Hank McCoy (Before the Fur)

Spider-man has some fantastic villains. He’s also got some weird ones. Very, very weird. First, there’s that whole slew of terrible animal themed villains- I don’t mean Doc. Ock, Scorpion, or Rhino…I mean like…the Kangaroo. This guy exists. Really. Actually, nowadays, the writers have realized how truly hilarious such characters were and treat them accordingly. But then Spider-man has this other set of villains- really, really bad criminals. Organized crime kind of stuff. Spider-man and Batman can seem like polar opposites on a good day- but ultimately, fighting crime is really both of their callings. The kind of guys I’m talking about feel a little more at home in the pages of Daredevil than Spider-man- like Tombstone and Hammerhead. But they retain ownership in the Spidey rogue’s gallery nonetheless Silvermane freaks me out. There’s just something about the old man thing. And, not to get racist or anything, but maybe there’s something about him being Italian- it’s like he’s that angry, scary, dominant Italian man from New York that’s really over-controlling in all of his children's and friend’s lives. Only now, when he should be all withered and frail, he’s figured out a way to keep himself around. Maybe FOREVER. So…it’s kind of like…the power of somebody like that, in your family…is never going to die, really. A lot of Silvermane’s story has to do with the Maggia. The Maggia is one big, international crime syndicate that almost every criminal in the Marvel Universe runs into at some point in their careers (get it? the local crime syndicate is the “Mafia," while the one that’s spread all over the planet is the “Maggia”). Only guys like Wilson Fisk (A.K.A. the Kingpin of Crime) can stand on their own two feet and say ‘no’ to these guys, and even Fisk had plenty of first-hand training with them on his way up…er, down…whatever. Silvio Manfredi was a small time thug for the Maggia in New York. His hair turned silvery white at age 40- after that he became obsessed with his own mortality, swearing to find a way to stay youthful forever. Actually, Manfredi has had some run-ins with Fisk: he got involved with Hydra, cutting into a portion of the Kingpin of Crime’s underworld empire and trafficking drugs. Really weird sidenote- these same drugs are the ones that kick-started Tyrone Johnson and Tandy Bowen’s (A.K.A. Cloak and Dagger) mutant metabolisms (they’re not-quite-mutants, or something). Seeking revenge, Tandy hit Silvermane up with light daggers. Manfredi didn’t survive the ensuing heart attack. Silvio was saved through some sick technological ingenuity- the short version of the story is this: hoping to add a new assassin to his repertoire (and possibly make a monstrosity out of his former rival), the Kingpin had the man’s body reanimated, with cybernetic enhancements to boot. Manifredi is like a technological Frankenstein these days. Eventually, Silvermane regained his sense of independence and continues to reside over the Maggia’s New York operations (among others). He’s still obsessed with ‘outfitting’ his body though- his plans have ranged from abducting Spider-man to get a blood transfusion to capturing Deathlok so as to transfer his consciousness into another cyborg’s body. Really, just creepy stuff. And he’s got the nasty, raspy, old man voice and everything? Ah. Gross. Still, if Sam Raimi really wants to take Spider-man movies in a new direction, he could do this. Spider-man in the mid 70’s had a little bit of a different feel to them than the 80’s and 90’s. It was funny and cute- but Spidey tended to either be dealing with a very human side to crime (even if it tended to be populated with less than human villains) or really bizarre, horror-ey kind of stuff (Morbius the Living Vampire, team-up with Dr. Strange to fight Dormammu, etc.). Just wondering- might Spider-man 4 feel a little more like this era? And is that a good idea or a bad one?