The story of Michael begins with Doctor Abraham Erskine, the scientist who developed the super-soldier formula. It is known for certain that Erskine gave some to Steve Rogers, who gained extraordinary powers. Erskine was then assassinated (or at least is seemed that way) by Heinz Kruger, and the information of the formula was lost forever. Or so it seemed. Generations later, when the Initiative was formed, SHIELD officials acting under orders from Senator Henry Peter Gyrich approached 18-year-old Michael van Patrick, a descendant of Erskine, to begin super-human training. Rumors that he had super-human powers inherited from his father (who people claimed had taken the formula) had caused Michael Van Patrick to lose his track-and-field awards. He agreed to join the Initiative, but insisted he had no super-powers. Initiative scientist Baron von Blitzschlag ran several tests and stated that the boy was correct; even so, Gyrich insisted he join. The young man took the code-name MVP, which was also his initials.
Michael was created by Dan Slot and Stefano Caselli and first appeared in Avengers: The Initiative issue 3 (2007).
Major Story Arcs
On the first day of training, tragedy struck. When Instructor Gauntlet foolishly released a robot on the students to test their powers, a young recruit named Trauma inadvertently activated his power to turn into people's worst fears. He became a spider, the inner terror of another recruit, Armory. Armory then panicked and turned her alien gauntlet into a high-power plasma-blaster and began to fire chaotically. MVP died saving recruit Cloud 9 from the blasts.
Creation of the Scarlet Spiders
Under orders from Gyrich, Blitzschlag "cloned" (or created genetic duplicates with most of the memories of) MVP. One clone was sent to MVP's home and pretended to be him, saying that he had been expelled after being confirmed to be powerless. Three other duplicates, who were likely slightly genetically modified, continued to work for the Initiative in secret as a test program in how cloned armies could exist. The three clones took the names Michael, Van, and Patrick. They were given the Iron Spider suits and became the Scarlet Spiders.
The suits gave each clone invisibility, resistance, sonar, force fields (that were stronger when combined), gliding abilities, Stark-tech hardware including spy-ware, and four cybernetic arms. Armory had had her gauntlet removed and been fired from the Initiative and brought to an inpatient-unit of a psychiatric hospital. While there, she was under strict orders not to reveal anything about what had happened--something she obeyed despite being threatened with life-institution. Blitzschlag cared strongly for the Spiders, and began to treat them as if they were his children.
On their first mission, the Spiders were sent to intervene in a battle between Spider-man and Shocker, Boomerang, and Hydro-man of the Sinister Syndicate (who had been in the middle of a theft). War Machine and Komodo entered the battle first, and took on Spider-man. The Syndicate decided to flee, but the Spiders tracked them down stealthily and within ten-minutes surrounded them. Using all their gadgets (especially force fields), they trapped the supers until War Machine and SHIELD agents arrived and arrested the villains.
World War Hulk
The Spiders next secret was to rescue several Initiative recruits (including Cloud 9) from an invading Hulk and his Warbound. In this mission, the Spiders were serving as a part of the Shadow Initiative. The Spiders did not accompany their teammates into the makeshift prison built in a ruined section of New York City, but waited with a small airship and brought out their teammates as well as all of the prisoners.
In a subsequent mission, the Spiders were sent to apprehend the Vulturions. When they found them, the Vulturions were also attacked by Spider-man, who was on the run. This took place at a time when Spider-man's identity as Peter Parker was known to everyone. The Spiders found Parker, but his spider-sense warned him of their attack. In the ensuing fight, the Vulturions were defeated and Parker told the Spiders he was a hero and was just objecting to the Initiative's questionable activities. Realizing their own existences were both illegal and unethical (due to cover up a government mistake), they stopped fighting and went to a near-by news-camera. On live TV, the Spiders revealed their identities--much to the outrage of Gyrich.
K.I.A. and the "New" New Warriors
Gyrich and Blitzschlag had been trying to have Armory's gauntlet bond to someone else; but, having its own intelligence, it would not. Finally the duo decided to activate a fifth MVP clone and try and bond the gauntlet to it. The idea worked; however the clone was driven insane and decided to take down the Initiative for letting MVP die and trying to cover it up. The clone took the name K.I.A., an acronym for Killed In Action like Gyrich claimed had happened to MVP. In the ensuing battle at Camp Stamford the Scarlet Spiders decided they might calm K.I.A. down by revealing their identities to him. He did not respond well, turning his gauntlet into a plasma-blaster and blowing Van's head off, just like had happened to MVP. The only difference was Van had really been Killed In Action. Eventually, Cloud 9 managed to distract K.I.A. long enough for the Initiative to kill him. However, Justice (Initiative trainer Vance Astrovik) decided this was the last straw and announced he was forming a new New Warriors team and leaving the Initiative. Several of the Initiative recruits decided to join him, including both Scarlet Spiders. Initiative Chief Tony Stark (Iron Man) decided to allow the New Warriors to legally continue their activities outside of the designated Initiative team.
When the fighting of the final battle in Secret Invasion, the war between the United States and an invading Skrull army, began the New Warriors decided to join in the fight. The Spiders fought bravely and both survived.
The Initiative: Disassembled and Death of Michael
The New Warriors decided that MVP's body should be shown to the public and then given to his family. They decided to steal it from the Initiative in the days following Secret Invasion, when Camp Stamford was already in chaos and they thought there would be less opposition. A day before they began their mission, the newly appointed Initiative Chief Norman Osborn repealed Stark's decision to allow the New Warriors to continue non-Initiative heroics an even said it was corruption, and thus the Warriors were already criminals. As the Warriors were on their way to steal MVP's body from Camp Stamford, the cyborg semi-clone of Thor named Ragnarok that had been believed to be dead was reactivated in Blitzschlag's lab, due to a code left by the Skrull Criti Noll when he was impersonating Hank Pym. Believing himself to be the real Thor, Ragnarok was infuriated when Blitzschlag told him otherwise. After zapping the scientist with a large dose of his mystical lightning, he stormed outside of the camp intent on destroying it for disrespecting the gods. The New Warriors decided to join the fight on the side of the Initiative. The Spiders attempted to use their Stark-Tech to hack into Ragnarok and stop him, but since Noll had secretly made him run on mostly Skrull-tech, the technique failed. Enraged at their attack, Ragnarok lashed out and killed Michael with a blow from his Mjolnir-copy hammer.
The battle continued and Ragnarok easily gained the upper hand. However Blitzschlag then came from the rubble looking far healthier than he had in years. His body, which had powers of electricity, had been rejuvinated by Ragnarok's blast. He then confronted the enraged Thor-clone saying he had hours of video-footage proving Ragnarok was not the true god of thunder. Patrick then ran up and took off his mask and that of Michael's, showing that the Initiative had truly been cloning people. Confused and upset, Ragnarok left Camp Stamford saying he intended to destroy Thor for (in his opinion) disgracing Asgard by bringing it among mortals. Patrick was then left as the last of the Scarlet Spiders.