MacDonald Gardan (Scorpion)

A secondary villain in Spider-Man: Homecoming is quite a welcome surprise for all the comics readers: when Spider-Man interrogates Aaron Davis about Vulture‘s location, he directs him to a former associate of his, a “psycho” going by the name Mac Gargan. Gargan, portrayed by Michael Mando, is indeed a potential client of Vulture, but he ends up in the river with a car in his face. Disfigured, he appears in the mid-credits scene, telling Toomes he’s organizing some “friends outside” to get revenge on Spider-Man. In the comics, Gargan is one of the most popular (and lethal) enemies of Spidey, and the scorpion tattoo on his neck in the movie is a nod to his (first) costumed identity. Gargan is rumored to appear in the spin-off Silver & Black, but this is so far unconfirmed, and as long as the deal between Sony and Marvel isn’t clarified, it’s useless to make assumptions. In the meanwhile, let’s take a look at one of the strongest foes in Spider-Man’s rogue gallery.

Born in YonkersNew YorkMacDonald Gargan (“Mac” for friends…and for everybody else, since he didn’t have any) had always lived in a poor environment, and he was molded into a tough man ready to step over anyone to make his way in life. Smart enough not to take useless risks in a criminal activity, he became a private investigator, a job that allowed him to move on the border of legality. One day he was hired by J. Jonah James, the chief editor of The Daily Bugle, for an unusual job: he had to follow one of Jameson’s employees, a boy named Peter Parker, to discover how he could always take such good pictures of Spider-Man, a hero no other photographer could catch on camera. Despite his experience, Mac felt humiliated as he kept failing in trailing a high-school student: the boy always disappeared from sight, and he lost him over and over again, being unable to bring Jameson what he wanted. Jameson, not happy for his failure, decided to offer Gargan a completely different job: he would have paid him $10,000 if he accepted to undergo an experimental treatment devised by Dr. Farley Stillwell, a genetic therapy that could allegedly imbue human DNA with characteristics of other animals; the idea was to create a super-agent to counter the menace that Spider-Man represented according to Jameson. With the prospect of easy money, Mac Gargan accepted: the animal selected to be his match was a scorpion, since it would have been the perfect natural predator to Spider-Man. The experiment succeeded, and Gargan became even stronger, more durable and agile than Spider-Man was; Stillwell also provided him with a special suit, with a mechanical prehensile tail attached: the Scorpion was born. Gargan confronted Spider-Man, always besting him, albeit the hero escaped each time. Unfortunately, Stillwell hadn’t forseen the effect that the genetic alteration would have had on his patient: Mac Gargan started losing his sanity at an incredible rate, soon becoming violent and unstable…and not happy with the side effects of his transformation.

Blaming Jameson for his condition, Scorpion attacked him, and killed Stillwell as he tried to inject him with an antidote. Ironically, it was Spider-Man himself who intervened to save Jameson’s life (not that the editor changed his mind about him anyway), and Scorpion was defeated with a combination of cleverness and sheer luck, leading him to knock himself out. No prison could hold the now super-powerful Gargan for long, however, and the Scorpion always came back, eager to exact revenge on Spider-Man and, especially, on Jameson, arriving to kidnap the editor’s spouse, Marla, on their wedding day. Each time, however, Spider-Man defeated and arrested him, until Gargan regained sanity enough to understand he was hitting against the same wall over and over again, and to abandon (for a time, at least) his monomania becoming a mercenary, finally gaining some profit from his new abilities. He was first hired by a shadowy spy ring to follow and possibly capture Sharon Carter, a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, but this led him to a confrontation with Captain America: albeit weaker than him, the more expert Avenger made short work of him. Scorpion fought Cap once again when Mr. Kline hired him and Mister Hyde in a campaign against S.H.I.E.L.D., but again the hero, helped by Falcon, defeated and imprisoned him. Albeit always focused on Spider-Man, Scorpion proved to be able to take care of other business, so associations like A.I.M. and the Masters of Evil used him from time to time, even giving his old suits upgrades to improve his chances of success: the old club-like tail was replaced first by a bladed one, then by an acid cannon, making him even more deadly (and more similar to the arachnid he had the characteristics of). Only once he tried to reform, convinced by Miss Marvel, but he came back to his old ways when Spider-Man, not believing in his redemption, severely beat him. Everything considered, it was far better for him to be a criminal: at least, he would have had better chances of killing the two men he still held responsible for his insanity.

Mac Gargan started as a greedy and unscrupolous man, street-smart and clever, and ended up as a violent and brutal sociopath with his mind constantly torn between his human reason and his animal predatory instinct. As the Scorpion, he possesses superhuman strength, durability, stamina, agility, speed and reflexes, and he can stick to any kind of surface; his suit grants him additional abilities, including an anti-web membrane, sharp claws (in some versions even mechanical pincers), and a powerful electro-mechanical tail, a prehensile appendage with blades attached that can shoot acid or electrical basts, and sometimes has venomous barbs on its entire lenght; people such as Justin Hammer, A.I.M. or the Tinkerer constantly upgrade his suit, so he always gets new weapons and abilities. One of the most formidable supervillains Spider-Man has ever faced, the Scorpion is just as lethal as he’s deranged, a human predator driven by a raging insanity.