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You! You weren't there for me, Abe! You were supposed to protect me! Dad was gone! Mom was lost in an alcohol haze. All I had to protect me was you! And you weren't there! That's it! That's why I really want to be a hero! The Prowler gives me control over my own life-- and power. Power I can use to protect the helpless.
~ Hobie to Abe.

The Prowler is a fictional character, a superhero appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Created by writer-editor Stan Lee, John Buscema and Jim Mooney, Prowler made his first appearance in The Amazing Spider-Man #78. While several other characters have also taken up the character's identity, the first version developed a high-tech battle suit in order to start a life of crime until Spider-Man convinces him to turn his life around.

Biography

Hobie Brown

Hobie Brown was born in the Bronx, New York. He was a bright but angry teenage African-American who got fired from his window washer job. Intending to use his engineering skills for personal profit, he devised a plan to steal items while disguised as a supervillain and then return them as Hobie.

Donning his green and purple "Prowler" costume for the first time, Hobie set out to rob the payroll office of the Daily Bugle, figuring that that would garner him quick publicity. However, he was caught in the act by Peter Parker. While struggling with Peter, he drew the attention of editor J. Jonah Jameson. Parker, with no way to defeat Prowler without giving away his own secret identity, contrived to get thrown through a window during the struggle, and used his spider-powers to save himself once outside. Traumatized by the events, a shaken Hobie made his escape to the roof of the building, only to be confronted by Spider-Man. Spider-Man vanquished and unmasked Hobie, but realizing he was just a misunderstood kid (much like the web-slinger himself), Spider-Man gave him advice not to throw his life away as a criminal and to redeem himself. Hobie took this advice to heart and has since become a model citizen. Hobie later impersonated Spider-Man at the hero's request - Spider-Man wearing a webbing mask - to convince Peter's friends that he was not Spider-Man after Peter 'confessed' the truth while suffering delirium due to the flu, thus creating the impression that Peter had merely been confused. Hobie became convinced that Spider-Man was involved somehow in police Captain George Stacy's death, and unsuccessfully tried to bring Spider-Man to justice. Hobie eventually married his love, Mindy S. McPherson, and settled down into a career as a construction worker.

Brown began to look after his 'little brother' Manuel "Manny" Lopez as a part of the Big Brother Program. When Manny was murdered, Prowler believed the original White Tiger (Hector Ayala) was responsible and attempted to bring White Tiger to justice. Prowler attempted to join the super-hero group the Defenders only to be tossed into the harbor by Valkyrie at which point he decided to retire his identity. However, Brown's Prowler equipment is later stolen by the "Cat Burglar" to commit crimes for fashion criminal Bella Donna. Brown was eager to join the search for the thieves but Spider-Man insisted that he stay home so he would not get into trouble since the second Prowler had committed a felony murder. When the second Prowler was subsequently defeated by Spider-Man, the stolen equipment was returned to Brown.

Prowler later appeared in California during Peter's "Webs" book deal. He is first seen attacking the Black Fox (Raul Chalmers) for possession of a chalice, to keep his wife Mindy out of prison. Mindy accepted a bookkeeping job at Transcorp New York. The company was caught in some shady stock deals and Mindy was set up and blamed for the crimes. Seeing only way to clear her name, Hobie re-donned his Prowler costume and found the books which Mindy had been blamed for stealing. He hid the books on an information chip and put the information chip on the chalice, where no one would look for it. Prowler and Spider-Man team up to take on the Black Fox in order to re-gain possession of the chalice. Hobie vindicated his wife of stock fraud charges with the help of Spider-Man and the Black Fox.

Prowler later attempted to vindicate Spider-Man of a crime, and first encountered Silver Sable and the Outlaws (including rehabilitated villains like Sandman, Rocket Racer and Puma). His safety designs were stolen by Justin Hammer. Hobie proved the designs flaws during an encounter with Hammer's hirelings. Hobie fought his brother Abe Brown (member of the Sons of the Tiger) as an initiation test for Silver Sable. Prowler joined with Spider-Man and the Outlaws against the Avengers and the Space Phantom. Prowler was hired along with the Outlaws to retrieve a Symkarian nuclear device in England. Prowler then formally joined the Outlaws to rescue the kidnapped daughter of a Canadian official.

His costume and equipment were stolen by Nightcreeper, and Prowler then battled Nightcreeper and the Vulture (Adrian Toomes).

Later, Hobie was paralyzed during the Great Game. In follow-up appearances, he began regaining movement of his paralyzed limbs- evidence suggests that his paralysis was more a result of mental rather than physical damage, as he was feeling frustrated over the recent theft of his costume, eventually regaining full mobility. While recovering, Brown provided Spidey with a jetpack used when assuming the new Hornet identity during the Identity Crisis storyline.

Prowler was captured by S.H.I.E.L.D. in Ms. Marvel's Civil War tie-in.

Escaping incarceration, he attended the wake for Stilt-Man, along with many other villains and former villains. Prowler narrowly escaped injury as Spider-Man and Puma escorted him from the wake shortly before it was bombed by the Punisher.

When Peter Parker elevated Parker Industries into a global franchise with Spider-Man officially acting as his 'bodyguard' as part of the All-New, All-Different Marvel branding, he hired Hobie Brown to act as Spider-Man in situations where the public would expect to see Peter and Spider-Man in the same place. Following the fight against Zodiac's Pisces Sect, Peter tells Hobie to change into his Prowler costume and that they'll retrieve the Webware together before Zodiac undoes his encryption.

Unnamed cat burglar

Bella Donna (Narda Ravanna) stole Hobie Brown's costume and equipment and hired the cat burglar whom Spider-Man originally fought in The Amazing Spider-Man #30 to be the second incarnation of Prowler. The criminal, wearing a simpler Prowler costume, accidentally killed a guard during one of his crimes. The second Prowler's silhouetted profile confused witnesses enough to have Spider-Man implicated in the murder. Eventually, Spider-Man captured both Bella Donna and her accomplice, cleared the original Prowler's name, and returned the stolen equipment to Brown.

This Prowler was later seen at the "Bar With No Name" attending Stilt-Man's wake, identifying himself as the "Cat Burglar". He had a brief fight with the original Prowler at Stilt-Man's funeral. Sometime after the original Prowler left, Punisher poisoned the guests' drinks and blew the place up. It was later mentioned that "they all had to get their stomachs pumped and be treated for third-degree burns”.

Rick Lawson

The third incarnation of Prowler was Rick Lawson, a medical intern that stole a Prowler costume when Hobie Brown was brought in with a back injury. When he was brought into hospital, his costume was partly cut away to conceal his superhero identity, but his friends were unwilling to risk moving him due to his back injury and so a portion of the costume was left that tipped Rick off. With this costume, the third Prowler both robbed patients in the ICU and get revenge on those who had "wronged" him in the past such as a construction foreman who fired him when he needed the job to complete medical school. He ran into the Vulture rejuvenated and attempting to kill all who knew him as an old man. Vulture mistook this Prowler for the original and was unconcerned about the mistake. He managed to badly injure Prowler by slashing him across the chest with his wings, but was unable to kill him when Spider-Man interrupted the fight. As Spider-Man defeated Vulture, Rick was taken to the hospital and the Prowler costume was returned to Hobie (recovering from his paralysis).

Powers and abilities

The Prowler has no superhuman powers, but is naturally inventive, especially in the field of pneumatics, although he has no formal education in that science. He relies on a suite of technical gimmicks that he has created. Prowler wears modified coveralls interwoven with denim and stretch fabric, equipped with gas cartridge bracelets and anklets capable of propelling projectiles at high velocity. His arsenal of projectiles include steel darts ("flechettes"), gas pellets, small explosives, magnesium flares and cleaning fluid. Prowler has been known to use hypnotic aids and conventional hand-held weapons. He wears steel-tipped gauntlets for scaling walls, and shock absorbent foam rubber insulated boots. He also wears a cape which contains a network of pneumatic filaments which expand with air to give it a rigid structure, allowing him to glide for short distances.

A technological genius, Hobie Brown has also designed the cybernetically-controlled wing harness used by Hornet (Peter Parker during Identity Crisis) although he himself was unable to use it due to the weight. He is a skilled hand-to-hand combatant, possessing a green belt in taekwondo.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Main article: Prowler (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse)

Prowler appears in the animated movie Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, under the name Aaron Davis, the uncle of Miles Morales. He is voiced by Academy Award Winning Actor Mahershala Ali.

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