TarantulaTARANTULA (V)


Since childhood, Katherine has been fascinated by spiders. At university she studied zoology, where one of her classmates was Felicia Albrecht. Katherine became a leading authority on arachnids, often leading expeditions to remote areas to learn more about rare species. These expeditions, however, were not enough to fulfill Katherine's thirst for adventure and excitement. When the new Tarantula made his debut in Pacific City, Katherine was fascinated with him. She designed her own spider-based costume and equipment and set out seeking adventure as Arachnia. Arachnia's initial forays into crimefighting did not sit well with the San Diego police department. They were after her for questioning and the city officials frowned on any vigilante activities. She kept on going anyway, the thrill was more than worth the risk.

Arachnia first met her inspiration, Tarantula, when the two were both investigating the same hi-tech weapons smuggling ring. At first there was some friction due to Arachnia's status with the authorities, but Tarantula soon welcomed her help. Together they followed a cross-country trail that eventually led to the mastermind behind the scheme, an organized crime figure named Domino. Along the way, a relationship developed between the two, but it would not be a smooth one.

ArachniaShortly after Tarantula joined Justice Inc Katherine led an expedition to South America to study several rare species of spider. In the Amazon rain forest she and her team came across strange ancient ruins. While exploring the ruins they stumbled across the prison of an ancient spider-demoness, trapped by the Atlantean wizard Arion millennia ago. The demoness, Aranaea the Death Weaver, escaped by switching places with Katherine. While Katherine became trapped, Aranaea took Katherine's identity. She submerged herself so deep in the role that she actually forgot her true identity and believed she was Katherine Robbins.

Returning to the States Aranaea, as Katherine, resumed her relationship with Tarantula. Signs of her true personality soon began to show through, however. She became insanely jealous when she saw Tarantula flirting with the the super-heroine Starburst (ironically, Tarantula would later learn that Starburst was actually his cousin!). During the crisis known as Underworld Unleashed the demon Neron approached "Arachnia" with an offer to get even with the "unfaithful" Tarantula. He offered to grant her spider powers and she readily agreed. In actuality, Neron had easily recognized Aranaea for who she truly was and merely gave her access to her own abilities (which she had forgotten along with her true identity). When Tarantula saw what "Katherine" had become, he and his teammate Quiksilver made a perilous journey to Hell to rescue her soul from Neron. They succeeded, but Neron made sure that when "Katherine" got her soul back, she would remember her true identity as Aranaea. The truth drove her temporarily insane and the authorities imprisoned her in Belle Reve.

A short time later, Tarantula's new teammate Uktena, a water elemental, sensed the mystic nature of "Arachnia" and with information from the immortal Arion, they learned who she really was. Tarantula immediately left for South America to free the real Katherine, accompanied by Felicia Albrecht, whose alter-ego Cat had joined Justice Inc. Battling through the mystic defenses, Tarantula was able to free Katherine and the two were reunited, for a while.

SolitaireWhile Tarantula was rescuing Arachnia in South America, another Tarantula was rescuing Aranaea from Belle Reve. This Tarantula claimed to be from decades in the future. When he arrived in the present and learned that "Arachnia" was in Belle Reve he broke her out. Whatever had happened in the future or during his trip back through time had driven this Tarantula insane. He and Aranaea became lovers and he started calling himself Araknis, the Death Spider. The two immediately conspired to kill their counterparts, Tarantula and Arachnia.

Death Spider's plan was almost successful. He and Aranaea were able to stun or distract the other members of Justice Inc. long enough for Death Spider to defeat Tarantula in hand-to-hand combat and push him out an airlock into the East River where they thought he drowned. Before the two villains could kill Arachnia, however, Justice Inc revived and the two were forced to flee. To help Arachnia, Tarantula's grandfather (the original Tarantula) enlisted the aid of Sentinel of the Justice Society and of Tarantula's cousin (the original Tarantula's granddaughter) Starburst. With their help, Katherine was given a new identity to hide her from Death Spider and Aranaea. She was now Kaitlin Roberts, living in Superior City. As for Tarantula, he had been rescued by another time-displaced Tarantula.

Both Tarantulas decided to let the world (even most of Justice Inc) think that the Tarantula was dead. The time displaced Tarantula became C.T. Nelson and moved to New Orleans (where he would soon adopt the new heroic identity of Zodiak). The real Tarantula also went with Arachnia to Superior City and became Joshua Chambers, aka that city's new hero Renegade. "Joshua" and "Kaitlin" were soon married and Kaitlin created a new hero identity, Solitaire. Things were going well again, but not for long. Firstly, Death Spider learned that Renegade was really Tarantula and that he and Arachnia were in Superior City, again putting their lives in danger. Shortly thereafter, while investigating a drug smuggling ring, Solitaire was kidnapped by the ring's masterminds, an organization called the Silver Path. Using their techno-voodoo powers, the Path erased her mind, turning her into a computer-controlled zombie. Enlisting the aid of ArcAngel and Mystère (an amnesiac cyborg who had escaped from the Silver Path), Renegade managed to rescue Kaitlin and stop the Silver Path. This adventure led to the forming of the new Enforcers of Justice, but they were unable to restore Kaitlin's mind, the Silver Path having erased their central database where they store the memories of those they turned into zombies.

Skorpia Re-enter Death Spider. He had somehow managed to get a copy of Kaitlin's brain pattern from the Silver Path computers before they were erased. He gave the pattern to Renegade, knowing how much it would anger him knowing he needed Death Spider's help to save his wife. After her mind was restored, Kaitlin decided she was tired of hiding. She gave up her identity as Kaitlin Chambers and, leaving Joshua (Renegade), she returned to San Diego to pick up the pieces of Katherine Robbins' life. She was able to get her position at the San Diego zoo back and was soon of on another expedition, this time to the Yucatan. Unknown to her, Death Spider had been keeping an eye on her ever since she resumed her old life. He sent Enforcer, in his Mike Donavan identity, to spy on her at the zoo. Renegade, worried about her, went to San Diego to find her, but accidentally tripped the security system at Katherine's that was to destroy all evidence of her identity. Learning her place had been destroyed, Katherine thought it was Death Spider and left the Yucatan to go into hiding. She decided to head back to Superior, but was being as careful as possible to not tip off Death Spider (or anyone else) as to her whereabouts. She stopped in Pacific City long enough to enlist some aid in designing a new outfit and weapons. With her new identity as Skorpia she began to establish a new presence in Superior as a Robin Hood-style bandit, stealing from the criminal elite and donating much of her take to charities.

Once Death Spider was defeated, Katherine took the information she had gathered on Superior City's mob chiefs during her thefts to the authorities in exchange for immunity from prosecution. King Farraday, head of the C.B.I. went one better and recruited her as an agent. Katherine returned to using her Arachnia identity and was an undercover mission against organized crime on the west coast when she mysteriously disappeared. The costumed secret agent Silver Vixen, who had trained Arachnia, began a search for her, eventually recruiting others to aid her. This group discovered that Arachnia was being held captive by the enigmatic crime figure called Mr. Silver, who had appeared out of nowhere a few months earlier and now controlled a large criminal empire on the American west coast.

Silver Vixen and her team were able to rescue Arachnia, who had been drugged and placed in a virtual reality since her capture months earlier. Arachnia then joined Silver Vixen and the other two heroes, Prism and Stiletto, and together they dismantled Mr. Silver's organization and captured the criminal himself. Afterward the four heroes decided to stay together on a more or less permanent basis, forming the team called the Angels. Shortly afterward Arachnia contacted Renegade's grandfather, who had been the original hero called Tarantula, and asked permission to use the identity herself. As the new Tarantula, Katherine designed new equipment for herself and wears a costume patterned after the last one Renegade wore when he used the Tarantula identity.

Skills and Equipment:

Katherine Robbins is a skilled zoologist and a world-leading expert on arachnids. She is also in excellent physical shape with considerable acrobatics and martial arts training. As Arachnia, she uses several spider-inspired gadgets, including a special visor that gives her 360 degree vision as well as a "web" line (grappling hook and line) and "venom sting" (an advanced stun gun with extended range). She also wears a special outfit with hydraulic systems in the legs that let her jump several stories and a static electricity system that lets her cling to almost any surface. As Skorpia, she used a more powerful version of the venom sting, as well as other enhancements of her old equipment.

In the Tarantula identity Katherine uses a variation of her Arachnia gear. She has replaced the traditional Tarantula web-gun with an advanced chemical spray in the costume's gloves. The gloves fingers emit a special chemical that, when it makes contact with the air, becomes a web-like substance. By varying the rate and intensity of the spray Tarantula can create anything from a thin cable to a large net.