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Tarantula (Rodriquez) (Spider-Man enemy)

Tarantula

(Anton Rodriquez)


Power Level: ,
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game

Context

The Tarantula (Anton Rodriquez) is a C- or D-list Spider-Man villain who appeared from 1974 to 1983. His schticks were also having a spider motif, and poisoned boot spikes (plus some allusion to then contemporary political issues in Central America, I suppose).

He’s primarily remembered for having worked with the Jackal, and for his gruesome body horror demise. Back then that wasn’t as banal, especially in comic books that were still running under the Comic Book Code Authority.

Anton Rodriquez has a number of successors as the Tarantula, starting with .


Background

  • Real Name: Anton Miguel Rodriquez
  • Note: Yes, with a “q” and not a “g”. That understandably trips everyone up.
  • Marital Status: Single
  • Known Relatives: Hidalgo Rodriquez (brother). A woman named Jacinda claimed to be his daughter.
  • Group Affiliation: Former member of the Delvadian military.
  • Base Of Operations: New York City
  • Height: 6’1” Weight: 185lbs
  • Eyes: Brown Hair: Black


Powers and Abilities

The Tarantula is a brutal, ruthless and highly skilled hand to hand combatant. His style seems to be a sort of acrobatic kick boxing, with ground work reminiscent of capoeira . He’s also a skilled marksman, though he rarely uses firearms as the Tarantula.

The Tarantula is quite strong, a very skilled acrobat, and fast enough to regularly hit even such superhumanly mobile targets as Spider-Man. However he is too aggressive, favouring offence at the detriment of his defence.

Tarantula (Anton Rodriquez) vs. Spider Man

On the other hand, he often needs to hit but once. Both his gloves and boots have hidden retractile spikes, designed to be easily poisoned. The boot spikes, in particular, are often coated with the lethal venom of a Brazilian spider. The Tarantula also seems to have special training in, and experience at, fighting in the dark.

During his first fight against Spider-Man, the Tarantula was helped by a pair of costumed henchmen, Hidalgo and Juan. Both were exotic weaponry and martial arts specialists. They were pretty skilled. Though they never appeared again to the best of my knowledge, some Gamemasters may want to go for the extra-obscure and bring them back.

Rodriquez was eventually mutated in a huge spider-like creature. The mutation continued and he grew larger, giving him a strength level greater than Spider-Man’s but making his mind increasingly animalistic. In this horrible form he even developed the ability to spin and project webs.


History

Rodriquez hails from the (fictional) Latin American dictactorship of Delvadia. He was a member of a revolutionary group, conducting actions such as blowing up supply trains or kidnapping politicians for ransom. However, his fellow revolutionaries became disgusted by his bloodthirstiness. They expelled him.

Tarantula (Anton Rodriquez) attacks Spider-Man during an university protest

Rodriquez promptly joined the official military and volunteered to hunt down his former comrades. Impressed by his abilities, the totalitarian authorities designed the Tarantula identity and costume for him, as the Delvadian answer to Captain America. The name was an homage to a Delvadian hero of the 1890s, César “La Tarantula” Mendivil.

However, during a torture session, Rodriquez lost his temper. He murdered a guard who wanted him to stop. The Tarantula was forced to leave the country. He went up North after grabbing his brother Hidalgo and a friend of theirs, the revolutionary Juan.

Land of the Ford Falcon

In 1974, the 3 men struck in New York City. Tarantula and his henchmen commandeered a tourist ferry and held the passengers for a massive ransom. Spider-Man (Peter Parker) intervened, but Tarantula forced him to leave by poisoning a sailor and throwing him overboard.

The Punisher (Frank Castle) came to kill the terrorists just as Spider-Man returned. However, Spidey was then kicked and poisoned by Rodriquez.

Tarantula (Anton Rodriquez) kills sailors as Spider-Man comes in

Tarantula duped the Punisher by telling him that Spider-Man was his accomplice. Rodriquez and his henchmen left in the ensuing fracas. However, Spidey and Castle realised that they had been played. They tracked the Tarantula down, with Spider-Man defeating Rodriquez.

A year later, the Jackal (Miles Warren) recruited Tarantula from prison. He had him assist in his revenge scheme against Spider-Man – which involved a Gwen Stacy clone and throwing Spidey from the Brooklyn Bridge. Parker survived, and took down Rodriquez as the Delvadian ambushed him. The Jackal recaptured Spider-Man, but seemingly died shortly afterwards.

Schooled in the Americas

The Tarantula was soon hired and freed by Lightmaster (Edward Lansky) for a series of kidnappings and murders. His targets included the Mayor, though that one was foiled by Spider-Man. The scheme ultimately failed. Lightmaster blasted Rodriquez to prevent him from revealing his secret identity, but the Tarantula survived.

Tarantula (Anton Rodriquez) with his henchmen Hildago and Juan

In 1978, Señor Suerte (Philip Garcia) and Tarantula schemed to use the Royalist Forces of America’ master weapons, the Madbombs, in their own extortion scheme. Captain America and a government investigator named Ken Astor intervened, but Tarantula poisoned Captain America and tortured Astor to death. Captain America unexpectedly recovered, and stopped the two terrorists.

Somehow regaining his freedom once more, Rodriquez kept a low profile in the Miami area and engaged in smuggling activities.

In 1982 he was hired by a representative of the Brand Corporation, a subsidiary of Roxxon Oil. La Tarantula was to silence an informer known as “Nose” Norton. Again the Tarantula clashed with Spider-Man and failed in his assignment.

Day of the Condor

Brand representatives then offered to bestow superhuman powers similar to Spider-Man’s upon the Tarantula. Their condition was that he would afterwards help them to kill Spider-Man. The Tarantula agreed, and was injected with a mutagenic serum before being equipped with a a life support harness and placed in an electrolyte bath.

Tarantula (Anton Rodriquez) leaps feet first at Spider-Man

At that point Will o’ the Wisp (Jackson Arvad), who held Brand responsible for his own transformation into an inhuman creature, attacked the lab. This caused power discharges that radically affected the ongoing mutagenic process. Rodriquez was thus transformed into an 8-limbed being that resembled a humanoid spider, possessing superhuman strength.

Spider-Man and Will o’ the Wisp both battled the transformed Tarantula. The latter two fell into Jamaica Bay.

Both survived, and the Tarantula continued to mutate into an enormous spider. His mind was becoming increasingly primitive. Rodriquez could only speak in broken sentences as Spider-Man tried to contain him.

Horrified at what he had become, and seeing policemen massed on the sidewalk below, the Tarantula committed suicide by hurling himself from a tall building. He was dead from police gunfire before he crashed into the street below.


Description

Tarantula is a wiry muscular man with a pencil moustache. His costume is blood red with deep blue motifs (mostly gloves, boots, a head scarf covering the upper half of his head, and a spider motif on his chest). His boots have two poison-coated dagger-like spikes, and his gloves have retractable poison-coated spikes.


Personality

A vicious, brutal, highly mercenary opponent. The Tarantula loves violence and killing, and excels in operations relying on those. He prefers working as a part of a band – either fighting alongside the villain who hired him, or hiring thugs to support him. His plans tend to be efficient and direct.

Tarantula (Anton Rodriquez) mutated into a spider

Of course, this being the mid-1970s, the Tarantula will overuse the three Spanish words and idioms the writer knows, constantly saying “amigo”, “adios”, “madre de dios”, “hasta la vista”, “loco” and so on.

It’s a sin

The Tarantula is exceedingly proud, and is always, always making speeches about how deadly he is, how nimble he is, how he trained to be his country’s Captain America, etc.. He acts like a proud patriot and obviously wants to be a greater-than-life, pulpish, Zorro-like soldier of fortune despite actually being a despicable psychopath.

This craving for panache will almost always overcome his bloodthirstiness. Despite being a psychokiller, his on-screen body count is remarkably low as he leaves his valued foes alive out of flourish.

As Rodriquez, his name is infamous among much of the Spanish-speaking world. He normally wears sunglasses and use false names (usually “Valdez”) when out of costume.


Quotes

“You’ll never take me alive, American pig !”

¡ Idiota ! I am not your common anglo criminal to be trapped and insulted like a child ! I am Tarantula — and I will have revenge on you, who spoiled such a carefully considered plan !”

“Amigo… never turn your back on a tarantula.”

“Fool ! It’s not money I want – it’s you ! And you will come with me, now — or you will die where you stand ! Either way, it’ll make small difference to me, señor. In my country, life has little value — and men are tools to be used for the attainment of one goal — POWER ! You are a tool, amigo, and I will use you as I wish — whether you accept this willingly — or under force ! And if you do not understand this now, I can MAKE you understand !”


DC Universe History

Despite his comparatively short career, the Tarantula is a classic minor spiderfoe. He could be recast as a dangerous adversary for the Batman and/or the KGBeast, with more politically-oriented plots.


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Tarantula

Dex: 07 Str: 04 Bod: 05 Motivation: Mercenary
Int: 05 Wil: 04 Min: 04 Occupation: Professional criminal
Inf: 05 Aur: 04 Spi: 04 Resources {or Wealth}: 006
Init: 021 HP: 035

Skills:
Acrobatics*: 07, Charisma (Intimidation, interrogation): 05, Martial artist (AV): 08, Martial artist (EV, RV)*: 07, Military science: 05, Thief (Escape artist): 04, Vehicles (Land): 05, Weaponry (Firearms): 04

Advantages:
Language (Spanish), Lightning Reflexes, Schtick (Night fighting)

Connections:
Underworld (Low)

Drawbacks:
Minor Rage, MPR (Tarantula is far-sighted), Secret ID

Equipment:
BOOT AND GLOVES SPIKES [BODY 08, EV 04 (05 w/STR, 08 w/Martial artist), Cling: 02, Poison touch: 08, Bonus : Poison touch and EV can be Combined, Limitation : Cling doesn’t work on surfaces with a BODY above the maximal EV of the Spikes – in Tarantula II’s case, a 08]


Bestial Tarantula

Tarantula’s transformation into an horrific giant spider was gradual, and his abilities evolved. The Growth (and attendant 2 APs of STR and Skin Armour) appeared shortly before his death, as well as the Snare and Iron will.

Dex: 07 Str: 11 Bod: 06 Motivation: Psycho
Int: 04 Wil: 02 Min: 02 Occupation: Monster
Inf: 03 Aur: 02 Spi: 03 Resources {or Wealth}: 000
Init: 016 HP: 015

Powers:
Extra limbs (x4): 09, Growth: 02, Iron will: 08, Jumping: 02, Skin armour: 02, Snare: 10

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Growth is Always On and already factored in
  • Skin armour only against blunt damage

Advantages:
Language (Spanish), Lightning Reflexes

Drawbacks:
Strange Appearance, CPI, Minor Rage


Hidalgo and Juan

“Then, Hidalgo must give you a reason for fear, si ? Perhaps this, tonto ? Now you will be silent, si ? And if Hidalgo’s hand is not enough to teach you manners, then perhaps his whip…”

Dex: 05 Str: 03 Bod: 04 Motivation: Mercenary
Int: 04 Wil: 03 Min: 03 Occupation: Professional criminal
Inf: 03 Aur: 02 Spi: 03 Resources {or Wealth}: 004
Init: 014 HP: 015

Skills:
Acrobatics: 04, Martial artist*: 05, Weaponry (South American low-tech weapons)*: 05

Advantages:
Language (Spanish)

Connections:
Street (Low)

Equipment:

  • Hidalgo has a whip [BODY 06, EV 02 (04 w/STR), Stretching: 01, Limitation : Stretching has No Fine Manipulation (-2)]
  • Juan has a bola [BODY 06, EV 03, Snare: 06, Limitation : Snare is limited by the relevant Weaponry skill of the user (-1 – Snare is thus a 05 for Juan)]

By Sébastien Andrivet

Helper(s): Z, Nick Yankovec, Darci.

Source of Character: Spider-Man books / Marvel Universe

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