Jonathan Law Jr. is the grandson of Jonathan Law, who was also the original Tarantula in the 1940s. In the early 1970s Jon's father had also adopted the Tarantula identity, hoping to be a hero like his own father. Jon Sr's hero career lasted only a few months before he was killed by the vengeance-driven villain Dr. Trap. Jon Sr's death brought his father's old allies, the Justice Society, out of retirement and Trap was apprehended. When Jon Sr's wife, Margaret, learned that her husband had been killed simply because he wore a costume she took their young son, Jon Jr., and moved to the west coast, swearing that her son would never have anything to do with super-heroes.
Jon's mother kept her word, the few times Jon did see his grandfather the elder hero was not allowed to mention anything of the Tarantula legacy or of his exploits with the wartime All-Star Squadron. Jon Jr.s ignorance of his family's heroic tradition lasted until his teens. When he started high school in Los Angeles he met, mostly by chance, Hector Hall and Lyta Trevor. Hector was the son of Carter and Sheira Hall, the Golden-Age Hawkman and Hawkgirl; and Lyta was the daughter of the Young All-Star named Fury and the adopted daughter of the wartime heroine Miss America. The two of them recognized his name and gave young Jonathan Law a copy of his grandfather's book on the heroes of the 1940s. Jon called his grandfather and got the truth out of him. He then confronted his mother about what he had learned. She forbade him to have many more contact with his grandfather or with Hector and Lyta. Partly from anger, partly from teenage rebellion, Jonathan struck up a friendship with Hector and Lyta. Through them he met other children, grandchildren, and god-children of the Justice Society and soon met many of the members of the JSA themselves. His association with the heroes and their children created a rift between Jon and his mother that never really healed.
Jon was attending journalism school in Pacific City when his high school friends joined together to form the second generation super-hero team called Infinity Inc. Hoping to follow suit, Jonathan again contacted his grandfather for help in becoming a hero. The elder Jon Law contacted his old teammates and soon Jon Jr. was learning the ropes of being a hero from the likes of Wesley Dodds (the Sandman), Al Pratt (the original Atom), and ex-heavyweight boxing champ Ted Grant (Wildcat). Jon's training was cut short by the sudden disappearance of the JSA shortly after the Crisis on Infinite Earths and he went back to school. Jon's hero dreams remained on the shelf until the JSA's return from limbo. He soon resumed his training with the elder heroes, though he was unsure of whether he would ever be ready, or worthy to take up his family's tradition. It took a great tragedy for Jon to finally put on his father's old costume and adopt the role of hero.
The world was in shock, news had come out of Metropolis, Superman was dead. In the grief that followed there was a sharp rise in crime across the country, and the world. The villains saw in the Man of Steel's death an opportunity. Jonathan Law Jr. could not let this new wave of villainy continue and made the decision to do what he could to stem the tide. Wearing his father's costume, Jonathan took to the streets of Pacific City to fight crime. Initially, Jon decided not to use the Tarantula name for his mother's sake. Instead he used the hero name The Web.
Jon's first major battle as The Web took place in Star City, where he was attending a concert by rocker Brian Deacon. The Web was one of a group of heroes present in Star City that night manipulated by the mysterious Omega into stopping the world conqueror Overlord's planned invasion of Earth. The heroes chose to remain together and, under Omega's patronage, formed the original Enforcers of Justice. Confident in his role of hero after defeating Overlord, Jonathan Law felt he had earned the right to use the name Tarantula.
After a few minor adventures, most of the Enforcers began to drift away from the team leaving Tarantula as the sole inhabitant of the team's satellite headquarters. It was during this time period that Tarantula first met the vigilante Arachnia when the two teamed up to stop a weapons smuggling ring. Soon after Omega once again manipulated events resulting in the recruiting of a new group of heroes to join Tarantula in the Enforcers. This group was brought together in time to combat the threat of the android Annihilator's attempt to resurrect the Manhunters. After Annihilator's defeat, though, this team also began to drift apart. During the events of Zero Hour the Tarantula found himself fighting alongside the fledgling hero-team called Justice Inc. After Zero Hour Tarantula left the Enforcers to join Justice Inc full-time. In an effort to create a legacy of his own apart from his grandfather's, Tarantula adopted a new, grey and black costume.
Tarantula was instrumental in helping Justice Inc become the world-renowned team they are today. He and co-leader Quiksilver became fast friends and served as the stable core of a team that, in the beginning, suffered from a constantly shifting membership. Tarantula fought alongside Justice Inc against such foes as Father Lucifer and Lucifer's Six, his former teammate Mimic (now calling himself Enforcer), Amazo, and the bizarre Cockroach. Tarantula also began a long-distance relationship with Arachnia during this time.
During one of the major membership shakeups Tarantula and Quiksilver went on a journey through time in an effort to rescue Rip Hunter, the Time Master, who was trapped 50,000 years in the past. During the trip through time the group of heroes accidentally changed history and found themselves in an alternate present (which the heroes called the Elseworld). In this present the original Tarantula had been killed in the mid-1950's and the current Tarantula had never been born. This timeline's Justice League managed to save Tarantula from vanishing from existence when the Flash (Barry Allen, who had not died in this time's Crisis) altered Jon Law's vibratory rate.
The heroes were eventually able to travel back in the past and correct their error, but his time in the alternate present had given Jon Law Jr. a new knowledge and respect for his grandfather. His relationship with his grandfather also strengthened after returning to the proper present when the elder Jon Law took over as custodian of the Hall of Justice, the hero museum that served as cover for Justice Inc's headquarters. Tarantula also ditched his gray and black costume for one more reminiscent of his grandfather's old costume.
With the team gaining new members, Justice Inc next battled a new Fearsome Five briefly assembled by the villain Paradox, stopped a crime-wave by the music-themed criminals called The Backbeat, faced the return of the Cockroach, and finally they defeated the Ultra-Humanite and his new team, the Injustice Syndicate. Several more team members joined in time for the team to face their greatest challenge to-date.
During the battle against the Ultra-Humanite, the villainous Overlord had been unknowingly released from the dimension the Enforcers had trapped him in. Meanwhile, while Overlord was secretly bringing his trusted henchmen to the Earth dimension, Tarantula made a shocking discovery. Recently, Arachnia had been behaving more and more irrational and Tarantula discovered that this was because the woman he thought was Arachnia was in fact a spider-demoness that had taken her place when the real Arachnia accidentally freed it from its prison in the South American jungles. The demoness, Aranaea, was captured and Tarantula went to South America and rescued the real Arachnia. He returned to New York just in time as Overlord launched his assault and captured the city.
Justice Inc, with the help of the New Conglomerate, Galahad, and the Justice Subs were able to defeat Overlord and free New York. The team was at its greatest point, but was about to face its greatest tragedy. In the wake of the victory, Justice Inc suddenly found itself faced with dozens of Tarantulas. The Tarantulas were all from different dimensions, some similar to Justice Inc's Tarantula, others radically different. It turned out that the Tarantulas had all been brought to this dimension by the temporal villain Extant. Extant intended for the collection of so many dimensional versions of a single person to cause a massive temporal explosion which he could tap for unlimited energy. Using cobbled together time-travel technology Justice Inc, Galahad, and the New Conglomerate split into small teams and repaired the damage to the timestream caused by Extant's meddling. As the damage was repaired the multitude of alternate Tarantulas began to return to their proper place and time, except for two.
When Justice Inc returned to their headquarters they were ambushed by one of the alternate Tarantulas and his new ally, the demoness Aranaea. The two of them subdued all of the members of Justice Inc except for one, Tarantula. The alternate Tarantula, who claimed to be from the future and now called himself Death Spider, challenged Tarantula to single combat. Tarantula held his own against his alleged future self, but in the end was knocked unconscious by Death Spider. The villain took the unconscious Tarantula and threw him into New York's East River to drown. The rest of Justice Inc recovered but they were too late. The villains fled and though Justice Inc used all their powers they could find no trace of Tarantula. It took more than a day of searching before his body was recovered. The Tarantula was dead, or so his teammates believed.
As mentioned before, there were two alternate Tarantulas who remained behind after Extant's plan was thwarted. The second one was from two weeks in the future, a future where Extant's plan succeeded and New York was destroyed in a temporal explosion. Because the heroes had succeeded in stopping Extant, this Tarantula's timeline ceased to exist and he remained trapped in the present, a temporal anomaly. This Tarantula witnessed the end of the present Tarantula's battle with Death Spider and he was able to pull his past self from the river and resuscitate him.
Not knowing how great a threat Death Spider and Aranaea posed to himself and his friends and family, Tarantula thought it best that he stay dead. To maintain the illusion of his death, Tarantula enlisted the aid of his grandfather and his cousin Starburst. The elder Jon Law in turn called upon Alex "Sandy" Hawkins and the Golden-Age Green Lantern, now called Sentinel, who was able to use his powers to provide a "body" to bury. Next, with financing from Sandy and the federal government security access of Starburst, both Tarantulas and Arachnia were given new identities. Jonathan Law Jr. (Tarantula) and Katherine Robbins (Arachnia) relocated to Superior City as Joshua and Kaitlin Chambers. Later they created the hero identities of Renegade and Solitaire. The other Tarantula was also given a new identity, that of C.T. (Charles Tyler) Nelson. He relocated to New Orleans and soon he too had hero identity, Zodiak.
Powers and Abilities:
Tarantula was a normal person, trained by some of the best. He learned boxing and martial arts from champion fighters, and science and engineering skills from men who had been in the hero business for over fifty years. His equipment was modernized versions of the stuff his grandfather had used as the original Tarantula in the 1940s. The modern Tarantula wore a costume made with a revolutionary Kevlar-Titanium weave, light and flexible but strong enough to protect him from high-caliber firearms. The costume's boots and gloves could generate a powerful static charge that enabled Jon to cling to most surfaces while carrying up to his own weight. Tarantula's visor contained special sensory enhancements to enable him to see in the dark. The last version of Tarantula's costume contained hydraulic systems in the legs that let him leap up to twenty feet and special "wings" that enabled him to glide short distances. And lastly Tarantula carried a gun that could fire a web-like substance to entangle opponents or fire a high-strength line for swinging. Tarantula also had an assortment of spider-shaped shuriken and knockout-gas and smoke pellets stored in the numerous pockets on his costume.