Who the Clix? is a series of articles featuring information on comic book characters that have been made into figures for the popular tabletop game Heroclix. These articles are meant to help Heroclix players learn more about the characters behind their favorite pieces.
Today we look at the private eye turned supervillain: Scorpion (Mac Gargan)
Appearances in Heroclix: Superior Foes of Spider-Man, Civil War SOP (as Venom), Web of Spider-Man, Hammer of Thor (as Venom), Xplosion
First Appearance: The Amazing Spider-Man #19
Team Affiliations: Dark Avengers, Thunderbolts, Sinister Six, Sinister Twelve, Masters of Evil
Created By: Stan Lee and Steve Ditko
Mac Gargan is a private investigator hired by J. Jonah Jameson to find out how Peter Parker is always able to obtain such amazing pictures of Spider-Man. Gargan tries to track Peter only to be foiled by the teen’s spider-sense. Jameson becomes frustrated with Gargan’s failures and transfers his services to hiring the detective as a test subject for a new scientific procedure. Dr. Farley Stillwell gives Gargan a suit with a large mechanical tail and subjects him to a mutagen enhancing his natural abilities; Stillwell chooses a scorpion because the scorpion is the natural predator of the spider. Gargan, now calling himself the Scorpion, is able to easily defeat Spider-Man twice. However, the procedure drives Gargan insane and causes him to quickly turn on Jameson and Stillwell. Spider-Man saves Jameson and Stillwell, leaving Jameson with the bitter irony that his nemesis saved his life. The Scorpion goes on to become a mercenary criminal and comes back to exact revenge on Spider-Man and Jameson several times.
A spy ring hires the Scorpion to spy on SHIELD agent Sharon Carter only for him to be defeated by Captain America. Mr. Kline then brings the Scorpion into his employ and creates LMDs of the Scorpion and Mr. Hyde. Mr. Kline then launches a plan where the LMDs attack Daredevil while the real villains attack SHIELD agents. This plan is foiled by Captain America and the Falcon.
The Scorpion continues his criminal career and receives several upgrades to his suit and tail over the years. He eventually battles Ms. Marvel during a botched revenge attempt against Jameson and his sanity soon deteriorates after he falls into acid. He begins to believe that his suit cannot come off and that he is becoming some kind of inhuman monster. Spider-Man is able to bring Gargan back to sanity before defeating him.
He attempts to sabotage the Daily Bugle only to be defeated by Spider-Man and Captain America. Egghead then frees Scorpion and recruits him into the Masters of Evil along Whirlwind and Moonstone. This team fights the Avengers but are soon defeated. After yet another attempt by the Scorpion to ruin his life and the Hobgoblin attempting to blackmail Jameson with his role in the transformation of Mac Gargan into super-villain, Jonah goes public and confesses.
During the first Super Power Registration Act, Scorpion flees to Canada and receives a new tail from the Tinkerer. He, alongside Asp, Nekra, and the Owl are defeated by Alpha and Gamma Flight. He is then hired by the Chameleon to kill Spider-Man only to be defeated by the Black Cat.
The Scorpion becomes depressed as a result of his constant failures and decides to stop being the Scorpion. He encounters a depressed and crazed Spider-Man who, despite Gargan’s pleas, savagely beats the former villain. This drives Gargan back into insanity.
Scorpion begins working for Roxxon under their “Rehabilitation Therapy,” where they claimed to be reforming super-villains. They upgrade his powers and suit while promising him vengeance. Spider-Man convinces the Scorpion that Roxxon is treating him no differently than Jameson did and turns on the corporation. Spider-Man then subdues the villain once more. Scorpion is a pawn in the secret war Nick Fury wages with Latveria and eventually imprisoned again.
After helping Osborn carry out a contingency plan, Gargan is approached by the Venom symbiote. The symbiote is left alone due to a cancer diagnosed Eddie Brock attempting to turn his life around and offers Gargan new powers. Gargan accepts and bonds with the symbiote. Though this new found strength does not prevent Spider-Man from defeating him, Gargan is happy to have them as they provide him with a greater respect in the villain community.
Gargan is kidnapped and competes for the Beyonder’s wish fulfillment prize in a secret competition. He fails and is returned to Earth in time to be recruited into the Thunderbolts. Once the Superhuman Registration Act passes, this expanded team of Thunderbolts tracks down super-powered being that refuse to register. Initially they focus on the Secret Avengers. Once the super human civil war is over, this Thunderbolt team, led by Norman Osborn, tracks down several rogue heroes such as Jack Flag and Steel Spider. At this time, Gargan admits to the team psychiatrist that he is becoming addicted to the power of the symbiote.
Obsorn sends Gargan after Namor with a special weapon that allows Venom to subdue Namor and then rip off his feet-wings. Namor is able to knock Gargan out and then rip out the symbiote’s tongue before escaping. Gargan begins to think the symbiote is speaking directly to him and asking him to feed it. He attacks and eats a guard before saying, “the only way out of Thunderbolts Mountain is when I decide to let you die.” Gargan battles the Swordsman who stabs him through the chest, using his powers to force the symbiote away from his sword. Gargan is hurt but lives and retains his larger monster form, rarely returning to his actual size.
Gargan, alongside the Thunderbolts, travel to New York to capture Spider-Man. While searching for the hero, the symbiote can sense a former host nearby. Gargan thinks it’s Spider-Man and investigates only to find that it’s actually Eddie Brock. The symbiote attempts to leave Gargan and return to Brock which is upsetting to both men. As soon as the symbiote touches Eddie’s skin, however, it finds that Brock’s flesh has become caustic. As the symbiote recoils, a white substance comes out of Brock’s pores and transforms him into Anti-Venom. The two battle until Spider-Man arrives and helps Anti-Venom subdue and nearly destroy the Venom symbiote. Obsorn is able to take a sample of the Anti-Venom DNA and inocculate Gargan against it, while also hopefully creating a poison to damage Anti-Venom. While the symbiote heals, Gargan is gifted a new Scoprion suit with the poison in it. Gargan is able to inject the poison into and seemingly kill Anti-Venom. Gargan then tries to kill Brock but the symbiote holds him back as it still loves Eddie.
Gargan is a massive help to the Thunderbolts during the Secret Invasion and kills several Skrulls. Once Osborn tires of Songbird, he orders the Thunderbolts to kill her. Venom defeats and almost eats her until Swordsman saves her.
Using the popularity from his murder of the Skrull queen, Osborn forms the Dark Avengers. He gives Gargan a medication to reduce the size of the symbiote and begins to call him the Amazing Spider-Man. Spider-Gargan is driven insane by Morgana le Fay and alienates several of his team members. Parker later captures Gargan and infiltrates the Dark Avengers in a black costume in an attempt to discover Norman’s plan for his son Harry. Gargan is thrown into the Negative Zone only to somehow escape and return to the Dark Avengers.
Gargan decides to fight crime alone and stops a bank robbery. He is cheered on by a crowd before taking the robber to a rooftop and eating his arm. Gargan then takes the stolen money and goes to a strip club. He is reprimanded by Osborn for eating the robber’s arm before killing a stripper and leaving it in Jameson’s body in an attempt to frame Jonah for murder. Gargan also instigates a gang war in an attempt to wear Jameson down. Jameson reaches out to Osborn for help and is given “Spider-Man” (Gargan) to solve the problem.
Gargan irritates Jameson while continuing to make the gang problem worse. A gang of villains injured by Gargan lures him into a trap which only leads to the death of two of its members and further injuries to the rest. The Redeemer, who had formed the group, sends photos of Gargan’s actions to Jameson in an attempt to out the “hero” as a cannibalistic psychopath. Jameson takes the evidence to Osborn who then decides to release Gargan by sending Bullseye and Daken to kill him. The villains act alongside two of the Redeemer’s gang and the gangs to try and kill Gargan. Venom manages to defeat every one of them right before Jameson fires a gun into the air. Because of this, Jameson and Spider-Man are credited with saving the city. Once Gargan returns to Dark Avengers Tower, Osborn warns that while Daken and Bullseye’s egos will heal, if Gargan ever looses control again the Iron Patriot will take him down.
Gargan alongside the Dark Avengers are sent to San Francisco to quell mutant riots and battle the X-Men. The battles escalate with Venom fighting Colossus until Osborn is forced to fall back. Gargan and the other Dark Avengers help invade Asgard during Osborn’s grand plan. Gargan is forcefully separated from the symbiote and arrested after Osborn’s fall from grace.
Gargan is imprisoned in the Raft and begins to suffer medical problems to his separation from the symbiote. Alistair Smythe breaks Gargan out and gives him a new Scorpion suit designed to stabilize the after effects of his original mutation. Smythe recruits Gargan into a revenge scheme against J. Jonah Jameson alongside Fly-Girl and a number of cyborg thugs. They attack the launch site of John Jameson’s most recent space mission and hold the son hostage.
Scorpion later guards one of Doctor Octopus’s facilities and defeats Titanium Man. Scorpion, alongside Hydro-Man, is recruited by Peter Parker (while trapped in Doctor Octopus’ body) to recover his own body. They journey to Stark Industries only to fall into a trap set by the Superior Spider-Man. Just as Scorpion is about to have his revenge against Jameson, the Superior Spider-Man punches Scorpion so hard in the saw that it rips away from his head. Scorpion is soon returned to the Raft and fitted with a metal jaw. Smythe arrives and recruits Scorpion, alongside Boomerang and Vulture, to help him with another plan to kill Spider-Man.
Tiberius Stone, head of Alchemax, hires Scorpion to test the company’s new Spider-Slayers in a foreign country where Stone intends to sell them. Scorpion encounters Spider-Man 2099 and assumes that he is his foe, sending the Spider-Slayers after him. Miguel is ultimately able to defeat the Scorpion by projecting a hologram of Spider-Man over the Scorpion.
Scorpion is later recruited into Black Cat’s gang. He and another member, Lee Price, attempt a sale to Tombstone’s gang only for the sale to go sour. Scorpion mistrusts Lee and attacks him, causing Lee to transform into Venom. The new Venom almost kills Scorpion before Spider-Man arrives and saves him.