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This Prowler Spiderman Guide is my chance to share an underrated gem in the Marvel Universe.
I have been a Prowler fan since I was a child. I first saw Prowler in the popular 90s Spider-Man cartoon and loved his outfit and design more than anything. I got myself an action figure and was happy to see that this character was not a pure villain. He was complex. As I grew, it was the more complex stories that I fell in love with.
The original Prowler was Hobie Brown. A down-on-his-luck individual who was a down-on-his-luck window washer, who actually made his suit to make his job more manageable. When losing his job and feeling defeated, he decided to go into crime for money. His refusal to hurt anyone during crime would eventually lead to a unique relationship between him and Spider-Man.
The article details Hobie Brown’s journey, but he isn’t the only Prowler.
In the Miles Morales Spider-Man Universe, Aaron Davis. The relationship between Aaron Davis and Miles Morales is vital to that Spider-Man, even the cause of him being Spider-Man.
So, I will get into the detail of both of these Prowlers.
One a criminal of necessity with a heart of gold and the other a criminal by choice with a powerful protective streak. Both are great characters.
Bottom Line Up Front:
This article will give you the history and lowdown of both prominent versions of The Prowler. With it, you can be as efficient as me at parties when random comic book topics come up.
- Not a superhuman or a mutant.
- Olympic-level athletics.
- Gifted martial artist, but not to be compared with characters like Black Widow or Captain America.
- Great at stealth.
- Master thieves.
- Genius Level Intellect.
- Great at suit and weapon design. Designed his own suit with little to work with.
- While not an expert fighter, he does have a green belt in taekwondo and is shown to be very durable.
- First Appearance: Amazing Spider-Man #78, 1969, November
- Also Appears as Hornet in King of Black: Planet of the Symbiotes #2, February 2021
- An expert Marksman, while not on the level of Bullseye, his hit ratio is very high.
- Compared to Hobie, Aaron is arguably a better fight but less durable.
- First Appearance: Ultimate Spider-Man #1 (2011 run, September)
- Also Appears as Iron Spider-Man in Spider-Man #234( November 2017)
The First Prowler
Hobie Brown was caught up in a fight with Daredevil and Stilt-Man. The fight didn’t make him decide to be a hero or criminal. It made him realize he could build a better window washer suit. Hobie is a pretty focused guy.
Creating the suit with claws and special boots for climbing. The cartridges that would one day shoot sleeping pellets and the like were initially made to hold his cleaning capsules.
You see, Hobbie grew up pretty poor as one of many in a big family. So, he was very work-focused. He was driven to try and lift himself out of his own situation, only things kept going wrong for him. The window washing job was lost, and he was low on money.
Realizing that his suit could be used for crime, he resorted to it only after failing to secure more work. Yet, he was determined that even as a criminal, he wouldn’t hurt anyone. So, his cartridges never held anything lethal.
His life of crime was short-lived. He found himself often making the heroic choice, and he and Spider-Man became quite good friends. After resolving some serious trouble with his wife, he laid down the outfit. To make money, he began construction work. Only on rare occasions dawned the Prowler costume only when asked.
The costume, however, was coveted and soon would be stolen.
My Good Friend Spider-Man
A villain duo of Cat (a cat burglar) and Belladonna would steal the coveted Prowler suit. Finding it to be a very useful tool. Peter Parker, the original Spider-Man, had to take on these villains who used the costume created by Hobie Brown for a crime. A crime in which a man was killed. Recognizing differences, Parker would confront Hobie about the situation.
Hobie wanted to help track down Cat Burglar and Belladonna when he learned they had been responsible for killing a guard while wearing his suit. Parker had to convince him how easy it would be for him to get accused of the crime. Hobie reluctantly agreed.
Eventually, Spider-Man stops the villains and returns the suit to Hobie. Being a poor kid in New York, Parker always showed much respect to Hobie. Hobie represented a lot of what Peter wanted to use his powers for. To help the good people out there that get dealt a bad hand. The Prowler suit wouldn’t disappear, but it would be a while before we saw it again.
When we did, Hobie would make sure it was for heroism.
Prowler didn’t fade into the background of occasional Spider-Man ally, no. Throughout the years, he popped up here and there, teaming up and working for Silver Sable, most notably. It is in the Web of Spider-Man pages, for several years, that Prowler found himself as a prominent member of a team known as The Outlaws.
A ragtag band of former criminals out to redeem themselves found themselves on the trail of Spider-Man after it seemed the web crawler had turned to a life of crime.
The original team consisted of Puma, Rocket Racer, Will-O’-The-Wisp, and our boy Prowler. With occasional in-fighting and difficulty agreeing on Spider-Man’s guilt, things started to look incriminating for the red and blue hero.
Puma tracked Spider-Man to learn that he was working with Sable, and things cooled down. The group seemed to fade into the background for a while. But they would come to call when needed most.
The next time Spider-Man would need the group, Sandman was a part of it. This Sandman was a plant and betrayed them. Through the betrayal, they could see a greater threat, Space Phantom.
The fallout of trying to stop this entity ended up pitting Spider-Man and The Outlaws against Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. The Avengers.
Though they didn’t win, they held their own long enough for Puma to expose the Space Phantom as the real threat.
The group had a small run with Silver Sable after. They helped Spider-Man once or twice but not much other to note in their short-lived lore.
The Outlaws remain a small and distant part of Modern Marvel lore.
A Rough Patch
Prowler and his friend from The Outlaws, Rocket Racer, staged a fight not long after The Outlaw’s activity dwindled. A focus on Silver Sable and her Wild Pack was a bit more prevalent.
The problem, during the incident, El Toro Negro attacked Prowler and Racer. The Prowler was left paralyzed. It seemed Hobie was off the shelf for good.
Rehabilitation went well, it seemed, as he reared his head back during the Marvel Civil War storyline. He was on the side that refused to register. This led to him getting arrested just after coming back to action. He, along with others, managed to escape prison.
He could be seen fighting in the final throw-down of the Super Hero Registration Act story.
Hobie Brown and Peter Parker’s friendship would bring him back into the spotlight.
Into the Fire
Parker started up his company in the comics known as Parker Industries. One of the first hires, he thought of none other than Hobie Brown.
Prowler’s mind was a great asset, but so were his other skills. While working for Peter Parker, he helped him out by impersonating Spider-Man to help hide his secret identity. They had a good thing going until a bad thing came along.
Prowler infiltrated New U Technologies under Parker’s request to ensure they weren’t doing anything shady. Turns out they were. They were planning on giving Electro back his powers.
Through some shenanigans, Electro’s girlfriend ended up with the powers instead. Prowler was caught trying to get out and warn Spider-Man. He was electrocuted nearly to death, but that wasn’t the worst of it.
His burnt body was found by The Jackal. The Jackal is a nasty villain, and this was no exception to his cruelty. He restored Hobie’s body only so he could clone him and send the clone as a spy into Parker Industries.
When all things finally came to a close and Hobie was rescued, he decided it was time to leave Parker’s side. Spidey had got too comfortable sending Hobie into the fray. One might forget that Hobie Brown is just a man with a suit.
Though it was an amicable parting, it felt like a lasting one.
Hobie Brown would return as Hornet in his next significant endeavor. The mask is still very much Prowler-inspired. Hornet is the current standard for the character. He assisted in the Knull invasion and began working alongside Ricochet at Beyond. He may not get a solo run again anytime soon as Hornet, but don’t count him out.
He’s a strong character just waiting for the right writer to turn him into a standalone star.
As a child, I was introduced to Hobie’s story via the 90s cartoon, “Spider-Man: The Animated Series.” Where they didn’t just tackle poverty and his struggle with it but how his color often made it more likely for him to be accused of a crime.
I had never considered it before, and it was my first brush with the topic. Growing up in a white family with a mother who was adamant about loving everyone, I hadn’t seen or been around much negative treatment. Especially not for superficial reasons such as color, gender, or personal likes.
Eventually, moving to the inner city, I found this situation more common than I had noticed when we were secluded. I was surprised this character wasn’t more popular.
The cartoon Hobie Brown and The Prowler character attacked this issue with grace and power long before it was a social media storm. Children like myself, who would otherwise be detached from these struggles for not having experienced them, could sympathize. Here was a good man trying to do the right thing, even when it was hard. Even when society seemed quick to blame him for problems that we knew he had nothing to do with.
Hopefully, the Hobie Brown version of Prowler will become a more prominent film character one day because of this.
Aaron Davis has the unique trait of being in both the original Peter Parker Universe and the Miles Morales Universe.
The difference? In Miles Morales’s Universe, he is The Prowler. In Parker’s, not so much.
However, he gets a lot of time in the comics during Miles Morale’s run as Spider-Man. Because if it wasn’t for Aaron Davis, Miles Morales would never have become Spider-Man.
Miles is his nephew. When his brother gave up a life of crime, Aaron didn’t. He is good at it, has little to no problem committing it if he thinks it’ll help him or his family, and even robbed Oscorp.
Guess what hitched a ride with him when he decided to pilfer the big company? That’s right, a radio-active Spider. Guess who it bit? Yep, his nephew.
This Prowler is Spider-Man’s uncle. Does that stop him from committing a crime? Sometimes, but also not really. He tries not to get into confrontations with his nephew, but the conflict is inevitable.
On a few occasions, he has been thwarted by Miles. Once, however, he beat that nephew of his pretty bad.
Showing that on the tier of strength, Aaron Davis is more dangerous than the good-hearted Hobie.
Intense Story Beats
Aaron Davis is a crucial integer to Miles Morales. Without this version of the Prowler, there is no Miles as Spider-Man. Not just because of the spider but because of so much more.
The Tinkerer, at one point, learns of Miles Morales’s identity as Spider-Man along with Aaron. What is the result of them discovering this? Aaron Davis kills him to keep the secret.
Finding himself in a corner against Scorpion, Aaron resorts to blackmailing his nephew into helping him fight the villain. Threatening to reveal his true identity if Spider-Man doesn’t assist him. When this worked, Aaron found having Spider-Man on his side too good to pass up.
Attempting to blackmail him further resulted in a deep cut to their relationship. Miles gave Aaron a choice, leave New York City and stay away from the family forever or be taken down. Prowler, with some new Vibro-shock gloves, went over the edge.
In a brutal fight, he nearly killed his nephew. The gloves, however, exploded, and Aaron was the one who suffered. It was a hard loss for Miles, and his uncle’s message about them being alike troubled him.
How could he be like his villainous uncle? Perhaps, it was because they would both do anything for their family. Yet, Aaron was dead. He died trying to kill Miles, and it was hard for Miles not to carry that loss.
It was, after all, only when The Prowler was faced with never seeing any family again that he almost went too far. It didn’t matter if there was redemption possible. What mattered was if Miles believed he could have found another way.
Miles was indirectly responsible for the death of his uncle. He would never forget the moment or the words.
The Iron Spider
When the Multiverse was reborn, so was Aaron. He had died, and being reborn didn’t really make him different. He just decided he needed better gear.
From Prowler to Iron Spider was the leap. He bought the Iron Spider suit off the black marker and reformed the Sinister Six.
In an intense fight, Miles unmasked his uncle. Be struck in awe at the sight, he couldn’t believe that Aaron would again choose crime after being given a second chance at life. Aaron gave him the usual warning to stay away, but he should know better.
Miles confronted them again, and a big fight broke out with Latverian soldiers. Once again, Aaron fell seemingly to his death. This time though, he didn’t actually die.
Finally, years later, in comic canon, Aaron Davis found his nephew. He had given up a life of crime and wanted to thank Miles. He sold the Iron Spider uniform back to Tony Stark and began to reform himself.
Some villains had other plans. Tombstone, for instance, attempted to recruit him. Aaron resisted these advances.
In fact, Aaron was able to avoid a life of crime up until a point. That point? When Miles was kidnapped. Without the means to really rescue him, he had to become The Prowler again.
Aaron isn’t Hobie, though, and he couldn’t build a suit. This means he needed to obtain one. No longer a wealthy enough man to buy something strong enough to rescue his nephew, he agreed to do some heists to pay off the cost of the costume.
I guess it is in the word; cost-tume. Some just have a heavier price.
Some good came from this. Aaron and his brother worked together to try and rescue Miles, even if it didn’t go as planned. Eventually, it was a success, and the family could start mending fences.
However, Prowler quitting crime wasn’t well received after he reminded people what good he could be for them.
Aaron Davis, The Prowler, will likely always be balancing on a wire between two sides of a coin known as villain and hero. Whether by his own choice or the forced hand of others.
Did you notice that a certain Donald Glover plays a very reasonable criminal who buys alien tech in the Spider-Man films with Tom Holland?
That criminal’s name just happens to be Aaron Davis. It is the only live-action iteration of The Prowler to date. Let’s hope it isn’t the last. This isn’t Donald’s only appearance in a Spider-Man franchise, either.
Funny enough, he is the voice of Miles Morales in Ultimate Spider: Web Warriors. Donald Glover is a big fan of Spider-Man, comics, and perhaps all things geek. You can find him popping up in Fortnite, including a remix version of his own song, “This is America,” as “This is Fortnite.”
Though it does not appear he will reprise a role as Prowler. He is working with Sony on a film about a lesser-known villain Hypno-Hustler. The villain uses music to hypnotize, so I can see why he may be drawn to the character. Nonetheless, it still leaves this writer hoping for a Prowler somewhere down the line.
The Aaron Davis Prowler isn’t regulated to comics.
Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse
In the film, his relationship with Miles is similar to the comics. Having a closer relationship with his nephew Miles, though.
Aaron is one of the film’s main antagonists and gives all the Spider-Man versions a hard time. When Miles learns of his identity, it nearly breaks his heart. In an intense confrontation late into the film, Miles has to fight Prowler as Spider-Man. This version of Aaron didn’t know that Miles was Spider-Man, but upon learning this found himself conflicted.
When Kingpin orders him to finish off Miles, the Prowler can’t do it. Angry at this, Kingpin catches Aaron off guard and shoots him. As Aaron dies, he encourages Miles to continue down his chosen path. With an apology, he lets Miles know how proud he is of him. It’s an intense moment, and though his time was short, that version of The Prowler was handled very well.
You can acquire Aaron Davis as a playable character in Fortnite. That could be why Donald Glover did the song. Who knows? In any case, he’s quite the addition. In Chapter 3, Season 2 of the game, you can find him. You need to purchase the Battle Pass and finish the Prowler Challenges to unlock him, though.
It’s mostly just the cool outfit. It does come with a special Harvester and Glider with the Prowler colors and style added to them. It also gives you a nice emote, loading screen, and emoticon, all Prowler themed.
Spider-Man: Miles Morales Video Game
Aaron Davis is consistent throughout the game. For most of it, he is an ally and a friend, but as usual, eventually, Miles has to face him. Prowler is not an easy fight, but you are pretty ready for it when it happens. The challenge during combat comes from him occasionally going invisible. He also does more than throw kicks and claws. He can launch projectile attacks against you.
I found pressing the attack to be effective, taking only a brief pause when he went invisible to avoid a projectile strike. He is far from the most challenging fight in the game, but the story between him and Miles is one of the best. Making his inclusion a great layer to the story.
Expect to see more of Prowler in games and media as his character has grown in popularity.
Suggest Prowler Reading
- Prowler: The Clone Conspiracy (2016-2017)
- Prowler Volume 1 #1-4 (1994-1995)
- The Spectacular Spider-Man #170
- The Sinister Six: Reborn (Spider-Man issues 234-239, 2016)
- Prowler(Hobie) married his long-time love Mindy, who almost got framed for a crime by nonother than Justin Hammer(Iron Man’s long-time enemy). He and Spider-Man cleared her name.
- Hobie Brown was an active participant in the ‘Big Brother’ program, helping out troubled youth. In a sad comic arc, his little brother in the program was killed by a night watchman long before these types of incidents were given extensive press coverage.
- Hobie once gave up being The Prowler because he was unable to meet the requirements to join The Defenders.
- Aaron Davis is one of the few characters in Marvel who is aware of his own place in the Multiverse.
I bid you adieu, faithful readers. Prowler has been one of my favorite characters for a long time. I’m glad I could share a good chunk of his lore with you.
Check out more of the site for other character depths, and more lore from my fellow comic book nerds turned writers.
Take care, true believers.
Question: Does Prowler have Superpowers?
Answer: No. Prowler doesn’t even really have formal training. He learned all his skills the hard way.
Question: Is The Prowler a Spider-Man Villain?
Answer: Yes and No. In many ways, Aaron Davis can be considered a key villain in Miles Morales’s story. Yet, with even a small stint of crime under his belt, Hobie Brown is very much a hero.
Question: Why do The Prowler and Spawn Look Alike?
Answer: Prowler has been around longer than Spawn, as you know. What you may not know is they share a common artist. Todd McFarlane, the creator of Spawn, also penciled the original design for the Prowler outfit back in 1969. He has stated that Spawn’s design was inspired by his work on The Prowler.