As part of a plan to create a massive disruption in the timestream that he could tap for power, Extant pulled several parallel timeline versions of the hero Tarantula into the mainstream universe. While many of these alternate Tarantulas were radically different from the mainstream one, several were almost identical. These similar ones had all been pulled from two weeks in their respective futures and given the hypnotic suggestion they had to stop someone from destroying New York, which led them to the mainstream counterparts of their teammates.
Extant's plan was discovered and his disruptions of the timestream corrected and all of the alternate Tarantulas vanished, except two. One was from farther in the future than the rest, almost 20 years, and this Tarantula had been driven mad by his journey through time and became the psychotic Death Spider. The second Tarantula to remain behind was actually this timeline's Tarantula from two weeks in the future. By thwarting Extant's plan, his future ceased to exist and he was trapped in a past that was no longer his own. A stranger in a familiar place, this Tarantula chose to try and start a new life in this timeline. He moved to New Orleans and created new civilian and heroic identities for himself. By day he was freelance reporter C.T. Nelson, a name chosen to honor of the memory of some of his Golden Age mentors: Charles for Charles McNider (Dr. Mid-Nite), Tyler for Rex Tyler (Hourman), and Nelson for Kent Nelson (Dr. Fate). By night he became the mysterious figure the criminals of New Orleans learned to fear, Zodiak.
When Arclight began operating in New Orleans Zodiak made a point to avoid encountering her. He wanted to start a new life, but elements of the old kept interfering. When Galahad, now calling himself Paladin, showed up in New Orleans to warn Arclight about Omega, Zodiak knew he could not remain on the sidelines. He reasoned that since he was from the future then the mind-control devices Omega's had placed in several heroes (including Tarantula) were probably out of synch for him, thus granting him immunity from Omega's control. He secretly recruited Felicia Albrecht to help find a way to destroy Omega's nano-technology devices. In order to gain her trust he told her the truth about who he was, but got her to swear to not tell anyone else. Felicia was eventually able to created an anti-virus that would render the nano-technology inert and Zodiak became the guinea pig to test it. The prototype serum, did destroy the mind-control device, but nearly killed Zodiak in the process. The sorcerer Rift used his mystic amulet to heal Zodiak, but unknown to both at the time, the spell had a side effect. It wasn't until a battle during the crisis called Revelations that Zodiak discovered he had mystic powers related to the actual mythical Zodiac. His life took a new turn as he began confronting more mystic threats in his adventures.
Zodiak next encountered his old teammates when Renegade was able to track down Death Spider. Zodiak, along with his erstwhile ally Ghost, joined Renegade (the new identity that had been adopted by the "real" Tarantula) and his partner Arachnia (in her new guise as Solitaire) to take down Death Spider. They were also joined by Justice Inc members Mindblade, Cat, and ArcAngel and their allies Torch and Metalmorph. They battled Death Spider and his Enforcers of Injustice, as well as Omega, who had temporarily allied himself with Death Spider. The heroes were able to defeat the villains and Death Spider was fatally wounded, but he escaped when Omega caused his consciousness to be uploaded into the global computer network. Now Renegade and Zodiak's secret was known to several of their former teammates, and to Death Spider as well. There teammates agreed to keep this information secret, but Death Spider was another story. It would take months of planning, but Death Spider would wreak his vengeance upon both Renegade and Zodiak. While Death Spider worked on his plans, Zodiak began recruiting more magic-based heroes and soon formed a team called the Arcane to help combat mystic threats he couldn't handle on his own.
Eventually Death Spider put his plan for revenge into motion. By kidnapping the hero Flashback, Death Spider was able to use the latter's powers to travel back in time and wipe Jonathan Law Jr. (the Tarantula's true identity) from existence. He didn't stop there, though. The plan was useless unless his victims knew what had been done to them. To that end Death Spider had used his knowledge of genetic engineering to impregnate three women in the past with clones of Jonathan Law Jr. He murdered the parents of the three after they were born and made sure they would be raised together in the same orphanage. He also impregnated another women with a clone of Jonathan Law's lover, Arachnia. One thing Death Spider had learned over the years was that time was elastic and when something interfered with the past, the timeline would always try to snap back to an approximation of what had been before. In this case the three children grew up as virtual brothers (which, genetically, they were). One grew up as Joshua Chambers, another as Charles Tyler Nelson, and the third was named Michael Pierce. In this new timeline Michael Pierce lived the life Jonathan Law Jr. would have had. He grew up to become the second Tarantula, fell in love with Arachnia, and died at the hands of Death Spider. The other two, to honor their dead friend, adopted the identities of Renegade and Zodiak, and Renegade would meet and marry the clone of Arachnia, who would adopt the heroic identity of Solitaire. Death Spider had also arranged things so that, because of the nature of Flashback's power, Renegade and Zodiak would remember their "real" history as Jonathan Law Jr. but everyone else would remember Michael Pierce as having been Tarantula. They alone, besides Death Spider and Flashback, would know of the life they had lost.
Zodiak, Renegade, and Renegade's teammates in the New Enforcers of Justice eventually rescued Flashback and used his powers to restore the timeline. However, Zodiak had begun to grow attached to the idea of Charles Tyler Nelson being a "real" person, not just a false name for a man living a shadow existence. So when the heores travelled back in time to stop Death Spider from impregnating the three women with the clones, Zodiak convinced ArcAngel to allow the clone that would grow up to be Charles Tyler Nelson to be placed in the mother's womb. When the team returned to the restored present, Flashback used his powers to merge Zodiak with his newly-created counterpart, giving him the new life he had sought. In this new timeline, Jonathan Law Jr. would become Tarantula, seemingly die at the hands of Death Spider, and go into hiding with a new identity, eventually becoming Renegade. This time, however, it was not a future version of Tarantula that saved himself from Death Spider, but Jonathan Law Jr.'s boyhood friend, Charles Tyler Nelson. The event would also inspire Nelson to adopt his own hero identity, that of Zodiak. The plan seemed to have worked, Zodiak had the life he'd wanted, but as a result a time paradox was created, one that would later nearly destroy Renegade.
Zodiak began to explore his new life and sort out his double-set of memories (he possessed both those of a time-lost Tarantula and those of the "real" Charles Tyler Nelson. He also believed that the clone of Arachnia was still out there and he sought her out. Zodiak eventually found the woman he thought was the clone, she seemd to fit the what he was looking for, but her true origin would prove to be very different. This woman, howver, did turn out to be a powerful magician, and she joined the Arcane using the name Solitaire (at Zodiak's suggestion). With her help, Zodiak learned more of the heritage of his own mystic powers, that the power was derived from the twelve houses of the Zodiac, which in turn traced their origins back to ancient Atlantis and the twelve Zodiac crystals. Most astonishing of all, Zodiak learned that his spirit was the reincarnation of one of the protectors of ancient Atlantis, the warrior, and ally of the immortal sorceror Arion, named Wyynde. With this new knowledge of his heritage, Zodiak renewed his commitment to defend the Earth realm from mystical threats.
Zodiak often came to the aid of his "brother", both on his own and with the Arcane, when the Renegade and his teammates needed help. When Renegade went missing along with most of the other members of the Enforcers, Zodiak again offered his assistance. In the absence of the city's premiere heroes crime was on the rise in Superior City, and the mysterious Crime Cartel took advantage of the situation with a bold plan. To help the besieged authorities, Zodiak donned one of Renegade's spare costumes and passed himself off as the missing hero. The ploy worked and the city's remaining heroes rallied around him. Together they thwarted the Crime Cartel's plan, but the victory came with a steep cost. At a press conference announcing the capture of the villains responsible for the recent chaos in the city the Cartel took their revenge. Pointman, the expert sniper of the mercenary group called the Sharpshooters killed the disguised Zodiak with a shot to the head. Zodiak's body disappeared from the morgue shortly after this.
Upon his return, the real Renegade immediately begain investigating the disappearance of Zodiak's body. The matter came to a head when Renegade himself began disappearing from the timestream. With the help of the time-travelling android Hourman, Renegade located the missing body, which had been hidden outside of time itself. When the body disappeared, Zodiak's existence began to fade from history, including the events around his first appearance when he saved Renegade's life. As a result history was changing and the new history was one in which Renegade had died. Hourman explained that Zodiak had always been a temporal anomaly, and should have vanished with the other future Tarantulas. Instead, his efforts to alter the timestream to create a history for himself had generated a temporal anomaly. The mystic presence of the Zodiak powers had also anchored him to the present timeline. When he died, the powers were gone and the time paradox began to take effect. Acting on knowledge obtained from a mysterious source, the villainous Peter Wilde had stolen the body and placed it outside of time, believing that this would remove Renegade, whom he hated deeply, from the timestream. Ironically, in the new timeline that had been created, another hero had adopted the Renegade identity, so Wilde's plan would have been a failure.
To restore the timeline, and close the time paradox, Hourman used his temporal powers to merge Zodiak with Renegade. As a result Renegade now possesses all of the knowledge and memories of his temporal duplicate. Meanwhile the Zodiak energies have found a new host, who has taken up the duties of his predecessor.
Powers and Abilities:
Originally, Zodiak had know powers, but was a well-trained athlete and detective. He used special equipment inspired by the twelve signs of the Zodiac, including a custom-designed bow (Sagittarius), claw-like tips on his gloves (lion's claws, Leo), special aquatic gear (Pisces, Aquarius, and Cancer), and twin remote surveillance drones (Gemini). After the infusion of magical energy from Rift's amulet, Zodiak developed true powers based on the houses of the Zodiac. Normally Zodiak has no powers but when he chooses to, he can call upon the powers of the Zodiac. These powers last him several hours before they fade, the exact timing depends on how much he uses them, the more he uses them the less time he has the powers.
From Aries (the Ram) Zodiak gains superhuman strength, from Taurus (the Bull) superhuman resilience, from Gemini (the twins) he gains the power to create an exact double of himself (with powers of his own), from Cancer (the Crab) Zodiac gains the ability to manifest powerful claws for grappling and cutting, from Leo (the Lion) comes the power to run at almost the speed of sound, from Virgo (the Virgin) comes the power to heal the wounds of others, from Libra (the Scales) the ability to see through illusion and deception, from Scorpio (the Scorpion) Zodiac gains a paralyzing touch, from Sagittarius (the Archer) he gains the power to manifest a magical bow that fires bolts of mystic energy, from Capricorn (the Goat) comes enhanced agility and the ability, to jump great distances, from Aquarius (the Water-Bearer) he gains the ability to control water, and lastly from Pisces (the Fish) Zodiac gains the ability to breathe underwater and swim like a fish.