Alistair Smythe

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Alistair Smythe
Alistair Smythe, The Ultimate Spider-Slayer.jpg
Alistair Smythe as The Ultimate Spider-Slayer.
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #19 (November 1985)
Created by Louise Simonson
Mary Wilshire
In-story information
Alter ego Alistair Alphonso Smythe
Notable aliases The Ultimate Spider Slayer, Spider-Slayer
Abilities Expert robotics, cybernetics and geneticist
Bio-organic carapace grants:
Superhuman strength, speed, agility and durability
Bird-like talons
Curved bladed weapon jutting from each shoulder
Jagged blades on each forearm
Ability to walk

Alistair Smythe is a comic book supervillain, owned by Marvel Comics. He was one of Spider-Man's enemies. At one point Alistair used a wheelchair, but he later gained the ability to walk after transforming himself into what he called the Ultimate Spider-Slayer.

Publication history[edit]

Alistair Smythe first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man Annual 19 (November 1985), created by Louise Simonson and Mary Wilshire. Alistair Smythe died in The Superior Spider-Man #13 (September 2013).

Fictional character biography[edit]

The Spider-Slayers were a series of robots that sought to destroy Spider-Man. The initial generation of spider-slayers were created by Alistair's father, Spencer Smythe, and commissioned by J. Jonah Jameson. After Spencer failed to kill Spider-Man - and ended up dying as a result of prolonged exposure to the radioactive samples involved- Alistair inherited the legacy from his father and gained a new-found hatred toward Spider-Man. His initial attempt, however, failed when, in a rather humorous misunderstanding, he mistook Mary Jane Watson for Spider-Man (playing along with it to give Peter time to come up with a plan, Mary Jane claimed she used a super-powered suit designed by aliens) until he was defeated by the real wall-crawler. He initially worked for the Kingpin but left in disagreement over how to deal with Spider-Man and went solo.[1]

After being confined in an asylum, Alistair released himself and took several other inmates with him in order to construct a new series of spider-slayers that tracked Spider-Man across the city. With a plan of revenge, he forced the inmates to assist him in the machines' construction. After sending a series of slayers after Spider-Man (and all of their inevitable destruction with assistance from others including Scorpion and the Black Cat), Alistair lured Spider-Man to his residence for one final battle.[volume & issue needed]

In order to defeat Spider-Man on his own, Alistair enhanced himself by encasing his entire body in a biorganic carapace that not only served as a full body armour, but increased his strength and gave him the ability to walk again by interconnecting with his spine.[volume & issue needed]

The physical structure of the carapace gave Alistair bird-like talons for feet; a long, curved blade-like weapon jutting from each shoulder; a pair of smaller, jagged blade weapons on each forearm; and a specially made web-shooter that fires from the forearm area. Eventually, Spider-Man defeated Alistair and made sure he'd been taken to custody as well as the other asylum inmates who survived the ordeal.[volume & issue needed]

During Scarlet Spider's brief stint as sole web-slinger in town, Smythe (still carapaced as the Ultimate Spider-Slayer) started a war utilizing a new set of slayers he intended to sell on the black market. These Cyber-Slayers, which could be controlled remotely by turning one's thoughts into the slayers' actions, were initially targeted at Lady Octopus and her crew. The Scarlet Spider ended up in the middle of things and temporarily allied with the Cyber-Slayers, a fact that did not go over well with Smythe.[volume & issue needed]

Smythe, no longer in his carapace but with his ability to walk restored by his earlier use of it, found his way outside prison and sought revenge on both Spider-Man and J. Jonah Jameson for the death of his father. He coerced Jameson to alter the stories in the Daily Bugle or else he'd kill JJJ's wife and son. Once Spider-Man caught on to Smythe's trail, he followed it back to the Bugle where Smythe assaulted him with recreated versions of every spider-slayer ever sent after Spider-Man in the past plus a pair of new creations—a miniature model designed to latch onto Spider-Man's face and penetrate his mind through use of radiation and a larger six-armed model arguably stronger than any other created. While attached to Spider-Man's head, the miniature spider-slayer psionically connected to Spidey's mind, copied thoughts of his loved ones, and broadcast that information to all the other mini-slayers. Smythe gave Spider-Man the choice of either stopping them or preventing the six-armed slayer from destroying Jameson. Spidey eventually shut down all the spider-slayers at the same time, but it was Jameson who beat Smythe to the verge of death with a baseball bat for threatening his family. Smythe made another return in which he used a poisonous spider he made and attacked John Jameson and caused him to end up in the hospital.[volume & issue needed]

In the "Big Time" storyline, Alistair Smythe returns with a new metallic body armor and is hunting down all of J. Jonah Jameson's friends and families. He decides to seek out Mac Gargan for help, who is currently locked away in jail.[2] Posing as a scientist, Smythe infiltrates the Raft and makes off with Gargan.[3] He then performs a cybernetic operation on him, turning him into a cyborg Scorpion, and convinces him to join his crusade against Jameson. At this point, Smythe has amassed a small army of cyborg minions, all of whom want revenge on Jameson.[4] Smythe, Scorpion, and a new villain named Fly-Girl lead their army to attack the site of John Jameson's latest space mission, sabotaging the launch and holding John for ransom.[5] Smythe's new plan was to kill all those close to Jameson, but not to kill Jameson himself so Jameson could feel the same suffering that he did losing his father. Smythe's actions get Jameson's wife Dr. Marla Jameson killed, as well as seemingly permanently negating Spider-Man's spider-sense when a device Spider-Man designed to overload a link between Smythe's current Slayers also damaged his spider-sense.[6] J. Jonah Jameson plans to have the death penalty given to Alistair Smythe for what happened to Marla.[7]

During the "Spider-Island" storyline, J. Jonah Jameson brings Alistair Smythe from Ryker's Island to demand his help in resolving the spider-flu plague transforming ordinary citizens into Homo Archanis. Alistair Smythe laughed at the irony of how Jameson has gained spider powers. At the moment, Jameson transforms and seriously wounds Smythe by biting a chunk out of his neck.[8]

Despite his injuries, Alistair Smythe is seen alive and well as a prisoner in the Raft.[9] Alistair Smythe is a witness of the escape of Doctor Octopus (who has swapped his mind with Spider-Man) and was denied to join up with him.[10]

Mayor J. Jonah Jameson calls in Superior Spider-Man to help oversee the execution of Alistair Smythe so that he would not escape. Superior Spider-Man confronts Smythe, who tries to taunt him by mentioning Marla Jameson's death. Since Smythe is unaware of the mindswap and that Otto was not paying attention due to him remembering his time locked up during his final days as Doctor Octopus, Superior Spider-Man brushes him off. Mayor Jameson alongside Superior Spider-Man, his assistant Glory Grant, and Bugle reporter Norah Jones watch the procedure of Smythe's execution while he claims to be a "better person". Superior Spider-Man tries to reply that no one would buy that, only to stop himself once he remembers that he just pulled that trick. Just as Smythe's execution begins, a swarm of mini Spider-Slayers attack the place allowing Smythe to move freely. However, they are counteracted by Otto's Spider-Bots. Smythe attempts to escape, but he finds out that Otto has prepared himself for every method of escape he may try, prompting Smythe to shift his plan to kill Spider-Man for which he was also prepared. The mini Spider-Slayers enter the infirmary where they surround Boomerang, Vulture, and Scorpion. The mini Spider-Slayers heal and enhance them where they get one request from Smythe to kill Superior Spider-Man.[11]

Superior Spider-Man is seen fighting Smythe and is mocking him for being weak in comparison to his father Spencer Smythe. When Superior Spider-Man says that he has called the Avengers for backup, Smythe states that he has his own backup as Boomerang, Scorpion, and Vulture show up. Superior Spider-Man admits that the Mini-Slayers were clever but inadvertently reveals that his countermeasures are being powered by the Raft's Power Generators distracting him at the revelation. Smythe takes the upper hand until he is narrowly shot down by Mayor Jameson disguised as a Raft guard. Superior Spider-Man hunts Smythe through his comm system only to discover that he did the same trick and informed his allies (all heading for a full front assault against Superior Spider-Man) who tries to convince them that Smythe is using them and will take back their enhancements once he has out. All of them agree that even though that might happen, they will make the best of the situation against him. Smythe manages to reach the Raft's generators, destroying them to shut down the power in the entire island, allowing the Lizard to escape. Once Smythe tries to escape, Superior Spider-Man reminds him about the emergency generators. Smythe warns Superior Spider-Man that just like he does with his Spider-Bots, he can see through his Mini-Slayers catching up on Mayor Jameson and the trapped civilians sending their locations to the group. Scorpion rejects it at first, but is easily convinced once Smythe tells him that one of his targets is Mayor Jameson himself. After Boomerang is defeated, Smythe warns Superior Spider-Man that he is still caught in a predicament since Scorpion is heading to his personal vengeance against Jameson and Vulture is ready to kill the group of civilians so he must make a choice only to be surprised when Superior Spider-Man replies that he will not follow any of them. Instead, Superior Spider-Man determined to complete his mission of slaying him.[12]

Superior Spider-Man succeeds in killing Smythe but only physically his corpse, with his mind intact, attacks the survivors, disarming the guards. Superior Spider-Man tackles Smythe and they fall onto the shore below, Smythe attempts to transfer his mind into Superior Spider-Man and assume his life. However due to Superior Spider-Man (identical to Doctor Octopus scheme in "Dying Wish") having already done this, he has equipped his mask with armored plating. Before Alistair Smythe dies, the Superior Spider-Man taunts him revealing his true identity as Doctor Octopus and that he already beat him to the mind transfer. His body is presumably carried away.[13]

Powers and abilities[edit]

Alistair Smythe is a scientific genius specializing in robotics, cybernetics and genetics. His most notable inventions are the Spider-Slayers, robots built for the express purpose of capturing or killing Spiderman. Though the creation and idea for these originally came from his father, Alistair has made advances and improvements on the originals and current generations are extremely sophisticated and formidable. The Slayers often operate in groups and Alistair is tactically skilled in his deployment of them.

Smythe invented a bio-organic carapace that serves as a full body armor. It gives him increased strength and the ability to walk again by interfacing with his spine. The carapace has bird-like talons for feet, a long, curved bladed weapon jutting from each shoulder and smaller, jagged blades on each forearm. It also has web-shooter that fires from the forearm area. While wearing this armor, Smythe has superhuman strength, durability, speed and agility.

Other versions[edit]

House of M[edit]

In the House of M reality, a furious J. Jonah Jameson hired Alistair Smythe, an associate of Norman Osborn, to build a Spider-Slayer to get revenge against the Parkers.[14]

In other media[edit]


Animated Alistair as the Ultimate Slayer, from the Spider-Man animated series
  • Alistair Smythe appears as a recurring villain in the 1990s Spider-Man animated series, voiced by Maxwell Caulfield. In the series he witnessed his father's failure to destroy Spider-Man (which, as in the comics, caused his apparent death), and was convinced to create spider-slayers to later attack Spider-Man as part of a deal made with the Kingpin. Smythe became Kingpin's primary accomplice for some time, even after Smythe's slayer failed to kill Spider-Man. His association with Kingpin came to an end after the two-parter "Framed/The Man Without Fear", when Spider-Man and Daredevil teamed up to fight the Kingpin, resulting in the arrest of Richard Fisk. Angered at his son's arrest, Kingpin blamed the incident on Smythe's "incompetence" and assured him his "days here are numbered." Fearing for himself, Smythe planned to sell out the Kingpin to Spider-Man, but was captured. He was turned against his will into the Ultimate Spider Slayer Cyborg with the help of the Kingpin's replacement partner Herbert Landon. This was primarily accomplished with genetic manipulation. With this change to him, Alistair has become strong enough to crush Spider-Man in a bearhug and possesses even greater agility then the wallcrawler himself. He cannot fire webbing but the "horns" on his back can fire lasers. He soon broke free of Kingpin's programming and (thanks to Spider-Man) recovered his father's body (which had been kept alive in stasis by the Kingpin unbeknownst to him initially). Alistair later found another employer in Alisha Silver, who sought to restore her father to adulthood in exchange for funds to revive Alistair's father. His father was never revived throughout the series. Smythe kidnapped the Black Cat for Silvermane to coerce Spider-Man into getting either Scorpion or Vulture, in order to have the de-aged Silvermane restored to an adult via Neogenics. Still under Silvermane's employment, he worked with Harry Osborn, the second Green Goblin, who had Smythe build an army of Goblin Warriors to attack Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson's wedding, while Smythe also helped Scorpion with things. Harry's plan failed in the end thanks to Spider-Man, the Kingpin and the Black Cat. Alistair also ordered Professor Miles Warren to create genetic clones under Silvermane's orders in the two-part episode, The Return of Hydro-Man, and worked for the Red Skull in the three-part episode, Secret Wars. However, it is revealed that he doesn't want to rule the planet like the Red Skull and Octavius but that he just wants to get back to his father. An alternate Smythe appeared in two-part series finale of the series, working for the Kingpin and Spider-Carnage in order to build a mind-control device to take over the world. However, Spider-Carnage's real intentions were to destroy all reality. After Spider-Man foiled his plans, Spider-Carnage fled to another reality, leaving a bomb in the Kingpin's building. Smythe and everyone else in the building were saved by Spider-Man and Madame Web.


Video games[edit]

  • Alistair Smythe appears in the The Amazing Spider-Man video game, voiced by Nolan North and is the main antagonist making the Lizard an anti-hero.[citation needed] Following Dr. Curt Connors's arrest for his actions as the Lizard, Alistair was declared Oscorp's new head of R&D and his first task is to dispose of the Cross-Species (animals mutated with human DNA) created using Connor's research and directed Oscorp's research towards Nano and Macro robotics. Unfortunately Spider-Man's presence in Oscorp throws the Cross Species into a riot and they break free, with the Scorpion infecting Smythe and the other scientists, such as Gwen Stacy with the cross species virus created as a side effect of their creation. Spider Man gets Connor's antidote (from Vermin) to the scientists and refusing to allow his people to be used as guinea pigs for Connor's experiments uses it on himself which in addition to only slowing the infection down also costs him the use of his legs (a nod to Smythe's paralysis in the comics) and drives him insane. Smythe somehow discovers both Spider-Man's secret identity (most likely from spying on Gwen and him) and where he and Dr. Connors have been staying, subsequently kidnapping Connors and daring Spider-Man to come save him. Spider-Man breaks into the Oscorp robotics facility and manages to free Connors, only to be subdued by the robots. While Connors escapes and returns to his old lab in the sewers, Smythe restrains Spider-Man and injects him with his completed nanobot serum which strips him of his powers. Despite being severely weakened and assailed by the Combat Sentries, Peter escapes from Oscorp as Smythe activates his latest S-Bot called the S-03, which is designed to spread his nanobot serum all over the city. With the aid of Whitney Chang, Spider-Man boards the S-03 where Lizard is fighting Alistair Smythe and enters an electric chamber to shock the nanobots out of him. With the aid of the Lizard, Spider-Man successfully disables the S-03 and subdues Alistair Smythe in his EXO-01 exo-suit. Alistair Smythe finally regains his sanity and is left horrified by his actions as he is taken away by the police while Spider-Man pursues the Lizard into the sewers. A news report from Whitney Chang later states that Alistair Smythe has escaped from police custody. In the post-credits, Alistair Smythe had regained the use of his legs as he makes it to a facility. His life ruined, his grand plan failing, sanity restored, and the realization that the virus has begun to take him over, Alistair Smythe walks into the path of fire of one of his Hunter Bots which then kills him off-screen as per its primary function.


  1. ^ Amazing Spider-Man Annual 19
  2. ^ Amazing Spider-Man #648
  3. ^ Amazing Spider-Man #650
  4. ^ Amazing Spider-Man #651
  5. ^ Amazing Spider-Man #652
  6. ^ Amazing Spider-Man #654
  7. ^ Amazing Spider-Man #656
  8. ^ Amazing Spider-Man #670
  9. ^ Amazing Spider-Man #691
  10. ^ Amazing Spider-Man #699
  11. ^ The Superior Spider-Man #11
  12. ^ The Superior Spider-Man #12
  13. ^ The Superior Spider-Man #13
  14. ^ Spider-Man: House of M #3
  15. ^ [1]

External links[edit]