Electro: Who is the Thunderous Thief?

Watts Up, Danger?

Max:None of you get it. Without a cure, I’m not Max Dillon! I’m… what did you call me?
Spider-Man:Lightning butt?
Max:No, not that! Electro… yeah, I’m ELECTRO!

Spectacular Spider-Man “Interactions” (Season 1, Episode 2)

A bank teller hard at work notices someone enter the bank, covered up in a trench coat and hat. The guards signal him to hit the silent alarm as they approach the newcomer. One grabs the man’s shoulder, but shakes before collapsing. The scent of burned meat fills the air.

The remaining guard draws his gun, but it is melted to slag by a lightning bolt. Another bolt strikes the guard and electrocutes him. The man approaches the teller and holds up a fist crackling with electricity. The teller fearfully places a bag of money on the counter. Electro grabs the cash, knocks the teller unconscious, and leaves.

Electro is one of Spider-Man’s most powerful enemies. He’s already strong enough to take on The Avengers, but his potential is limitless. So who is he? How did he get his powers? Why is there a female Electro running around? Let’s find out.

Thunderstruck: Electro’s Backstory

Electro: [about electricity] “I can feel it in the walls. I can feel it in my veins. No matter what you do, doc, you can’t contain it. It’s a force of nature, like me.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Electro debuted in The Amazing Spider-Man #9 in 1964. He was created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.

Max Dillon was an aspiring engineer from a broken home. His deadbeat father was rarely around and his overprotective mother often diminished his intelligence. Max was not dissuaded and became an electrical lineworker.

Max was struck by lightning while repairing a downed line and developed the power to manipulate electricity. The villain Magneto would later theorize that the lightning had activated powers Max already possessed, but noted that Max was not a mutant.

Max believed he was invincible and became a supervillain called Electro. He began a crime spree and nearly killed Spider-Man, who was unprepared for this shocking new supervillain. Spidey eventually managed to defeat Electro by insulating his costume and blasting him with a fire hose. The defeat sparked a feud between the two, causing Electro to obsess over getting revenge.

Criminal Current: Electro’s History

Electro: My name is Max Dillon. Some of you know me, some of you don’t — but I broke you losers out! Have fun, enjoy your lives… but from here on in, now and forever… you guys owe me huge! All of you.

New Avengers #1

Electro managed to escape from jail and immediately began planning to kill Spider-Man. Before he could hunt down the wallcrawler, he encountered Daredevil and was defeated by the vigilante. Electro fell into a pattern of escaping from jail, seeking revenge against Spider-Man and/or Daredevil, and getting thrown back into jail when he lost.

Electro was one of the first villains approached by Doctor Octopus to join The Sinister Six. Envisioned as the team’s heavy hitter, he joined their efforts to finally murder Spider-Man. They weren’t successful, but Electro seemed to like the idea and has joined every incarnation of the Sinister Six to date.

Electro made a name for himself when he infiltrated a supervillain prison called The Raft and used his powers to break all the inmates out. The influx of released supervillains sparked the formation of a new Avengers team to recapture them. Shortly after, Electro learned that his powers were starting to fail as he entered middle age.

Electro met a fangirl named Francine Fyre. She fell in love with Max and tried to console him over his waning powers. Francine died when she kissed him, and Electro brought her remains to a scientist called The Jackal, hoping he could clone her. 

The Jackal came through, and Francine was reborn. Unbeknownst to Max, his DNA and hers had mixed in the new clone, granting her his powers. Francine kissed Max, draining him of his powers and killing him. The deranged clone decided to take up the mantle of her dead love. Electro is dead, long live Electro.

Living Lightning: Electro’s Powers and Personality

Thor: [being electrocuted] “How… how is this… ARGH!
Electro:HOW DO YOU LIKE ME NOW!? You laughed at me. You treated me like I was nothing! But now you’ll see. I am Electro, and I am your death!

Avenging Spider-Man #18

As you may have guessed from his name, Electro has the power to shoot ice cream from his fingers. Just kidding, he has the power to harness, store, and manipulate electricity. His maximum limit is unknown, but he usually hovers around one million volts.

Electro uses his electricity to fire lightning blasts, surround himself in an electric aura, give himself superhuman strength, and surf on power lines. He also has magnetic abilities, but these are far weaker than his electrical powers.

Electro is not the brightest bulb in the box. He rarely uses his powers at their maximum potential, embraces petty revenge schemes that never work, and is easily tricked into short circuiting himself. He could be one of Marvel’s biggest threats if he had ambition and cunning, but he’s just wasted potential.

The Actors Who Play Electro

Tom Harvey – Spider-Man (1967)
Allan Melvin – Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends
Phillip Proctor – Spider-Man: The Animated Series
Ethan Embry – Spider-Man: The New Animated Series
Crispen Freeman – The Spectacular Spider-Man
Christopher Daniel Barnes – Ultimate Spider-Man
Jamie Foxx – The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Didya Get All That?

A Sinister Shocking Supervillain

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