Con man. Illusionist. Attempted murderer. Corny goofball. All of these descriptions apply to Quentin Beck, our favorite fishbowl sporting nutcase. To be honest, I kind of like Beck. His powers may not be genuine or innate, but they are dangerous enough to be a real threat to Spider-Man. Say what you will about him, but Beck's illusions, robots and hypnotism have fooled Peter, Ben Reilly and countless others for years. As Beck would doubtless tell you himself, he is a one of a kind performance artist.
He also has very few original ideas. Not a good thing for a showman.
Example One: "Dr. Ludwig Rinehart"
Way back in Amazing Spider-Man #24, Beck played the part of Dr. Rinehart, a psychiatrist from Europe who claimed that he could cure Spider-Man of his schizophrenia and save New York from his super powered menace. Jameson ate it up with a spoon. Peter almost fell for Beck's illusions of his "schizophrenia" and nearly revealed his ID to the doctor. Jameson and Flash Thompson interrupted and interfered with Beck's plan.
Flash forward several years to Amazing Spider-Man #196. Beck is conning the residents of a nursing home out of their life savings and property. The alias he used? Dr. Ludwig Rinehart. Luckily for Mysterio, Peter was too despondent over Aunt May's alleged death to remember the name of the fraud doctor.
Example Two: Taking a Cue from Norman Osborn
Now, if you are going to steal an idea from someone, the Green Goblin isn't a terrible choice. In Osborn's very first battle with Spider-Man as the Goblin in Amazing Spider-Man #14, he fooled Spidey into going to Hollywood to film a movie with him and get paid big bucks. What he didn't tell Spidey is that the Enforcers would also be there and it was all a trap.
In The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #4, Spider-Man and the Human Torch were invited via a radio broadcast to come to Hollywood to star in a movie. The Torch attacked Spider-Man suddenly while on the set, leading up to a brawl. What Peter and Johnny didn't know was, you guessed it, it was a trap set by Mysterio and the Wizard. At least Wizard is a small step up from the Enforcers.
Example Two and a Half: Again with the Human Torch?
Beck really, really must want to see Spidey as a charred pile of ash. With new, advanced illusion technology, Mysterio entertained himself in Amazing Spider-Man #407 with a scene of the Torch reducing Ben Reilly's body to cinders.
Ok, so Torch and Spidey didn't meet and fight it out like they had in Hollywood but of all the heroes and villains that Beck could have chosen, he went with Johnny again? Dude, the plan failed. Move on.
Example Three: I Said Move On!
Man, Beck just cannot let go of his past failures. When Peter was in college, he was seemingly shrunk to 6 inches tall by Mysterio in Amazing Spider-Man #66. Spidey was apparently in a deadly, tiny model of an amusement park and faced a giant Quentin Beck. Of course, being this was Mysterio he was against, Spider-Man hadn't been shrunk at all but was really in a life size booby trapped amusement park filled with robots.
Move up to Amazing Spider-Man #413. Ben Reilly wakes up in a giant glass jar being held by a giant young boy. After he escapes the jar, he fights his way through the kid's murderous toys. Again, like the first time Beck pulled this trick, Ben figured out that he wasn't tiny and that Mysterio was watching from a nearby control room.
Example Four: Borrowing Kraven's Death Scene
Gotta hand it to Daredevil, he nailed Mysterio on this one. After defeating a supposedly dying Quentin Beck, he tells Mysterio that despite thinking that he is a great illusionist, he really doesn't have an ounce of originality. Beck says he is right and says he stole his death scene from Kraven the Hunter before shooting himself in the head.
Wow, he even came right out and said it. That is truly a low point in an entertainer's career. Its funny how he went on in Amazing Spider-Man #413 about how he is a "master showman" and yet he hardly had anything new up his green sleeves.
Maybe he just saw his recycling of his old crimes as a remake? Typical Hollywood...