Quentin Beck, better known as Mysterio, is a Marvel Comics character, best known as a villain of Spider-Man. Created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, he first appeared in Amazing Spider-Man #13 (dated June 1964).
A failed actor but gifted special effects artist, Mysterio turned to villainy when his lofty Hollywood aspirations passed him by. His first major act as a supervillain was to frame Spider-Man for a museum robbery — it didn't end up working in his favor. Vowing revenge on the webslinger, Mysterio would end up becoming one of Spider-Man's most enduring rogues.
Throughout the years, Mysterio would become a recurring member of the Sinister Six, and even become entangled with the likes of other superheroes in the Marvel Universe, most notably Daredevil. There have also been a few other characters to become Mysterio at various points in time, but Quentin remains the one most associated with the name to date.
Because of his status as one of Spider-Man's most popular rogues, Mysterio has often appeared in other media. He's more or less shown up in every Spider-Man cartoon to date, as well as plenty of video games based on Marvel properties. Additionally, it was intended that Bruce Campbell's cameo roles throughout the Sam Raimi Spider-Man trilogy would've be revealed as being various disguises of Mysterio in a prospective Spider-Man 4, but the project was canceled before it could come to fruition. Mysterio ultimately made his live-action debut in 2019's Spider-Man: Far From Home, portrayed there by Jake Gyllenhaal, who infamously (almost) replaced Tobey Maguire in Spider-Man 2. This version of the character is depicted as an up-and-coming crimefighter from Earth-833 who's paired with Spidey of Earth-616note to take down a quartet of elemental beings that devastated his world. As should be expected, all of this version of Mysterio's backstory about the Multiverse turned out to be a lie, and apart from some high-tech upgrades he is every bit as sinister as his comics counterpart.
Mysterio appears in:
- Spider-Man (1967 — 1970), voiced by Chris Wiggins
- Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends (1981), voiced by Peter Cullen (episode: "Spidey Goes Hollywood")
- Spider-Man: The Animated Series (1994 — 1998), voiced by Gregg Berger
- The Spectacular Spider-Man (2008 — 2009), voiced by Xander Berkeley
- Ultimate Spider-Man (2012 — 2016), voiced by Paul Scheer
- Spider-Man (2017 — present), voiced by Crispin Freeman
- Spider-Man vs. the Kingpin (1993)
- Spider-Man (2000), voiced by Daran Norris
- Spider-Man: Mysterio's Menace (2001)
- Spider-Man 2 (2004), voiced by James Arnold Taylor
- Marvel Ultimate Alliance (2006), voiced by James Arnold Taylor
- Spider-Man: Friend or Foe (2007), voiced by Robin Atkin Downes
- Spider-Man: Web of Shadows (2008), voiced by Greg Baldwin
- Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions (2010), voiced by David Kaye
- Super Hero Squad Online (2011), voiced by Dave Boat
- LEGO Marvel Super Heroes (2013), voiced by David Sobolov
- Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes (2014), voiced by Kaye
- Marvel: Avengers Alliance 2 (2016)
- LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 (2017)
- Marvel Future Fight (2017)
- Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order (2019)
Mysterio provides examples of:
- Affably Evil: Can come off as very likable and snarky at times. On the other hand...
- Faux Affably Evil: It's not really a good idea to push him. He once nearly drove Spider-Man into irreversible madness.
- Ambiguously Gay: In the mainstream comics he's rarely, if ever, shown any interest in women and has had a few hints over the years (plus the Spidey standard of occasional Foe Yay). The Sinister Six novels dropped the ambiguously part and made him explicitly gay; said novels are dubiously canon at best but pretty much everyone out-of-universe assumes he's gay at this point, even if the comics have yet to actually say it, though in Ben Reilly: The Scarlet Spider it's revealed that he has a secret daughter named Misty, possibly closing the book on the question of his sexuality, or at least now making him Ambiguously Bi.
- Then again, Misty is revealed to be an android he built, which reopens the possibility of him being just gay.
- Back from the Dead: In a Peter David Friendly Neighborhood arc with a dose of Body Horror.
- Badass Cape: The eye-shaped clasps can even shoot lasers.
- Badass Normal: Gets all his abilities from his suit. He had also extensive knowledge of hand-to-hand combat techniques learned as a stuntman, allowing him to engage in combat with Spider-Man despite his foe's superior physical abilities.
- Canon Immigrant: Enforced In-Universe. He was running operations in Earth-616 and Earth-1610 simultaneously with the use of his robotic avatar Ultimate Mysterio. At the end of Spider-Men, he is incarcerated by The Ultimates in Earth-1610 due to his knowledge of Peter's secret identity in Earth-616. However, he eventually finds a means of returning to the 616-universe.
- Card-Carrying Villain: He enjoys being a supervillain and it shows.
- Cut Lex Luthor a Check: Justified. Mysterio could easily reforge his career as a special effects guy and make millions if he really wanted to, but he likes being a bad guy far more than he ever liked his old job.
- Deal with the Devil: The first issue of Nick Spencer's Spider-Man reveals that he came back from suicide this way.
- Depending on the Artist: As well as Depending on the Writer; for any given comic, Quentin was either a genuinely athlethic Badass Normal who owed his physique and combat skills to years of stunt work, or a sleazy, portly man who relied on Powered Armour to be a physical threat. The only consistent attribute was that his face was too homely for the showbizz, but even then artists can't seem to settle on whether he is bald or has a black bowl haircut.
- Distaff Counterpart: His cousin, Maguire, though she committed crimes as a Jack O' Lantern instead of as a female Mysterio.
- Driven to Suicide: During Kevin Smith's Daredevil run, Beck learned he had cancer and wouldn't last long. After making Daredevil's life a living hell, Daredevil defeats him and accuses him of ripping off The Kingpin with his plan to drive Daredevil insane, and repeating a "supernatural intruding upon the real world" scheme he had previously used on J. Jonah Jameson. Subsequently, Beck shoots himself in the head while claiming to steal an idea from Kraven the Hunter.
- Dude, Where's My Respect?: Again during Guardian Devil run, he complains that nobody gave him credits for his inventions about special effects and illusions while everyone knows George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, etc., despite their work, are less impressive.
- Empowered Badass Normal: On occasion Mysterio has drawn power from legitimate magical artifacts.
- Evil Genius: A stuntman who can build his own android doppelgangers and concoct serums for every occasion.
- Faking the Dead: Before his real death, faking it was something of a favorite tactic of Beck's.Mook: D'ya think he's...?
Spider-Man: Please. He's Mysterio. He's probably halfway to Hoboken by now.
- Fishbowl Helmet: He's infamous for the glass helmet he wears that looks like a fish bowl. Although it's used more to protect himself from his own hallucinatory gas.
- Heart Is an Awesome Power: Special effects wizardry may not sound like that great of a supervillain gimmick, but Mysterio's shown time and time again that it can downright deadly in the right hands. One famous issue had him use his effects to nearly push Spidey into a nervous breakdown.
- Glass Cannon: Really good traps, but once he's face to face with Spidey, he tends to have one or two final tricks before going down quickly. This really depends on the writer though. Beck is sometimes depicted as a Badass Normal who can swallow a ridiculous amount of punishment before he even starts to consider falling down.
- Played for Laughs in the Spider-Man 2 video game. When Spider-Man meets Mysterio late in the game, it seems to be the set up for a long drawn-out boss battle (the game gives him about five health bars to diminish). One punch knocks him out.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: He got cancer from overexposure to the materials he used for his illusions.
- Large Ham: Is loud and boastful, true to his origins as a showman, to the point of Spider-Man mocking him for it.
- Legacy Character: Aside from Beck, Daniel Berkhart and Francis Klum each took up the role for a time. The Hobgoblin also sold the identity to an unnamed criminal who subsequently called himself Mysterion.
- Master of Illusion: His specialty and he even uses it as a title. Though his illusions are all based from his previous employment in the special effects industry.
- Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane:
- Was shown as returning via supernatural means with new magical powers before One More Day; post-OMD, he's been sticking to his usual special effects fakery, implying that his demonic phase was more special effects. Writer Dan Slott has thus far refused to say for sure, though.Mysterio: They call me Quentin Beck, the one and only Mysterio. Or maybe the real Beck is dead? I wouldn't trust me on this. I lie about everything.
- The first issue of Nick Spencer's Spider-Man picks this plot thread up again by revealing Mysterio did make a deal with a certain being to get out of Hell, and that said being has grown fed up with Quentin's inability to live up to the deal. It almost drags him back to hell until Mysterio makes one final desperate plea to be given a bit more time.
- Was shown as returning via supernatural means with new magical powers before One More Day; post-OMD, he's been sticking to his usual special effects fakery, implying that his demonic phase was more special effects. Writer Dan Slott has thus far refused to say for sure, though.
- Motive Rant: Has quite a speech about his motives in the finale of the Guardian Devil storyline, and implies that there's more still about just how he became a "monster" who would do all these things. Matt, in keeping with acting utterly unimpressed in this issue, spends most of that same time "rambling about how clever" he is isolating the "hum" of his suit's main battery.
- Not-So-Harmless Villain: Mysterio's rather ridiculous costume and his somewhat weak premise (he's a glorified stage magician with a lot of gadgets) can make him seem like something of a C-Lister, but every now and then he'll be the go-to guy for doing something unexpectedly big to someone else. Such events include Kevin Smith's Daredevil storyline, where a then-dying Mysterio decided to try and drive Daredevil crazy with a ridiculously convoluted scheme because at the time Ben Reilly was Spider-Man, and the dying Mysterio wanted a grand exit and felt it would be wasted on Reilly, who Mysterio had subconsciously picked up was not the original Spider-Man and using a robot avatar to invade the Ultimate Marvel universe and kill Ultimate Wilson Fisk.
- Not to mention the Bad Future What If? Wolverine storyline Old Man Logan, where Mysterio's mastery of special effects reached Game-Breaker levels, in that he was able to manipulate Wolverine, he of the incredible senses and huge amounts of experience with having his head screwed with, into going absolutely crazy and slaughtering the entire X-Men team thinking they were his enemies coming in for a final battle. Not bad for a guy with a fishbowl for a head.
- At the start of Nick Spencer's run, Mysterio stages an 'alien invasion' that nearly overwhelms the entire superhuman community of New York.
- Only in It for the Money: His main motivation for joining up with Doc Ock's current Sinister Six. In Ends of the Earth, once Ock's plan is revealed Spider-Man convinces him to pull a HeelFace Turn, if only for a little bit, due to the fact that the money would be useless should Ock succeed.
- Powered Armor: His suit serves as a containment/protection for his various hologram and gas-based gadgets, but depending on the writer it also had a battery-powered strength-enchancing system. It was far more rudimentary and basic than ones employed by, say, Iron Man.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: When Mysterio learns that he's dying, he launches an Evil Plan to ruin Daredevil's life so that he can basically goad the Man Without Fear into killing him. Daredevil beats Mysterio down, and then verbally tears the plan and Mysterio to pieces.Mysterio: D... Do it, hero... K... Kill me.
Daredevil: I'm not going to give you the satisfaction. You think you can break me? You're a joke and a fraud. Now give me the baby and let's end this.
Mysterio: A... fraud?! I'm... an artist! I n... nearly drove you... insane!
Daredevil: You drugged me and killed people. There's no talent in that... just savagery.
Mysterio: B... but... my dystopian nightmare...
Daredevil: ...Was nothing more than B-Movie material. An amalgam of whorish, clichéd devices. The supernatural intruding on our world? Didn't you use the same schtick on J. Jonah Jameson years ago? And trying to drive me insane? Kingpin nearly did it once. But you're no Kingpin. You're not even close. You think you've spun some sort of grand swan-song epic? Think again. You've just told yet another tale of a so-called super-genius endeavoring to drive his arch-nemesis... or, in this case, his adopted arch-nemesis... insane. Your whole existence is counterfeit. You've never had an original thought in your life. You're a product of too many movies and too much T.V. Regurgitating only what's gone before. You're a Human Xerox, at best.
- Beck then admits that he has one more idea to steal: Kraven's, and shoots himself in the head.