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The Untold Truth Of Marvel Villain The Spot

Contains spoilers for "Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse"

It's hard to believe that it's been five years since Marvel and Sony released "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse," the wildly well-reviewed and fan-favorite animated film that forever changed the way studios think about superhero movies. The movie was a wall-to-wall (crawling) spectacle with its mesmerizing visuals and whirlwind actions sequences, and yet also managed to tell a touching, human story about a kid grappling with family (in the case of the Prowler, literally) and the responsibilities that threaten to pull that family apart. Luckily, we fans of the flick have finally been given information about the sequel, "Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse."

In the latest Spider-Man film, Miles Morales and his fellow Spider-People go head-to-head with the Marvel villain known as the Spot. The obscure comic-book rogue is no Doctor Doom, Magneto, or Thanos, so it's worth taking a minute to explain exactly who and what the Spot truly is. Does he use super-vision to spot enemies from afar? Is he a canine sidekick with a cliché name? Read on to find out as we reveal the untold truth of Marvel's the Spot.

The Spot is the anti-Cloak

The Spot debuted way back in 1984 in the pages of "Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #97" — or at least his pre-super-powered self did. Still just your average super-scientist in the employ of the criminal mastermind Wilson Fisk aka the Kingpin of Crime, Dr. Jonathan Ohnn's first appearance involved him analyzing footage of the hero Cloak on a "video-radiation scan analyzer" and realizing the power inherent in the hero's interdimensional teleportation abilities. Ohnn's introduction was brief, however, as the issue also introduced another potential Spider-Man rogue, the Hermit. Lucky for Ohnn, the Hermit was a dud, and the very next issue, the Spot was born.

Ohnn's experimentations into Cloak's powers led him to jump through an artificial portal as it became unstable and closed. The gateway transported him to a polka-dotted dimension wherein every dot was its own portal, and when he emerged back onto Earth, the dots followed him. While Spider-Man and the Black Cat spent the issue engaging in their trademark blend of fighting and flirting, Ohnn was realizing the extent of his new power — a new body, covered in spots, each one of them a teleportation portal, and all of them under his control. While Cloak has the power to create portals, the Spot is the portals — and he is many.

The Spot is the ultimate follower

Longtime web-heads will know the "Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man" series as a secondary title to the character's main comic "The Amazing Spider-Man." The Spectacular book was always meant to capitalize on the character's success and provide readers with twice the web-slinging adventures, but it never featured the biggest, most important Spider-Man stories. The fact that the Spot first debuted in the Spectacular series is the first hint at his eventual status as a background player. When combined with the fact that his introduction was secondary to another villain's intro in the same issue, his lackluster fate seems set in stone.

In almost 40 years of publication history, the Spot has almost never taken on his greatest foes — mainly Daredevil and Spider-Man — solo. Despite the obviously off-the-charts potential of his power set, the Spot has never quite seized the opportunity and became a big player. Instead, he almost exclusively appears as a member of whatever new supervillain coterie has assembled for that month's issue. At various times, the Spot can be, ahem, spotted among teams like HYDRA, multiple Sinister Six incarnations, the Hood's gang, the short-lived "Spider-Man Revenge Squad," Kingpin's crew, Tombstone's crew, MODOK's team, and more. Hopefully, his role in "Across the Spider-Verse" will lead to more solo Spot action, or – Spider-Gods willing — heading up his own crew.

The Spot and Polka-Dot Man: kindred spirits

When James Gunn chose to revitalize the DCEU's languishing "Suicide Squad" franchise, he went about assembling a typically Gunn-esque assortment of quirky, snarky, overlooked, and under-utilized characters to comprise the new team. One such deep-cut misfit was the Polka-Dot Man, whose inclusion in 2021's "The Suicide Squad," played by the always-excellent David Dastmalchian, was a wise and worthy decision. And in the Polka-Dot Man, Marvel fans may recognize a kindred spirit to the Spot — mainly because they are in many ways the same character.

For starters, both villains are members of DC and Marvel's most notorious rogues' galleries — Batman's and Spider-Man's, respectively — and both are only bit players therein. Then there's the fact that both decided to use their advanced technological prowess to attain superpowers, in both cases resulting in suits of spots. Or dots. Both also use their spots/dots to generate portable portals, mainly to try and vex their respective hero. In fact, the biggest differences between the two villains are really just a pair of cosmetic preferences — one is rainbow-colored while the other is monochromatic, and one prefers the term dot while the other prefers spot. Though even that difference is tenuous, as when Ohnn first entered the dimension that gave him his Spot powers, he thought to himself, "It's... polka dotted(sic)?!"

Spider-Man's savior, the Spot

Like so many Marvel characters, the Spot is really multiple Spots, each one in its own home universe. The primary Spot resides, like the rest of Marvel's "main" cast, in the universe of Earth-616. But other Spots exist, and not all are as villainous as their 616 counterparts. During the events of the 2015 event "Secret Wars," we meet an alternate Ohn (yes, this time with only one "n") who never became the Spot, and so continued his life as a scientist. Teasing a better future that might have been if the 616 Ohnn hadn't become powered, this alternate Ohn began working for SHIELD, putting his genius-level intellect to use for the benefit of justice.

Not only is this Ohn an agent of SHIELD, but he has a deep respect and admiration for both Spider-Man and Peter Parker, as well as his super-powered daughter Annie — a character unique to this universe, later dubbed the "Renew Your Vows" universe. This Ohn is so heroic and so arachnophilic, in fact, that he actually sacrifices himself to save the Parker family's lives. Injured and being consumed by his own portals, Ohn uses his last spot to teleport MJ and Annie to the location of the currently-captive Spider-Man, leading to his eventual rescue.

The Spot and Marvel cosmology

The Marvel comics multiverse is massive and labyrinthine, and it's only getting bigger as time rolls on. If you thought the complicated conflux of realities of "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" was tangled, just wait until you attempt your first tour of its original comic book counterpart. Most universes are (relatively) straightforward alternate realities, like for example the universe of Earth-26615, which is seemingly identical to the 616 universe except that its Venom killed its Spider-Man. But the multiverse also contains universes, if they can be called that, that exist as entirely alien states of reality, subject to unknown laws of physics (if any) and not even necessarily discreetly contained to their own universe. (If that sounds like a headache to you, imagine living in one of those universes and being made of inter-dimensional portals like the Spot.)

The Spot draws his powers from one of these strange realities, a place known as the Darkforce Dimension. In a way, that in itself is a victory for the Spot, as his powers came from an attempt to replicate the Cloak's and the Cloak does indeed draw his powers from the Darkforce Dimension. This dimension seems mostly barren but is permeated with Darkforce, an as-yet-unexplained energy that seems to find its way into multiple other dimensions, empowering being like the Spot, Cloak, Mister Negative, Darkhawk, and more. It has also been proposed as the source of all teleportation powers, though at least in the case of Nightcrawler, this seems untrue.

This isn't Spot's first multiverse

Based on his powers, you may have already expected the Spot to appear in multiple universe-hopping adventures, and that is true. But the more surprising fact is that perhaps his biggest and most multiversal incident ever came in the form of an animated Spider-Man series — just like his upcoming turn in "Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse." The animated series in question is the '90s cartoon "Spider-Man," which alongside the "X-Men" cartoon, largely defined the concept of Marvel heroes for a generation. In particular, the Spot played an integral role in the show's Season 5 event "Spider Wars."

Just like "Into the Spider-Verse," only 20 years earlier, the "Spider Wars" saga brought together a team of six alternate versions of Spider-Man and/or Peter Parker — unofficially dubbed the Spider-Men — to stop a multiversal threat that no one spider could stop alone. Unlike "Into the Spider-Verse," in which the threat was a particle collider irresponsibly wielded by the Kingpin, the threat in "Spider Wars" was actually another Spider-person — a symbiote-controlled Parker clone called Spider-Carnage. It was Ohn's experiments that created Spider-Carnage in the first place, and he only became a multiversal threat when he gained access to Ohn's reality-warping technology. Way to go, Spot.

The Spot is Jason Schwartzman

When Sony revealed the Spot as the central antagonist in "Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse" on its official Twitter page, they also revealed the actor who will voice the besotted baddie: none other than Jason Schwartzman, who may look familiar to comic-book fans. Though he has an exceptional career outside of comics, appearing for example in nearly every Wes Anderson film yet and the latest season of "Fargo," comic fans will likely know Schwartzman best as Gideon Graves — the slimy Evil Ex of Ramona Flowers and final boss in 2010's "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World."

As Graves, Schwartzman perfectly captured the character's ooziness, snobbery, and unrivaled punch-ability — traits he clearly practiced with his role in 2009's "Funny People." From his work as Graves, it's clear that Schwartzman has what it takes to play a villain. Behind-the-scenes footage from "Scott Pilgrim" demonstrates the actor's willingness to commit, even learning swordplay and performing his own stunts during the film's action-packed climax. Web-heads should look forward to Schwartzman's performance as the Spot because we've all seen how wrong things can go when a villain's actor only half-commits — isn't that right, Malekith?

Carnage is the new Spot

We talked earlier about the Spot's overwhelming tendency to appear as just one member of a larger team of villains, but in his most recent comic-book appearance, the Spot is very much on his own — and it may be the death of him. The Spot appeared in a major Marvel comic as recently as June 1, 2022, in the pages of "Carnage #3." Leading up to the issue, during the current Symbiote renaissance began by writer Donny Cates in 2018's "Venom," Carnage was able to briefly experience having the powers of a god (see "Absolute Carnage"), only to have those powers then stripped from him and his longtime host Cletus Kasady abandon him.

Now, the Carnage symbiote is alone, furious, and bent on revenge against all those who have wronged him. The only way to accomplish that revenge? More godlike power, like for example the power to create an infinite number of portals across dimensions at all. Enter: the Spot. The issue begins mid-attack, as Carnage attempts to kill the Spot and absorb his power. The Spot, true to form, begs Carnage to simply team up with him, to which the symbiote responds, "where's the carnage in that?" Carnage then grabs hold of the Spot and rips him into bloody pieces, stealing his dimension-hopping powers in the process, though as the Spot's severed head drifts off through one last portal, it cries out, "I will... return. I have the Spotted... Dimension."

The Spot 'died' multiple times

Comic book characters come and go, and then they come back again. Fake-out deaths and total resurrections are as common in the world of comics as internal narration and splash pages. Villains are just as likely as heroes to make surprising comebacks, and in his decades-long history with Marvel, the Spot has gotten more than one crack at life.

The Spot's first death came at the hands of another villain. Tombstone accepted the Spot's help in escaping prison, but after getting out, he snapped his collaborator's neck. But like most comic book deaths, the Spot's didn't last long: He eventually resurfaced and was promptly killed again by Elektra in the midst of the first Marvel Civil War.

Unfortunately, the Spot's next couple of resurrections didn't treat him any better. He crossed paths with Wolverine, only to have the hardened mutant cut him down. But that death didn't put an end to the Spot's legacy. Most recently, he was ripped apart by Carnage, and though that particular death looked pretty definitive, the Spot promised he'd find a way to return, and we're inclined to believe him.

He only has so many spots

Even though the comics have never given the Spot his time in the limelight as a major Marvel villain, he's potentially one of the most powerful beings in the entire Marvel multiverse. His Spots allow him to instantly teleport wherever he wants, and he can even move his body to multiple locations at once. That basically makes the Spot the perfect burglar, and as a trained scientist he has the capability to create devastating technology with the right supplies. In terms of hand-to-hand combat, the Spot can deflect his foes by teleporting them, but most of what hits him is sent through his body straight to the Spotted Dimension anyway.

Oh, and there's that whole thing where the Spot claims he's immortal. He tells Carnage that his body is able to recreate itself inside the Spotted Dimension whenever he gets killed. That would definitely explain how he's been able to come back so many times. An immortal mad scientist with the power to be anywhere in the multiverse sounds pretty bad, but there is one legitimate limit to the Spot's abilities.

He doesn't have an infinite amount of Spots. He can only open so many portals, which means that a thorough attack can deplete the Spot's resources and open him up to an actual defeat. The Spot has lost more than one battle by having his spots exhausted, but that's a tall order even for a seasoned hero like Spider-Man.

Spider-sense doesn't work on the Spot

The Spot has one major advantage against Spider-Man that most other villains would kill to have. If he wants, the Spot can attack the web-slinger in a way that doesn't trigger his spider-sense. Things that move through his spots don't directly hop from one point to another. Instead, they teleport by first passing through the Spotted Dimension, which is where the Spot gets his special opening. Spider-sense only works in one dimension, so if the Spot lobs a punch out of a portal from the Spotted Dimension, Spider-Man won't see it coming.

That doesn't mean the Spot is going to land every one of his hits, though. Even without spider-sense, Spider-Man has superhuman reflexes protecting him. In "Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse," the Spot can't keep up with Miles at all, even though some of his punches and kicks come flying out of the Spotted Dimension. Even with the Spot's truly incredible abilities, it's hard to keep up with a Spider-person.

Daredevil and the Spot have a history

For the most part, the Spot is part of Spidey's rogues' gallery. Whenever he's working as an active villain, the Spot spends most of his time terrorizing the spider and his friends. The Spot's greatest supervillain team-ups have also been spider-centric. He's worked with major Spider-Man bad guys like Mr. Negative and Doctor Octopus, but those big-name associates aside, the Spot hasn't exclusively spent his time targeting Spider-Man.

Do your villain-ing in New York City long enough, and there are a handful of superheroes that you're bound to cross paths with. We've already talked about how the Spot once died at the hands of Elektra, and Marvel fans know that she's a frequent flier in Daredevil's comic stories. The Spot and Hell's Kitchen's favorite hero have also been through their own struggles.

In the very first issue of "Daredevil" volume 3 the two went toe-to-toe. Unlike Spider-Man, Daredevil hasn't learned to rely on precognitive senses to anticipate his enemy's attacks. Instead, he's fully embraced his basic enhanced senses and has become a master at reacting to the world around him nearly as fast as someone with super speed. The Spot gave it his all in their fight, but he was no match for Daredevil's combat expertise and got beaten handily.

The Spot's creators are comics legends

Most comic book characters have long histories that stretch back through multiple decades and dozens, if not hundreds, of individual issues. The Spot may not have as illustrious of a back catalog as bigger villains like the Green Goblin, but he's appeared in more than his fair share of stories. Now that he's finally landed on the big screen, it's worth taking a look back to the very beginning of that history to see where the Spot's story really began.

The Spot made his debut appearance in issue 94 of "Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man," which came out in 1984. Two comic creators developed the character, and both of them played big roles in the industry in general and Marvel comics in particular: writer Al Milgrom and artist Herb Trimpe.

Milgrom began working for Marvel 10 years before the Spot's first appearance, and though now he's primarily known for his work on that "Spectacular Spider-Man" series, his first big hits came while he was working on "Captain Marvel." Trimpe was with Marvel for nearly 30 years, and in that time he worked with some of the company's greatest writers, like Gerry Conway. Trimpe also had the opportunity to be the penciler on "The Incredible Hulk" #181, otherwise known as the first appearance of Wolverine. Both men received nominations for the Shazam Award in the 1970s, and their work at Marvel clearly continues to influence its many universes.

The Spot got a new origin story

Nearly four decades after arriving in the Marvel Comics universe, the Spot made his big screen debut in "Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse." The movie maintained the broad strokes of the Spot's origin story. Just like in the comics, he was once a working scientist, but an experiment gone wrong sent him to the Spotted Dimension and gave him his signature abilities. Inspired by his newfound powers, the Spot sets out on a life of crime.

Obviously, the movie had to change the Spot's origin to a certain extent out of necessity. After all, Miles Morales and the Spider-Verse didn't exist when the Spot first arrived at Marvel in the '80s. The movie changed the specifics of the Spot's story, and in the process, it gave him a much more personal connection to Spider-Man than the comic book version of the character ever had.

Now the accident that caused the Spot's sudden transformation was the collider explosion that happened at the end of "Into the Spider-Verse." The Spot entirely blames Miles for what happened to him — partially because of a separate misunderstanding involving a bagel. Even though he seems to be enjoying his new powers, the Spot is still committed to taking revenge against Miles for ruining his otherwise normal life.

He's more threatening than ever

"Across the Spider-Verse" didn't just change the Spot's origin story. It also re-evaluated the villain and finally made it clear just how terrifying his powers can be. At the beginning of the movie, Miles treats the Spot like a joke, and he comes across that way to the audience because of his constant struggles to control his portals. The Spot can't even rob an ATM properly, but all he needs is time.

As the movie progresses, the Spot learns how to control his powers, and eventually he's moving through cities and universes with ease, dodging multiple spider-people and causing untold chaos in the process. It doesn't take long for the Spot to realize that his strength is only limited by the number of spots he has. With that worked out, he immediately sets out to acquire as many spots and, by extension, as much interdimensional power as possible. By the end of the movie, his body is so densely coated in spots that you can barely see any white on him. "Across the Spider-Verse" doesn't give him a chance to show off what he can do with all that amassed power, but the Spot is guaranteed to wreak havoc in "Beyond the Spider-Verse."