Real Name: Eric Needham
Weight: 179 lbs
Place of birth: Unknown
First appearance: Detective Comic #463
Origin: Eric, was a small time crook. His was sentenced to prison after mugging and nearly killing an elderly woman but, as a minor, he was out in three years. Over the next twenty-four months, Eric married his friend Linda Morrel and they had a son, Michael. Desperate for money to buy more drugs, Needham continued to steal to support his habit, culminating in a fateful liquor store robbery. Gunning down a customer who’d lunged for him, Eric realized far too late that he’d just murdered his own father. After being arrested, he kicked the habit out of remorse and began a vigilante war on the drug trade.
Donning a costume, he became a self-styled vigilante and began killing those suspected of dealing drugs. Months later, Gotham’s drug dealers found themselves marked for death by Needham. At the site of the second killing, Batman confronted the sniper and was stunned to hear the man in the dark purple body-suit declare that “I’ve been trying to emulate you, Batman, to do as you do — bring scum to permanent justice –justice without recourse! …. The drug-dealers — the superflies — are the dregs of the Earth — and what better man to catch and kill a superfly — than a Black Spider?” This soon brought him into conflict with Batman. Needham believed that the two should be allies, as he saw common purpose in their war against criminals. His murderous methods however continually put him at odds with the Dark Knight.
Batman again failed to stop the rampage at the Gotham International Airport. Here, the Black Spider displayed the latest addition to his arsenal, a gun mounted on the top of his wrist that fired a deadly “sting” at his targets.
The conflict came to a head atop a speeding commuter train, where the Spider, whose background had finally been unearthed by the Dark Knight, was attempting to bomb the car carrying another dealer: “That motorman’s gotta die, and if some punk commuters gotta die, too — that’s TOUGH!” A lurch of the train sent the Black Spider and his bomb flying from the car. Needham was presumed dead when the bomb was detonated. (Detective Comics#463-464)
Gravely injured, Needham made his way to a free clinic, where “hate nursed me through the months of operations…and recovery…and therapy…and re-training…”. The bomb, it seems, had gone off prematurely. It was revealed that Needham’s paraphernalia and missions as the Black Spider had been bankrolled by a supposedly benevolent financier named Hannibal Hardwicke, who was, in fact, a major drug lord himself and wanted to take out the competition. Once the Black Spider removed his rivals, Hardwicke had intended for Needham to die. Instead, Hardwicke found himself at the top of the Black Spider’s “Most Wanted” list and only Batman’s intervention allowed him to survive to see a prison term. (Batman #306)
Inevitably, Despite his professed desire to fight criminals, Needham’s goals became compromised and he occasionally allied himself with costumed villains (most notably in the gathering of super-villains in Detective Comics #526 and Batman #400). Ostensibly, Black Spider’s goal in this was to seek revenge against Batman, or at least, this is how he attempted to justify his actions in his own mind. He also did this to participate in grudge matches against Batman, shifting from vigilante to costumed criminal.
Black Spider (Eric Needham) is still a murderous vigilante. However, instead of targeting drug criminals, he is now focused on super-powered criminals. His new origin has not yet been given, so it is not known why he hates super-powered crime so much. It has been revealed, however, that he has received ninja training so he can better face super-powered foes without actually gaining super-powers himself.
Black Spider was at some point incarcerated and forced to serve as a member of the Suicide Squad. He was later revealed to be the team’s traitor.
Powers and Abilities:
Black Spider seemed to have no outright powers beyond that of a normal human being, but was an excellent fighter and marksman. His weapon of choice was retractable pistol mounted on the wrists of his gloves. He possessed the strength level of a normal man at the height and weight of 5’11” 179 lbs. who engages in moderate regular exercise.