Alistair Smythe

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Alistair Smythe
Alistair Smythe, The Ultimate Spider-Slayer.jpg
Alistair Smythe as The Ultimate Spider-Slayer.
Publication information
PublisherMarvel Comics
First appearanceThe Amazing Spider-Man Annual #19 (November 1985)
Created byLouise Simonson
Mary Wilshire
In-story information
Alter egoAlistair Alphonso Smythe
Notable aliasesThe Ultimate Spider Slayer, Spider-Slayer
AbilitiesExpert 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

Alistair Smythe (/smð/) is a fictional supervillain appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. He was one of Spider-Man's enemies and the son of Spencer Smythe. 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. In order to defeat Spider-Man on his own, Alistair enhanced himself by encasing his entire body in a bioorganic 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. 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.[2]

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.[3] 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.[4]

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 John Jameson. 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. Spider-Man 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.[5]

During 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.[6] Posing as a scientist, Smythe infiltrates the Raft and makes off with Gargan.[7] 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.[8] 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.[9] 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.[10] J. Jonah Jameson plans to have the death penalty given to Alistair Smythe for what happened to Marla.[11]

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.[12]

Despite his injuries, Alistair Smythe is seen alive and well as a prisoner in the Raft.[13] 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.[14]

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.[15]

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.[16]

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.[17]

During the Dead No More: The Clone Conspiracy storyline, Doctor Octopus' conscious in an Octobot infiltrates New U Technologies and finds that Jackal has obtained the body of Alistair Smythe.[18] Jackal managed to make a clone of Alistair Smythe alongside his father Spencer Smythe.[19]

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.[20]

In other media[edit]


Alistair Smythe as the Ultimate Spider Slayer, from the Spider-Man animated series
  • Alistair Smythe appeared in the 1990s Spider-Man animated series, voiced by Maxwell Caulfield. This version had worked for various villains. He witnessed Spencer Smythe's failure to destroy Spider-Man which (as in the comics) caused his apparent death and was convinced to create the Spider-Slayers to attack Spider-Man as part of a deal with the Kingpin. Smythe became the Kingpin's primary accomplice for some time, even after Smythe's technology failed to kill Spider-Man. His association with the Kingpin came to an end when Spider-Man and Daredevil teamed up to fight the Kingpin, resulting in Richard Fisk's arrest. The angered Kingpin blamed the incident on Smythe's 'incompetence' and that his 'days here are numbered'. Fearing for himself, Smythe planned to sell out the Kingpin, but was caught in the act. He was turned against his will into the "Ultimate Spider-Slayer" cyborg by his replacement Herbert Landon with genetic manipulation. With this change, Alistair was strong enough to crush Spider-Man in a bearhug and possesses even greater agility than the wall-crawler. His back's "horns" can fire lasers. He soon broke free of the Kingpin's programming and recovered his father's body (which had been kept alive in stasis by the Kingpin unbeknownst to him) thanks to Spider-Man. Smythe later went to work for Alisha Silver. Smythe is later contacted by Miles Warren to have Silvermane send men to help repair Warren's underwater lab. Alistair was later transported to the alien planet where he worked with the Red Skull. However, it is revealed that he doesn't want to rule the planet like the Red Skull and Doctor Octopus, but that he just wants to get back to his father. An alternate version appeared in two-part series finale where he is seen working for the Kingpin and Spider-Carnage in order to build a mind-control device to take over the world (but Spider-Carnage's real intentions were to destroy all reality). After Spider-Man foiled these plans, Spider-Carnage fled to another reality but leaves a bomb in the Kingpin's building to which Smythe and everyone else in the building were saved by Spider-Man and Madame Web.
  • Alistair Smythe appears in 2010s Spider-Man animated series, voiced by Jason Spisak. This version is depicted as being around the same age as Peter Parker and shares Spencer Smythe's rivalry with Max Modell. In the episode "Osborn Academy", he is among the students that are interviewed for a spot in Osborn Academy. In the episode "Party Animals", Smythe controls another of the Spider-Slayers to fight with Spider-Man. After setting the Spider-Slayer to self-destruct enough for Spider-Man to fling far away from civilian population, Alistair is told by Norman Osborn that he passed the audition to get into Osborn Academy. In the episode "Ultimate Spider-Man", Alistair controls a giant Spider-Slayer on Osborn's behalf where he competes with his own father while stating that Norman has started to been a better father figure; Spider-Man and Miles Morales were able to defeat the Spider-Slayers. While Spencer gets webbed up by Spider-Man and handed over to the police, Alistair gets away and tells Osborn what happened. He later appears in the episode "The Rise of Doc Ock: Part 4" as a member of the Sinister Five, using the Spider-Slayers armor on. In the episode "Hobgoblin, Part 1", Smythe helps the Sinister Five wear down Spider-Man so that Doctor Octopus can brainwash and expand to the Sinister Six. With Harry Osborn's help in the Hobgoblin armor, Spider-Man frees Smythe, Steel Spider, Rhino and Vulture from Doctor Octopus's mind control technology. In episode "Goblin War: Part 1", Alistair enrolls at Horizon High after Peter re-enrolls at Midtown High due to Octavius' body-swap, and is suspected by Spider-Man as the identity of the Goblin King. Some Goblin Thugs defeated by Spider-Man, Ghost-Spider, Spider-Girl, and Octavius' Spiderbots laughed at the claim and refer to Alistair as a "newbie"; therefore, Alistair is stated to be one of the Goblin Nation's latest members.


Alistair Smythe appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, portrayed by B.J. Novak. This version is a supervisor at Oscorp. He is shown to be insulting to Max Dillon and orders Max to check the electrical fault on Dillon's birthday which causes the man's transformation into Electro.[21]

Video games[edit]

  • Alistair Smythe appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man: Lethal Foes as one of the enemies of Spider-Man.
  • Alistair Smythe appeared as a major boss in the SNES and Sega Genesis versions of the Spider-Man Animated Series game.
  • In Spider-Man: Edge of Time, there are newspapers in both timelines about Alistair Smythe.
  • Alistair Smythe appears as the primary antagonist of The Amazing Spider-Man video game, voiced by Nolan North. First introduced as a former colleague of Curt Connors at Oscorp, Smythe became the CEO and "new face" of the company, in the aftermath of Connors' dismissal from Oscorp and imprisonment, due to his actions as the Lizard. As the new CEO of Oscorp, Smythe pressured the company to invest more in its robotics division and gave his authority to dispose of the many "cross-species" that Oscorp scientists, including Michael Morbius and Otto Octavius, have created using Connors' research, as they were too dangerous to be kept alive.

    After Gwen Stacy and Peter Parker (Spider-Man's secret alter-ego) sneak into Oscorp to learn more about these secret cross-species experiments, Smythe finds them and decides to escort them on a private tour of Oscorp's secret labs, where the cross-species are being kept. However, the cross-species go berserk after sensing Peter's spider DNA and escape from Oscorp, infecting Smythe, Gwen, and several other scientists with a deadly virus in the process, which then spreads to the rest of New York. Forced to quarantine himself and the others, Smythe, with the approval of Oscorp's directors, reprograms all of the company's robots to hunt down and kill all the escaped cross-species, but they end up attacking Spider-Man as well, due to his spider DNA.

    After destroying one of Smythe's giant robots called S-01, Spider-Man breaks Connors out of Beloit Psychiatric Hospital and brings him to his apartment, where they begin working together to develop a cure for the cross-species virus. After breaking into one of Oscorp's secret facilities to recover Connor's research before it gets destroyed, Spider-Man heads to the sewers and finds the cross-species Vermin. After defeating him, Spider-Man takes a sample of his blood for Connors, but then gets interrupted by a Hunter, a new type of killer robot created by Smythe. Spider-Man manages to destroy the Hunters that chase after him, and then returns with the sample to Connors, who uses it to create a cure. When Spider-Man breaks into Oscorp and brings it to Gwen, Smythe stops them and decides to test it on himself, stating that, if it works, Oscorp will replicate it and he will take all the credit as the one who saved the city. However, the cure doesn't work and it ends up paralyzing Smythe from the waist down, forcing him to use a wheelchair from now on.

    Furious, Smythe accuses Spider-Man and Connors of having done this intentionally and sends sends another giant robot, S-02, to kill Spider-Man, but he manages to destroy it. Connors later makes a new cure, using Peter's DNA this time, and Spider-Man infiltrates Oscorp once again and gives it to Gwen, saving her life and that of her fellow scientists, whom Smythe placed under quarantine, guarded by several sentry robots. However, Smythe, now completely insane, refuses to allow Spider-Man and Connors to take the credit as the city's saviors, and, after being fired from Oscorp due to his unstable nature and discovering Spider-Man's secret identity, sends his robots to kidnap Connors and bring him to his secret robot manufacturing facility. When Spider-Man returns to his apartment, he finds Connors gone and is then attacked by Hunters, sent by Smythe, but he manages to destroy them and learns that Smythe and Connors are at the facility.

    After infiltrating it, Spider-Man manages to save Connors, but he is captured by Smythe, who injects him with a nanobot serum that takes away his powers, but is also slowly killing him. Smythe then reveals his greatest creation yet, S-03, a massive robot personally piloted by him, which he intends to use to flood New York with nanobots serum, aware that this could potentially lead to the death of thousands of innocent people, but he is willing to take any risks to be seen as the real savior of the city, instead of Spider-Man or Connors. After barely escaping from the facility, Spider-Man makes his away through a city consumed by chaos, due to the war between Smythe's robots and the infected, and arrives at Connors' old sewer lab, where he reunites with Connors and Gwen. Out of desperation, Connors turns himself back into the Lizard and leaves to stop Smythe, while Spider-Man dies because of the nanobots, but Gwen manages to revive with an AED.

    Realizing that electricity can destroy the nanobots, Spider-Man leaves to help the Lizard and arrives on S-03 as well, where he electrocutes himself to successfully destroy the nanobots and regain his powers. Spider-Man and the Lizard then fight Smythe together and manage to subdue him and destroy S-03, but Connors loses control of his body and the Lizard's consciousness takes over. Defeated, Smythe regains his sanity and becomes aware of the error of his ways and all the destruction that he has caused, before Spider-Man hands him over to the police and heads to the sewers to find the Lizard, eventually defeating him and turning him back to normal. Later, Connors willingly returns to the asylum, while the city is saved thanks to the cure created by him and Spider-Man, who is revered as a hero. However, Smythe manages to escape from police custody, with Peter and Gwen learning about this from a news report, but Gwen convinces Peter to deal with Smythe later. In the game's post-credits scene, it is revealed that Smythe has regained the use of his legs due to approaching the final stages of the infection, and returns to his lab, where, realizing that he is about to become a cross-species himself, he commits suicide by allowing a Hunter to fire on him.


  1. ^ Amazing Spider-Man Annual 19
  2. ^ Amazing Spider-Man #368-373
  3. ^ Web of Scarlet Spider #2
  4. ^ The Spectacular Scarlet Spider #2
  5. ^ The Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 2 #20-21
  6. ^ Amazing Spider-Man #648
  7. ^ Amazing Spider-Man #650
  8. ^ Amazing Spider-Man #651
  9. ^ Amazing Spider-Man #652
  10. ^ Amazing Spider-Man #654
  11. ^ Amazing Spider-Man #656
  12. ^ Amazing Spider-Man #670
  13. ^ Amazing Spider-Man #691
  14. ^ Amazing Spider-Man #699
  15. ^ The Superior Spider-Man #11
  16. ^ The Superior Spider-Man #12
  17. ^ The Superior Spider-Man #13
  18. ^ Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 4 #20
  19. ^ Clone Conspiracy #2
  20. ^ Spider-Man: House of M #3
  21. ^ [1]

External links[edit]