Prowler versus the Vulture, art by Bill Reinhold.
|First appearance||The Amazing Spider-Man #78 (November 1969)|
|Created by||Stan Lee
|Alter ego||Hobie Brown|
Battle suit grants:
The Prowler is a fictional character, a superhero that appears in comics published by Marvel Comics. The character was created by writer-editor Stan Lee and John Buscesma. He made his first appearance in The Amazing Spider-Man #78.
The first Prowler developed a high-tech battle suit in order to start a life of crime until Spider-Man convinces him to turn his life around. Several other characters have also taken up the Prowler identity.
The original Prowler character was criminal-turned-superhero Hobie Brown. He debuted in The Amazing Spider-Man #78 (November 1969). Hobie Brown was created by Stan Lee, John Buscema and Jim Mooney, following a "suggestion" by a young John Romita, Jr. He eventually appeared in his own solo comic The Prowler #1 Approaching Dusk
Fictional character biography
The Prowler's first incarnation Hobie Brown was born in the Bronx, New York. He was a bright but angry teenage African-American who got fired from his window washer job. Intending to use his engineering skills for personal profit, he devised a plan to steal items while disguised as a supervillain and bring them back to his home as Hobie.
But when donning his green and purple "Prowler" costume for the first time, he crossed paths with Spider-Man. Spider-Man vanquished and unmasked Prowler, but realizing he was just a misunderstood kid (much like himself), he gave him advice to not throw his life away as a criminal and to redeem himself. Hobie took this advice to heart and has since become a model citizen. Hobie later impersonated Spider-Man at the hero's request - Spider-Man wearing a webbing mask - to convince Peter Parker's friends that he was not Spider-Man after Peter 'confessed' the truth while suffering delirium due to the flu, thus creating the impression that Peter had merely been confused. Hobie became convinced that Spider-Man was involved somehow in police Captain George Stacy's death, and unsuccessfully tried to bring Spider-Man to justice. Hobie eventually married his love, Mindy S. McPherson, and settled down into a career as a construction worker.[volume & issue needed]
Brown began to look after his 'little brother' Manuel "Manny" Lopez as a part of the Big Brother Program. When Manny was murdered, Prowler believed the original White Tiger (Hector Ayala) was responsible and attempted to bring White Tiger to justice. Prowler attempted to join the super-hero group the Defenders only to be tossed into the harbor by Valkyrie at which point he decided to retire his identity. However, Brown's Prowler equipment are later stolen by the "Cat Burglar" to commit crimes for fashion criminal Bella Donna. Brown was eager to join the search for the thieves but Spider-Man insisted that he stay home so he would not get into trouble since the second Prowler had committed a felony murder. When the second Prowler was subsequently defeated by Spider-Man, the stolen equipment was returned to Brown.
Prowler later appeared in California during Peter's "Webs" book deal. He is first seen attacking the Black Fox (Raul Chalmers) for possession of a chalice, to keep his wife Mindy out of prison. Mindy accepted a bookkeeping job at Transcorp New York. The company was caught in some shady stock deals and Mindy was set up and blamed for the crimes. Seeing only way to clear her name, Hobie re-donned his Prowler costume and found the books which Mindy had been blamed for stealing. He hid the books on an information chip and put the information chip on the chalice, where no one would look for it. Prowler and Spider-Man team up to take on the Black Fox in order to re-gain possession of the chalice. Hobie vindicated his wife of stock fraud charges with the help of Spider-Man and the Black Fox.
Prowler later attempted to vindicate Spider-Man of a crime, and first encountered Silver Sable and the Outlaws (including rehabilitated villains like Sandman, Rocket Racer and Puma). His safety designs were stolen by Justin Hammer. Hobie proved the designs flaws during an encounter with Hammer's hirelings. Hobie fought his brother Abe Brown (member of the Sons of the Tiger) as an initiation test for Silver Sable. Prowler joined with Spider-Man and the Outlaws against the Avengers and the Space Phantom. Prowler was hired along with the Outlaws to retrieve a Symkarian nuclear device in England. Prowler then formally joined the Outlaws to rescue the kidnapped daughter of a Canadian official.
Later, Hobie was paralyzed during the Great Game. In follow-up appearances, he began regaining movement of his paralyzed limbs- evidence suggests that his paralysis was more a result of mental rather than physical damage, as he was feeling frustrated over the recent theft of his costume, eventually regaining full mobility. While recovering, Brown provided Spider-Man with a jetpack that Spidey used when assuming the new Hornet identity during the Identity Crisis storyline,[volume & issue needed] and later appeared in Prowler costume at a poker game hosted by the Thing.
Escaping incarceration, he attended the wake for Stilt-Man, along with many other villains and former villains. Prowler narrowly escaped injury as Spider-Man and Puma escorted him from the wake shortly before it was bombed by the Punisher.
Bella Donna (Narda Ravanna) stole Hobie Brown's costume and equipment and hired the cat burglar whom Spider-Man originally fought in The Amazing Spider-Man #30 to be the Prowler's second incarnation. The criminal, wearing a simpler Prowler costume, accidentally killed a guard during one of his crimes. The second Prowler's silhouetted profile confused witnesses enough to have Spider-Man implicated in the murder. Eventually, Spider-Man captured both Bella Donna and her accomplice, cleared the original Prowler's name, and returned the stolen equipment to Brown.
This Prowler was later seen at the "Bar With No Name" attending Stilt-Man's wake, identifying himself as the "Cat Burglar". He had a brief fight with the original Prowler at Stilt-Man's funeral. Sometime after the original Prowler left, Punisher poisoned the guests' drinks and blew the place up. It was later mentioned that "they all had to get their stomachs pumped and be treated for third-degree burns”.
The Prowler's third incarnation Rick Lawson is a medical intern that stole a Prowler costume when Hobie Brown was brought in with a back injury. When he was brought into hospital, his costume was partly cut away to conceal his superhero identity, but his friends were unwilling to risk moving him due to his back injury and so a portion of the costume was left that tipped Rick off. With this costume, the third Prowler both robbed patients in the ICU and get revenge on those who had "wronged" him in the past such as a construction foreman who fired him when he needed the job to complete medical school. He ran into the Vulture rejuvenated and attempting to kill all who knew him as an old man. Vulture mistook this Prowler for the original and was unconcerned about the mistake. He managed to badly injure Prowler by slashing him across the chest with his wings, but was unable to kill him when Spider-Man interrupted the fight. As Spider-Man defeated Vulture, Rick was taken to the hospital and the Prowler costume was returned to Hobie (recovering from his paralysis).
Powers and abilities
The Prowler has no superhuman powers, but is naturally inventive, especially in the field of pneumatics, although he has no formal education in that science. He relies on a suite of technical gimmicks that he has created. Prowler wears modified coveralls interwoven with denim and stretch fabric, equipped with gas cartridge bracelets and anklets capable of propelling projectiles at high velocity. His arsenal of projectiles include steel darts ("flechettes"), gas pellets, small explosives, magnesium flares and cleaning fluid. Prowler has been known to use hypnotic aids and conventional hand-held weapons. He wears steel-tipped gauntlets for scaling walls, and shock absorbent foam rubber insulated boots. He also wears a cape which contains a network of pneumatic filaments which expand with air to give it a rigid structure, allowing him to glide for short distances.
A technological genius, Hobie Brown is also designed the cybernetically-controlled wing harness used by Hornet (Peter Parker during Identity Crisis) although he himself was unable to use it due to the weight. He is a skilled hand-to-hand combatant, possessing a green belt in taekwondo.
House of M
A zombified version of Prowler is seen in "Dead Days",[volume & issue needed] during The Ultimate Fantastic Four.[volume & issue needed] He is depicted in a scene standing near the side of Tigra on the two page layout of the zombies.
The Ultimate Marvel incarnation of Prowler is Aaron Davis, the uncle of the new Spider-Man (Miles Morales). He and his brother Jefferson Davis used to be partners in crime. Whereas Jefferson becomes reformed by marrying Rio Morales and having Miles Morales, Aaron continued his criminal activities by becoming the Prowler. After Norman Osborn's transformation becomes public knowledge, Prowler breaks into an abandoned OsCorp lab to steal a small red box and other rare items from a safe but a genetically altered spider crawled into his duffel bag without his knowledge. Miles later visits his uncle's apartment and is bitten by the spider. After Miles passes out and regains consciousness, Jefferson forbids Aaron to spend time with Miles on account of the life that he leads. During a visit in Mexico, Aaron fights off Mexican crime boss Scorpion (Maximus Gargan) but is detained by Mexican authorities. Returning to New York, Prowler interrogates Tinkerer (Elijah Stern) about Osborn. After realizing his nephew was bitten by a spider in a fashion similar to the original Spider-Man (Peter Parker), Prowler kills Tinkerer. Claiming Tinkerer's various tech for himself, Aaron uses a winged suit in a vain attempt to kill Scorpion. Once he learns that his nephew is the new Spider-Man, Davis confronts Miles with this knowledge. Davis initially convinces Miles to assist. But after defeating Scorpion, Miles comes to realize that Davis is exploiting him. When Spider-Man decides to sever the relationship, Aaron attacks Spider-Man which leads to a fight that results in Aaron's gauntlets equipment exploding, killing him but not before telling his nephew that he's just like him. A year later, Spider-Man learns that his uncle was hired by Donald Roxxon.[volume & issue needed]
In other media
- The Hobie Brown incarnation of Prowler appeared in the Spider-Man animated series, voiced by Tim Russ. He first appeared in the episode "The Prowler" working for crime lord Iceberg (voiced by Lawrence Mandley) and was feeling he wasn't earning his fair cut for the work he was doing. When Iceberg discovered that Hobie was stealing from him, he had his boys attempt to kill Hobie. After narrowly escaping that fate and discovering that his girlfriend had fallen in love with someone else, he knew he needed to get out of town. He stole a passerby's purse in order to fund his new trip. It turned out to be Mary Jane Watson's purse while in the process of apartment hunting. Brown was stopped by Spider-Man and sent to jail for violating his parole. While in jail, he saves Richard Fisk from an attempt on his life. As payment, the Kingpin arranges for a hot shot lawyer to enable Brown's release and gives him a special battle-suit. He took the battle-suit on a trial run and had a run-in with Spider-Man whom he managed to evade. He used the battle-suit to get revenge on Iceberg and overthrow him. There are strings attached, however, as Brown finds that a shock occurs in his suit when Kingpin contacts him and says that he'll fix the suit if Prowler keeps working for Kingpin. Prowler sought out Peter Parker and told him his story since Peter knows how to get through to Spider-Man. It was discovered by Spider-Man that Kingpin has wired the suit to shock him if he disobeys and the suit's belt will detonate if he tampers with it. He and Spider-Man team up against Kingpin and destroyed the controls to the belt so it wouldn't detonate and Prowler's suit is recharged. Brown gave up crime so he can have a chance at returning to a normal 'good' life.
- Hobie Brown appears in The Spectacular Spider-Man, voiced by Charles Duckworth. In the episode "Opening Night", Hobie tries out for the school's football team and make the cut with Peter Parker and Harry Osborn. A recurring joke in the series has Brown not having a speaking role but is usually interrupted when trying to speak. His Prowler persona did not appear as the series was cancelled.
- The Hobie Brown incarnation of Prowler made his video game debut in Spider-Man: Friend or Foe, voiced by Chris Gardner. He is one of the many characters to help Spider-Man in fighting the invasion. He is one of the featured characters to join S.H.I.E.L.D. before Spider-Man. In this game, Prowler did not wear a cape but still used canister barrages.
- Hobie Brown made an appearance in an early story in the comic strip "The Prowler". This version's gauntlets weaponry were restricted to compressed air blasts.
- Manning, Matthew K.; Gilbert, Laura, ed. (2012). "1960s". Spider-Man Chronicle Celebrating 50 Years of Web-Slinging. Dorling Kindersley. p. 49. ISBN 978-0756692360. "In this tale written by [Stan] Lee and drawn by the team of John Buscema and Jim Mooney, window washer Hobie Brown became fed up with his dead-end job and used his inventive mind to craft the identity and weapons of the Prowler."
- The Amazing Spider-Man #79 - inside front cover
- The Amazing Spider-Man #78-79 (1969)
- The Amazing Spider-Man #87
- The Amazing Spider-Man #93
- Deadly Hands of Kung Fu #21
- Defenders #62-64
- Spectacular Spider-Man #47-48
- story-arc around The Amazing Spider-Man #304, 1988
- The Amazing Spider-Man #305
- Web of Spider-Man #50
- Spectacular Spider-Man Annual #9
- Spectacular Spider-Man Annual #10
- Spectacular Spider-Man #47
- Excalibur #36
- The Amazing Spider-Man #25, Spectacular Spider-Man Annual #11, Web of Spider-Man #7
- Prowler limited series #1-4, 1995
- Spider-Man Unlimited #16
- The Sensational Spider-Man #16-18 (1997)
- The Sensational Spider-Man #25 (1997)
- The Thing #8 (2005)
- Ms. Marvel #6 (2006)
- Punisher War Journal #4 (2006)
- Spectacular Spider-Man #47-48
- Cat at the Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe
- Punisher War Journal #4
- She-Hulk Vol. 2 #17
- The Sensational Spider-Man #16-18
- House of M: Avengers #1-5
- Ultimate Fantastic Four #25
- Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man Vol. 2 #1
- Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man #7
- Bendis, Brian Michael (w), Pichelli, Sara (a). Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man Vol. 2 #6-8. Marvel Comics. March - June 2012.
- Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man Vol. 2 #9-11
- Bendis, Brian Michael (w), Pichelli, Sara (a), Marquez, David (p), Ponsor, Justin (i). Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man Vol. 2 #12-13. Marvel Comics. September - October 2012.
- Lee, Stan, Romita Sr., John (8 Oct 1979 - 23 Dec 1979). The Prowler. Register and Tribune Syndicate.