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 Spider-Man Encyclopedia  - Spider-Man Villains - Mysterio

Mysterio's first appearance was in Amazing Spider-Man #13, although it was later shown that the aliens seen in Amazing Spider-Man #2 had been Mysterio and his men in disguise. Mysterio's real name is Quentin Beck who was born in Riverside, California. He was a special-effects wizard who worked for a major studio and had dreams to make make it big in the film industry. However, he lacked the looks and talent to be a star and the patience to be a director, and saw his career in special-effects to be going nowhere.

A friend jokingly suggested that the quickest way to become famous is to take out a costumed superhero, Beck realizing that his expertise in illusions could make him an effective super villain.

Amazing Spider-Man #13 Cover

His chose Spider-Man, a relatively new inexperienced superhero, Beck prepared his resources for a few months before attempting to eliminate the wall-crawler. Mysterio, his chosen identity, became one of Spider-Man's most elusive and persistent foes.

Mysterio showed his full range of talents in his first battle with Spider-Man, fogging the hero's Spider-Sense with a special gas and dissolving his webbing with a chemical abrasive. In other encounters, Mysterio has faked the death of Spider-Man's Aunt May, impersonated a world-renowned psychiatrist to convince Spider-Man that he was losing his mind, and made deals with demons from Limbo. Despite this, however, Mysterio was constantly beaten by Spider-Man and usually arrested. He joined Doctor Octopus' Sinister Six on several occasions, but this never gave him the edge against his foe that he desired. Eventually, he began to lose credibility as a super villain with his defeat at the hands of the preteen superhero team, Power Pack, being a particularly humiliating moment.

After his final imprisonment, Mysterio was given an early release, as he had been diagnosed with a brain tumor and lung cancer, both caused by the chemicals and radiation from his equipment. He was given one year to live. Obsessed with enacting his final revenge on Spider-Man, he was disappointed when he deduced from newspaper articles that the current Spider-Man was just a clone, and saw no dignity in overpowering a 'copy' of the real thing (even though by then, the clone had been killed, and the current Spider-Man was indeed the original). Mysterio decided to change his plan and focus on Daredevil, who he had encountered recently during an insurance scam that the Man Without Fear had thwarted, instead, believing that, in Daredevil, he had found a 'kindred spirit', in the sense that both were second stringers with little reputation outside their homes.

After the Kingpin gave Mysterio all the information he possessed about Daredevil's past, Mysterio developed an elaborate plot to drive Daredevil insane. Daredevil was nearly manipulated into killing an innocent baby (falsely accused of being the Antichrist), Karen Page was killed by Bullseye after Mysterio had convinced her that she was suffering from HIV due to her time as a porn star, Matt Murdock's partner Foggy Nelson was framed for murder after cheating on his current lover, and Daredevil nearly lost his mind as he appeared to be tormented by the forces of Hell.

However, Daredevil's will proved stronger than Mysterio expected, and he unmasked Mysterio as the mastermind, shattering the villain's helmet in fury and revealing his now languishing appearance. Beck had thought Daredevil would kill him upon discovery, which in his eyes, was a "grand way to end his final show". Daredevil denied him this and instead verbally abused Mysterio's plot and very existence, dismissing Mysterio's scheme as a basic 'B-Movie' plot and calling Mysterio a 'human xerox', incapable of having an original thought in his life; if nothing else, the Kingpin had already attempted to drive Daredevil insane, and he had used the 'supernatural intruding on our world' idea in a previous attack on J. Jonah Jameson. Broken in every sense of the word, Mysterio, saying he was stealing an idea from Kraven the Hunter, pulled out a gun and shot himself dead, thus committing suicide. While Mysterio has faked his own death several times in the past, this act was legitimate, as Mysterio (suffering from lung cancer and a brain tumor due to all the chemicals he was using, thinking Spider-Man was a clone and beaten by Daredevil) had nothing left to live for.

Someone claiming to be Mysterio appeared later with the revised Sinister Six, making references to his 'death', stating how after fighting Daredevil he had exited in a 'most spectacular fashion'. There was some confusion to this Mysterio's identity until Spider-Man: The Mysterio Manifesto hinted that it was Daniel Berkhart, an old friend of Beck and a previous Jack-O-Lantern who had taken over the mantle of Mysterio during a period when Beck had previously faked his death, and has reassumed it after Beck's death. This issue was not addressed again until a Mysterio briefly fought Spider-Man and was captured in Spider-Man Unlimited (Vol. III) #7. In a recent storyline in "Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #12", Berkhart was confirmed to be this second Mysterio by Quentin Beck (see below).

More recently, a teleporting mutant named Francis Klum was seen purchasing Mysterio's costume from The Kingpin, swearing revenge on Spider-Man for the events in Spider-Man/Black Cat: The Evil That Men Do. This would make him the third Mysterio, and the first Mysterio to have actual powers instead of using tricks.

In Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #11, Klum plotted to destroy the recently unmasked Spider-Man in revenge for the events that took place in The Evil That Men Do. Enacting his plot by turning the school Peter Parker worked in into a 'haunted house', Klum filled it with hauntings and death-traps, including luring the children away from Peter's protection. To prevent interference, Klum cordoned off the school with a barrier of toxic smoke, which only served as a beacon to Daniel Berkhart, who recognised the trick and was incensed that someone was stealing his Mysterio act. Penetrating the barrier, Berkhart prepared to team up with Spider-Man in order to defeat Klum.

Before the fight began, however, Klum had already encountered a third man in a more radical, purple and red Mysterio costume. Lecturing Klum on the aspects of showmanship, he eventually removed his helmet to reveal that he was apparently Quentin Beck, back from the dead with half of his head missing.

Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #13 Image

In a recent conversation with Miss Arrow (the school nurse and love interest for Flash Thompson), he revealed that his "bosses" and her "bosses" had further plans for Peter Parker and that she should keep him employed in the school. She denied his accusations, but left readers wondering when she wounded Francis Klum with arm daggers similar to the ones Peter Parker discovered himself with after the "The Other" arc.

Spider-Man Cartoons
Mysterio was a villain in the 1960s Spider-Man animated series in two popular episodes from the first season, The Menace of Mysterio (one of two half-hour episodes of the season) and Return of the Flying Dutchman. Mysterio also appears in a third-season episode The Madness of Mysterio, although he looks completely different. In all three episodes, he was voiced by Chris Wiggins; this portrayal of the character has since inspired later actors to give Mysterio a British accent.

He later appeared in the Spider-Man episode The Pied Piper of New York Town, hypnotizing the youth of New York. He then made an appearance in Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, in the episode "Spidey Goes Hollywood". He blackmails a director to persuade Spider-Man to star in a movie, rigged with devices he created. The plot is similar to The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #4 (where Mysterio and The Wizard summoned Spidey and The Human Torch), as well as the first appearance of The Green Goblin in The Amazing Spider-Man #14, where the Goblin cons Spidey and a Hollywood director into making a Spider-Man movie. In both "Spidey Goes Hollywood" and the Goblin's first appearance, the "movie" is actually a trap meant to destroy Spider-Man, and in both of these cases, The Hulk becomes involved.

 In The 1994 TV Series Spider-Man: The Animated Series, Mysterio, voiced by Gregg Berger, was a supervillain who blames Spider-Man for ruining his reputation. In his first appearance, Mysterio frames Spider-Man for various crimes, but his plan is exposed by Spider-Man and Detective Terri Lee, and he is jailed. Later, he becomes a member of the Insidious Six in the episodes The Insidious Six and Battle of the Insidious Six, but the entire team fails and disbands to avoid being arrested. In Mysterio's final appearance in the series, The Haunting of Mary Jane Watson, he creates a studio in secret. He kidnaps Mary Jane Watson (or rather, her clone) and Spider-Man teams up with Mysterio, battling robot versions of villains Spider-Man fought in the past in a deathtrap Mysterio had designed to one day lure Spider-Man to and kill him (though not all the villains were exact copies, namely the Venom robot with firebreath). Spider-Man discovers that Mysterio was in love with a woman named Miranda Wilson, a former actress who was disfigured and planned the entire kidnapping to swap bodies with the similar-looking Mary Jane. The studio exploded, Spider-Man saved the Mary Jane clone, and Mysterio apparently died in the explosion, staying with Miranda to the end. In the five-part Six Forgotten Warriors storyline, in which the Kingpin hires the Insidious Six again, the Vulture replaces the late Mysterio.

Mysterio is briefly mentioned in the Spider-Man Unlimited episode Enter the Hunter, when, confronted by a hologram of The Hunter, Spidey remarks "Give a guy holographic technology, and he thinks he's Mysterio."