10 February 2007

The Many Foes of Spider-Man - Sandman

Enter Sandman

Mr Sandman is one of the big bads in Spider-Man 3, but what do we really know about him? A bit:

At the age of three, William Baker was abandoned by his father and forced to live in poverty with his mother. Throughout high school, William turned to theft and cheating to get through class and to make ends meet at home. After accepting a bribe, Baker was expelled from school and soon found work as a mob enforcer. Under the alias Flint Marko, Baker became involved in more and more illegal activity, and slowly developed a violent and bitter personality. Eventually he ended up doing hard time on Rikers Island for his dealings but managed to escape. Immediately after he fled to a beach near Savannah, Georgia where he came into contact with sand that had been irradiated by an experimental reactor. His body and the radioactive sand bonded, and Marko’s molecular structure was altered into a sand/dirt-like substance. Marko soon found that he could transform any or all of his body into sand, and adopted the name Sandman to match his new powers.

Marko clashed with Spider-Man for the first time at the school which the hero attended as Peter Parker. Marko was defeated by Spider-Man (who used a vacuum cleaner), but eventually resurfaced as a member of the Sinister Six led by Doctor Octopus. After being soundly defeated by Spider-Man several more times, Marko gave up and took a shot at battling other superheroes. Most notably, he created the original Frightful Four to combat the Fantastic Four, but his fledgling group of villains were beaten by the experienced heroes.

Sandman eventually discovers that—starting with his hand—his body is slowly transforming into glass, although he is able to reverse the effect. Afterwards, he decides to resume his struggle with his original adversary, Spider-Man, and allies himself with Hydro-Man to do battle with their mutual enemy. The two briefly merge into an unintelligent and largely ineffective mud monster, but split apart. Afterwards, Marko becomes deeply depressed, and the Thing of the Fantastic Four supports him, and encourages him to use his power in the name of good. Sandman would then make sporadic appearances in various Spider-Man comics, assisting his former enemy. The first such appearance had him coming to the rescue of Spider-Man and Silver Sable, who were outnumbered and surrounded by the Sinister Syndicate. Silver Sable is impressed by Sandman's performance and recruits him as a freelance operative. Sandman would also appear as part of the Outlaws, a group of reformed Spider-Man enemies such as Prowler, Rocket Racer, Puma, and Will o' the Wisp, who would turn up from time to time to help Spider-Man.

Flint briefly joins the Avengers as a reserve member. Later, he becomes a full-time mercenary in the employ of Silver Sable, as a member of her Wild Pack, serving alongside heroes such as Paladin and Battlestar.

He eventually reverts to his villainous ways, claiming to have faked his heroic career, although it was revealed that the Wizard had used his mind-controlling "Id Machine" to force him to act as a villain.

Sandman then rejoins a new incarnation of the Sinister Six, which is working with one of Spider-Man's deadliest enemies, Venom. Venom reveals that he had joined the team to make sure no one else kills Spider-Man, and turns on the remaining five. Dealing with Marko, Venom rips off and swallows a chunk of sand, which apparently destabilized Sandman's body structure. His body slowly begins to crumble away. He blames Spider-Man, but ultimately asks him to deliver a message to his mother. He also expresses remorse that he could not pull off the task of becoming an official superhero. The Sandman then crumbles to pieces and seems to die, washing away down a sewer and ending up as part of Jones Beach, New York.

Sandman's body and mind scattered with the grains of sand. The major part of his mind merges with the beach and begins swallowing people in an attempt to piece himself back together. Spider-Man tries to free the captured people from Sandman's beach consciousness, which is his evil mindset, and succeeds when Marko explodes from too many clashing mindsets. Soon the sand of the beach begins to spread to different areas around New York, and all of the different aspects of Sandman's shattered mind form individual beings - Marko's good side, evil side, feminine side and childlike side. Spider-Man locates all of the different versions of Sandman and attempts to convince them to return to one being. Sandman's evil side merges with his child and feminine sides, but Sandman's good side doesn't want to allow evil to become a part of him again. The new Sandman responds by abandoning his good side completely, which eventually crumbles into lifeless sand and blows away. While the new Sandman is not the sadistic monstrosity that his purely evil side was, he is a criminal and seems to lack any desire to become a hero or do good.

Sandman is one of the villains recruited to recover the Identity Disc, but is seemingly killed due to mutinous behavior. At the series' end, Sandman is revealed to be alive and working along with the Vulture to manipulate the other villains.

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 83 days!

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