Who Is Spot? The History of Across The Spider-Verse Main Villain

The Spot in Spider Man Across the Spider Verse

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse Part One is set to release next year, and Sony has recently revealed its main villain. And it is none other than Spot. This character will be voiced by Jason Schwartzman. Spot is Spider-man’s comic book villain and will be making his movie debut in this film. He has been described by Sony as the most deadly enemy Miles Morales has ever faced. He is Spider-man’s comic book villain who has a number of black circular spots on his entire body. He can use these spots to teleport from one place to another and also to his spotted dimension.

We bet most people don’t know this Spidey villain unless you are a comic book geek. Well, Spot isn’t one of the formidable Spidey villains like Green Goblin or Venom, heck, he isn’t even portrayed as a proper villain in comics. Most of the time, he was portrayed as a loser villain, just there for the purpose of comic relief. So why is Sony making him the main villain of the movie? Even though he was used as a failed and goofy villain in the comics, he has so much potential to be a great villain, and that is because of his powers. Let’s go through the entire history of Spot; then, you’ll understand what we are talking about.

The Spot Comic Book Origin

The Spot, real name Jonathan Ohnn, made his first appearance in a multi-part arc beginning in the spectacular Spider-Man 97, published in 1984. The story was written by Al Milgram and penciled by Herb Trimp. In it, we meet Dr. Jonathan Ohnn, he is a scientist and an employee of Wilson Fisk, aka Kingpin. Ohnn got the idea to artificially recreate the dark force powers of Coak, of Cloak and Dagger fame and turned himself into an all-powerful being. He later proposed his idea to his boss, who approved of it.

Who is Spot
Jonathan Ohnn in The Spotted Dimention

Ohnn then proceeded with his experiments. However, instead of harnessing the dark force powers, he accidentally opened up a black hole and was subsequently sucked into it. The scientists discovered that it wasn’t actually a black hole but a gateway to another dimension. It was a white dimension inhabited by floating black dots of unknown properties, also known as the spotted dimension. Desiring to escape the strange plains, Ohnn navigated himself towards what he believed to be the exit, a larger black spot similar to the hole he’d entered through. It was an exit, all right, and the scientist found himself back in his laboratory.

However, he wasn’t quite the same. While passing through the black hole, Jonathan bonded with its odd properties. His skin was bleached snow-white. He was covered in black dots. These dots weren’t just cosmetic. However, each of them serviced portals were all interlinked with one another. Ohnn also realized that he could remove the dots from his body and place them anywhere, even suspend them in the air, and by doing so, he could enter through one and come out another. The scientist was thus capable of teleportation essentially.

The Spot Vs Spider-Man

Jonathan decided to withhold all of this information from his employer, as he first wanted to test his newfound powers by tangling with one of the Kingpin’s enemies. When Spider-man came charging near one of the bases, Ohnn saw his opportunity, calling himself The Spot, the brazen scientist managed to fend off the pesky wall-crawler by clever usage of his portable portals. It was impossible for Spidey to even land his single blow on a Spot, as his body was riddled in Spot’s portal like Swiss cheese, and he kept appearing and disappearing through his dots.

The Spot vs Spider-Man
The Spot vs Spider-Man

Encouraged by this victory, Ohnn decided to use these powers for his own gain and become a supervillain, as opposed to being a flunky of the Kingpins. His ambitions were crushed during a second encounter with Spider-man. However, as he faced a humiliating defeat, Ohnn realized that the supervillain game wasn’t for him and the one-time rogue thus retired. We never saw The Spot again, that is, until 1997.

Downfall Of The Spot

In 1997 the dotted fiend finally returned for a two-parter issue across Spectacular Spider-Man 245 and 246. This time The Spot is, despite everything up to no good, a super villain, a failed supervillain. Spot decides to band together with a group of other lesser foes of Spider-Man. The Grisly, The Kangaroo, Gibbon, and The Spot together four plan to crush their hated nemesis once and for all, calling themselves The Spider-Man Revenge Squad. Although they actually became more known as The Legion Of Losers. The gang miserably failed in their endeavor, of course.

The Legion of Looser
The Spot in The Legion of Looser

Well, the first story from 1984 portrayed The Spot as an amateur super villain, in way over his head. This story not only depicts Johnny as a giant loser but also as a total idiot. At one point, he has to be reminded that he can use his portals to travel and doesn’t need to drive around in a car. Wasn’t this guy supposed to be a smart scientist. This comic set the trend for The Spot’s subsequent appearances as he now began to show up more often but as a complete joke of a character.

The Spot Became A Complete Joke

In 2002 Spot even died at the hands of Tombstone. The story was published across two issues of Spider-Man’s Tangled Web and featured Johnny Ohnn as Tombstone’s cellmate in prison. Here the character is depicted as a cowardly weakling who’s forced to help Tombstone escape. He’s later thanked on the outside by getting his neck snapped. For some reason, The Spot’s costume is orange here, perhaps to evoke the spots of a leopard and certainly to make the poor loser look sillier. Despite dyeing The Spot continue to show up in Spider-Man comics as well as other Marvel titles in the following years, not even death could stop the ridicule.

The Spot as a Complete Joke
The Spot as a Complete Joke

The Spot was now the de-facto loser villain in the Spidey rogues gallery, Spider-Man’s Killer Moth, in other words. In 2007 we got a miniseries, supervillain team-up, Modoc’s 11. In this tale, Modok gathers up a bunch of rogues for one last heist, and The Spot is oddly enough among them. Being portrayed as a weak loser and a moron was apparently not enough, as in this story, Johnny also turned out to be a double-crossing douchebag, betraying his team to the Mandarin. The Spot now definitely scraped the bottom of the barrel of the Marvel rogues gallery, a truly pathetic villain.

Also Read: Top 10 Most Underrated Marvel Villains That No One Knows About

A Short Rise For The Spot

However, The Amazing Spider-Man 589, published in 2009, was the day when someone finally realized the character’s potential. A writer who understood that The Spot doesn’t really need to be a stupid loser. This writer was Fred Vanlente, and together with artist Paolo Sukira, he gave us his story simply titled “Marked”. In it, Spider-Man is tracking down a Russian gangster only to find that someone else is also after his prey, namely The Spot. It’s not about some typical criminal dispute or a quest for money. However, it’s a mission of vengeance. It turns out that the gangster accidentally shoots Ohnn’s son during a drive-by, and the kid is now in the hospital in critical condition.

Who is Spot
A Short Rise For The Spot

Johnny wants revenge, and he’s not going to let anyone stand in his way, including Spider-Man. This story was the first to portray The Spot as a serious threat and used his powers to their full potential. Here we get to see Johnny take out all the gangster men like a real pro assassin, showing up out of nowhere, snapping necks unnoticed. He also gave Spider-Man a run for his money. One interesting thing, too, is that The Spot never speaks in this story, which we think really goes with his physical appearance, making him seem more alien. And yeah, it established that he has a family, his son, and a wife from his previous life before becoming The Spot.

Sadly enough, though, this great story has Zero impact. As the next time The Spot face returned, it was the old usual incompetent loser. He’s appeared quite a bit since then. His latest appearance was in Sinister Six Reborn Arc, which was published in 2017. Here he is portrayed as one of the members of the latest incarnation of the classic Spidey villain team, The Sinister Six. I haven’t read this story, but I can only assume that The Spots is the goofy comic relief of the team.

The Spot In The Spider-Man Animated Series

As for the other media, The Spot did get his very own episode, titled The Spot, on Spider-Man Animated Series in the mid-90s. This took place when a character had yet only made one appearance in the comics. In this episode, Jonathan Ohnn is portrayed as a scientist working for Stark Industries. He is then fired and shortly afterward picked up by the Kingpin. Just like in the comics, Ohnn becomes one of Kingpin’s head researchers, who then discovers a portal into another dimension. Ohnn then is transformed into The Spot, but unlike the comics, he actually proves to be a successful supervillain, all be it briefly.

The Spot in The Spider Man Animated Series
The Spot in The Spider-Man Animated Series

In the end, Spot ends up helping Spidey by sacrificing himself to stop a giant black hole accidentally caused by his powers. This animated series introduced a new aspect to the character – namely a love interest, his assistant in Kingpin’s lab. She’s the real motivation behind his actions, as Johnny wishes to run off with her and escape from Kingpin’s grasp. A very interesting thing of note is that the character is not in any way portrayed as a dim-witted loser in the episode. He was voiced by Oliver Muirhead. The Spot has also appeared in one episode of the current Disney Spider-Man animated show, which was voiced by Crispin Freeman.

What Went Wrong With The Spot?

So the character of The Spot was obviously created from the get-go to be a sort of looser villain. He wasn’t a moron or a coward, but clearly, the guy was supposed to be sort of tongue-in-cheek, not a real serious threat like Green Goblin or Doc Ock. He was a wannabe supervillain who had no idea what he was getting himself into. Taking all that into consideration, my question is, why the hell then did they make the guy so awesome? If they wanted him to be a goofball, why give him such an awesome design or give him such awesome powers.

What Went Wrong With The Spot
What Went Wrong With The Spot

We mean, the guy can teleport anywhere, and he could even enter his own dimension, The Polka Dot dimension or, as they call The Spotted dimension; what kind of loser villain has his own dimension. It seems to me that his makers had a really cool character on their hands here, without apparently realizing. Instead of using what they had, they just made fun of it, and then, of course, when a character returned, it all just got worse. The Spot was at least an actual character in the 80s. Later he became a walking joke or teleporting joke. I just can’t see it, I just can’t see why so many writers think The Spot is corny. Seriously what is so corny about him.

To me, the guy is basically like the cool version of the Polkadot Man. Interestingly enough, that character also had pretty awesome powers, but what really brought him down was the design, he looks ridiculous, and the name Polkadot Man is also really dumb. And I guess I can admit that the name Spot is kind of stupid too, like Spidey himself says in the first story; ‘Spot is what you named your dog’. Is it the worst supervillain name in existence? No, I definitely wouldn’t say that, but it ain’t do great either still, the name isn’t enough to explain the ridiculous Johnny has had to endure. I mean, in my opinion, Green Goblin is a pretty dumb name too.

The Spot’s Appreciation

Apparently, the creators of the Spider-Man animated series did not agree with the comic trainers as they portrayed Spot as just another rogue, not a laughing stock. In the 90s animated show, The Spot was not only a competent crook, but he was also a more sympathetic and compelling character. He’s not really evil and only wants cash so that he can escape the Kingpin with the woman he loves. Unlike the comics, he doesn’t really want to be a villain, and let’s not forget the fact that he sacrificed himself in the end to save New York. We can’t see comic Spot doing that.

Who is Spot
The Spot has potential

For some damn reason, though, his animated appearances never seemed to impact the comics. In comics, The Spot continued to suck post animated shows. None of this really makes any sense to me, I’m not the only one who likes The Spot, as, in later years, the character seems to have grown his sort of cult following. He’s got a fairly big fan base of people who wish they could have got more respect, with Spot appreciation petitions floating around the net. This makes me happy, as it means I haven’t gone insane in liking this guy so damn much. After years now, The Spot will finally get the respect he deserves in Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse Part One.

Also Read: 10 Reasons To Watch Marvel Movies: Why Marvel Movies Are So Awesome


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