30 December 2006

The Many Foes of Spider-Man - the Lizard

You can't be a superhero without a reptilian nemesis. Spider-Man's got the Lizard

Doctor Curt Connors was a gifted surgeon who enlisted in the military and was sent off to war. His right arm was injured in a blast and had to be amputated. After his return to civilian life, he became obsessed with uncovering the secrets of reptilian limb regeneration and studied reptilian biology extensively. From his home in the Florida Everglades, he finally developed an experimental serum taken from reptilian DNA. He successfully regrew the missing limb of a rabbit and then, despite the warnings of his wife Martha, chose to test it on himself. Connors ingested it and his missing arm did indeed grow back. Unfortunately, it had a horrible side effect; Connors was subsequently transformed into a reptilian humanoid monster! Spider-Man discovered this situation during a trip to Florida to investigate newspaper reports of the Lizard. Spidey was then able to use Connors' notes to create an antidote to restore him to his human form and mentality.

Later, Curt Connors relocated to New York City and was able to repay Spider-Man by developing a formula to save May Parker's life after Peter Parker had given his aunt his radioactive blood during a transfusion that had put her in mortal peril. It later became clear that the success of Connors' apparent cure from the Lizard persona was short-lived. A repeating pattern occurred, with stress or a chemical reaction turning Connors into the Lizard, Spider-Man fighting him and then forming some kind of temporary cure to revert the transformation until the next time. A second personality had formed with the Lizard, one with the familiar goal shared by many villains of taking over the world. The Lizard envisioned a world where all humans had been transformed into (or replaced by) super-reptiles like himself.

For a time, Peter Parker worked as a teaching assistant to Dr. Connors at Empire State University, although Connors had no idea that Peter was actually Spider-Man. Connors' wife took their son Billy and separated from Curt after his absence during the Lizard's involvement in the Secret Wars battles. Connors then tried to straighten out his life and control the Lizard, with some degree of success. This ended when the villainess Calypso used her voodoo magic to take control of the Lizard for her own purposes, reducing him to a mindless savage state. After a series of bloody battles, the Lizard and Calypso were defeated by Spider-Man. Connors once again gained control of the Lizard's mind and body, although it was very weak control. Curt carried out a plan to cure himself temporarily, after which he voluntarily submitted to incarceration in the supervillain prison, the Vault. When Calypso forced the transformation and attempted to control the Lizard once again, the creature killed her and escaped from the Vault. After this escape, the Lizard fell into a quicksand pit during a battle with Spider-Man and the bounty hunter Warrant and was believed to have died.

Although reunited after his apparent death, tragedy later struck again in the Connors family - this time, for Martha and Billy. Both mother and son were diagnosed with cancer after years exposed to carcinogens from living near an industrial lab of the Monnano Corporation in Florida. Spider-Man assisted Curt, and successfully forced Monnano to admit their environmental culpability. However, Martha succumbed to the cancer and died. Billy survived, and remained bitter towards his father. Curt's guilt and internalized anger at these events eventually led him to become the Lizard and attack Spider-Man once again. After reverting back to human, Curt purposefully attempted bank robbery so he would be sent to prison. Curt's stint in prison was short-lived, as he was released and transformed into the Lizard once again as part of a scheme by Norman Osborn, AKA the Green Goblin, to form a "Sinister Twelve" group of villains to kill Spider-Man. The Sinister Twelve was defeated and captured by the combined forces of the Fantastic Four and certain members of the Avengers.

More recently, the Lizard has resurfaced to face Spider-Man with the aid of a pint-sized "twin" of himself, who was revealed to be none other than his son, Billy. Curt had injected Billy with the Lizard formula while under the influence of a mysterious meteorite that caused savage behavior in those within range of its radiation. Both the Lizard and "Lizard Junior" were eventually captured and transformed back to human, but the future effects of the Lizard formula on Billy Connors remain to be seen.

Villain Profiles:

the Beetle
Black Cat
the Chameleon
Doctor Octopus
the Green Goblin
J. Jonah Jameson
Jack O' Lantern
the Kingpin
Kraven the Hunter
the Lizard

Spider-Man 3 debuts in 125 days!

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