What Should Fans Know About Madame Web’s Ezekiel Sims?

By now, everyone knows that the “Dark Spider-Man” who appeared in the Madame Web trailer is a fresh take on the classic Spidey character, Ezekiel Sims. That teaser did a surprisingly excellent job informing audiences that Ezekiel was in the Amazon with Cassandra Webb’s mother researching spiders right before she died, yet still left many details about the film’s apparent antagonist up in the air.



In the pages of Marvel Comics, Ezekiel played a very different role from the one he appears to have in the upcoming film. On Earth-616, Ezekiel Sims was originally a mentor and ally to Peter Parker, the Amazing Spider-Man. The mystical knowledge that Ezekiel introduced Peter to changed everything the hero knew about his past and led to developments that would eventually result in the birth of the Spider-Verse. Madame Web, however, appears to be veering wildly off-course from this version of the character, potentially tying him into another terrifying villain.


10 Before There Was Ezekiel Sims, There Was Kwaku Anansi

Full Name:

Ezekiel Sims

Created by:

J. Michael Straczynski and John Romita Jr.

First Appearance:

Amazing Spider-Man #30 (2001)

Ezekiel Sims was introduced to audiences as a mysterious older man with powers similar to Peter Parker’s. Ezekiel inherited his powers from an ancient blood rite involving a figure from Ghana in West Africa known as Kwaku Anansi.

Centuries ago, Anansi sought wisdom, following the way of the Spider by climbing high on a web and a line. Anansi climbed high enough to speak to Nyame, the sky god, and begged the deity to teach him of the mortal world and beyond. In the form of payment, Nyame demanded eternal servitude. Anansi agreed to this deal but warned the god that he could never turn away from anyone in need. From that point forward, the spirit of Anansi passed down through generations of warriors willing to uphold the honor of Anansi’s higher ideals.

9 Ezekiel Sims Took Power For His Own

Ezekiel Sims gaining his powers during a blood rite

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When Ezekiel learned of this line, he used the vast wealth he had accumulated throughout his life to save a Spider-Temple in Peru from destruction. Ezekiel then demanded that the head priest perform a blood rite and grant him the Spider’s powers.

The priest warned Ezekiel that the true heir to this generation had not yet arrived and that the spirits of the temple would not be pleased with his deception. Ezekiel continued to insist, promising to help those in need. Unfortunately, his search for power consumed the rest of his life, and Sims failed to follow through on his end of the bargain.

8 When Peter First Met Ezekiel…

Ezekiel hangs off of a building with Spider-Man next to him

Over the next few years, Ezekiel Sims became a wealthy executive whose firm acted as a cover for the secret organization known as the Spider Society. He funded the society for over two decades but focused more on his profits than his benevolent actions while keeping an eye on spider beings.

When a radioactive spider bit Peter Parker as a teenager, Ezekiel kept track of his development and eventually revealed himself to Spidey, bearing an intimate knowledge of Peter’s history. Peter was curious to learn more about Ezekiel, but he discovered more about himself when Sims revealed that the incident that gave Peter his powers was no accident.

7 Ezekiel Sacrificed Himself to Save Spider-Man

Ezekiel Sims's death during his encounter with the Gatekeeper

Peter was told about his ties to the Spider-Totem from which his gifts originated. With this new awareness came two dangerous enemies, an evil energy vampire named Morlun and Shathra, the “Spider-Wasp.” Both sought to devour Spider-Man’s totemistic powers and punish Ezekiel for the hubris of performing the blood rite. Under the pretense of protecting Peter, Ezekiel guided Spider-Man to Morlun and Shathra to save his own life.

After Peter barely survived encounters with those two entities, a third known as “The Gatekeeper” arrived. Ezekiel lured Peter into yet another blood ritual and abandoned Parker to be punished in his place. A last-second change of heart resulted in Ezekiel sacrificing himself to “the Gatekeeper,” leaving Peter to mourn the loss of a man who knew more about his abilities than anyone else. There were, however, more secrets about Ezekiel for Peter to uncover.

6 Ezekiel Sim’s Ties to Silk

Silk hangs on a web between buildings in Silk Vol 0 in Marvel Comics

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As it turns out, Peter wasn’t the only Spider-Totem who gained powers on the day he was bitten by a radioactive spider. As revealed in Amazing Spider-Man #1 by Dan Slott and Humberto Ramos, Peter’s classmate Cindy Moon was also granted powers that day. When her parents brought her to Ezekiel for help, he learned Morlun was after her, believing her to be a prophesized bride. So, Ezkiel sealed her away in a bunker to protect her from that fate.

Of course, Peter Parker isn’t willing to leave someone locked inside a vault, so he freed her. This led Cindy to cement herself as the superhero, Silk. It also resulted in a physically intense connection between Peter and Cindy, spurred on by their mystical ties. The kindling of Peter and Cindy’s romantic relationship reawakened Morlun and his entire family of Inheritors, who then embarked across the multiverse to consume all of the Spider-Totems in existence in an event known as “Spider-Verse.”

5 Ezekiel Sims Was Old Man Spider in The Spider-Verse

During “Spider-Verse,” fans were introduced to a new version of Ezekiel Sims in 2014’s Edge of the Spider-Verse. This variation of Sims was even older than the original Ezekiel, so much so that he’s nicknamed Old Man Spider. He was also a good guy, having taken over as the Spider-Man of Earth-4 after Morlun killed the original. Unfortunately, after being fatally injured by Morlun’s brother, Daemos, Old Man Spider joined the original Ezekiel Sims in the afterlife.

The last alternate Ezekiel Sims worth discussing is an incarnation called Spider-Therapist from Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse. Little more than a glorified cameo, this version of Ezekiel was voiced by Mike Rianda and served as a grief counselor for Miguel O’Hara’s Spider-Society. Considering Miguel’s intense emotional misery in that film, the Spider-Therapist can’t be too great at his job.

4 What Are Ezekiel Sims’ Powers?

Ezekiel Sims fights Peter Parker as Spider-Man

Ezekiel Sims Skills

Ability

Power Level (Out of 5)

Durability:

3

Energy:

1

Fighting Skills:

4

Intelligence:

3

Speed:

3

Strength:

4

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In the world of the comics, Ezekiel’s powers are more or less the equivalent of Spider-Man’s. He has strength and agility like Peter, a spider-sense, and can stick to walls. Like Venom, he’s also immune to setting off Spider-Man’s spider-sense. He’s also taught himself to become a skilled combatant with little formal training.

The one characteristic that sets Ezekiel apart from Spidey is his vast wealth. Thanks to the fortune at his disposal, Ezekiel is essentially Spider-Man with Batman’s trust fund. Unfortunately, outside of a few high-tech bunkers, Ezekiel never spends any of that money on cool gadgets. Ezekiel is also chockful of occult knowledge and understanding of various mystical rites and ceremonies involving the Spider Clan. These intriguing powers and characteristics likely inspired Sony to dust Ezekiel off for the new Madame Web film.

3 Who Stars As Ezekiel Sims in Madame Web?

Starring Dakota Johnson as Cassandra Web, Madame Web has an all-star cast, including Sydney Sweeney as Julia Carpenter, Isabela Merced as Anya Corazon, and Celeste O’Connor as Mattie Franklin. All of these characters have donned the title of Spider-Hero at one point or another in the world of comics. From the trailer’s look, they’re also recognizable to their comic-book counterparts. Ezekiel Sims, on the other hand, is not.

Based on the trailers that have been released, rather than behaving as a morally questionable mentor, Ezekiel Sims will be serving as the film’s antagonist, hunting down Madame Web and her allies. Tahar Rahim, the actor best known for his roles in A Prophet and The Mauritanian, will bring this version of Ezekiel to life. Outside of his recent work with Ridley Scott in Napoleon, this will be Rahim’s first significant exposure to North American audiences.

2 What’s Going On With Ezekiel’s Suit?

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Is Madame Web in Sony’s Spider-Man Universe?

The Madame Web may be set in its own universe, making it completely separate from the world of Sony’s Venom, Morbius and Kraven the Hunter movies.

The other surprising thing fans have learned about Madame Web’s version of Ezekiel Sims is that he will don a Spider-Man suit. Nicknamed “Dark Spider-Man” in online discourse, this alternate costume looks like a black and red Spider-Man suit.

The film’s costume designer, Ngila Dickson, seems to have hit upon a design that combines Miles Morales’s costume with a remix of Kaine’s old look from “The Clone Saga.” The reception online has been split down the middle, but it’s hard not to argue that it’s more opposing than the typical “suit-and-tie” look Ezekiel was known for in the comics.

1 Will This Version of Ezekiel Sims Be Good Or Bad?

Based on everything the promotional material for Madame Web has revealed, Ezekiel Sims is the film’s big bad. The trailer may be one giant fake-out, but it’s more likely that the film has combined elements of Ezekiel Sims with Morlun and turned them into one character. That’s precisely what the creator behind both Ezekiel and Morlun, J. Michael Straczynski, believes has happened, taking to social media to write that “It’s definitely the character I created for Spidey, but it feels like they may have merged it with Morlun a bit. (Don’t ask for any details because this is the first I’m hearing of it, so my guess is as good as yours.)”

Has Marvel chosen to blend two bitter rivals into one character? Or is all of this a smoke-screen to throw audiences off the scent of The Inheritors and open the door to a live-action adaptation of “Spider-Verse” as a last-minute surprise? Hopefully, Madame Web and Ezekiel Sims have a few tricks hidden up their sleeves to keep fans and audiences invested in what comes next.

Madame Web Updated Film Poster

Madame Web

Cassandra Webb is a New York City paramedic who starts to show signs of clairvoyance. Forced to confront revelations about her past, she must protect three young women from a mysterious adversary who wants them dead.

Release Date
February 14, 2024

Director
S.J. Clarkson

Cast
Sydney Sweeney , Isabela Merced , Dakota Johnson , Emma Roberts

Main Genre
Superhero

Writers
Kerem Sanga , Matt Sazama , Burk Sharpless

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