Scorpion is a Marvel Comics supervillain that appears an an enemy of Spider-Man. He later becomes a member of the Thunderbolts, and is later exposed to a Symbiote and becomes the third Venom as well as the first villain to take on the Spider-Man Mantle when being part of the Dark Avengers.
MacDonald Gargan was an private detective hired by J. Jonah Jameson to discover how Peter Parker got such good pictures of Spider-Man. Having failed this, Jameson then went to Professor Farley Stillwell and once again hired Gargan, but this time to become a new supervillain to destroy Spider-Man. Stillwell genetically altered Gargan, giving him superhuman strength, speed, agility, and stamina; even more so than Spider-Man. Stillwell also gave him a titanium/rubber suit with a mechanical tail that Gargan controlled mentally. As the Scorpion, Gargan went after Spider-Man, and defeated him soundly. He was eventually defeated himself, and later went after Jameson, who had refused to give Gargan the $10,000 that he promised for beating Spider-Man. Spidey was forced to save Jameson several times from the Scorpion's wrath, and Gargan eventually went insane. He promptly turned on his benefactor but Spider-Man intervened, and managed to finally defeat the Scorpion in their third battle. Jameson was struck with the irony that he was saved by the man he tried to destroy from the thing he created to destroy him. Since then, the Scorpion became a professional criminal and would return to indulge in his deadly vendetta against Spider-Man and Jameson, only to be defeated again.
He was later hired by a spy ring to follow S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Sharon Carter, but was defeated by Captain America. Scorpion was acquired by Mr. Kline, who created android duplicates of the Scorpion and Mr. Hyde to dispatch against Daredevil. The real Scorpion and Mr. Hyde then launched a campaign of terror against S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, but were defeated by Captain America and the Falcon. After being released from prison for good behavior, the Scorpion resumes his criminal career and encounters and defeats Spider-Man again. After realizing that the wall-crawler survived the encounter, he receives help from the Jackal who gives him Spider-Man's location. The Scorpion arrives at a hospital room finding Peter Parker and his Aunt May. Not realizing that he had Spider-Man right there, he threatens May and demands to know where Spider-Man is and, after she faints, Scorpion rampages through the hospital. A furious Spider-Man beats the Scorpion and forces him to apologize to May.
The Scorpion, through the course of his career, acquired a few items: a new costume, and several new tails: one that spurted acid, another that spurted tear gas, and one that can deliver electric blasts from the stinger. He also fought Ms. Marvel after a botched revenge attempt against Jameson; the Scorpion became more psychotic than usual after his battle with Ms. Marvel, resulting in his being dumped in acid. In the sewers, his sanity deteriorating, Scorpion came to believe that his costume couldn't come off. However, after a quick encounter, Spider-Man proved to him that his belief of being a monster was in his mind. He formed an extortion racket to sabotage the Daily Bugle, but was thwarted by Spider-Man and Captain America. He was freed from prison by agents of Egghead, who wanted him as a member of the third Masters of Evil alongside Whirlwind and Moonstone. The team fought the Avengers but were defeated. Scorpion would make another attempt to ruin Jameson's life by kidnapping his bride Marla Madison on their wedding day but she is rescued by Spider-Man. Jonah does appreciate the irony from his relationship with the Scorpion and eventually decided to publicly confess to his role in creating the supervillain when the original Hobgoblin tried to use that secret to blackmail him. Despite his encounters with other foes, Scorpion has always had a special hatred for Spider-Man and Jameson, which extended when he attempted becoming a mercenary for Justin Hammer, who had the Scorpion's battlesuit modified. Namely, he ruined his prospects on his first mission, to capture a war hero, when he could not resist creating a hostage situation simply to bring Jameson to him for revenge. In reaction, Hammer sent Blacklash and Rhino to subdue Gargan and confiscate the tail enhancement equipment for abrogating his contract.
During the Acts of Vengeance, he tried to enter Canada to avoid the Super Power Registration Act. The Tinkerer met him at the airport and provided him with a modified scorpion tail for his costume. He, Asp, Nekra, and Owl (who were under the control of Llan the Sorcerer) were repelled by Alpha Flight and Gamma Flight. He was then hired by the Chameleon to kill a de-powered Spider-Man. He was defeated by the Black Cat. At one point, the Scorpion's constant defeats at the hands of Spider-Man drove him to depression. He wandered the sewers, his mind becoming clearer than it had been since his transformation and decided to quit being the Scorpion. He encountered a depressed and crisis-ridden Spider-Man. Ignoring Gargan's plea that he had changed, the wall-crawler beat him savagely. In his next appearance, Gargan was back to being psychopathic. He battled and was defeated by Spider-Man's clone Ben Reilly.
Scorpion temporarily worked for Roxxon and helped them in their phony "Rehabilitation Therapy". Roxxon updated the Scorpion's powers and costume and promised he would get back at his enemies. Spider-Man managed to convince Scorpion that he was only being used as Jameson had once before. Scorpion then turned on Roxxon and was then defeated by the web-slinger. Gargan reappeared during the aftermath of the Secret War that had been organized by Nick Fury against Latveria. He was among the supervillains who had been supplied with enhanced technology by Latverian dictator Lucia von Bardas and sent to attack the heroes who had been involved in Fury's Secret War. The villains' technologies were then hijacked by von Bardas, supplying her with power, potentially at the cost of the villains' lives, but the assembled heroes defeated von Bardas and apprehended Scorpion and the others.[volume & issue needed]
Scorpion's tail could be used as a clubbing weapon, a grasping limb, or a spring to launch himself great distances. Later modifications on the tail included energy blasts, an acid spray, blades, and knockout gas.
Later on through circumstances yet to be revealed, Norman Osborn reveals Spider-Man's true identity to Gargan and gives him orders to kidnap Peter's Aunt May should Osborn ever be captured and imprisoned. When Spider-Man defeats Osborn, he is imprisoned and Gargan carries out Osborn's orders in kidnapping Aunt May. Gargan eventually summons Peter and tells him the only way he can see his aunt again is to break Norman out of jail. Shortly thereafter, the Venom symbiote approaches Gargan, offering him new abilities, and Gargan becomes bonded with the creature. This would later give him an extra edge as part of Norman Osborn's Sinister Twelve. Even with these additional powers he is still swiftly defeated by Spider-Man, as the Avengers deal with the rest of the Twelve. So far he remains bonded with the symbiote. Though incarcerated, Gargan is unfazed, as with his new powers came the respect of becoming an "A-list" villain.
Alongside Spider-Man and other villains and heroes, Venom is kidnapped by other-dimensional forces. He succeeds in killing Spider-Man, who is really the original Space Phantom in disguise. For his crimes, the Inhumans matriarch Medusa orders his execution and almost carries it out herself. Later, he tries to kill the other participants for the "Beyonder's" wish fulfillment prize for the winner but fails and is returned to Earth alongside the rest of the group.
Gargan later becomes a member of a sub-group of the Thunderbolts, which has been drafted by the Avengers to hunt down the members of the fugitive Secret Avengers and is currently run by the Commission for Superhuman Activities. It is then revealed that he has been outfitted with electrical implants by the government to keep the symbiote in check. As a Thunderbolt, he is seen as a hero by the general public and has his own action figures. Gargan displays his new raw power as Venom in a battle with Jack Flag, after pummeling Flag for a bit, the hero manages to stab Gargan, who is protected by his symbiote. Gargan becomes enraged and ferociously man-handles Flag, and is about to eat him when his electrical implants kick in and temporarily subdue him, allowing Flag to live. Gargan expresses fear of the control the symbiote possesses over him, yet he has become addicted to the raw unearthly power it brings to him, and cannot begin to imagine life without it, similarly to a drug addict. An attack from Steel Spider and Sepulchre makes him lose control again, briefly becoming a huge monster once more, while Moonstone is incapacitated and thus cannot coordinate control of his electrical implants.Afterwards, however, he returns to a normal form with no ill effects. He also bites off and devours Steel Spider's arm during a fight.
Gargan is later ordered by Norman Osborn to hunt down Namor. After shooting him with a Thunderbolts-supplied weapon, Gargan disables Namor by ripping off his feet-wings. However, the Sub-Mariner manages to render Gargan unconscious and then rips out the symbiote's tongue, although the symbiote easily makes a new one. Gargan begins to hallucinate that the symbiote is speaking to him, telling him to "feed (it)". He later attacks and devours a guard and declares that "the only way out of Thunderbolts Mountain is when I decide to let you die". It is later revealed that the psychic criminal Bluestreak is controlling Gargan's actions, although it is uncertain whether the symbiote was actually speaking to him. Venom goes up against the Swordsman, who stabs Gargan through the chest, using his powers to force the symbiote away from his sword. Gargan is wounded, but lives. After healing, he retains his monstrous form, rarely returning to his usual size.
New Ways to Die
Gargan reappears during the "New Ways to Die" arc of The Amazing Spider-Man, no longer possessing the knowledge of Spider-Man's secret identity, Gargan and the Thunderbolts are called back to New York to capture Spider-Man. While on a search for the wall-crawler, Gargan's symbiote senses a former host at the F.E.A.S.T center. Gargan suspects that it's Spider-Man and searches the place only to find Eddie Brock. The Venom symbiote attempts to leave Gargan to re-bond with Brock, much to Gargan's (and Brock's) dismay. However, upon making contact with Brock, his skin is shown to be caustic to his former symbiote, and as a white substance seeps out of his pores covering his body, Brock becomes Anti-Venom and battles Gargan. With some help from Spider-Man, Anti-Venom subdues Venom and nearly destroys the symbiote. Norman Osborn uses a sample of Anti-Venom's DNA from Mac Gargan and creates a poisonous counter to its healing powers by combining the sample with the immune system of Freak. Mac Gargan is injected with the "cure" and is given a new Scorpion battlesuit, which contains the venom, until the symbiote can recover. Anti-Venom tracks down Gargan at Oscorp. After a grueling battle "Ven-orpion" injects the toxin into Anti-Venom and seemly kills the suit. He then attempts to kill Brock but the symbiote tries holding him back, still feeling love for its former host. The symbiote gains its strength and breaks though the Scorpion suit. Gargan gives up but promises that he will get past this problem and will someday finish Brock.
Gargan was seen being thrown from Thunderbolt Mountain by Captain Marvel. Gargan was later seen with the other Thunderbolts in Washington. The Skrulls attempt to trick him into killing normal humans to find out which of them are Skrulls. Osborn attempted to prevent the symbiote from killing anyone by threatening to kill Mac Gargan and promising to help satisfy his "urges" later, only for Gargan to reveal that the threat he appeared to pose to civilians was a ruse in order to draw out a disguised Skrull. Venom played a huge part in fighting the Skrulls. He was seen slashing and eating the Skrulls all at once. He soon joins the Thunderbolts and the remaining heroes for the final battle against the Skrulls. During the battle, he was a force to be reckoned with.
Venom, along with most of the Thunderbolts team, attempts to kill partner Songbird on the orders of Osborn. Facing Venom, Songbird was defeated and almost eaten by Venom, but escaped with help from the Swordsman.
Norman Osborn forms his Dark Avengers, providing new identities to some of his former Thunderbolts. After feeding a Skrull to a hungry Venom that has become more bestial than human, Osborn gives him a medication that resets the symbiote to the size it was when it possessed Spider-Man originally. However, Gargan can transform into his Venom form at will.
Norman introduces Gargan and the symbiote as the Amazing Spider-Man in his new Avengers. During their first mission against Morgana le Fay, Morgana transforms "Venom-Spidey" into a giant, demonic monster who then tries to eat Ares. Venom later coughs up Ares, however Morgana's magic affects Venom, causing him to lose and gain control of himself randomly. After Morgana is defeated in the past by Iron Patriot and Doctor Doom, Mac returned to his "Spider-Man" form with only a slight headache. Hawkeye promised to kill Mac one day for trying to eat him while he was under Morgana's control. Once they arrive home, he is seen arguing with Hawkeye.
Later, attempting to find out Norman Osborn's plans for his son Harry, the real Spider-Man, with the aid of the Invisible Woman, manages to capture Gargan by using a sonic generator and takes his place to infiltrate the Dark Avengers. Gargan is thrown into the Negative Zone, but is later seen back with the Dark Avengers.
Against Osborn's wishes, Gargan is seen heading out into the city to "fight crime" solo. At one point, he is seen defeating a bank robber called General Wolfram. After making out with two girls at once and getting cheered by a large crowd, he takes the robber to an abandoned roof top and consumes his arm. He then takes the money Wolfram stole and swings away. Gargan is then seen at a strip club with the money and discovers his new favorite stripper. After getting reprimanded by Norman Osborn for eating Wolfram's arm, Gargan kills the stripper and places her dead body in J. Jonah Jameson's bed while he is gone in an attempt to frame him for her murder. At the same time, Redeemer visits the injured General Wolfram and recruits him alongside other villains who have had limbs bitten off by Gargan (namely Dementoid, Doctor Everything, Eleven, and Hippo) in a plan to take down "Spider-Man" (who is believed to be the root of their problem). In another attempt to antagonize Jameson, Gargan instigates a turf war between two rival street gangs, hoping to wear Jameson down through stress and exhaustion from continuously putting out stories to cover the crime wave. At the same time, the Redeemer arms his group with cybernetic limbs to defeat Spider-Man. J. Jonah Jameson goes to Osborn for help and is given Spider-Man to help solve the city's gang problem.
However, Gargan continues to instigate the gang war and aggravate Jameson in person. A bomb threat is placed by Redeemer to lure Spider-Man into an intervention, though Gargan instead devours Hippo and Eleven, badly injures Dementoid, and beats Doctor Everything into submission before turning him over to the police. He then eats Redeemer's limbs. With Redeemer, Wolfram, and Dementoid the only ones still remaining of the group (albeit hospitalized), Redeemer sends photos of Gargan's actions to Jameson in an attempt to expose him as a cannibalistic psychopath to the world. Jameson first goes to Osborn, who decides to cut Gargan loose by sending Bullseye and Daken (in their old costumes) to kill him. At the Big Apple Festival, the two attack him, with Dementoid, General Wolfram, and both gangs involved in the turf war entering the fray to try to kill Spider-Man. Gargan ends up defeating all of them, and J. Jonah Jameson shoots a gun in the air to stop the fight. As a result, everyone credits Jameson and Spider-Man with successfully working together to stop criminals and save the festival. Gargan later returns to Avengers Tower, where he is visited by Norman Osborn. Osborn informs him that Bullseye and Daken will get over being hurt, but warns Gargan that if he goes out of control again, he will suit up as the Iron Patriot and take care of him personally.
During the opening chapter of Utopia, the Dark Avengers are sent into San Francisco to quell the mutant riots and battle any X-Men they can find. Tension is shown to exist between the Avengers and Osborn's own Dark X-Men. When Namor and Emma Frost are revealed to be double agents on Cyclops' side and defect with Cloak and Dagger, an irate Osborn gathers the Dark Avengers and the remaining Dark X-Men, Gargan included, ordering them to bring him Namor's head and Emma Frost's heart and to make sure that Cyclops sees them do it. The Dark Avengers and Dark X-Men attack Utopia and battle the X-Men, with Venom facing off against Colossus. However, due to the sheer number of X-Men, Osborn is forced to retreat when informed that the only way to win would be to kill all the mutants on the island, an option which is not politically viable.
Gargan later begins to show signs that his medications are making him emotionally unstable. On a mission with the Dark Avengers, Osborn takes Gargan off the case when he notices Gargan's outbursts. Molecule Man turns Gargan and his symbiote into an inert pile of goo. He is later restored by the Sentry.
During the "Siege" storyline, Mac Gargan is with the Dark Avengers when Norman Osborn makes plans to invade Asgard. Mac Gargan and the rest of the Avengers protest. For fighting alongside the Initiative, Osborn promises to give the team their freedom from servitude. As a result, Gargan is among the mass of soldiers to launch an attack on Asgard following Loki's setup. He and the rest of the Avengers manage to overwhelm Thor. While fighting Ms. Marvel and Spider-Man after they arrive, Gargan is forcefully removed from the Venom symbiote, which takes over Ms. Marvel until Spider-Man defeats it. He along with the other Dark Avengers were arrested after Norman Osborn fell from power.
Return as Scorpion
During the "Big Time" storyline, Mac Gargan is seen at the Raft superprison, having been separated from the Venom symbiote. As for Gargan, the symbiote's removal was causing medical problems due to the side effects from his original genetic mutation, and Alistair Smythe broke him out of the Raft. Gargan was then fitted with a new Scorpion suit by Smythe, which included a life-support system to stabilize Gargan's condition. Smythe convinced Gargan to join him in his plan for revenge on J. Jonah Jameson. Scorpion joins Alistair Smythe, a new villain named Fly-Girl, and some unnamed cyborg minions (each wanting revenge on Jameson) in attacking the launch site of John Jameson's latest space mission, where they sabotage the launch and hold John Jameson for ransom.
During the Ends of the Earth storyline, Scorpion is seen guarding one of Doctor Octopus' facilities. Titanium Man enters it and ends up fighting Scorpion. Titanium Man is defeated by Scorpion despite his best efforts.
During the Dying Wish storyline, Scorpion hears the call-to-arms from Spider-Man (while he was trapped in Doctor Octopus' dying body) to save him and apprehend Doctor Octopus (who has occupied Spider-Man's body) in order to save his loved ones from Doctor Octopus' final sinister scheme. Scorpion and Hydro-Man accompany Peter Parker in Doctor Octopus' body to Stark Industries to look for Tony Stark only to end up in a trap set by Doctor Octopus in Spider-Man's body. When finding a safe area containing Spider-Man's friends and relatives, Scorpion plans to have his final revenge on J. Jonah Jameson. Upon accessing the memories of Spider-Man loving Aunt May - and the times Scorpion threatened her - Doctor Octopus in Spider-Man's body retaliates by punching Scorpion so hard in the jaw (the only unprotected part of his body) that it breaks off from his head.
Scorpion was later seen in the Raft's infirmary with Boomerang and Vulture. Alistair Smythe's mini Spider-Slayers heal and enhance them, and Smythe gives them an offer to kill Spider-Man. While Boomerang fights Spider-Man, Scorpion is convinced by Alistair Smythe to go after Mayor J. Jonah Jameson.
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