- "What do you want me to say? That I came from a broken home? That my pops taught me to boost cars when I should have been playing with toy ones? Okay, yeah, I did and he did. But that don't mean anything in the end."
- — Joshua Perry
Joshua Caleb Perry was born in Chicago, Illinois, the first child of James and Margaret Perry. His father was a career criminal, in and out of prison multiple times already, and his mother was a woman who had been enamored of his father's seemingly roguish activities. She worked as a waitress and a secretary to make ends meet. Joshua was introduced to his father's work when he was five, when he saw his father arrested and put on trial. Though he barely remembered it, he remembered not being able to see his father again for another year and a half. When his father got out, he refused to change his ways, but Joshua got a younger sister during that stint of being a free man, Temperance, putting more pressure on James to provide.
James introduced his son to his trade when Joshua was eight, boosting cars. The Perry Car Ring as dubbed by the newspapers was one of the largest grand theft auto rings in Chicago. Before his legs were able to touch the pedals, Joshua knew how to break into any car and disable the alarms. His father did the driving, but not for too long.
By now his mother was rather upset with his father for the lifestyle they were leading and she pressured him to stop. She told him the family couldn't live like this. Margaret turned to drinking and chain smoking to deal with the stress. The one thing James did do was open a small repair shop but it was often used as a front. Joshua never got caught, his father ensuring his son got away. Perry did alright in school, but lacked interest. He worked in the repair shop where he learned how to fix and build them. Some of the mechanics taught him how to race and by the time he was twelve he was able to race very well.
When Joshua was fourteen, and Temperance seven, they came home one day to find their father had been arrested after a chase through Chicago. Unfortunately, the police had performed a PIT maneuver, and James' car had spun dangerously out of control. The ensuing crash put James in the Intensive Care Unit, and he died a day later.
Becoming a Man
- "You always have a choice, remember that. Nobody makes you do nothing you don't want to, okay?"
- — Joshua Perry to Margaret and Patricia McGee
Everyone in the family took the death hard, Margaret Perry the hardest, pushing her to drink and smoke even more. The children's maternal grandmother came to help and by the time Joshua turned sixteen, he was ready to drop out of school. His mother insisted he stay in, but after he completed his junior year, he left. To ensure his family was taken care of, he went to work in one of the local automotive shops and raced cars on the side. He slowly worked on his own car, an old Camaro his father had had and did his best in the races.
He pushed his sister to finish her schooling, and he turned to the trade his father had taught him when he reached eighteen. Joshua met likeminded people through his street racing and he slowly put together a team. Getting his GED at his mother’s insistence, he enrolled in night schools at his local community college. But soon all of his efforts ended, turning directly to a life of crime. He started to rack up a number of cases against him and he had a good relationship with the Chicago underworld.
Around this time he met Eve Hartfield, someone from out of town, but like him, coming from a bit of a broken home. She knew a great deal about cars. As they started to work together, there was a definite attraction. When Joshua was twenty, the two started dating and she became a part of the crew. As he started to recruit more and more members, their heists became bigger and bolder.
But he was attracting attention from two dangerous groups, the police and the mob. The police were something he had dealt with his whole life and was nothing new. However, the mob attention was something his father had dealt with, but had kept Joshua from, so it was new. They made him an offer, for members of his crew to be drivers on various jobs. They also offered a steady demand for cars from Joshua's chop shop. Joshua was okay with this, but there were other parts he was not as comfortable with. They wanted the members to help transport drugs and heavily taxed but legal items.
For Perry, his decision was simple. He didn't want the deal if drugs were involved. But then his mother died, while driving drunk. Then, Temperance fell for a guy much like him and started talking about eloping. He needed to be able to provide and he wanted to give them a good life. Eve told him that she was pregnant and that sealed the deal, making him agree with the plan once he learned Temperance was pregnant as well.
Things Fall Apart
- "Foreman, how do you find the defendant?"
- — Judge Ackerman and Foreman
Things were good for a while. Temperance gave birth while Eve miscarried. Temperance was experiencing problems with her husband, Aiden McGee, and with the subsequent birth of her second child, Joshua's second niece, Margaret, Aiden left the family. This strained Joshua who had his sister move into the old family house. The two little ones took to him and he loved them a lot. For a few years things were good and the money was rolling in. They were doing a lot of jobs but had gained a wide amount of notoriety. Luckily, there was always only circumstantial evidence that tied him to the crimes, nothing concrete.
Unfortunately things fell apart. The police were able to get someone to turn state's evidence and grabbed a lot of members of the Perry Auto Ring, including Joshua. As Joshua was being arrested, Eve freaked and ran. Despite her kids being so young, Temperance did what she could, visiting him while he awaited trial. The whole process was turned into a big production by the media. This was the biggest grand theft ring in the city, after all. With his court appointed lawyer, Joshua set about to do battle with the Assistant District Attorney assigned to the case, the formidable Angela Mancini.
But he was already done with the case in his mind. He knew they were going to convict him and he knew he was guilty so it made sense for him to pay. Perry was never someone who had made excuses for his life and the things he did. Everything was a choice and he had chosen to commit the crimes, despite his good intentions.
Joshua was sentenced to five years in prison, to pay for his crimes.
The time he spent there was educational, and Joshua was determined to come out of it a better man. One of the local parishes had a mission set up where their parish priest would come through at least once a week and talk to any inmates who wanted to talk to him. The priest also brought them the Eucharist if they wanted and heard confessions. The priest, Father Benjamin Rivers, took an interest in Joshua to help her turn his life around.
Reading up on everything he could, Joshua was guided by a man in the prison who everyone simply called the Old Man. He was there for multiple life sentences, so the story went. The Old Man had never revealed to anyone what exactly had brought on the life sentences or why he was in Stateville, as opposed to a more secure facility. He never told Joshua either. But he counseled the younger man. The Old Man had actually known James Perry, Joshua’s father, having served time with him at one point. The two had been decent friends and seeing his friend’s son in prison with him had hurt him. So he’d done his best to help get Joshua started on a better path in life.
They’d talked, for hours. Joshua had somehow found himself transferred into the Old Man’s cell, speaking volumes on the pull that Old Man had in the prison system. They discussed a number of topics such as morality, ethics, philosophy. He gave Perry a challenge, giving him a two word phrase and telling him to define it. Renaissance man. And then he’d given him a book, a classic that would help Joshua on his path. A well known book, one he’d read way back in high school. Though he’d never paid attention to it then, now the pages seemed to speak about him and to his problem.
The Count of Monte Cristo.
He saw a lot of Edmund Dantes in himself and that challenged him to become a better person.
- "Temp. You came."
"I told you I would. Every time I came to visit, I told you I’d be here today."
- — Joshua Perry and Temperance McGee
Time passed and eventually Joshua was released. His sister was there to meet him, with his two nieces. Going home was strange for Joshua, but he had his plan for what he was going to do with his life. He and the Old Man had worked out a few things, and the Old Man's connections were rather extensive. They included getting Joshua a job as a custodian at the Van Buren Research Building, managed by Dr. Brandon Kessler. Securing the job was important and Joshua had one part of his plan down. The Van Buren Research Buidling was a collective of different scientists and researchers from a number of different disciplines and schools of thought, brought together to conduct studies and to blaze trails in their respective fields. They collaborated and worked together as a group, each bringing a different perspective to the table. The job was only the first step. After working there for a few months, Joshua spoke to Dr. Kessler and found out that having Joshua hold the job was a test by the Old Man. Joshua had passed and was now getting more help from the Old Man. Still marveling at the Old Man's connections, Joshua accepted his friend's assistance.
The Old Man's connections had helped Joshua get into the University of Chicago, as well as a monthly amount of money that would allow him to move out of the family home and have a place for himself. While Joshua might have had a few misgivings about the source of the money, as after all, the Old Man had been in prison himself, he had come to trust the Old Man and view him as a mentor. He had been there for Joshua when no one else had and had refused to give up on the younger man.
While out on a drive trying to clear his thoughts about where the money was coming from, Joshua found himself instinctively driving near where his old garage used to be. Near there, he found an old warehouse where a lot of the street racing started from. There were still people there, and he ran into an old friend of his, someone who had never visited him while he had been in prison. Gregory Wells invited Joshua to come and catch up with the people who Joshua had used to hang around with, but Joshua declined. Gregory asked him again, this time saying that he felt bad about never visiting and that this was his way of trying to make amends. Joshua agreed to go to the party. While he was there, he found out that they were going to have a few races and wanted to leave, not wanting to get caught back up with the old crowd. But then Gregory told him that the Latin Disciples had come in to Chicago and had taken over large parts of the gang activity in the city. Gregory also wanted Joshua to meet with a mid level member of the gang.
Joshua refused and left the party.
- "It’s in your blood, man. What the hell else are you going to do with your life? You’re one of us, no matter how hard you try to run and be clean. You always will be."
- — Gregory Wells to Joshua Perry
A few weeks later, Joshua was working late night at the Van Buren building when he would find something incredibly interesting and incredibly dangerous.
Information Coming Soon
- Superhuman Strength: The Scarlet Spider possessed the proportionate strength of a spider, granting him superhuman strength. He was capable of lifting 10 tons or more when under extreme duress.
- Superhuman Stamina: The Scarlet Spider is able to exert himself at peak capacity for several hours before fatigue begins to impair his performance.
- Superhuman Durability: The composition of the Scarlet Spider's skeleton, inter-connected tissues, and nervous system had all been enhanced. His bodily tissues were more durable and resistant to impact or trauma than an ordinary human, although he was certainly not invulnerable. He can withstand impacts, such as falling from several stories, being repeatedly struck with superhuman force or by several powerful energy blasts, that would severely injure or kill a normal human with little to no injury himself. However, if injured, his body is capable of repairing itself somewhat faster than an ordinary human is capable of.
- Superhuman Agility: The Scarlet Spider was extraordinarily limber and his tendons and connective tissues were twice as elastic as the average human being's, despite their enhanced strength.
- Spider-Senses: The Scarlet Spider possesses an extrasensory "danger" or "spider" sense which warned him of potential immediate danger by the manifestation of a tingling sensation in the back of his skull, and links with his superhuman kinesthetics, which enabled him to evade most any injuries, unless he cognitively overrode his automatic reflexes. The precise nature of this sense is unknown. It appeared to be a simultaneous clairvoyant response to a wide variety of phenomena (everything from falling safes to speeding bullets to thrown punches), which had given several hundredths of a second warning, which was sufficient time for his reflexes to allow him to avoid injury. The sense also could create a general response on the order of several minutes: he could not discern the nature of the threat by the sensation. He could, however, discern the severity of the danger by the strength of his response to it. The Scarlet Spider's spider-sense was directional and could guide him to or away from hidden weapons and enemies. Sudden and extreme threats could cause his spider-sense to react with painful intensity. The Scarlet Spider could also sense and dodge attacks directed randomly or by a computer. Using his spider-sense to time his enhanced reflexes, the Scarlet Spider could casually dodge attacks up to and including automatic-weapons fire, provided there was sufficient distance. His spider-sense was sufficiently well-linked to his reflexes to the point that a threat could trigger them even when the Scarlet Spider was asleep or stunned. His spider-sense had helped him preserve his secret identity since it alerts him to observers or camera when changing into or out of his costume. The spider-sense did react to those who Ben does not consider to be a threat. The Scarlet Spider could choose to ignore his spider-sense, and distraction or fatigue diminished its effectiveness. The Scarlet Spider's fighting style incorporates the advantage that his "spider-sense" provides him.
- Superhuman Reflexes: The Scarlet Spider's reflexes were faster than an average human by about a factor of 15 (he was often able to dodge bullets, if he was far enough away). His practical reaction time was at least a dozen times that of a normal human. In combination with his spider-sense, the speed of his reflexes allowed him to dodge almost any attack, or even gunfire, if he was far enough away.
- Superhuman Equilibrium: The Scarlet Spider possessed the ability to achieve a state of perfect equilibrium in any position imaginable. He seemed able to adjust his position by instinct, which enabled him to balance himself on virtually any object, no matter how small or narrow. He had developed a unique fighting style that made full use of his agility, strength, and equilibrium.
- Wall-Crawling: The Scarlet Spider possessed the ability to mentally control the flux of inter-atomic attraction (electrostatic force) between molecular boundary layers. This overcame the outer electron shell's normal behavior of mutual repulsion with other outer electron shells and permitted the tremendous potential for electron attraction to prevail. The mentally controlled sub-atomic particle responsible for this has yet to be identified. This ability to affect the attraction between surfaces was so far limited to the Scarlet Spider's body (especially concentrated in his hands and feet) and another object, with an upper limit of several tons per finger. Limits to this ability seemed to be psychosomatic, and the full nature of this ability has yet to be established.
- Biological/Organic Webbing Generation: Joshua has the ability to organically produce his own silk webbing from glands within his forearms, limited by his body's health and nutrition.
- Genius-level Intellect: Joshua is very intelligent, but has proven in the past that while he can get exceptional grades, his mind is better applied to criminal enterprises.
- Expert-level Mechanic: Raised by his father to boost and repair cars, Joshua has extensive working experience with cars and trucks and knows a large amount when it comes to them.
- Experienced Fighter: Growing up in the tough parts of Chicago, Joshua learned from an early age how to protect himself. He knows kickboxing and some Modern Army Combatives that he picked up from a fellow inmate during his time spent in prison.
Joshua is a convicted felon and as such has a number of limitations placed on him by the city of Chicago.
A list of past and present threads in which Joshua has been present or made an appearance.
- Genesis: Scarlet Spider: Rise Above (First Appearance as Scarlet Spider)
- Tangled in the Web (One Shot) (First Appearance as Joshua Perry)