Real Name: Max Dillon
First Appearance: Amazing Spider-Man 9
What's His Problem? Max is a former lineman for the county (no, really!). After being struck by lightning while working on power lines, Dillon's entire body became capable of generating electricity at an astonishing rate. Dillon promptly embarked on a career as a costumed criminal, although his motivations for becoming a criminal remain murky. There are allusions to a domineering mother -- but that's just too Freudian for words. In any case, Dillon has suffered periods of self-doubt and recrimination, climaxing in Spider-Man 38-40 where he shorted out New York City, and almost himself, in a semi-suicidal attempt to prove his self worth.
Powers: Electro's ability to spontaneously generate electrostatic energy, as well as his capability to augment his electrical output utilizing external power sources, makes him theoretically one of the more powerful villains in the Spidey Universe if he would only stop short-circuiting himself with self-doubts. In addition, he can traverse paths powered by electricity. His earliest incarnations had him skating along power lines; later, he was able to construct his own mid-air electrical bridges to travel across. Electro has recreated the "Light Up The Night" experiment that almost killed him in Spider-Man 40, obtaining god-like powers, the capability to level New York, and the (short-lived) satisfaction of completely humilating his arch-nemesis Spider-Man. He also lost his pointy mask, apparently deciding that the electrical discharges shooting out of his eyes these days provided enough of a disguise.
Heroes He Keeps Running Into: Electro was not only one of Spider-Man's earliest adversaries, he was also one of the first to take on the newcomer DareDevil. It was Spidey, however, who talked him down during his suicide attempt and whom he publicly thanked later. Thinking it over in the ensuing months, Dillon came to resent the Wall-Crawler's help and decided that Spidey needed to be punished for his interference...just no pleasing some people!
Favorite Quote: "So...maybe I'll die tonight. But I'll die big, y'hear me?! I'll die big!" (Spider-Man 39, when a soliloquizing Electro realizes what an idiot he is being...but goes ahead anyway. Typical villain.)
People Who Think He's Not So Bad: Rather astonishingly (or not, given his low self-esteem), Electro is an excellent team player who likes to join up with other baddies for a common goal. His team memberships include the Frightful Four and various incarnations of the Sinister Six and/or the Sinister Seven. Once when he was particularly cross at DareDevil, he even formed his own bad-guy group called the Emissaries of Evil. Electro has repeatedly teamed up with the original Blizzard, the Shocker, Doctor Octopus, and the Hobgoblin. No word if these guys got together for brewskies after the heist, though.
Most Despicable Act: Spectacular Spider-Man 66. Facing yet another defeat at Spidey's hands, Electro threatened to electrocute the watching crowd unless Spider-Man surrendered. Fortunately Spidey had his insulated spider-togs on that night!
Editorial Comment: I've said this before in other forums, but...I really hate it when previous storylines are totally blown off. The "Light Up the Night" trilogy was a complex, unique look at the life of a super-villain from the villain's perspective, culminating in an bizarre situation where two people who had been enemies for years had to trust each other with their lives. It was presented as a pivotal point of realization for Electro, and was a great chance to turn him, a la Sandman, in a very different direction. Alack, when Electro again showed up as a villain with no explanation in Funeral for an Octopus and Spider-Man Unlimited 9, Spider-Man simply shrugged and accepted it. Hard to believe when Spidey fought so hard to make Dillon believe in himself before...
Wow, Someone Was Listening! Half a year after the above was written, Dillon popped back into Spidey Villain-dom by recreating the "Light Up the Night" experiment and, thinking that he had been humiliated by Spidey's previous help, took after Spidey with a vengeance. Mind you, both of them now seem to have forgotten they clashed in Spidey Unlimited 9!
Electro Mug Shots!
DareDevil 2. 1964.
Marvel Team-Up 56. 1977.
Spider-Man 39. 1993.
Spider-Man Unlimited 9. 1995.
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