Will o' the Wisp

    Character » Will o' the Wisp appears in 85 issues.

    Previously a scientist, Jackson Arvad became Will o’ the Wisp after an accident caused his molecular structure to change, allowing him to control it at will.

    Short summary describing this character.

    Will o' the Wisp last edited by rovedo5540 on 10/31/23 02:15PM View full history


    Jackson Arvad was the lead scientist working for the Brand Corporation’s Electromagnetic Research Department. During one of the many long nights he worked due to the high expectations of his superior - James Melvin - one of the magno-chambers exploded, drawing Arvad into its self-sufficient electromagnetic field. Because of the high frequency particles surrounding him, the molecules of his body began to disperse. Melvin forced Arvad’s body to reform, questioning the scientist about the effects of the accident only to leave Arvad to die when satisfied he gathered the most information possible. Arvad fortunately was able to control his body to the point of intangibility and escaped, but sought out the criminal scientist Jonas Harrow for help because of the constant state of control he needed to be in to not disperse away completely. Taking advantage of Arvad’s desperation, Harrow implanted a receptor within Arvad’s skull with the intent to control the transformed scientist himself.


    Will o'the Wisp is a Marvel character created by Len Wein and Ross Andru, first appearing in The Amazing Spider-Man #167.

    Character Evolution

    Jackson Arvad was an overworked lead scientist for the Roxxon Oil Company’s subsidiary, Brand Corporation. After an accident caused his molecular structure to de-stabilize, Arvad found he was unable to control it entirely and requested help from Jonas Harrow. Harrow helped Arvad gain adequate control but implanted a chip in Arvad’s skull in order to control him. Forced to commit crimes, Arvad attempted to kill Harrow many times but was stopped by Spider-Man and instead had Harrow surrender to the police through hypnosis. He was able to be restored to his corporeal form after kidnapping Dr. Marla Madison and then forced his former employer James Melvin to reveal the secrets of the Brand Corporation to the media, effectively shutting down the nefarious company’s work. He has since joined the Outlaws but then left the group to be an adventurer.

    Major Story Arcs

    Murder on The Wind

    Under the moniker of Will o’the Wisp, Arvad stole for Jonas Harrow, mainly plans and equipment to further Harrow’s criminal career. Ordered to kill Spider-Man or be killed himself, Arvad located Spider-Man and was about to be successful but instead attempted to attack Harrow who in turn activated the device lodged in his skull, dissipating Arvad.

    These Wings Enslaved

    Although disintegrated, Arvad’s intellect remained active and in time was able to reassemble himself into a non-corporeal form. Taking control of Killer Shrike’s battle suit, he kidnapped Marla Madison and brought her to the same facility where the accident which transformed him happened, forcing her to follow his instructions and returning him to physical form. Spider-Man arrived in time for Arvad to allow the rescue of Madison and Shrike before Arvad destroyed the facility and flew away.

    War on Brand

    Battling Spider-Man
    Battling Spider-Man

    After this event, Arvad went on the offensive against Brand, attacking their facilities and on one occasion came across Spider-Man who was investigating the company himself. The Tarantula was in the process of mutating and their fight disrupted the process, causing him to become a horrific eight-legged form. Arvad and Spider-Man were then forced to deal with the monster and both Tarantula and Arvid were seen disappearing into a nearby water source and assumed to have drowned.

    Death Knell

    However, Arvad gained control of Tarantula through hypnosis and the two sought out James Melvin. Spider-man intervened and another battle ensued, resulting in Tarantula breaking free of Arvad’s control and Arvad forced to kill him. Tarantula did not die and instead further mutated until he lost all humanoid features. Spider-Man successfully protected Melvin from the Tarantula after defeating Arvad and Arvad found he was unable to kill another human being. When Tarantula was killed by the police who had arrived on the scene, he hypnotized Melvin to admit his part in the criminal activities of Brand and left, hoping to find his way in the world.

    Silver Sable’s Outlaws

    Arvad investigated a report telling of Spider-Man’s robbery, unaware of Silver Sable’s plan to stop the criminal activities of the Maggia. Once brought up to speed, he was recruited by Silver Sable along with Rocket Racer, Sandman, the Prowler and Puma to form a group called the Outlaws. The new team of operatives rescued a Canadian politician’s daughter but Arvad left soon afterwards.

    Clone Saga

    Recaptured by Harrow, Arvad was once again forced to do the villain’s bidding after another implant was inserted into his skull. Hoping Spider-Man would help Arvad sought him out but instead came upon Ben Reilly who at the time assumed the hero’s identity. When Arvad was forced to return to Harrow Ben realized the implant was the last part of Arvad that became intangible which meant it could be removed if done at that precise moment. After Arvad attacked another government storage facility, Ben Reilly, dressed as Spider-Man was able to remove the device but not before Dragon Man was freed who Harrow now controlled. Both Reilly and Arvad followed the giant android when Harrow summoned it to him to destroy Harrow’s base but Arvad allowed Harrow to live and left, never realizing it was Reilly who assisted him and not the real Spider-Man.

    Civil War and the Initiative

    Many years later Will o’the Wisp reappeared as a member of the Chameleon’s Exterminators, a group formed to hunt down Spider Man after the hero had revealed his true identity. The Wisp along with the Scarecrow attacked Peter but the duo were defeated by the Black Cat and Spider-Man who had been lured into the trap set up by the equally defeated Molten Man.

    Physical Characteristics:

    Height: 6’1”

    Weight: 195 lbs

    Eyes: White (formerly blue)

    Hair: Blonde

    Powers and Abilities

    Will o’the Wisp can alter his physical density through the use of subatomic electromagnetic particles, allowing him to become intangible. He is able to fly at speeds up to 90 miles per hour and is able to surround himself with energy to create an opaque glowing sphere. His skin and muscles at maximum can become as dense as the mineral feldspar, giving him superhuman strength in the range of lifting 12 tonnes although he is only able to maintain this state for ten minutes before exhausting himself. The Wisp is also able to form extra limbs while engaging in hand to hand combat and can channel electricity into another person offensively. By creating bursts of highly accelerated oscillation of energy states, the Wisp produces an intense light which he uses to mesmerize people into doing his bidding.

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