No Way Home Trailer’s Secret Villain Reference, Explained

The release of the epic Spider-Man: No Way Home trailer has had the internet buzzing with excitement. With iconic villains returning from both Sam Raimi and Marc Webb's Spider-Man films, fans have been analyzing and inspecting each frame to see easter eggs and references in the latest film within the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  One interesting easter egg in the trailer seems to be hinting at a surprising Spider-Man villain, and it may be his weirdest and most random one to date.

While Spider-Man is fighting Doc Ock, the tentacular menace throws a car that has the license plate ASM 8183. "ASM" is an often-used acronym for Amazing Spider-Man, Spidey’s premier title since the character’s appearance 50 years ago. The numbers, therefore, may imply issues 81 and 83, the first of these if the issue we're exploring here, and was the first appearance of perhaps Spidey's zaniest villain... the Kangaroo?

Related: Spider-Man: How a Marvel Movie Villain Became a Better Kingpin Than Wilson Fisk

Now, we should start by saying "ASM 8183" may be an indirect reference to Electro, who is confirmed to be in the film, and will be portrayed by Jamie Foxx, as he was in Amazing Spider-Man 2. His first appearance was in Amazing Spider-Man #82, so it's sandwiched between them -- a reference within two references, if you will. That said, why wouldn't the trailer structure the tease in the same way Spider-Man: Far From Home did back in 2019, which used ASM28965 on Nick Fury's plate?

Incidentally, that was a reference to Molten Man, who first appears in Amazing Spider-Man #28 in 1965. Far From Home's trailer went on to tease villains like Hydro-Man, but the allusions were all illusions in the film by its main antagonist, Mysterio. As such, Kangaroo and Amazing Spider-Man #83's villain debut, The Schemer, may just be feints or, again, the bread in Electro's reference sandwich. Just in case they're not, though, let's take a look at the weird and wild Spidey villain, The Kangaroo!

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In his debut appearance, Frank Oliver, aka the Kangaroo, was a former boxer who possessed abilities similar to a kangaroo, having lived with the animals in Australia when he was growing up. Fleeing his native land after seriously injuring another fighter, he made a life for himself in America but soon turned to crime. Just before getting deported,Oliver was able to escape and steal a harmful bacteria sample from a lab, before he is stopped by Spider-Man.

The Kangaroo would go onto battle Spider-Man again in Amazing Spider-Man #126 by Gerry Conway and Ross Andru, where he undergoes surgery to enhance his abilities. In both of his first two appearances, the Kangaroo is able to go toe-to-toe with Spider-Man and is actually a physical challenge for the wall-crawler. The character died in his second appearance, via radioactive room explosion, forcing Spider-Man to use a door to shield himself and others from the blast.

Oliver’s death would inspire a second Kangaroo, Brian Hibbs, to take up the mantle. An interior decorator turned villain, who is also Australian, Dibbs would end up becoming less of a formidable opponent to New York’s heroes than his predecessor. His first outing against Spider-Man results in the web-slinger knocking him out in a single punch, with Spidey lamenting why anyone would adopt the persona of one of his more ridiculous enemies. The new Kangaroo would eventually join other ridiculed villains such as the Grizzly, the Spot, and Gibbon to form the "Spider-Man Revenge Squad." This group is short-lived, though, as after Spider-Man lets them think they have beaten him, they all begin infighting, with Grizzly and Gibbon helping Spidey apprehend Kangaroo and the Spot.

Related: The Queen Goblin: Who Could the New Spider-Man Menace Be?

Hibbs' Kangaroo would go on to make occasional appearances in Spider-Man and other related Marvel comics, often as a joke criminal that is easily subdued. Frank Oliver would be resurrected twice in the form of clones. The first was in Deadpool Vol. 3 #0 by Joe Kelly and Yancey Labat, where he was disposed of with a single shot. The second was by the Jackal in Prowler Vol. 2 #2 by Sean Ryan and Jamal Campbell, but died of clone degeneration at the end.

Given the Kangaroo is not a major Spider-Man villain, it is unlikely he will become a major antagonist in the MCU. However, the jokey nature of the character and his comical name would make the Kangaroo a perfect comedy foil for Spider-Man or another hero to face in a minor appearance. Considering the MCU is well known for its sense of humor, adding joke villains for heroes to quickly dispose of would be perfectly in line with the tone the franchise has kept up over the years. And besides, having the Kangaroo officially join the MCU, while something of a jump, would certainly be fun for deeper cut Spidey fans.

KEEP READING: Spider-Man Confirms a WandaVision Hero Is Fighting Their Own Secret War

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Tommy Ebbs (13 Articles Published)

Tommy Ebbs is a writer and journalist obsessed with comic books, novels, films, anime, and just about anything to do with pop culture. Based in London with an MA in Media and Communications, he scours the internet looking for anything interesting to write for. When he's not busy writing, he can normally be found at home with a novel or comic book in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other. Follow him on Twitter at @barbosaslam19

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