physics teacher, Professor Warren, portrayed by Selenis Leyva. In the film, she interrogates the class on a problem, and remarks to Flash Thompson, always the first to answer, that being the quickest counts nothing if he gives the wrong answer. In the comics, there’s indeed a Professor Warren in Midtown High School, but his name is Raymond, and he’s a man rather than a woman. Not exactly relevant per se, Warren becomes much more important in the Spider-Man mythos as soon as we learn who his brother is. Let’s see together.

Not much is known about Raymond Warren’s early life: born in New York City, he shared since his childhood the passion for science with his brother, Miles. They both studied physics in college, and while Miles continued his studies to become a professor at Empire State University, Raymond preferred to stick to high school, wanting to introduce young minds to the mysteries and the beauty of the subject he loved…not that he obtained much in that sense in Midtown High School, as most of his students didn’t really like physics, and most of them did their best not to learn anything during his lessons. Becoming increasingly severe, Warren became some sort of living nightmare for his students…well, most of them, as sometimes there was some exception in his class who actually liked what he was trying to teach. One such exceptions was Peter Parker, a scrawny brilliant kid who was the only one constantly smiling during his lessons, always ready to answer even the most difficult questions, curious and inventive in approaching anything scientific. Warren became some sort of mentor for Parker, and he encouraged him to continue with his studies, seeing some great potential in him. He even recomended him to his colleague, Professor Cobbwell of electronics, as his assistant, a position that Parker enthusiastically accepted. This wasn’t the only thing Warren did for nurturing a student’s potential, as he still had contacts with New York City‘s science community, and he intended to use them to widen his pupils’ horizons…such as when he took his students to International Computing Machines‘ exhibit to make them see an invention that would have changed the world, the Living Computer.

During the exhibit, Warren suggested Mr. Petty from I.C.M. to take Parker as his assistant during the demonstration, and prompted his class to ask the Living Computer anything to prove its intelligence; Liz Allan raised her hand and asked the machine who Spider-Man really was…and Parker, oddly nervous, received the answer…in the form of a mathematical formula. Warren gave the formula to Peter to be solved as homework, and immediately after he stopped Flash Thompson from harassing Parker about the answer (unbeknownst to Warren, Peter modified the formula by night not to expose himself as Spider-Man). In the following days, Warren noticed with apprehension a drop of attention from Parker, but he blamed it all on puberty, and kept spurring him; at the end of high school, he wrote a recomendation letter for him, and he made sure it arrived in the hands of his brother Miles. He even personally accompanied Peter to Empire State University, both to introduce his star pupil to his brother, and to guide Parker, along with his Aunt May and her friend Anna Watson, in a tour of the campus. The young man was enthusiast in pretty much everything he saw, but when he reached the Engineering Center he started to be anxious, right when they were testing an experimental Seismic Ray Device for mining. In that same moment, J. Jonah Jameson was dedicating the new Multi-Environmental Testing Chamber, and Warren, distracted, failed to notice that Parker had gone missing…right in time, as the Tinkerer was trying to steal the Seismic Device. When the senior year was over, Parker went to ESU as Warren had wanted, having the chance to use his immense potential: his star pupil had gone, but he had the certainty that young man would have done great things in life.

Raymond Warren is an intelligent and cultured man, a teacher with quite a passion for his subject, dedicated to his profession. Severe and stern, he overjoys when he finds a student with a passion close to his own, and as a mentor he’s the most encouraging and benevolent of teachers. Very competent and well-connected to the local science community, Warren lives his job as a mission, but years of disinterested and demotivated students somehow saddened him and made him even harsher than he already was…something that his most gifted students, however, take as a stimulating challenge.

Sotrold (Sea Troll)

The last three episodes of the now cancelled Powerless tv series have been released, and there’s still one obscure character the show dug from DC’s dusty shelves: in Van of the Year, another supervillain attacks Charm City, this time the Sea Troll, seen only from a distance and voiced by an uncredited actor. The Troll uses his powers to turn a retiring worker’s arm into a squid tentacle (the poor lady was actually used as a human shield by Van), and later accidentally turns it back to normal. He’s defeated and arrested by Crimson Fox, all behind the scenes. In the comics, the Sea Troll is a less-than-unknown villain who, as most as the other obscure characters appeared in the show, battled the Global Guardians. Let’s see together.

Sotrold was a monstrous creature born in the deepest abyss, a sea troll (hence his alias) who was among the last ones of his evil race. Sotrold the Sea Troll harbored the grudge of his entire people as a legacy, and he studied and learnt black magic in order to get means to obtain vengeance against both the submariners and the land dwellers, responsible of his species’ near extinction. While traveling the abyss, Sotrold found informations about a long-dead Atlantean sorcerer who used to instill fear in every mortal or immortal both under and above the sea: Thaumar Dai, the most powerful black magician ever born. Wanting to resurrect Dai, Sotrold formed an alliance with other sorcerers from all around the world: the Hebrew mystics Moloch and Ashtoreth, the legendary Greek monster Echidne, the Irish magician Dubh Magus, the Aztec sorcerer El Dorado and the Japanese witch Yuki-Onna the Snow Woman. Together, the group started gathering the six talismans that formed Thaumar Dai’s armor, and that would have allowed them to perform the ritual to resurrect the sorcerer. A master of the abyss, Sotrold travelled to Denmark looking for Dai’s belt, with a buckle made of pure Orichalcum. Things, however, weren’t as easy as they seemed, as other mystical forces had gathered to stop the magicians from resurrecting Dai: Doctor Mist, another powerful sorcerer, had gathered mystic heroes from all around the world (and Superman) to stop them…not that the Sea Troll and the others hadn’t forseen it.

While he was about to retrieve the belt, Sotrold was reached at the bottom of the sea by Superman and the Little Mermaid, who attacked him. To distract the heroes, the Sea Troll brought back to life the dry bones of the ancient Atlanteans who were buried near the temple he was exploring, and sent them against the heroes: Superman and the Mermaid, however, swam so fast they created a whirpool that scattered the bones, making the living skeletons inert again. The Little Mermaid, who swam faster than Superman, recovered the belt…but that was exactly what the Sea Troll was expecting, and as fast as she could be she was no match in strength for him: he knocked her out with a single punch, and teleported away with the belt. He joined the others, who had defeated the other allies of Mist and recovered their talisman, on the Easter Island, where they started the ritual: they succeeded, and Thaumar Dai was resurrected…but something was wrong. Superman, in fact, had replaced the talismans with fakes, so the magician came back with weakened powers, and mortal: the mystic heroes intervened, and attacked the group in full force, dividing themselves to find the best match. While Jack O’Lantern and Green Fury destroyed Thaumar Dai once and for all, the Sea Troll faced an opponent who was beyond his reach: the Olympian, who possessed the combined powers of fifty Greek heroes from the myth. Used to fight monsters, the Olympian made short work of the Sea Troll and knocked him out, restraining him with his teammates. Following this, the heroes decided to stick together and to form the Global Guardians, to protect the world from international threats like the one represented by Sotrold’s alliance.

Sotrold is an ancient and malevolent being, who treasures the hatred of his lost, evil race as a family legacy to unleash on the world. As the Sea Troll, he can breathe under water, and his body is fit to stand the immense pressure of the deepest abyss; he possesses superhuman strength and durability, and his magic abilities give him mastership over a variety of spells, allowing him to teleport, to reanimate corpses as slaves, to use telekinesis and much more. With a heart as black as the magic he uses, the Sea Troll is a constant threat to the ones living beneath and above the sea, an ancient evil ready to make the world remember who the sea trolls were.

Charles Murphy

Next in line among the characters in Spider-Man: Homecoming there’s another student from Midtown School of Science and Technology, quite a secondary one this time: Charles “Charlie” Murphy, portrayed by Michael Barbieri. In the movie, he’s a scrawny kid part of the academic decathlon team (the one wearing eyeglasses and who looks a lot like the original Peter Parker from the comics…not by chance, as Barbieri auditioned for the role in Captain America: Civil War). He’s among the ones saved in the elevator by Spider-Man when the Chitauri artifact explodes, and he’s not seen much, later on. In the comics, he’s likewise more of a background character. Let’s see together.

Charlie Murphy was born in Forest Hills, QueensNew York City, from an unknown family. When he was a kid he had a group of Elementary School friends he constantly hanged out with, but he mostly spent his time with Peter Parker, another boy who was a lot like him, and who shared his precocious interest for science. Charlie was a regular guest in Parker’s house, and he attended all his friend’s birthdays; the two even learnt to play chess together, and they spent their time in long games. Growing up, however, the two started to drift apart: in Junior High School they still hanged out together, but Peter was the loner of the group, still interested in science and “nerd stuff” while Charlie was now changing his interests, disowning his old passions in favor of new, “grown-ups” ones. The greatest change happened, however, when the entire group entered Midtown High School: in here, Charlie was soon capture by the charisma of the local bully, Flash Thompson, and he totally turned his back on his old friend, not only stopping to see him or to talk to him, but even making him the target of cruel pranks and jokes, following Flash’s example and doing everything he could to get his apreciation and to be like him. By this point, his friendship with Peter Parker could be considered lost forever, as the new times apparently demanded the sacrifice of the old ones.

Charlie started to copy Flash in pretty much everything, last but not least his passion for the new superhero in town, Spider-Man, and he started following all his adventures, commenting them with the other guys in the group at school. When Spider-Man was soundly defeated by a new villain, Sandman, this became the hottest topic in school, and Charlie even tried to include in the conversation Parker, forgetting they weren’t supposed to be friends anymore, even if by mocking him with his friends for not knowing what had happened (not that he obtained anything from him…mostly because Peter, who actually was Spider-Man, was still licking his wounds after the defeat). This fandom arrived to the point of founding the first official fan club of the hero, with Flash as a leader, named Forest Hills Spider-Man Fan Club, and obviously Charlie was a part of it. He was actually the first one to question Flash’s leadership as he had promised the Fan Club members that Spider-Man himself would have visited them to their headquarters…something that wasn’t clearly happening. Finally, Flash obtained a promise from the Wall-Crawler…and he announced everybody the hero would have come to his club, thus warning also disreputable people like Green Goblin, who showed up as well and attacked his nemesis. Enraptured, Charlie cheered for his hero along with the others, rejoycing when Goblin escaped. This renewed Charlie’s loyalty to Flash, and he stayed close to him for all the time that separated them from graduation. Soon, Midtown High School would have been a thing of the past, and Charlie Murphy, with all the others, would have faced real life…

Charlie Murphy is a teenager like many others, one who’s ready to abandon his own identity, interests and passions in order to imitate a more popular guy in the hopes of becoming like him. A “follower” by nature, he enthusiastically embraces all the new fashions, and he’s ready to step over his oldest friendships to increase his popularity.

Randy Vale (Darter)

Among the many obscure characters in Spider-Man: Homecoming, this one was pretty hard to find: among Adrian Toomes‘ employees who remain without a job when Damage Control steps in, there’s Randy Vale, portrayed by Christopher Berry. He’s the bearded guy who gives Toomes the idea of “changing career” by pointing out they’re still full of Chitauri equipment. He’s later arrested as Spider-Man webs him to the docks of the ferry during the deal with Mac Gargan. In the comics, not only Vale is a villain, but a supervillain as well, with costume and everything…albeit quite a minor one indeed, good only for being the goon the boss vents upon. Let’s see together.

Born and raised in New York City, Randy Vale was a Science student at Empire State University. During a normal day at university, he entered the abandoned lab of a deceased professor, Miles Warren (better known to the authorities as the murderous Jackal)…and he stumbled upon one of Warren’s clone casket, containing the semi-decayed cloned body of the professor himself. The undead clone, who named himself Carrion, came out of the tank in confusion, but he soon realised that his creator had to be dead; he took upon himself to continue Warren’s mission to get revenge on Spider-Man for Gwen Stacy‘s death, and he offered power to Vale if he helped him…and death if he didn’t. With not much of a choice, the student agreed to help the insane villain, and assisted him as he explored and mastered his powers, including the lethal Death Touch. When Carrion announced he was ready to start his attack on Spider-Man, he built for his assistant a suit that allowed him to fly and a powerful gun, telling him this was but a small fraction of what he had promised him, since he would have transferred Spider-Man’s powers to him. Even if he wasn’t exactly convinced, Vale followed Carrion’s plan and, dressed in the gliding suit and naming himself Darter, he started “stalking” another student of the EU, Peter Parker; he noticed that Parker was always followed by a masked vigilante, the White Tiger, that seemed to be his protector. He reported back to Carrion, and the mad scientist ordered him to attack White Tiger, while he would have taken care of Spider-Man himself.

Darter attacked the White Tiger landing on him from above, taking him by surprise, and later hitting him with his powerful stunning gun. With the “bodyguard” down, Dale gave Carrion green light to attack Spider-Man…but in that moment White Tiger came back to his senses and attacked his aggressor. The two continued their battled and reached the University’s gym, where Carrion and Spidey were already fighting; this time, Darter used all the gadgets in his suit to overpower his enemy, and he even set his gun from “stun” to “kill”. The battle prolonged itself until Darter tried to fly over White Tiger, who crouched at the right moment and had his foe hit Carrion instead: both villains fell into an empty pool, and Darter passed out. When he woke up, confused, he found the seemingly dead body of White Tiger at his side, and he assumed he had hit the right target…but he soon realised Carrion had abandoned him there, and he thought his “boss” wanted to break his promise. He flew to Carrion’s lab, wanting to force him to give Spider-Man’s powers to him…although he didn’t realise that a very alive White Tiger was following him. As he arrived in the lab, Dale found Carrion draining Spider-Man’s life and powers…and giving them to the artificial Spider-Amoeba (a clone of Vale himself) instead of him. Enraged and humiliated, Darter attacked Carrion (while White Tiger infiltrated the lab to free Spider-Man), but the clone threw some of his Red Death powder to his face. As the powder was eating Dale’s flesh, the student took away his mask trying to stop it, but in a matter of seconds he was reduced to a white skull. So much for the promise of power.

Randy Vale is a an ambitious young man, a university student who aims high in his life and career…unfortunately, he’s not smart enough not to believe easy promises from unreliable benefactors. As Darter, his suit allows him to glide for long distances, and several weapons are hidden in it, such as mini-laser guns on his fingertips; he also uses a powerful ray gun that can either stun or kill a human being depending on the setting. A third-rate villain with no future whatsoever, Darter is exactly like his suit: he can glide on strong winds, but he’ll never be able to fly on his own.

 

Whiz Wilson

Going on with the teachers from Midtown School of Science and Technology appeared in Spider-Man: Homecoming we meet Coach Wilson, portrayed by Hannibal Buress. His presence is quite an Easter egg, as Coach Whiz Wilson is a long-forgotten character, a 1950s secondary one from the romantic series Meet Miss Bliss. In the comics he was Caucasian rather than African-American as in the movie, and he had a little bit more enthusiasm for his work than Buress’ version…albeit the I.Q. was more or less the same. Let’s see together.

The man known as “Whiz” Wilson was born in Centerville, California, a small town as American as an apple pie. A tall and muscular guy, Wilson was the best athlete around, a show-off who spent his time bragging about his physique and trying to hit on pretty much every girl he saw. As an adult (as much as “adult” could fit a guy like him), Wilson was hired as the school coach in Centerville Junior High, a job he took very seriously…as an incredible opportunity to seduce the pretty teachers who were already working there. Not only a jock but also a jerk, Wilson didn’t actually have much success with his colleagues, with the only one having a crush on him being Mary Meek, the school’s nurse…the one lady he didn’t even see, with her short size and her thick glasses, so he didn’t even realize she was after him. Inevitably, he was rejected over and over again…but he still believed to be God’s gift to women, with his unshakable arrogance untouched by the refusal of women he deemed too shy to accept his invitation.

Wilson’s attitude changed (slightly) when a new teacher arrived to school, meaning that instead of hitting on every girl, he finally focused on one: Betty Bliss, newly hired at Centerville Junior High. As pretty much every other male teacher in the school, Whiz Wilson developed a crush on the cute blonde teacher, and he immediately imposed himself as the most daring (and intrusive) among his suitors. In the meanwhile, however, Bliss had become good friends with Mary Meek of all people, so she wanted to help the nurse to get noticed by the mindless hunk who was the centre of her affection. When Miss Bliss came to him speaking about “knowing the perfect girl for him” and “date”, Whiz Wilson jumped to hasty conclusions, and deduced that his incredible charm had won once again (?): he “accepted” Bliss’ invitation, and he told her he would have picked her up that night at seven, ignoring the teacher’s protests. Despite everything, Bliss actually went with him to the restaurant, but once there Whiz did nothing but speak about himself and about how good a choice he was for Betty: if she even had the slightest interest in him, and she hadn’t from the very beginning, he knew far too well how to make it vanish in a matter of a single date…

Whiz Wilson is a boastful and arrogant man, a coach so full of himself that he can’t see beyond his own biceps. Athletic, agile and strong, he’s however pretty dumb, and all his charm vanishes the moment he opens his mouth and proves there’s plain nothingness behind his appearance. With very little self-awareness, Wilson still believes to be what women dream about…and he can’t explain to himself why said women seemingly don’t want to fulfill their dreams.

Cindy Moon (Silk)

Among the many schoolmates of Peter‘s we meet in Spider-Man: Homecoming, one is quite a surprise: Cindy Moon, the Asian girl portrayed by Tiffany Espensen. She’s one of the members of the decathlon team of Midtown School of Science and Technology, and she’s the one who appears to be the more upset when Sally tells her Peter is not coming to the nationals in Washington D.C. Albeit being quite a young character in terms of publication history, Cindy has become pretty relevant in the comics in a very short time, mostly under her alias of Silk. The fact that she’s still attending school in Homecoming hints at a very different fate for her movie counterpart, as the original one was already leading a very different life by that point: let’s see together.

Cindy Moon was born in Washington HeightsNew York City, the daughter of employee Albert Moon and his scientist wife Nari. A very gifted child, Cindy developed an eidetic memory since she was a kid, and her mother took this as a sign she had to focus on her studies only; her father, on the other side, was very supportive of her, and he insisted she also engaged in other acitivities, such as sports (he perfectly knew Cindy played with her school hockey team just to be with Hector Cervantez, her “secret boyfriend”, and he was perfectly ok with it). Cindy grew up with a little brother, Albert Jr., and she always tried to live a normal social life balancing her mother’s tyrannical order to give priority to her studies over everything else. Unfortunately, Nari eventually found out about Hector and, enraged, she forced Cindy to abandon hockey, and she even signed her up for a school field trip she wasn’t interested in, but that she believed could widen her daughter’s scientific horizon. Along with her schoolmates from Midtown High School, consequently, Cindy went to visit the East labs of General Techtronics Corporation, full of grudge for her mother. The exhibition, actually, would have changed Cindy’s life forever: during a demonstration of how to handle safely nuclear wastes, a spider was hit by radiations and, before dying, bit her on the ankle (it was the same spider that had just bitten Peter Parker on the hand). Not paying much attention to it at first, Cindy realised she had been changed radically when, back home, during a fight with her parents she spontaneously emitted an organic web from her fingers that enveloped them. Scared by what she had become and not knowing how to control her powers, Cindy was quite shocked, and even her parents didn’t know what to do…that’s why the man who came knocking to her door looked like a blessing to the Moons, a man who offered to take the girl with him to train her in the use of her abilities. The man introduced himself as Ezekiel Sims.

Ezekiel had spider-like powers as well, and he told Cindy both their abilities came from different circumstances, but from the same Spider-Totem that made them alike. For six years, the man trained her and taught her what he could, until he discovered the Inheritors, a race of immortal vampires who hunted down people with totemic powers; one of them in particular, Morlun, was on Earth-616 looking for spider totems. In order to protect Cindy from Morlun (and possibly to use her as a trump card against the Inheritors), Ezekiel locked her in a special room that blocked the vampire’s detection, a hidden cell in his tower filled with food and water several years worth. Cindy also had books and tapes, and she used them to expand her knowledge and to do something in the endless hours she spent there. Albeit she knew the code to get out of the room, she never used it, as she knew Morlun would have killed her for sure. In fear and in boredom, thirteen years passed: Ezekiel had been killed in the meanwhile, so nobody knew about Cindy. The one who discovered her was Spider-Man, who was on the Moon investigatin Uatu the Watcher‘s death: as the eye of Uatu was retrieved, it released on the world knowledge of secrets long hidden or forgotten, and Spider-Man saw Cindy’s story. The hero arrived to Ezekiel’s tower and ignored Cindy’s plead not to open the door: he managed to convince her only when he told her Morlun was long dead. Free at last, Cindy created an improvised costume of webs and, naming herself Silk, she left to look for her parents…who had obviously moved, after almost twenty years. Speaking with Spider-Man, Silk realised that Morlun had come back from the dead twice already, and she immediately felt he had come back once again, this time accompanied by all the other Inheritors. She attacked Spider-Man, blaming him for wasting her sacrifice, but she agreed to stay with him to prepare for Morlun and the others. As Silk, he even help him against Electro and Black Cat, knowing that their greatest challenge ever was arriving at full speed, threatening a life she had just conquered back.

Cindy Moon is an extremely smart young woman, gifted with an eidetic memory and brilliant enough to have been accepted to Oxford University…in another life. As Silk, she possesses superhuman strength, speed, agility, stamina, durability and reflexes; she can stick to any surface, crawling even on vertical walls, and she can release extremely strong organic webbing from her fingertips, which she uses for swinging around, for creating clothes, and even for creating artificial claws to augment her offensive abilities; she also possesses what she calls a Silk-Sense, an augmented variant of the Spider-Sense, which allows her to sense danger even if not immediate, bordering in clairvoyance. Disoriented in a world that moved over in her absence, Silk is still trying to put back together the pieces of her sacrificed existence, clashing with the fact that the time she has lost is indeed lost forever…

Roger Harrington

Continuing with our analysis of the characters from Spider-Man: Homecoming, let’s meet the most relevant professor among the ones we see: Roger Harrington, portrayed by Martin Starr. Harrington is a science teacher at Midtown School of Science and Technology, and the head of the school’s Academic Decathlon Team, so he’s the one who brings the team to Washington D.C. and who’s almost killed by a Chitauri weapon an oblivious Ned Leeds carries along in the Washington Monument. In the comics, Harrington appears as an older man, and he’s not a teacher (not anymore, at least), but rather a school principal. Let’s see together.

Not much is known about Roger Harrington’s early life: born and raised in New York City, he was a teacher for vocation, and he loved his job to the point of dedicating himself to it totally, even renouncing to a family of his own in order to take care of his students. Later in his life he became a school principal, and when Andrew Davis retired, he take his place as the new principal of Midtown High School, a school in Queens. The neighborhood wasn’t one of the easiest ones in New York, but as he always did Harrington put all his resources at his students’ service, deeply committed to his new job. Things became quite complicated when one of the students came to school with a gun, and opened fire on his schoolmates and his teachers. Tragedy was avoided out of sheer luck, and the boy was apprehended by the authorities, but Harrington found himself in a bad position as (understandably) some of the teachers, who clearly didn’t share his sense of duty nor his idea of teaching as a mission, resigned, looking for another school to teach in or for another job entirely. As in response to his prayers, however, some new, remarkable elements arrived to his school, with a couple of them being ex-students of Midtown High itself.

The first candidate was Peter Parker, a renowned academic scientist who was the perfect choice for becoming the new Science teacher; the second one was Eugene “Flash” Thompson, a decorated veteran who had just awakened from a coma, a former football star whom he hired as the new School Coach. Things went out pretty smoothly from that point on, and despite some minor problems such as Parker’s common lateness (or sudden absence) and Flash’s hostile relation with the Science teacher, the school knew a rebirth…until it became the target of the seemingly reborn Mysterio (it turned out the Mysterio attacking the school wasn’t the original, deceased Quentin Beck, but his successor Francis Klum, not that Harrington cared anything about it). When Spider-Man intervened to save the day, Harrington stayed with him, trying to help him the best he could in saving his students, but the hero soon made it clear that the good-willed principal would have only been a hindrance to him, and he told Harrington to hide into the audiovisual room until his battle with Mysterio was over. Harrington did as he was told, but he realised too late he wasn’t alone in the room. A shape-shifting alien from a possible future, the Chameleon from Earth-9500, was there as well, and he killed the poor school principal, destroying the body and taking his place. The Chameleon’s scheme would have been discovered only months later, and Harrington would have been avenged by Spider-Man and Sandman, but in a way or the other Harrington had died in the one place he had loved in his entire life: his school.

Roger Harrington is essentially a good man, a dedicated teacher and later principal who dedicated his entire life to his school and students. Everything Harrington does, he does for his students, but he’s also always there to support his teachers: truly the school principal anyone would want.