MAN-SPIDER

Real Name: Jack Roma

Identity/Class: Human mutate, possibly extrdimensional/alternate reality (Earth-10995) (see comments)

Occupation: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Group Membership: S.H.I.E.L.D. (Strategic Hazard Intervention Espionage Logistics Directorate)

Affiliations: (as Roma) Peter Parker

Enemies: Skrulls;
   (as Man-Spider) Spider-Man (Peter Parker)

Known Relatives: Unidentified wife, unidentified child

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: Mobile worldwide

First Appearance: Spider-Man: Tower of Power#5 (2007) (see comments)

Powers/Abilities: In his Man-Spider form Roma possessed superhuman strength, durability and agility, and had four uniramous arthropod limbs growing out of his back. His eyes were enlarged and bulbous, and his mouth was filled with sharp fangs. He seemed enraged and of limited intelligence in this form, attacking anyone he saw, with an apparent preference for going after Spider-Man, perhaps sensing their connection. Though he didn't demonstrate it during the brief time he was transformed, he was apparently capable of generating webbing (see comments), though from where on his body was (perhaps thankfully) not revealed.

   In his human form Roma was a trained S.H.I.E.L.D. agent who hinted at having a decent amount of experience.

Height: (Roma) 6' ; (Man-Spider) 6'2" (both by estimation)
Weight: (Roma) 175 lbs.; (Man-Spider) 195 lbs. (both by approximation)
Eyes: (Roma) Brown; (Man-Spider) red
Hair: Brown

History:
(
Spider-Man: Tower of Power#5 (fb) - BTS) - Jack Roma was a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent whose career highlights included tracking Skrulls across Canada, bugging embassies in Latveria and clearing landmines in the Savage Land. He was more open and friendly than the average agent, not only enjoying his job but happy to tell people he'd just met the outline of some of the missions he had undertaken, secure in the belief that they wouldn't believe him. His work took him frequently overseas, so he didn't get back to see his wife and child as often as he would have liked.

(Spider-Man: Tower of Power#4 - BTS) - Reports of the Sinister Six operating out of Osborn Tower prompted S.H.I.E.L.D. to seal the building while they carried out an investigation.

(Spider-Man: Tower of Power#5 (fb) - BTS) - Jack Roma was one of the agents assigned to the Tower investigation, and was happy to get an assignment that took him to New York City, as it allowed him to see his family.

(Spider-Man: Tower of Power#5) - Oscorp threatened to sue if S.H.I.E.L.D. did not let civilians back in, so the agency relented, despite still having agents on site investigating. Noticing Peter Parker arriving at the entrance carrying suitcases, Roma offered to assist, and accompanied Peter to the Penthouse, as Peter was moving in to become roommates with his friend Harry Osborn (though his real but secret motivation was because he wanted to check out what Norman Osborn had being doing in the tower's labs). Roma spent a few minutes socializing with Peter, then returned to his duties, which included guarding Norman Osborn's lab. While doing so he spotted lightning like energy suddenly coruscating at one end of the lab, and when he rushed to investigate he spotted Spider-Man being struck by energy from a device that had a large red, glowing, possibly crystalline red circle with a spider emblem on it.

   Before he could act, a bolt of energy lanced out from Spider-Man to strike Roma, triggering a transformation into an animalistic-arachnid form that Spider-Man dubbed a Man-Spider. The creature immediately leapt to attack the hero, who did his best to dodge its attacks and try to restrain it with his webbing to avoid hurting Roma. Spotting the transformed Roma on CCTV, other S.H.I.E.L.D. agents raced in, and, assuming Spider-Man was in league with the monster, opened fire on both of them. Dodging both their blaster fire and Man-Spider's razor-tipped arthropod limbs, Spider-Man lured Man-Spider back over to the device that had triggered Roma's transformation, then dodged out the way of another of the creature's powerful blows so that Man-Spider struck the spider-emblem, shattering the crystal. Without its energies, Roma immediately reverted back to human form, and expressed relief to be normal once again (so clearly recalling what had happened while he was transformed). With the other agents still wanting to question Spider-Man, the web-head fled. 

Comments: Created by Glenn Dakin and John Ross.

   Man-Spider appeared in Spider-Man: Tower of Power#5. Or Spider-Man: Heroes and Villains Collection#5, depending on where in the world the title appeared. The magazine didn't include dates, apart from the indicia confirming the issue came out in 2007, so I can't pinpoint the month it came out. Given that the title was released in multiple countries but sometimes months apart, it'll be hard to pin down the date even if someone recalls when they bought the title, as it may have come out in another country even earlier.

   It's not certain what reality this story took place. I previously noted in Captain Kerosene's Appendix entry that his Heroes and Villains Collection didn't seem to take place on Earth-616 (the mainstream Marvel Earth), and that story was assigned to Earth-10995. However, while it seems likely that all the stories from this series belong in the same reality as one another, it's not something I can say for certain without reading all the stories, which I've not been able to do yet. Even if Man-Spider is from another reality, a version of Roma could easily exist on 616.

   As well as the main story, the issue also includes a single page at the end of the issue showing Man-Spider and Spider-Man hanging out amicably. The humorous tone suggests it's not meant to be considered a serious addition to the story, hence why it's not summarized in the history section above. However, if we do count it as having "actually happened" then the history has the additional segment:

(Spider-Man: Tower of Power#5 - BTS) - Roma somehow reverted to his Man-Spider form, but this time retained his self-control. He and Spider-Man befriended one another.

(Spider-Man: Tower of Power#5) - They posed for a selfie together, with Man-Spider using his long arthropod limbs to handle the camera. Man-Spider also kept asking Spider-Man round for dinner, something the hero agreed to out of politeness, despite his host's predilection for serving plates of flies for their meal.

Profile by Loki.

CLARIFICATIONS:
Man-Spider has no known connections to:


Jack Roma's wife and child

Jack Roma had a wife and child (probably a son, based on the picture, but that's not certain) who he didn't see as often as he would have liked to thanks to his job constantly taking him away from home.

 

 

--Spider-Man: Tower of Power#5

 

 


images: (without ads)
Spider-Man: Tower of Power#5, p20, pan1 (main image)
Spider-Man: Tower of Power#5, p4, pan4 (human appearance)
Spider-Man: Tower of Power#5, p5, pan5 (struck by energy beam)
Spider-Man: Tower of Power#5, p6, pan2 (transformed)
Spider-Man: Tower of Power#5, p9, pan2 (restored to human form)
Spider-Man: Tower of Power#5, p4, pan4 (Roma's family)


Appearances:
Spider-Man: Tower of Power#5 (2007) - Glenn Dakin (writer), John Ross (art), editor unknown


First Posted: 04/14/2023
Last updated:
04/14/2023

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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